Friday, February 5, 2016

American Idol 15: Hollywood Week #4 - Showcase and Final Judgement

So this is the end of Hollywood Week. We start the show with 51 contestants. The showcase is done and the judges are telling the contestants if they are part of the Top 24.

Stephany Negrete
"Girl On Fire" -  I think this was her best song so far.
Top 24

Shelbie Z
"Barracuda" -  Her voice is growing on me. She still needs a stylist for her clothes.
Top 24

Michelle Marie
"Little Toy Guns" -  The poor girl seems to have gone overboard for this performance. Way Scary. More screaming than singing.
End of the Road

Colette Lush
"Like I'm Gonna Lose You" -  She seems defeated already. She gives a very average performance,
End of the Road

Jessica Cabral - End of the Road

Jessica Clark - End of the Road

Ameet Kanon - End of the Road

Terrian - End of the Road

Mackenzie Bourg
"Can't Help Falling In Love" -  He presents an original rendition of this favorite. He shows great emotions with his voice.
Top 24

Trent Harmon
"Tiny Dancer" -  He is still fighting Mono, but he doesn't present himself that way when performing. Top 24

James VIII - Top 24

Kory Wheeler - Top 24

Jenna Renae - Top 24

Adam Lasher - Top 24

Jeneve Rose Mitchell
"Ring of Fire" -  She presents an original rendition of a old favorite.  Great performance.
Top 24

CJ Johnson
"Parachute" -  He has lots of energy in his performance. He kind of reminds me of David Cook.
Top 24

Amelia Eisenhaur
"New York State Of Mind" -  Nice job. She even threw in a little violin.
Top 24

Lee Jean
"Make It Rain" -  I like his sound. He did make a mistake when he shushed the crowd twice while singing.
Top 24

Avalon Young
"Yo (Excuse Me Miss)" -  I don't like hip-hop/rap type stuff so I'll just say, ok
Top 24

Chynna Sherrod - End of the Road

May Williams - End of the road

Zach Person - End of the Road

Dalton Rappattoni
"It's Gonna Be Me" -  Dalton is doubting himself, but the good news is the judges aren't doubting him. I think he did a great job.
Top 24

Manny Torrez
"Master Blaster (Jammin')" -  He is always so positive. This is a great attribute to have.
Top 24

Laurel Wright - End of the Road

Anatalia Villaranda - End of the Road

Isaac Cole - End of the Road

Jon Klasson - End of the Road

Kassy Levels - End of the Road

Andrew Narzabekian - End of the Road

Thomas Stringfellow
"Story of My Life" -  He's young, but he really seems to be thinking about what he is doing. I lkie him.
Top 24

Sonika Vaid
"I Surrender" -  She has a good voice, but the judges agree, she needs to work on her performance skills.
Top 24

Malie Delgado
"Little White Church" -  She is still recovering from laryngitis and it sounds like it.  She and still make a career, but not on Idol.
End of the Road

Olivia Rox
"Love Somebody" -  Olivia is sick for her showcase performance, but she sticks it out.
Top 24

Emily Brooke
"So Small" -  She was worried because this is the stage where she was cut last season.  I think she is much better than last season , and the judges agree.
Top 24

Sara Strum - End of the Road

Jordyn Simone - End of the Road

Tiffany Lamay - End of the Road

Kayla Mickelsen - End of the Road

Mionne Destiny - End of the Road

Gianna Isabella
She sang her mother's hit single "I Still Believe" -  Ricky Minor had to put mom in her place during rehearsals. Gianna did a nice job on the song.
Top 24

Jenn Blosil
"The Hanging Tree" Jenn might seem a little strange at times, but she has an interesting voice.
Top 24

Christain Eason - End of the Road

Ariel Sprague - End of the Road

Kelsie Watts - End of the Road

Shevonne Philidor - End of the Road

Tristan McIntosh
"Stronger"  -  She had a great performance. I like her, and her ever changing hair styles.
Top 24

Last two guys called in together:

Jordan Sasser
"Love Runs Out" -  I think this was his best performance. I'm starting to like him.
Top 24

Kacye Haynes
"Hold On, We're Going Home" - He has a good voice, but he has some odd movements on stage.
End of the Road

Last two girls are called in together:

"Bang, Bang" -  She is difficult to understand at times. I'm sorry, but I never really liked her.
End of the Road

La"Porsha Renae
"House of the Rising Sun" - Very unusual arrangement for this song, but it fit La'Porsha perfectly.
She is very likable too. She is growing on me.

So, there it is. The Top 24.

La'Porsha Renae
Tristan McIntosh
Jenn Blosil
Gianna Isabella
Emily Brooke
Olivia Rox
Sonika Vaid
Avalon Young
Amelia Eisenhaur
Jeneve Rose Mitchell
Jenna Renae
Shelbie Z
Stephany Negrete

Mackenzie Bourg
Trent Harmon
James VIII
Kory Wheeler
Adam Lasher
CJ Johnson
Lee Jean
Dalton Rappattoni
Manny Torrez
Thomas Stringfellow
Jordan Sasser

 Thirteen girls and eleven guys make up the Top 24.

Next week: 12 will perform both solos and duets with former American Idols, AND 5 will go home.
I'm not sure if only 12 perform over the two days of shows or if 12 one day and 12 the other day. I also don't know if the judges are doing the eliminations or if America gets to vote. I guess we need to have a few surprises along the way.

If the preview is any indication, the Idols involved in the duets will be Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, Chris Daughtry, David Cook, Caleb Johnson, Nick Fradiani, Jordin Sparks, Constantine Maroulis, Kelly Pickler, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, and Haley Scarnato.

I won't pick favorites right now. I really didn't hear enough from most of the contestants to really have a fair sample to judge by.

