The American Idol XIII auditions continue in Austin TX before moving on to San Francisco. Join our live blog right here. Season 1 alum, Nikki McKibbin has a son and he’s all grown up and auditioning!
Sometimes its such a slog to live blog a 2 hour reality show. I’ve complained bitterly in the past about the audition phase of Idol, even during season that I really really liked. Having to sit through singer after singer perform for the judges, without any real competition in play was could be so tedious. And after a few years, it felt like we’d seen it all before.
But I gotta say, these 4 hours of Idol have just FLOWN by! Kudos to the director and editors of these episodes. They’ve managed to create a fast paced and colorful world that not only reveals the singers personalities and talents, but the excitement and optimism of performers on the cusp. There are so many sights and sounds, it can almost be too much to keep up with, but it’s never been dull.
Harry Connick Jr. just gets funnier and funnier. And his frankness and no bullshit intensity is just what Idol needed. Both Keith and Jlo are total softies, letting singers go through who probably won’t get very far. Harry has a very specific point of view, and he never wavers from it. Even if some feelings get hurt. He has the potential to be not only an entertaining, but controversial judge when the live shows start. Hell, he pissed me off when he mentored the the Season 12 kids, the way he was so rigid with how they sang the standards. But that’s NOT a bad thing. I look forward to disagreeing with Harry in the future.
There were virtually NO sob stories tonight, but it seemed like there were more joke contestants than last night. I loved the how the producers handled the dopey guy with suspenders, though. In another season, he would have been presented to the judges at face value. Here, he’s exposed as a phony before he even walks into the judges room. It was a very meta moment, as was Harry completely calling out Adam Roth on his bullshit act by mocking him. The producers are letting the jokes through but making it clear they’re on to them.
My favorite singers of the night were the intense and edgy, Jesse Roach, soulful rocker, TK Hash and quirky Remi Wolf.
The show opens with a guitar slinging hopeful singing “To Make You Feel My Love”, next wee see singers holding signs that declare their intentions, hometowns, hopes and dreams. THeir dreams are big! So full of aspiration. Harry holds a sign that says “Who Dat.” HA.
OHHH SHINNY NEW OPENING! I’m digging these cold opens.
“Where’d the princess go?” asks Ryan “He’s here” quips Keith pointing to Harry, who raises his hand. HEE.
Jesse Roach – “Do Ya” by KT Oslin – She’s completely decked out in black. Including her guitar! Her friend signed her up. Booked a hotel. Paid for everything. Ohh. She’s got a character filled rasp, and great phrasing! She’s full of grit. I like this one. Jlo loves her vibe and voice. Keith says she has a lot of soul. Harry likes that her rasp isn’t distracting. 3 yeses
A trio of singers, all different. A guitar player, a pop singer and a jazzy crooner. All get yeses!
Two siblings are auditioning together. They vow to support each other, no matter what. Jamiah Malik sings an original, guitar in hand. Quiandra sings a gospel tinged tune. One of them gets nos. The other yeses. But we have to wait until after the break to find out. Quiandra makes it. Jamiah does not. I’m not surprised. He needs to bake a little more.
Megan Miller – “Last Night” by Carrie Underwood – She’s very excited to meet fellow Louisianian, Harry. She’s got a great big voice. Jlo and Keith make noises when she hits the big notes. Harry of course, does not. He’s worried about when her voice will blow out. She swears she has no voice problems (wait til your 40, honey). Jlo likes her rasp a lot. Keith thought it was a little labored. She gets 3 yeses, nevertheless.
Grace Field – “Broken Wing” – Professional piano player with a post-grad degree in music. Whoa. I was NOT expecting her to suck like that! Harry tells her it was all over the place. Jlo says too much vibrato. Keith says she’s not there yet. They were being nice to her. She’s not there, and never will be.
Now a montage of hopefuls cut while the judges talk about what they’re looking for in a star.
