American Idol XIII 2014 – Live Blog and Recap – Auditions #5 – Video
Welcome to the live blog and recap of American Idol XIII “Auditions #5”! Will a contender emerge?
-And we open with young father Casey Thrasher watching last season’s live shows, four months before his audition. Well, it’s a reenactment anyway. But it’s a well-done reenactment, so I guess I can’t complain. At the very least they didn’t open with Marrialle Sellars again.
-And we kick things off in Utah, with everyone talking about what a big deal it is to be here, with one man confessing to having quit his job and sold his truck to be here. The judges arrive and brag about Idol to the local media, with J-Lo saying that Idol is not cast like some of the other shows out there. I…have no idea what she means by that.
AUSTIN WOLFE, 16, is up first!
-No relation to Sam. Awesome name though, and Keith and Harry agree, wishing they had a name that cool.
-Austin sings “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, and if I never hear this song again, it’ll be too damn soon. With that said, she’s got a wonderful tone, and she’s absolutely GORGEOUS. Seriously, totally looks like a star.
-Harry compares her to Hayley Williams, whom Austin loves. J-Lo tells her she has the total package, and it’s hard for me to argue with her on that point. The judges vote, and it’s unanimous…
AUSTIN WOLFE is going to Hollywood!
-After receiving her Golden Ticket, she talks about initially worrying that J-Lo didn’t like her, before expressing her relief about how things went. We then get a quartet of Golden Ticket recipients…
KYLEE ADAMSON, 18, a lady lumberjack with a gorgeous smile and a so-so voice.
KEITH SANDERS, 26, a guitarist who never actually felt he was good enough to be on the show.
MICHAEL SIMEON, 19, a WGWG armed with a lovely tone.
TESSA NORMAN, 19, an R&B singer with some really badass, subtle swagger.
KYLEE ADAMSON, KEITH SANDERS, MICHAEL SIMEON, and TESSA NORMAN are all going to Hollywood!
-After the break, we get a couple auditions that aren’t all that good, including one keyboardist who doesn’t want to hear Keith’s advice to get coaching, and a woman who looks like Kitty Brucknell from The X Factor UK. In private interviews, Keith and Harry talk about how they don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, since they know the families of these people are watching. But sometimes, rejection just can’t be avoided.
ALEX PRESTON, 20, is up next!
-Alex is a self-professed band geek who’s wanted this all his life. He’s taken a year off of college to hone his skills and audition for American Idol, in order to pursue his dream.
-OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS GUY. He sings an original on his guitar, and he has such a phenomenal tone. Seriously, this guy is remarkable. He’s like a weird cross between Ed Sheeran and Alex Clare. So much soul.
-Harry and Keith laud him for his guitar skills, and Alex talks about having been a band geek, which explains how he’s capable of the harmonies he plays on his guitar. He states that he’s never taken lessons for the guitar, he just feels the music. J-Lo loves his tone, and the decision is another unanimous one…
ALEX PRESTON is going to Hollywood!
-Alex calls his mother to tell her he’s going to Hollywood, and she absolutely loses it. A wonderful little moment. I’m rooting for Alex like CRAZY.
SAMANTHA CALMES, 25, is up next!
-Samantha is a bit cooky, practicing introducing herself to the judges while in The Chamber. She comes out with a guitar and a fanny pack, and she and the judges play Let’s Make A Deal, with Harry asking if she has a boiled egg in the fanny pack. And, of course, she has a fake, plastic egg to go along with the makeup brush and other life essentials she’s packed in there. I like her already.
-Samantha sings an amusing little original titled “From Birth,” which is part rap/spoken word. Harry clearly likes her, but he asks to hear another song. So she sings “Movin’ On Up,” the theme song from The Jeffersons, and it’s a much better display for her talents.
-J-Lo loves her tone, while Harry loves her originality. Keith compares her original song to a Macklemore track, and really, I can totally see why the judges are smitten with her. She’s like a hipper Crystal Bowersox, which is not to say Mamasox wasn’t cool, but Samantha has a quirky edginess about her that makes her interesting to me.
-Naturally, her Golden Ticket is all but guaranteed…
SAMANTHA CALMES is going to Hollywood!
-And all her loved ones come running in, and it’s one big, Louisiana-style celebration. I’m really digging the talent tonight so far.