American Idol 15: Hollywood Week - #3 Solo Rounds

This show the remaining contestants had to pick a song and learn it in one night. There couldn't be more than 3 contestants with the same song and the song would be performed with the band. The judges wouldn't be giving any feedback. After everyone performed, the judges will split up the contestants into 3 rooms - two advance, one goes home.

Stephany Negrete
After last weeks perception of Stephany as being someone difficult to work with, the producers are now showing us a sad story about Stephany being all alone at Hollywood because her dad had recently had a heart procedure and was still recovering.
Set Fire To The Rain - Adele she is not, but it wasn't a bad performance.

Thomas Stringfellow
He is very nervous and feels that he messed up the song. His voice did crack a little.  Keith said it was a terrible song choice.

Avalon Young
She is also nervous. She was bad, but could have done better.

Olivia Rox
First time we've seen her in Hollywood. She sang an original song and it was pretty good.
Keith said she has decent songwriting skills for a 16 yr old.

John Wayne Schulz
His lucky black cowboy hat he always wears when he sings is missing.
He sang John 3:16 by Keith and it is nice but a little tame. He seemed kind of timid without his hat.

Mackenzie Bourg
He sang an original song, "Roses" and it was really good. The judges are amazed that he wrote the song. Keith said it sounded like a lost Ed Sheeran track.

Shelbie Z
Her voice is good for country, but she really needs a stylist to help her find clothing suitable for her body.

Kory Wheeler
He has a good country voice on "Fix You."

James VIII
He isn't confident in his singing because he has always been in the background playing guitar, not singing leads. He actually has a great voice.

Tristan McIntosh
Tristan had a major meltdown when she couldn't sing the song she wanted. Malie gave her the song and changed to something else.
Song was dedicated to Tristan's mom. She sounds good. She kind of looks like Selena Gomez the way she is wearing her hair.

Sonika Vaid
Producers are putting a nicer light on Sonika as well as Stephany tonight. Sonika tells America that Hollywood Week has been difficult. The judges like her voice, but she need to work on her performance skills.

Lee Jean
He is talented, but so young. I like the tone of his voice and his attitude.

Sara Strum
She has a good voice, but uses odd pronunciations on some words.

Jenn Blosil
Jenn sang True Colors and did ok. She messed up some words and sounded really tired. She was very emotional.

Emily Brooke
Her voice sounds very tired also. She tells the camera that the song was not in the key she had wanted.

Malie Delgado
She has laryngitis. She really struggled to get the song out at all.

Mionne (pronunced -my own) Destiny
She also has laryngitis. She found just enough voice to perform the song.

Jessica Cabral
She is also fighting laryngitis.

Joshua Wicker
Joshua is tired and nervous. He looses his voice while singing. This whole thing has been too much for him.

CJ Johnson
He is still trying to be recognized. I feel like he is pushing is voice too hard, but he is liked by the judges.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell
This girl is sooooo country. She has a really good voice and seems to really be strong willed. I thought she would have fallen apart by now. Maybe a little less country-wear would help her in the future.

Dalton Rappattoni
Dalton says "Hollywood has been a big wake-up." Dalton has a shaky start to his solo - no power to guitar. When he does start, Dalton later tells us he blanked out and doesn't know how the performance went. Conscious or not, Dalton knows how to perform, even if it is only for 90 seconds.

The judges divide the contestants into 3 rooms. Rooms 1 and 3 advance, room two heads home.

Contestants I recognize in each room

Advancing Room 1:
Dalton Rappattoni
Jordan Sasser
James VIII
Mackenzie Bourg
Jessica Cabral
La"Porsha Renae
Shelbie Z
CJ Johnson
Zach Person
Tristan McIntosh
Lee Jean
Mionne Destiny
Stephany Negrete

Advancing Room 3:
Manny Torrez
Adam Lasjer
Malie Dlegado
Jenn Blosil
Sonika Vaid
Emily Brooke
Kory Wheeler
Kacye Haynes
Thomas Stringfellow
Michele Marie
Sara Strum
Jeneve Rose Mitchell
Avalon Young
Trent HArmon
Olivia Rox
Christian Eason

Going home Room 2:
John Wayne Schulz
Joshua Wicker
Joy Dove

51 contestants are left for the final Hollywood round.

Friday, January 29, 2016

American Idol 15: Hollywood Week #2 - Group Rounds

On Wednesday we saw the "Lines of 10" and the contests cut from 190 to 108. On Thursday we had the infamous group rounds. This is usually where we see what the contestants are made of and how well they interact with others. This year was no different.

The contestants were told to divide into groups of 3 or 4 and chose what they a wanted to sing from the list provided by the producers. Most seemed to do well in this task, but of course it wouldn't be Hollywood week if there wasn't some drama.

First problem, Shelbie Z walks out on her group, leaving only two contestants.

Next Poh Scott decides the competition is too much for her and she walks out of the entire show. She had promise, but I didn't think she was ready for the craziness of Idol. She leaves Dalton Rappattoni and Kassy Levels in a tough spot.

La'Porsha Renae leaves her 4 person group so that the two girls Shelbie left are not eliminated.

Morning rehearsals arrive and Michael Orland finds that most groups are not ready to perform.

Group 1 - Team Blue Eyes
They claim to have it together. They are rested and ready to go.
Jordan Sasser, Kory Wheeler, Jenna Renae, Kelsie Watts
They do a great job on "Treasure" and all advance.

Group 2 - Milk and Cookies
They rehearsed in the bathroom. They are close.
Jenn Blosil, Bri Ray (18 -Orem, UT - student), Lynnzee Fraye (21 - Simi Valley, CA - bartender), Sara Strum
They do a good job and all advance.

Group 3 - OOH X2
Amelia Eisenhauer, Tristan McIntosh, Lee Jean and ? (not named)
They all sound good and all advance.

Group 4 -
Avalon Young, ?, ?.
We only hear Avalon sing and we are lead to believe she advances.

