Ok, since all anyone in the media can talk about right now is a certain someone who lied to the public for so many years, I might as well make an admission right now and get this out in the open. I AM AN IDOL ADDICT! Yes, there it is. I've said it. Why else would I have watched a second episode of this crazy train wreck show this season and endured Nicki Minaj's voice which resembles nails painfully scraping down a chalkboard? I have to be crazy or addicted to it , right?
Last night Idol aired the audition rounds from Chicago. Now, since I just visited Chicago for the first time 2 months ago for my son's BootCamp graduation, I feel a certain closeness to this city that I have never felt before. While visiting Chicago, we meet some really nice people. Of course, Chicago did seem to have its share of odd characters too, but that didn't bother me. Hey, I live in Austin, Texas, the city known as "The Live Music Capital of the World" with a motto of "Keep Austin Weird." I mean, we had a homeless cross-dresser run for mayor one year. We live and breathe weirdness, so I doubt Chicago could actually be any worse. I was looking forward to this round of auditions.
The show opened with some chick talking to the camera and explaining she has all her sisters on a conference call to congratulate their sister when she comes out with her golden ticket. Well, sis comes out without a ticket, but clueless is so busy jumping and screaming for joy, she doesn't even notice that. Oops. LOL
Ms. Minaj is donning a long blond wig with pink highlights and a leopard print too-tight outfit with matching hat.
Mackenzie Wasner- 17- Leiper's Fork, TN
This girl is really pretty. Her father is a singer/songwriter, piano player. He plays keys for Vince Gil so she has been on stage to perform before. She has the sweetest country voice. The judges love her. Keith says she has a great blend or power and vulnerability. He is so right. YES X4. On to Hollywood.
Austin Earles- 19- Lakeview, MI
Um, NO. Scary mannerisms while singing and yuck voice.
Kiara Lanier- 21- Chicago
She sang for Obama's birthday fundraiser. Judges are praising her before she even sings. Singing Celine Dion's "The Prayer," only the English part. She does an ok job. I think she has too much vibrato or at least it is too manufactured. Very jumpy throat and neck. Not natural. Judges are totally Wowed by the performance. YES X4. Maybe one of the vocal coaches in Hollywood can fix that vibration she has going on.
Stephanie Schimel- 21-Milwaukee, WI
Cutesy little blond girl. Sang "Dream A Little Dream" and it was pretty good. Mariah and Keith liked the song choice. Yes X3. Nicki not feeling it. Maybe Nicki be jealous of the cute girl wearing the same color eye shadow, bright pink glitter.
We get a new round of arguing from Maraih and Nicki. Keith, stuck between them again, is banging his head on the desk. "I feel like a scratching post."
Melissa Bush- 27- Grandville, MI
Seems like a very shy, small-town girl who is clueless about the world. She is wearing a pink 70's jumpsuit trimmed with metallic silver and bedazzled with stones. Yikes. She sings "Downtown, " a song from the 60's. NO X4.
Haley Reinhart from Season 10 drops by to give the contestants a pep talk.
Another new feature this year is the Small Town Idol Bus Tour. they had producers go out and audition some hopefuls and invite some to the big city judges auditions. On their stop in Iowa city they found a rocker dude to bring to Chicago.
Gabe Brown- 21- Marion, Iowa- owns a bakery with his mom
Gabe brings all of the judges cookies have their shop. He belts out "Give Me Shelter" by The Rolling Stones and he definitely can sing a rock song. Mariah asks for something a little softer and she gets "We All Die Young." Soft part had great tone. YES X4
Kevin Nabity-25- Polk City, IA
He is into Ninja rap/ martial arts/ dancing. Asked to demo his dancing. Not impressive to me. Sings (kind of) "One Week" by Bare Naked Ladies. He produces music on speed. Even the lyrics what he is singing being displayed on the screen don't help this audition. Randy screams "SOLD! I feel like I'm at a bad auction." Nicki asks for another song and we get something that only barely resembles "Come Sail Away." Keith says singing is not his strong gift. NO X4.
Now we get a montage of No's and crying contestants.
Isabelle Parell- 15- Centerton, IN
Adorable girl. Definitely a country fan. Sings "Baby It's Cold Outside" duet with Keith. She has a really sweet voice. Yes X3. Randy says no but we don't know why.