Spencer Lloyd – “Never Gone” by Colton Dixon – Harry doesn’t like being upstaged by someone with pretty eyes! Heh. I’m not bowled over by this performance. He’s got a nice voice, but it’s thin. There’s not much going on there in the way of tone, phrasing or emotion. He’s generic. Harry calls him an OK singer. But he concedes that he exudes sweetness, charisma. Keith agrees. thinks he’s entertaining. Jlo likes his voice. Harry says he’ll bring the “image thing” to American Idol. Basically, Spencer will serve as eye candy for the gals. Period. Eh. He’s cute, but I’m not seeing a ton of star power here. 3 yeses
Marlon Lindsey – “A Change is Gonna Come – He’s been in the army for six years. It’s kept him from auditioning. His soulful voice earns him a ticket to Hollywood. 3 yeses
Rick Rowling – “Never Gonna Give You Up” By Rick Astley – An asshat with red suspenders, baggy shorts and no shirt admits readily to Ryan that he’s a joke contestant on purpose, in order to promote his acting career, and has no intention of even trying to sing well. He acts like an idiot, with bad impressions of Randy and Simon, until Harry cuts him off and tells him to GTFO and make room for people who are serious. “Hows that for Harsh Harry,” he smirks.The song choice should have been a tip off. But Harry nipped that Rick Roll in the bud. Interesting how the producers ripped the lid off the typical psychology of a joke contestant. 3 nos
TK Hash – “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” – He starts with a pretty credible President Obama impression. His soulful rendition of Fall Out Boy is also really credible. Keith absolutely loves it. Jlo says he changed the energy in the room. Harry wouldn’t say he was the greatest singer in the world, but he’s likeable. ETA: TK Auditioned for Idol singing ‘Imagine” in Season 8. Randy called him out on his runs! Check it out. He also auditioned for Season 7. 3 yeses
Oh another poll. Will pretty blond make it to the next round? She sings pretty good. We’ll find out after the break! You think she is. And McKenna Dennis makes it to the next round.
Ryan sends contestants into the chamber. Much weirdness ensues. “It’s like a haunted house out there!” says Harry while someone warms up.
Tristen Langley – 15 – “Santeria” by Sublime – His mom is with him! Oh It’s Season 1 finalist Nikki McKibbin! IDOL COMES FULL CIRCLE! I feel ancient. Aw, a clip of little Tristen giving Nikki a rose on the show 12 years ago. He accompanies himself on guitar and…he’s not bad. Better than his mother, actually. Heh. But nothing special . “This is history right here!” says jlo. Harry says “If Mom wasn’t here, it wouldn’t work for me.” See? This is why I LOVE Harry. Keith thought he was choking his vocal too much. Jlo says yes. Harry says no. Keith caves. Probably because the producers told him to. 2 yeses Harry says no
A montage of singers float by, their songs and their stories. Really liking the way the montages are edited. SO MUCH. The clips are like mini-movies. They tell a story. Some of the hopefuls make it, others don’t.
LJ Hernandez – “I’ll Be” – He’s wanted to be a singer since he was 4. His ex-fiance didn’t support him. Let’s see if she was right. He flatters the judges before singing. To Harry “I loved it when you got blown up in Independence Day.” Yep his fiance was correct! He’s terrible. And I suspect this is one big goof. He’s not serious, even if Jlo thinks he is. 3 nos
John Fox – “To Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan – He lives at home with his mom and dad. He moved back in with the rents in order to pursue music. He’s a worship leader. He has some nice moments. Nice tone, he sings with emotion. Not a ton of star power, though. Harry was not expecting his voice to sound like that. Kevin thinks he sings with authority. It’s 3 yeses
Jesse Roach and TK Hash get a little name check in the post audition chat between the judges and Ryan. They’re lounging on leather furniture. Jlo is handed a rose like its The Bachelor. Heh.
Moving on to San Francisco
Rachel Rolleri – 17 – “Stay” by Sugarland – She loves singing and playing guitar! Her mom’s a Keith Urban stan. So is she! Pretty voice on this girl. Nice tone. She has a little catch in her voice–lots of emotion. She’s a bit rough around the edges, her voice breaks a couple of times. You can see it on her face, unfortunately. Harry likes her understated confidence. Jlo says NOT to tip off when she messes up. But they really like the way she sings, nevertheless. Keith liked her thick tone. She has an adorable personality, making cute faces when she messed up. But, yeah, she’s got to stop that. 3 yeses.
Athina Williford – “I Have Nothing” – Nice rich tone, Remi Wolf – Junior Olympian sings “Let’s Get it On”, Very unusual, sultry tone. MK Nobilette is a female with a butch thing going. She readily admits she doesn’t have a typical voice. She’s good. 3 yeses
Emmanuel Zidora – “I Believe in You in Me” – He sings as he enters the room. Tres dramatic. Jlo says his entrance scared him a little “Sometimes good theater is scary,” says Harry. When Jlo compliments, he starts to cry. “I believe in myself, he sobs. His music teacher told him he would never be on American Idol. “We’re your music teachers, all 3 of us,” says Harry. “And we say yes.” Emmanuel has a very, pretty sweet and soulful tone. He has potential–if he can make it out of Hollywood without having a complete meltdown. 3 yeses.
Aw look. It’s Jlos babies.
A humorous montage of contestants, basically showing off Harry’s humor. “What is your definition of Jazzy?” Harry asks a hopeful, before letting him know it’s not a word. Also not a word, says Harry, is “Pitchy” Notice nobody has used that overused term this season. Not once.