Group 5 - Jeneve Rose Mitchell, ? , ? .
Jeneve and two other girls sing some Lady Antebellum and sound awesome.
All advance, but we are not told the other two girls' names.

Group 6 -
Chynna Sherrod, Terrian, ?, ? .
"No Place I'd Rather Be" sounds great.  All advance, but we still don't know two names.

Group 7 -
Trent Harmon has Mono and has been given the choice of singing by himself or give up and go home. He chooses to sing and doesn't even sound sick. A no brainer - sick or not, Trent is advancing.

Group 8 -
This is the group that Shelbie Z finally landed in. There is still drama.
Michelle Marie, Shelbie Z, Ashley Luck, and Lindsey Carrier
Lindsey caused the drama in this group and, guess what, Lindsey goes home. The other three advance.

Group 9 -
John Wayne Schulz, Jessica Cabral, Zach Person, Elvie Shane
Elvie is the only one we hear sing from this group and he is the one sent home.

Group 10 -
Ashley Lilione, MacKenzie Bourg, Juno ?, Kayla Mickelsey
Lackluster performance by Ashley has her packing for home.

Group 11 -
Cameron Richard is the only one of the trio we see named or hear sing. Cameron is sent home.

Group 12 - Chicken Noodle Soup
Dalton Rappattoni and Kassy Levels lost Poh early in the evening, but finally found Anatalia Villaranda (15 - Temecula, CA - student) who had been ditched by her previous group. They do a good job on "Treasure" and all advance.

Group 13 - Envy
This is the group that Anatalia left.
Andrew Nazarbekian, Sonika Vaid, Stephany Negrete
They sound just ok. They all have big egos and attitude problems. For some reason, they all advance.

The producers give us a montage of contestants with "No Rhythm" who are sent packing: Josiah Siska, Jaci Butler, Brian Dale Brown are named but there are several others shown.

Group 14 - Trick or Treat Tri
Marcio Donaldson (26 - Compton, CA - server), Jon Klasson (17 - Greenwood, IN - student),
Kylle Thomasson (22 - Stockton, CA - busker), Kacye Haynes
This group does a great version of "Uptown Funk" even though they are obviously tired.  All 4 advance.

Group 15 - Smooth Soul
Joy Dove, Daniel Farmer, Lindita
Joy was a little better than I expected. Daniel was too passive and Lindita was just too much all together. Oddly, only Daniel is sent home.

Group 16 - Gianna Isabella, Eliz Camacho (24 - Fayetteville, NC - singer, actress), Dana Ordway (24 - Palm Coast, FL - sales associate)
Eliz is pictured as the nightmare attitude of the group. She clashed with Gianna's mom and the girls. Jennifer Lopez says there was tension in the group and "If you don't play well with others, you won't last long." Eliz is sent home.

Group 17 - Good Vibes
Alesana Tolai, Jessica Paige, Olivia Thai, Joe Dahman
This group should have been named No Vibes because they were so bland. Harry said "So guys, you look like your dog just died." Only Jessica advances.

Group 18 - CJ Johnson, Jess Kellner (24 - Austin, Tx - hairstylist), Jessica Baker (26 - Charlotte, NC - hair stylist) Zach Joseph (26 - Hickory Hills, IL - construction worker)
Another performance of nothing special. Zach is sent home.

Group 19 - Thomas Muglia (17 - Gilbert, AZ - student), Joey Hendricks (19 - Goodyear, AZ - deli worker), Bryson Dunn (19 - Deer Park, TX - student), Thomas Stringfellow
Another bland group. Thomas Stringfellow is the only life in the group. Joey and Bryson are sent home.

Group 20 - Rebirth
This is the group La'Porsha left.
Manny Torrez, Malie Delgado, Christian Eason (21 - Philadelphia, PA - cheerleading coach)
They sound great. Manny really owns the stage and pulls the others through. They all advance.

Group 21 - The Soul Cats
Laurel Wright, Marshall Cunningham (22 - Nashville, TN - musician), Drew Angus, John Authur Green
They should have been called the No-Soul Cats because they all forgot the lyrics to "Staying Alive."
Laurel and Marshall faked it the best, because they advance.

Group 22 - The Sista's
This is the group Shelbie Z left and La'Porsha Renae saved.
La'Porsha Renae, Tonie Starr (27 - Mansfield, TX - receptionist), Marlena Johnson (24 - New Bedford, MA - assistant mgr
"Staying Alive" La'Porsha sounds great. Marlena forgets the lyrics, but does a pretty good job faking it. They all three advance.

After the group round,s and only judging on those contestants we actually heard sing (since there are many contestants we did not hear from on this show), I like La'Porsha (yes, I know I didn't like her that much before, but I can change my mind), Manny Torrez, Jordan Sasser (yes, another one I wasn't sold on before), Dalton Rappattoni, and Trent Harmon. If Idol really wants to crown a female champion this final season, some others might want to set up to the plate and at least try swinging. I hope we see more from the girls next week. Otherwise I have a feeling America will be voting for another WGWG. Not that that is a bad thing. There are a lot of really good musicians who grace that category.

Next week we are scheduled for more drama and more dreams being crushed. See you then.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

American Idol 15: Hollywood Week #1

Lines of 10

Idol is on fast forward this season so we see a one hour episode featuring some of the contestants who advance to the group round and a few of the contestants who are going home.

Here are the contestants named during the episode or that I recognized who will be advancing to the group rounds:

Jordan Sasser
Dalton Rappattoni
Jaci Butler
Shelbie Zora
Jenn Blosil
Thomas Stringfellow
Olivia Rox
Zach Person - not named
Jessica Cabral
Sonika Vaid
La'Porsha Renae
Manny Torres
Daniel Farmer
Lee Jean
Jeneve Rose Mitchell
Gianna Isabella
Tristan McIntosh
Michelle Marie
Cameron Richard - not named
Trent Harmon
Miranda "Poh" Scott
Emily Brooke
Kory Wheeler- not named

Going Home:
Melanie Tierce
Harrsion Cohen
Melany Huber
Krysti jewel Chavez
Kerry Courtney
Brook Sample
Usen Isong
Reanna Molinaro
Ethan Kuntz
Jake Dillon

I did a little digging and found out some interesting things about some of those advancing:

Dalton Rappattoni was discovered in 2012 during a talent search and became a member of the Disney boy band IM5.