Keith has to leave for a performance in Vegas so Randy gets to sit in the middle of the crazy cat fight.
We get a montage of Nicki drooling over some guys. Most aren't that cute.
Enter a reasonably cute guy:
Griffin Peterson- 22- Oconomowoc, WI
Nicki is drooling but wants to give him a nickname because she doesn't like "Griffin." Nicki tells Randy "I don't discriminate." Griffin ends the discussion by singing NeedToBreath's "Washed By the Water." Nicki doesn't talk about the song but feels that the girls will love to see him in the competition. Randy says he doesn't get it and Griffin's voice is not all that. Mariah sides with Nicki. Yes X2 and he is on the way to Hollywood.
Curtis Finch, Jr- 22- St Louis, MO
Nicki tries to find a nickname for him too.
Curtis is singing a Smoky Norful song and Randy is excited because he just spoke to Smoky the day before. "God is Able" definitely shows that Curtis is a gospel singer. Mariah is in tears and I think Nicki would be too if she was even looking at Curtis when he sang. An easy YES X3 for Curtis and his friend is allowed to meet her idol, Mariah.
By now I bet Nicki is getting a little tired of everyone saying they have been inspired by Mariah since they were kids.
Mariah Pulice- 19- Darien, IL
This young lady is recovering from anorexia and has a big back story. Mariah is stoked that they have the same first name. The song is "Let It Be" and Ms Carey is in tears again. Nicki says she is really touched. Randy says she sounded great. Ryan brings in the family. YES X3.
DAY #2 and Keith is back. Nicki is wearing a wavy blond wig today.
Brandy Neelly- 17- Louisville, KY
Adopted by aunt as a baby. She is starstruck by Keith. Brandy has wanted to be the next American Idol since she was 9. She picks a great song for her voice: "Your Cheating Heart." She's another blond country singer. She does a nice job. Keith says great song choice. Nicki says Brandy has a great presence. Mariah says it was a great song from a beautiful and talented singer. Randy loved it too.
Josh Holiday- 24- Celeste, TX
"Back at One" Nice voice and happy smile. YES X4.
Courtney Williams- 18- Greenville, MS
Short clip, decent voice, Mariahish style. YES X4.
Andrew Jones- 28- Chicago- high school music teacher
Short clip, sounds good. YES X4.
Clifton Duffin- 22- Country Club Hills, IL
He has never sang in front of his parents before now. Ryan has them move in closer to hear. "Superstar" by Luther VanDros is one of his mom's favorite songs. He does a nice job. Mariah and Keith are in tears. They could see mom's reaction to hearing him sing for the first time. YES X4.
Ieisha Cotton- 19- Chicago- professional dancer
Mariah is her idol. She is a terrible singer and is encouraged to keep dancing, not singing.
Jonny Keiser- 23- Pompano Beach, FL
He's back!!! Nicki is drooling. Nicki asks all cute guys if they have a girl friend. (If Johnny had one, she would be 10,000 times prettier than you, Nicki.) Keith says he liked everything he heard. YES X4.
Kez Ban- Katherine ?- 27- Durham, NC (Planet Earth)
She(?) is a fire dancer, balloon artist, street performer, singer/songwriter. KezBan has a quirky look and sings "Pinocchio" but has a great folksy voice. When asked to sing an original song, she is even better. All the judges are surprised and like her a lot. YES X4.
We get a montage of rejects and disgruntled contestants being rude. ( Get a grip on life peeps. It's Idol.)
Ashley Curry- 19- Flossmoor, Il
Ashley is studying musical theater. "Mama Knows Best" is the biggest train wreck of the day. It is suggested that she find something else to do in life besides sing.
Lazaro Arbos- 21- Naples, FL
Originally from Cuba, Lazaro started stuttering at age 6 and has progressively gotten worse. He had no friends as a child. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is amazing. Keith tells him no to worry about his stutter, "just sing all the time. You have a wonderful voice." Nicki says his story is very inspiring. Mariah says he has a beautiful voice. Everyone is in tears. YES X4 and Lazaro is heading to Hollywood. I hope they are able to make a few accommodations for him and make him buckle under the Idol insanity.
So Ryan tells us that 47 Golden Tickets were handed out in Chicago. Next week we will see the Charlotte auditions and Nicki and Mariah at each others throats again.
My favorites: Lazaro, Curtis Finch Jr, and Kez Ban.