-We return from break with a quartet of people with awesome or amusing names, from a guy named Bhaya to a girl with a last name that comes perilously close to the word “Awful”. From this segment, we get a hype video about the American Idol tour bus, which has traveled small town America in search of the best unknown talent that might not have thought to audition necessarily.
And we have…
LAUREL WRIGHT, 18, is a lovely country singer with a very pretty tone. Nothing revolutionary or anything, but a very solid audition.
LEBRYANT CREW, 24, a preacher who wants to be the first preacher to win American Idol. He sings a killer version of “My Babe” by Little Walter, with little talking asides throughout.
D.J. BRADLEY, 20, is an Ed Sheeran look-a-like who actually has a nice voice, but suffers because he picked an AWFUL song for his voice (“Hometown Glory” by Adele). Seriously, so much potential left on the table just from his song choice alone.
On the latter auditioner, the judges seem split, as Keith doesn’t feel it was quite enough as he doesn’t actually feel D.J. does enough to “glue” him to the performance. But J-Lo likes him (who doesn’t she like?). If we’re basing it off of this audition, he probably shouldn’t get through, but his voice has notes of potential buried in there. The judges split on D.J. while the other two are unanimous Golden Ticket recipients. But either way, all are going to Hollywood.
LAUREL WRIGHT, LEBRYANT CREW, and D.J. BRADLEY are going to Hollywood!
-And we go to break facing a decision: is it #IdolHollywood or #IdolHome for Julie Awful. She sings “Make You Feel My Love”, and it sounds like she OD’d on helium, unfortunately.
-We return from break with J-Lo enjoying her tone, while Keith doesn’t feel she has enough confidence in her performance. Julie pleads, “I got this!” Harry makes up his mind — he feels she deserves another shot.
JULIE AWFUL is going to Hollywood!
-From there, we get our next auditioner, who’s very nervous, but also very adorable.
KENZIE HALL, 16, is up next!
-She ends up accidentally singing her introduction, which is just about the cutest thing I’ve seen this week.
-Kenzie sings “I’m Gonna Find Another You” by John Mayer on her guitar, and while I don’t love her upper register, she’s really got something in the verses. A damn fine audition.
-The judges are all exceedingly impressed, so it’s no surprise where she’s headed…
KENZIE HALL is going to Hollywood!
-She tears up after showing her family the Golden Ticket. Awww.
PAISLEY VAN PATTEN, 25, is up next!
-Paisley got her first record deal when she was fifteen, living in Tennessee in seven years. But within a year, everything was gone because of her addiction: Paisley admits she was an alcoholic, and that it cost her everything. She returned home to Salt Lake City and got help, eventually overcoming her addiction auditioning for Idol, despite the decision costing her the relationship with her fiance.
-She sings “When the Lights Go Down” by Faith Hill, and she sounds like a cross between Kree Harrison and Elise Testone, just a really soulful, bluesy country voice with tremendous control.
-J-Lo loves her tone, which is apparently her thing now. Harry is also impressed with her vocal prowess, and it’s similarly a no-brainer to Keith.
PAISLEY VAN PATTEN is going to Hollywood!
-Paisley lets slip that she does a Cher impression, and so the judges ask her to do it. She sings “Believe” and it’s actually pretty good. Her rationale is that if she doesn’t get through to Hollywood, she can at least make the blooper reel. Once outside, she gushes to her family about getting a hug from Keith Urban, and expresses her hope that this could finally be her big break. I really like her. I mean, I know the initial inclination is to root against sob stories, given that this is a cynical age for reality singing shows. Lord knows I’ve been among the most cynical of all. But I find myself really hoping Paisley gets the chance to make a real go of this.
-We return from break with some hopefuls…
HAYDN OLSEN, 15, delivers a really nasally rendition of “I Won’t Give Up”, and ultimately fails to get through.
CHASE BOYLE, 23, sings an over-the-top acoustic version of “Domino” and suffers rejection.
MISSY CYCLOPS is…well, I don’t even know what to make of her. I just know it’s awful.
JOCELYN BAKER, 18, sings “No Such Thing” by John Mayer and offers a very pretty vocal, and some solid guitar skills.
BLAKE BRANSCOM, 18, is a country singer with a deep, Scotty McCreery-esque voice, and a guitar to support his appeal.
Of the five auditioners, only two make it through…
JOCELYN BAKER and BLAKE BRANSCOM are going to Hollywood!