Idol told us that Dalton and Jaci Butler know each other from working together in a "Battle of the Bands."

Shelbie Z (Zora) was on Season 5 of The Voice.

Sonika Vaid was on Season 4 of The Voice.

Emily Brooke made it to the Top 48 of Idol last season.

Gianna Isabella was on X Factor 3.

Kory Wheeler was on Idol last season.

Trent Harmon auditioned for The Voice.

So far, of the contestants shown on this episode, I still like Dalton, Manny, Tristan, Sonika, but the contest is still young and the craziness of group rounds hasn't been shown yet.  Personality and attitude are important to me.

Well, that's it for now. I'll let you know how group rounds go tomorrow.

Friday, January 22, 2016

American Idol 15: Audition Rounds #5 and #6

I'm running behind schedule on posting this week's Idol results ... so here are the results from rounds 5 and 6 in one post.

American Idol Audition Round #5:
Ryan tells us the Idol bus tour auditions stopped in 11 cities over the summer. I assume some, if not all, of today's contestants were found this way.

Miranda "Poh" Scott - 17 - Baltimore, MD - student
Sister of last season Top 24 contestant, She Scott.
"FairyTale" by Sarah Barrellis
Interesting gravelly voice. No formal training is evident. She isn't terrible, but she definitely isn't ready for Idol.

HAIL, HAIL! THE GANGS ALL HERE!  We once again are told that Taylor Hicks, Nick Fradiani, Lee DeWyze, Kris Allen, Ruben Stoddard, and Clay Akin helped with the auditions this season.

Amelia Eisenhauer - 15 - Nashville, TN - student- plays fiddle and sings in family band
"Many Rivers To Cross"
She has a strong voice, but her pitch wavered during the song.
I think she is too young, and won't make it long in Hollywood.

Joy Dove - 21 - Natchitoches, LA - Youth Development Specialist
She kept saying, "Put me in the game, coach" to the judges.
She is too energetic and too loud in my opinion. She needs to harness the crazy and she might be ok. The judges love her.

Mackenzie Bourg - 23 - Lafayette, LA - musician - WGWG
He sings a medley of the judges songs - Stupid Boy (Keith), Come By Me (Harry), Love Don't Cost A Thing (Jennifer), and Making Memories (Keith).
He has a soft but pleasing voice. Singer-songwriter style. The judges loved him and so did I.
He will really have to work hard, but he might last a little while.

Jenna Renae - 23 - Williamson, NY - musician
Not sure of the song. She plays piano. She is soulful, but she sounded nervous to me. She might last a little while. She has the right look.

Ryan tells us former contestants have one last shot at redemption, Que up Adam and Emily from season 14.

Adam Lasher - 28 - Danville, CA - musician
Idol doesn't mention that Adam is the nephew of Carlos Santana. I loved Adam last season and was really sad to see him go so early.  Adam has cleaned up his appearance for this season. Nice move. He will have much more appeal to middle America now.
"Knocking On Heavens Door" done in Adam's own style. Different rendition but I still like Adam's voice. Maybe this is his year. No wait, the "bookend to Kelly" Clarkson that they all keep referring to is probably a girl.

Emily Brook - 16 - Wellington, FL - student
"Careless" by RaeLynn
For a girl from Florida, she has a really country sounding voice. Her accent seems stronger than I remember. She is good, but not the next American Idol.

My favorite from this episode: Adam


American Idol Audition Round #6

We start the final audition episode with a montage of contestants in their home environment and this quote:


Jessica Cabral - 21 Worcester, MA - Worship Music Director
Parents are from Brazil and she is the first one born in US.
"Brand New Kind Of Me"?
She has a nice voice with an interesting lower tone. She might go far.

Brian Dale Brown - 27 - Bakersfield, CA - cell phone salesman
Odd dude. His package doesn't help his weirdness. His girlfriend is 15 yrs older than him and he is very overweight. This is the 10th, yes I said 10th time he has auditioned for Idol and has never made it past the "cattle call" rounds. Lee Dewyze puts him through to the judges. He seems more like he should be on the stand up comedy show than Idol.
"Unchained Melody"
He has a few moments where a nice voice comes through but most of the song is totally overdone.
For some reason the judges put him through to Hollywood.   Umm, NO.

Melany Huber - 17 - Livonia, MI - student
"Talking To The Moon" Brumo Mars
Melany is a recent cancer survivor. Nice girl, nice voice. She sings this song with plenty of emotion. I'm just not sure if she is up to the stress of this competition.

A quick montage of singers accompanied by family members on guitar.
Rachel Karryn - 20 - Columbus, OH - musician - accompanied by grandfather whom she performs with
Caroline Bryne - 25 - Waldwick, NJ - pilates instructor - accompanied by her brother  whom she performs with
Bianca Espinal - 22 - Harlem, NY - busker - accompanied by her father
Of the three, I liked Bianca the best.

Chynna Sherrod - 16 - Bridgeport, CT - student
"One Last Time" by Ariana Grande
She has a nice voice and a nice personality. She is young, but might be able to hang with the older contestants.

Lillian Glanton - 15 - Athens, AL - student
This girl grew up on a poultry farm. She has a HUGE Alabama accent. She sounds a little like Dolly Parton when she speaks, but not when she sings.
Original song "Country Boyfriend"  was cute. She plays guitar.
Harry says she's not ready, but Keith says yes and Jennifer reluctantly says yes. I think I agree with Harry. She's not ready.