Caitlyn Johnson 15 – “Somethings Got a Hold On Me” – Etta James – Very tall contestant does NOT look her age. Harry swears she’s a 32 year old New Yorker. Harry doesn’t think she’s ready. Jlo wants to give her chance. Keith really liked her big voice. He loved it. Harry says no. Keith says yes. Jlo thinks for a minute before she relents. “She was all over the place,” says Jlo, “But she was talented.” Caitlyn has a beautiful deep tone, but she’s imitating other singers at this point. 3 yeses Harry says no
Ronald James Reed – “For You” – He’s convinced he has something to give the world. He’s a game changer! He’s also a Jlo stan. He grabs a stool and a guitar. WHOA. He’s absolutely tone deaf. I guess the producers found his “I’m gonna change the world” shtick kinda amusing. He geeks out when she calls him “sweetie” She tells him his voice isn’t strong enough. He freaks out. Harry says, “Your singing just wasn’t there.” He leaves the room crying. He collapses outside the audition room in a heap t0 “Skyscraper”. C’mon he has to know he sucks. Oh noes. Dad says he’s got another one coming next year. Hilariously, he dismisses Ronald’s histrionics, as if he’s immune to them. Dad, you need to level with your kids #cantsing. – 3 nos.
So far, NO dramatic contestant backstories. Last night had a few, at least.
David Luning – 26 – (original) – Americana singer with a guitar reminds me a little of Jack White. He doesn’t have a great voice, but it’s got a lot of character, and he isn’t a bad songwriter. He’s intense. Keith wants to know if he writes. He thinks he’ll be crushed by the singers. Harry thinks he’s too “misanthropic,” a big word to mean his songs are dark. He’s interesting, but not Idol interesting, says Harry. Everyone’s on the fence, but eventually say yes. He’s not going to be able to sing covers, I predict. He won’t make it out of Hollywood. Ahahaha. Keith and Harry imitate him singing “Saving All My Love For You.” They know what’s going to kill him. – 3 yeses
Selena Moreno – “Try” by Janis Joplin – Sierra Moreno – One + One by Beyonce – TWINS. The old Idol trope! Some things never change. Jlo says Selena has a feel for being on stage. She liked Sierra, but she was nervous. Keith liked Selena’s voice better, but Sierra has star power. Harry says one is clearly better. They don’t work as a set…and we have to wait until after the break for his decision. All 3 say yes to Selena. Keith and Harry says no to Sierra. Harry says Selena was watching Sierra knowing she’s not the better singer. Selena leaves the room, with her ticket, in tears. Kill me now, but I liked Sierra better. I preferred her sweet tone. But she was very nervous. Selena – 3 yeses – Sierra – 2 nos Jlo says yes
Now, for a montage of nos. SADS.
Brianna Oakley – 17 – “Stay” by Sara Bareilles – She’s a returnee. Back again this year. She’s NOT going to give up. “I’m relentless,” she says. Keith remembers her. Brianna has a huge, effortless voice. Her age has been working against her chances, I think. She may be finally ready. Jlo compares her to Jordin Sparks. But, Brianna’s pitch is so good! She has more control than Jordin did at that age. Harry likes that she’s proud to sing. 3 yeses.
Rico Perkins – 24 – HE’S GOT A GOLDEN TICKET. No really, he’s singing about getting a Golden Ticket. And then he gets one. So does a girl who sings a VERY slow version of “Pure Imagination” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 3 yeses
Basil Foster – Giant dude wants a hug from Harry. He’s got huge abs. He talks a little about his workout routine. “Do you sing?” asks Keith, sarcastically cutting off the workout chat. Well, actually, not very well. Jlo covers her face with a card, Randy Jackson style, as she laughs. Obviously, it’s 3 nos.
More joke contestants tonight, than last night.
Adam Roth – 28 – “Hallelujah” – Ryan is out in the waiting room with a guy who describes himself as a “sound healer.” He’s super duper crackpot new age, dressed in white. Harry mocks him a little, pretending to fall asleep from the “vibes.” Adam has a trembly little voice. That is, until he begins to shout. Jlo thinks it’s pretty, but maybe he’s a little fake. Keith calls it strange. Harry says NO, right off the bat. Jlo says yes. After laying a sound therapy trip on Keith, he says yes. Keith pretends to be shaken from his reverie as he hands the ticket over. “I just sold my soul to satan!” growls Harry. He takes to the seal to enact a full out possession. Adam takes his ribbing well, calling Harry “cool.” Harry is the voice of reason here, seeing through Adam’s pretentious and terrible singing. OH AND HE MIGHT BE A TOTAL FAKE. Here’s a video Adam uploaded in 2011, at which point he was as a screamo metal rocker. Check it out. 2 yeses Harry says no
14 tickets from Austin, 19 from San Francisco.
79 tickets so far!
Next week, the auditions head to DETROIT. The motor city, baby.