-Then we move on to our next auditioner…
C.J. HARRIS, 22, is up next!
-C.J. lost his father last year due to a massive heart attack, and it’s clearly a loss that is still raw for him, as he visits his father’s grave and breaks down in the arms of a relative.
-C.J. comes in with his guitar and some respect for the judges, telling them how highly he thinks of them. He sings an absolutely gorgeous, pained rendition “Soulshine” by The Allman Brothers Band that he dedicates to his father.
-J-Lo didn’t think it was perfect, but she found herself liking it anyway. Harry feels there are better guitarists out there, but he loves the entire package C.J. presents. Keith, meanwhile, feels that C.J. doesn’t sing because he wants to, but because he has to sing. He loved the audition.
C.J. HARRIS is going to Hollywood!
-He immediately breaks down upon receiving his Golden Ticket, and emotionally embraces his family once outside. I really like this guy a lot. And the more musicians get through, the more I wonder if this season’s top 12 will be entirely comprised of people who play instruments. If nothing else, the show is bringing a wider variety of contestants to the show, from R&B guitarists to Ed Sheeran-esque alt-rock crooners. I’m sincerely loving this season so far.
-We return from break with the start of Day 2 from Salt Lake City…
TIQUILA WILSON, 24, is up next!
-Tiquila is first seen pumping up the Salt Lake City holding room, before explaining to Ryan (who’s been strangely absent this episode) that she had nothing to do with her naming. (Well, naturally. Fetuses generally don’t get a say in what they’re called). Tiquila talks about singing in her church before beginning her audition…
-She sings “Someone Like You” by Adele, and while it’s kind of shouty, I actually found myself liking it. Harry asks how her church will feel about her singing secular music, and frankly, she states she doesn’t care what they think. She’s here to win American Idol, and while she’ll promote God throughout, she doesn’t really care about what the rest of her congregation thinks. The judges love her, and their decision is unanimous.
TIQUILA WILSON is going to Hollywood!
-She can’t help screaming her joy, and it gets a bit annoying, but her happiness is kind of infectious. Seriously though, that screaming NEEDS to stop.
-We follow her up with our next hopeful…
CHASE THORNTON, 20, is up next!
-Chase is a male model who isn’t really as funny as he thinks he is. Although his looks tell me he’s well-suited to his job.
-He sings “When I Was Your Man,” and it’s one of the worst auditions of the day, as he sounds like an emu gargling Listerine. Keith has no idea what pitch he’s in, and advises that if he wants to be a singer, he should probably get lessons.
-Chase takes his rejection in stride, parting with a smile to the camera. Well, at least it was an earnestly-bad audition, and not an outright joke audition. Not everybody can get through, and we need to see those rejections if the Golden Tickets are to have meaning.
-We part with a trivia question on which Idol alum and Teen Choice Award winner calls Utah home, and it’s between Kris Allen and David Archuleta. Of course, the answer is Archie.
-We return from break with a montage of people getting rejected, with Harry commenting that to make it, you need to be able to really work, to get up for the photo shoots very early in the morning. Keith doesn’t even know how he made it in the industry.
-We get a clip from the audition of JESSICA BASSETT, 22, and I love her, but apparently the judges don’t. J-Lo says yes, but Keith and Harry say no, and I kind of hate them for that decision.
-Next is a series of clips from the judges’ respective journeys to fame: a 16-year-old Keith singing on an Australian talent show with feathered hair and awkward 70s jumpsuit, Harry being interviewed by the local Louisiana media at age 10, and J-Lo joining the Fly Girls at age 22 on In Living Color. I loved this little segment, particularly the Keith part. Crazy how different he looks.
-Moving on to a very brief audition…
EMILY ROTTLER, 17 is up next!
-Emily sings “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse (originally by The Zutons), and delivers a pretty solid rendition. Harry admits that Emily’s audition has him excited about the season ahead.
EMILY ROTTLER is going to Hollywood!
-Emily’s celebration can be heard from down the hall, as her family makes an absolutely BOISTEROUS amount of noise.
DEXTER ROBERTS, 22, is up next!
-Dexter trains dogs and runs BBFF Kennels, which stands for “Bang Bang, Flop Flop,” prompting Keith to call it the perfect description of Harry’s concerts.