Kacye Haynes - 23 - Talladega, AL - musician   - WGWG
Backstory tells us of his drug use when he was younger and in a band.
"Brother" Need To Breathe
He has an interesting voice and good guitar skills, but he seems to be lacking something in the performance. I think he is putting too much pressure on himself to make it on Idol.
Keith says No. I'm not sure. I want him to do good, but Next American Idol - I'm just don't see it.

Zach Person - 18 - Houston, Texas - musician
"Next Door Neighbor Blues" by Gary Clark Jr
Well, I've seen Gary Clark Jr perform live here in ATX and this young man is definitely not GCJr, but he is ok. Good blues voice. If he makes it through Hollywood week the theme shows might throw him for a loop.

Collette Lush - 19 - Orange County, CA - nanny
Can we say overdone backstory about her having red hair? Way too much.
"Who's Loving You" by Jackson 5
The judges are totally stoked about her performance, but I didn't like it much. Maybe it's because of her annoying personality from the backstory. We will see what happens in Hollywood.

Avalon Young - 21 - San Diego, CA - server
This girl is presented as the opposite of Collette. She isn't worried about how she looks. She is a NO Frills girl, yet quiet pretty.
"XO" by Beyonce. She plays guitar.
She has a pretty voice. The song choice didn't let her show any power, but I still liked her. I think she has room to grow in Hollywood.

Usen Isong - 23 - Queens, NY - background actor
"Not The Only One" Sam Smith
Weird guy. Voice is ok, I guess, but he's just not my cup of tea. Make some music with him would help. We will see.

Jaci Butler - 19 - Rowlett, Texas - musician
She has been performing with a band for 6 yrs. She has green hair (for the band.)
"It'll Rain" by Bruno Mars
She has a good strong voice that got better as she sang. She has the work ethic and experience to survive Hollywood.

Stephany Negrete - 21 - San Diego, CA - student
Very pretty girl (which I assume is the reason she was put through), but annoying when she was talking to the judges.
"Who's Loving You" by Jackson 5
You could see her thinking about what to do instead of just singing the song. Her voice was good, but I think she tried to include too much. I don't think she will go far.

And The Final Audition Contestant to see the judges during the final (maybe) season of American Idol is:

Manny Torres - 20 - Flushing, MI - worship leader
The worship leader job surprised me, considering all of the fawning over JLo that went on in the intro package about him.
"This Love" by Maroon Five. He plays the guitar.
He has a really nice, powerful voice. He seems to have a joyous energy about him. The judges really like him, especially Keith.
He might do well if the producers never mention his crush on Jennifer again. I hope he makes it past Hollywood.

My favorites from this episode: Manny, Avalon, Bianca, and Jessica.


And so the audition episodes have come to an end.  We are told that 190 contestants are advancing to Hollywood week. We have seen 74 Golden Ticket winners named on the audition episodes.

Will the final winner of American Idol be one of these 74 contestants? Has Idol unknowingly already shown us the winner. Does it make a difference how soon America hears about a contestant?

I wasn't sure about all of the past seasons of AI, since I have only been watching AI since the middle of Season 6 and blogging about AI since Season 10, but after a little research I have concluded that all of the winners except Kris Allen and possibly Carrie Underwood were shown during the audition episodes.

Coincidence? I think not.

So if we go with the theory that we have already seen the Season 15 champion, who is it?
I think Idol is leaning towards a girl winning this season to "bookend" Kelly Clarkson's Season 1 win. Since American Idol began, there have only been 5 females winners: Kelly, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia, Jordan Sparks, and Candice Glover. Three of those wins were in the first four seasons of Idol. And most Idol followers feel that Candice's win was forced by "The Powers That Be" the producers) to break the WGWG factor. The WGWG factor (white guy with guitar) has been in play since David Cook won Season 7. Since then, all guys who have won play guitar.  The only female winner since Season 7 was Candice Glover in Season 12.

If  Idol wants another female champion,  I hope it is Olivia Rox (see audition #2) or Jordyn Simone (see audition #4).

If the guys even stand a fighting chance, I hope to see Adam Lasher (see audition #5) or Manny Torres (see audition #6) or John Wayne Shulz (see audition #4) vying for the championship.

This should be an interesting adventure. Get ready America.

Friday, January 15, 2016

American Idol Season 15: Auditions #4

The episode puts us back at the Little rock and Denver auditions.

Ryan is amazed that Denver is having a Beer Fest at the same time as Idol is doing auditions.

Amber Lynn - 28 - Provo, UT - social worker
James VIII (James Gray Dawson) - 23 - Provo, UT- musician - WGWG
Amber - "Unaware" by Allan Stone - James plays guitar and is rushing the beat, but Amber is still really, really good. She has a bluesy, soulful sound.
James - "Sun Comes Up" by John Legend - James plays guitar again. I like his voice. He is very interesting. They both seem very positive.
I think Amber has a better chance of advancing than James does, but neither will get past Hollywood.

CJ (Chris Johnson) - 28 - Memphis, TN - musician - WGWG
"You Make My Dreams Come True" by Hall and Oates
As Keith said, he did his own thing. I liked it, but it won't win Idol in the final season.

Ethan Kuntz - 15 - Nashville, Arkansas - student -  WGWG
Family raises hunting dogs. Ethan plays in a blues band. He plays blues and southern rock.
"Stormy Monday" by Allman Brothers  - playing guitar very nicely
He has a gravelly, growlly voice which works well with this song. Unusual for a 15 year old.
Harry said no, but Keith gave him another shot.
I believe he will definitely make it in the music world, but maybe not on Idol.

Mary Williams - 23 - Belfast, TN - horse trainer
"Til I Can Make It On My Own" by Tammy Wynette
She has a pretty voice, but Keith says no - she sang with feeling. I agree with Keith. A classic country song is nothing if it lacks feelings.
Harry and JLo put her through so we will see if she can emote feelings next time.

Terrian - 18 - Memphis, TN - student
Music is her outlet from a tough neighborhood.
"Happy" by Pharrell
She has a decent voice, but she needs lots of work. She's not ready for Hollywood. I don't see her lasting very long.

Thomas Stringfellow - 17 - Bentonville, AR - student - WGWG
"Give Me Love" by Ed Sheeran plays guitar
He has a singer-songwriter vibe. Nice voice but not much power shown so far. I think Hollywood might be too much for him at this point.

Tywan "Tank" Jackson - 29 - Ashtabula, OH - dance teacher
"Superstar" by Luther Vandross
He has an ok voice. He did a dance routine to a JLo song before he sang and is out of breath the whole time he is singing. The judges seems to think he has a good voice. I'm not hearing it yet.  It will be interesting to see what happens in Hollywood.

John Wayne Schulz - 27 - Salt Lake City, UT - Flight Instructor in Marine Corp -  WGWG
He auditioned season 10 and lost out to Scotty McCreery in Hollywood. He is originally from Karnes City, Texas. Mother passed from cancer shortly after he left Idol that year.
"The Dance" by Garth Brooks
This is normally a tough song to tackle because people try to sound like Garth. JW does it his way and is awesome. He will be a hit with the country audience - good looking and talented. Plays guitar.
I think he could win the whole thing, if TPTB let another country artist advance far enough to win.

Jordyn Simone - 15 - Los Angeles, CA - student
"Who's Loving You" by Jackson 5
She is very mature looking and sounding. Good voice and very skilled.
She ca go far in the competition.

A couple of shot audition clips for golden tickets:
Kassy Levels - 19 - Dallas, TX - musician
Pretty girl with nice voice, but I doubt she will go very far in competition.
Rhea Raj - 15 - Princeton, NJ - student - playing piano
Pretty girl - breathy sound - very nice, but Hollywood will be too much.

Jake Dillon - 22 - Sand Springs, OK - plumber's apprentice -  WGWG
He has 1 and 2 yr olds. Doing this for wife and kids.
"Danny's Song" by Kenny Loggins - playing guitar.
He has a pleasant voice and can probably do well in general country music, but not on Idol. Sadly he is desperate to get away from his present life, but I don't think he can go far on Idol.

Ashley Lilinoe - 21 - Kane'Ohe, HI - musician
This girl is way laid back in her demeanor and actually seems kind of flaky.
"Black Velvet" - Plays guitar
Interesting rendition of song. She has a decent voice but not for Idol. Jennifer said no, it wasn't enough. Keith liked her guitar playing.

Andrew Nazarbekian - 20 - Moscow, Russia - student
He was born in New York, raised in Moscow.
"Let Me Feel Your Love" by Adele
He has a nice voice and sang with passion. He might last a while, but he won't win.

Elvie Shane - 27 - Caneyville, KY - audio tech - WGWG
He had a trouble past with drugs , but changed when he meet his wife and her son. Now he is a devoted family man.
"House of the Rising Sun" - Plays guitar.
This is a very unique rendition of the song. He is really good and made a great decision to play guitar and have Michael Orland on piano too. The judges were very impressed.
Harry said he can tell it's "Music first, and details later" and he loved it.Jennifer said it was poerful. Keith said the styling was contagious.
I liked this guy a lot. He should go far.

So we have 4 episodes of the auditions completed. Ryan told us next week we will see powerhouse and weirdos. (Not the words he used, but my interpretation of the words.)

This show I liked John Wayne Schulz, Elvie Shane, and Jordyn Simone the best.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

American Idol Season 15 Auditions #3

Last night the third round of auditions aired. This time Idol was in Philadelphia. Clay Aiken was on hand to "Help" the contestants. The show was only one hour long and seemed to have lots of useless filler. Only 6 Golden Ticket winners were shown here. I sure hope the unseen were better than the group we saw.

Gianna Isabella - 15 - Jackson, NJ - student
Backstory - Her mom is Brenda K Starr, who was a pop singer in the 1980's and now does salsa music. Jennifer Lopez remembers her. They went to the same dance school.  Mom is an emotional mess about this audition.
"House of the Rising Sun" Her voice is ok, but I don't like her phrasing of the song. Not sure what the judges are seeing that I didn't. Gianna and mom will be a mess in Hollywood.

Isaac Cole - 15 - Emlenton, PA - student
"Love Like Crazy" Lee Brice  -  WGWG
This boy has "Bieber hair." He grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and wants to be a country singer. He sings with a southern twang. Harry tells him to lose the twang and sound like himself. Keith tells him he's not quite ready, but they put him through. Hollywood will be rough on him.

Sara Strum - 17 - Centreville, VA - student/hostess
"Lips Are Moving" Meghan Trainor
She has a nice voice. She might make it a little while in Hollywood, but not to the live shows.

Jenn Blosil - 23 - Broklyn, NY - childcare
"Radioactive" by Imaging Dragons - she plays the piano but is carrying a guitar also.
This girl seems kind of odd, a little "out there." Jennifer says she's quirky. I actually like her voice and the performance of the song including her piano skills. Either she will have a nervous breakdown in Hollywood or she will be oblivious to the craziness of it all.

Harrison Cohen - 17 - New City, NY - student
original song "No Time"  - WGWG
This boy thinks he's a ladies man and is making eyes at Jennifer Lopez. His grandpa is along and checking out all the girls for him.
The song is pretty good, maybe better than the kid's voice actually.  Another Hollywood axe.

John Arthur Greene - 27 - Raleigh, NC - Broadway Actor
Sad backstory of the night. John accidentally shot and killed his older brother when he was only 8. He has used music to deal with his pain since then. Currently performing in "Mathilda" on Broadway.
"Somebody Like You" by Keith Urban - WGWG
He has a nice country voice, but his facial expressions are overdone. The pain in his soul is evident in his face. Harry said no, but Keith and Jennifer want to see what else he can do.
I think he might be able to hang in there for a while.

I don't think any of these 6 could actually win this year.  John Arthur Greene was the best of the group we saw on this show.

Friday, January 8, 2016

American Idol 15: Audition Rounds #2

On January 7 Idol broadcast round #2 of the audition rounds, this time hailing from Little Rock and San Francisco.

Season 8 Champion Kris Allen was on hand to help out in Little Rock.

Cameron Richard - 15 - Raceland, LA - student
"Give Me Love" by Ed Sherran  while playing guitar.
Cameron was born with a cleft pallet and doctors didn't expect him to speak much less sing, but he has overcome his obstacles wonderfully. He has a nice voice (including a Louisiana accent) and showed passion while singing. I like him, but it will be a struggle to survive Hollywood.

Daniel Farmer - 24 - Memphis, TN - student
"How Does It Feel" by D'Angelo
This guy loves JLo and it is quite annoying, but surprisingly he has a good voice. Nice R&B performance, but he needs to lose the weird suggestive movements.  I doubt he will survive Hollywood.

Dalton Rapattoni - 19 - Dallas, TX - vocal coach at School of Rock
"Phantom of the Opera"
Dalton gives a great Indie rock style performance of Phantom while playing guitar. He has the right look and a fantastic voice. His articulation of the faster flowing words in this song was spot on. Very unique. Keith "I'm looking for someone giving an artistic contribution and that's what you did."

La' Porsha Renae - 22 - McComb, MS - call rep
"Creep" by Radiohead  done R&B style
She has a powerful voice and this was an interesting take on the song. My only problem is that it was not necessary for her to have her baby in the audition with her when their was a huge family group outside the room waiting for her. I don't think she will go farther than Hollywood.

Speaking of unnecessary, the next chick brought her prize winning chicken along to the auditions. What??? This of course gave the producers a chance to present a montage of contestants who live on farms and ranches and have lots of other livestock. And Keith sings the "Green Acres" theme song with JLo covering the female part.

Trent Harmon - 24 - Amory, MS - rancher
Trent lives on his family's 400 acre ranch and works at the ranch's restaurant.
"Unaware" by Allen Stone  plays guitar
He looks very country, but the performance is all R&B. He has a good voice. Harry says he's a "natural." I don't think he is strong enough to get past Hollywood.

Ryan tells us that over 15 seasons, Idol has seen over 1 million audition.

Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze is on hand to help out in San Francisco.

Brook Sample - 28 - Tucson, AZ - waitress
The lead story on Brook is that she keeps apologizing over and over and over again. She even apologizes for her last name and job.
"Cold Day In July" by The Dixie Chicks
She is a pretty lady with a pretty voice, but the self-deprecating attitude will be her downfall in Hollywood. Either that, or she will pull a 180 and be a nightmare.

Olivia Rox - 16 - Agoura Hills, CA - student
Backstory: producers tell us her parents are both musicians. My research shows that Mom is Tamara Van Cleef, a former alt rock singer and writer/producer and dad is Warren Hill, a famous jazz saxophonist. So music is in this girl's DNA.
"When I Was Your Man" by Bruno Mars - played on piano although Olivia also has a guitar along.
This is definitely Olivia's own take on the song and it is wonderful. She has an awesome voice and is very talented. This girl has it all together at a very young age. She better go far in the competition.

Here's a link to Olivia's impressive bio:

Idol has an overabundance of talented girls auditioning in San Francisco and gives us a montage of some of the Golden Ticket winners.
Jessica Clark - 23 - San Dimas, CA - cover band singer
Ameet Kanon - 18 - Los Angeles - student
Kayla Mickelsen - 18 - Geneva, IL -
Melanie Tierce - 21 - Murrieta, CA - student
"Rise Up" by Andrew Wartts  She has a beautiful voice and sings with passion. She might go far.

Malie Delagdo - 20 - Anchorage, AK - radio personality.
She was Miss Alaska 2014.
"Chariot" by Gretchen Wilson
Powerful voice and delivered the rap part of the song ok. She might get past Hollywood. At least she knows how to work under pressure.

Harry and Ryan Seacrest change jobs for a contestant.

Brandyn Burnette - 25 - St Louis, MO - musician
Performs an original song,"Lost" while playing piano. Also has guitar along.
Nice song and nice voice. He got 4 yeses. Seems like a nice guy. Hope he can survive Hollywood.

Krysti Jewel (Chavez) - 15 - Arcadia, CA - student
She comes from the ultimate AI fan family. She grew up immersed in the show and has been to tours and met many Idols. Ryan takes her parents in to meet the judges and watch the audition too.
"Mama Knows Best" by Jesse J
She has a powerful voice and is very pretty. Hopefully she can navigate Hollywood and be around for a while.

Tristan McIntosh - 15 - Nashville, TN - student
Mom is a Major in the Army and is deployed to the Middle East.
"Why, Baby, Why" by Mickey Guyton - accompanying herself on piano but has a guitar along also.
This girl has an awesome look and even better voice. She sings with passion and power. Reminds me of Alicia Keys. Harry reads a message to her from her mom after the audition and then, Mom walks in.  Beautiful moment. My son is in the Navy and I miss him terribly, but I can't even imagine being a 15 yr old and mom is deployed. Special moment.

Well, that wraps up one week of AI 15. We've seen some really good talent so far. Hopefully some of these good people get past Hollywood.

My top picks for this episode are Tristan, Olivia, Krysti, and Dalton.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

It's Back: Season 15 of American Idol Hits The Airwaves

I'm happy, and sad, to say that my favorite silly singing competition of all time, American Idol, began airing its final audition rounds last night. I'm happy that we were warned beforehand that we get one final season of Idol before it is gone forever, but I'm sad that Idol, like all good things, will come to an end. Just a few short months from now the final winner will be announced to the world. If the interesting talent we saw on this first episode of the auditions is any sign of things to come, well, we might just be in for a treat this year.

I've decided I can't NOT write about this final season of Idol. I will only be covering the Golden Ticket winners from the audition rounds though. I see no reason to talk about the no's because they won't have another chance to audition for this show.

As an intro, Idol producers gave us an interesting recap of the past winners and how the present contestants have been affected by the show since it first aired June 11, 2002. Sadly, I didn't watch the first few seasons. I learned something watching that recap; Brian Dunklemen has an annoying voice. No wonder he didn't return for other seasons.

The first audition show for season 15 has clips from Atlanta and Denver.

Michelle Marie - 15 - Daytona Beach, FL - student
She has followed Idol since she was 4. She looks like a contestant in a kids beauty pageant. She sings "Blue" by Leann Rimes. The judges love her, me - not so much. I predict she will be eaten alive in Hollywood.

Idol showed us that past winners Ruben Studdard, Taylor Hicks, Kris Allen, and Lee DeWyze, as well as Clay Aiken were on hand to help with judging area auditions.

Josiah Siska - 18 - Dacula, GA - maintenance worker at golf course
He sings "Ghost Rider" by Johnny Cash. He is awesome. Impressive deep voice and technical ability. He plays the guitar too. Our possible WGWG winner of the season, if fans decide to go the country route again this year.

Lindita - 26 - Kosovo - Personal Trainer
Obviously she lives in the U.S. now but as a teen in Kosovo, people didn't take her singing seriously because she was overweight. She has lost 150 lbs and wants to have a career in the U.S. She sang "This Is A Man's World" and did a decent job. I agree with Keith that she had too many runs in the short performance. JLo said she "sings like a big girl." Not my favorite. I predict she will be causing trouble in Hollywood.

Lee Jean - 15 - Bluffton, SC - student
Big backstory presented about his family and a brother who passed in an accident. We see in the clip that he plays keys as well as the guitar he uses during auditioning. He sang "I See Fire" and he was really good. His voice has an awesome tone. If he gets some good advise beforehand, we might still see this kid after Hollywood.

Jeneve Rose Mitchell - 15 - Crawford, CO - student
She lives on her family's ranch in the Elk Wilderness, totally off the grid. No electricity, only a generator for watching Idol. She sings "Chainsaw" by The Band Perry while playing a cello strapped on like a guitar. She is very unique and makes odd facial expressions while singing. Harry calls her funky. I think she will be a quick causality of the harshness of Hollywood.

Sonika Vaid - 20 - Martha's Vineyard, MA - student
Backstory tells us her parents immigrated to U.S. as children. She is a Beautiful girl with a Beautiful voice. Harry thinks she can win the whole thing, and so do I.

Reanna Molinaro - 24 - Hobbs, NM - Police Officer
Craziness with Harry asking to be handcuffed before the audition is unnecessary. She sings "Leave It On Your Mind" by Patsy Cline. She has a nice country voice, but the song was too big for her. She did an ok job. I doubt she will make it farther than Hollywood rounds.

Past auditioners going to Hollywood this season:
Shevonne Philidor - 24 - Tampa, FL - DJ   - Sixth time to audition
Kory Wheeler - 27 - Nashville, TN - Barista  - WGWG - auditioned last season
Laurel Wright - 19 - Maryville, TN - Musician - auditioned season 13 - Kasey Musgrave style

Joshua Wicker - 25 - Jacksonville, FL - Worship Leader
WGWG - Sang "Stay" by Rihanna. Interesting voice. Lots of passion in it. Keith said he "sang it like (he) wrote it."  Wife delivered baby girl 3 weeks after audition.

Jordan Sasser - 27 - Raleigh, NC - Worship Leader
Husband and wife both auditioning, have baby along. Alex auditioned first and didn't make the cut.
Jordan sang "It's All Coming Back To Me" by Celine Dion and the judges loved him. Keith was amazed by the couple, "You're both so full of light."  Alex was crushed she didn't make it to Hollywood also.  I think the Hollywood experience will be a huge challenge for Jordan.

Kerry Courtney - 24 - St. Petersburg, FL - Musician
Sang "Black Sun" by Death Cab For Cutie - played guitar. He has a very quirky look and sound. His initial physical appearance makes him look very happy, but as he sings he sounds very dark. Backstory tells us of his close relationship to his mom who passed from cancer. He has a good voice, so maybe the coaches in Hollywood can help him find a better aurora to present.

The producers gave us a collection of creep girls who all "know" Keith: The 6 Degrees of Keith Urban.

Shelbie Z - 23 - Sumiton, AL - Hair Dresser
Her look is small town country girl gone hippie. Kind of scary. She sings "Last Name" by Carrie Underwood and kind of has a Janis Joplin sound to her. Her voice is okay, but her look is disturbing to me. A Hollywood stylist might help this girl.

And after all of the interesting auditions we are tortured by an "audition" by Kanye West. I really could have done without the censored, "bleeped" rape he presented as his choice. The judges gave him a Golden Ticket. Hopefully he doesn't show up again in Hollywood.

So,  overall I think the first audition show was a success.

My favorites were Josiah Siska, Lee Jean, and Sonika Vaid.

David Cook in ATX

In case you didn't know this already, this is not he only blog I write. I also write for my husband's photography blog. Scott is a live music photographer based in Austin, Texas. The following is a link to the entry I posted on Covering The Limelight about American Idol Season Seven Winner David Cook and his appearance in Austin on November 19.

Here's a photo from that review to help get you interested in the post. While you are there, feel free to check out some of the other reviews we have posted. You just might find some other artists you follow. Almost everyone comes to Austin to perform. Almost.