-Dexter sings a Casey James track, and the judges really dig it. I’m not really all that sold on his voice, but he’s got great energy, and his Good Ol’ Boy persona is kind of endearing.
DEXTER ROBERTS is going to Hollywood!
-Ryan asks him what he thinks got him through to Hollywood, and he responds with “hard work” and “paying dues”. I like him more as a person than as a singer, to be honest. But for some voters, that can often be enough, so if he makes it to live rounds…eh, it’s too early to be thinking that far ahead.
-Off-topic, but are they REALLY remaking About Last Night? Also, must Kevin Hart be in EVERYTHING? He’s becoming the Amy Adams of dudes.
-We return from break with a quick audition…
ALLY ROUNDY, 18, sings “At Last” by Etta James, and the judges are split on her. J-Lo likes her, because of course she does, while Keith and Harry feel she needs more time to develop. It’s a no for Ally, although Keith encourages her to come back.
BRISTON MARONEY, 15, is up next!
-Before his audition, Briston talks about his connection to the guitar, as his father taught him to play, and he currently plays on his great grandfather’s guitar.
-He sings “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones, and he has a really unique voice. Just really rough, but rough in a way that’s actually pretty interesting. Very raspy and aggressive.
-Keith worries that his affected style of singing will cost him his voice, but Briston says “It sounds worse than it feels.” J-Lo and Harry are sold on him.
BRISTON MARONEY is going to Hollywood!
-We then get a trio of auditions…
FISH, 19, sings “The A-Team” by Ed Sheeran and I didn’t like his rendition, but he’s on my good side for song choice alone.
CARSON HENLINE, 16, sings “Too Close” and I pretty much hate it. But he’s a charming little kid. However, it’s not enough for him to get through.
SABRINA LENTINI, 15, sings “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” and she’s easily the best of the three, in my opinion.
FISH and SABRINA LENTINI are going to Hollywood!
-The celebration for “Fish” (a nickname, since his real name is often too hard for others to remember, much less pronounce) is just terrific, as he gets lifted up like he just went the distance with Apollo Creed.
-Back from break with J-Lo talking about the nerves factor for many contestants.
JOHNNY NEWCOMB, 16, is up next!
-Johnny sings “Last Kiss” by Pearl Jam, and he reminds me a lot of Marty Simpson from Australian Idol, who also sang this song with the same affected rasp. Lacks the emotion the song should have.
-Harry makes a great point about Johnny being at an impressionable age, and being easily influenced by his heroes. Harry just doesn’t believe that’s his real voice. And so Johnny asks for a chance to change their mind, and so he sings “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” by The Steeldivers, and it’s a MUCH better song choice for him. A really great bluesy rock voice, and all the more impressive coming from a guy so young. J-Lo’s mind is changed (although I’m not sure if it even needed changing), although Harry still feels he doesn’t have enough experience. So it comes down to Keith…
JOHNNY NEWCOMB is going to Hollywood!
-We follow up Johnny’s audition with KIMBERLY TOSTI, 25, who bombs with her rendition of “Barracuda” by Heart. They praise her for her spirit, but suggest she go into opera, as she was “off-the-hook loud”.
-After the audition, J-Lo talks about her upbringing, as her mother told her never to be a baby. She had called her once, crying after a bad day at her first job, and so J-Lo’s mother told her, “Never call me crying. That’s the profession you chose. You’d better toughen up.” And so she did, and the rest is history.
CARMEN DELGINA, 24, is up next!
-Carmen is the daughter of Wonder Mike from the Sugar Hill Gang. She’s grown up around music, and it really shows not only in her voice, but how she carries herself.
-She sings “Tainted Love” and it’s okay, mostly. Her look is better than her voice, as she really exudes huge star quality, in my opinion. Harry isn’t sure she’s ready, but needs to think it over while the other judges offer their opinions. Keith feels she needs her confidence back, and he wants to give it to her, so he says yes. J-Lo says yes as well, and Harry immediately adds a third yes.
CARMEN DELGINA is going to Hollywood!
-She brings in Wonder Mike to meet the judges, and J-Lo is clearly a big Sugar Hill Gang fan.
KASSANDRA CASTANEDA, 16, is up next!
-Kassandra gives J-Lo her uncle’s phone number at his request, and the note says for J-Lo to call or text him to say hi. She’s flattered, but also a bit weirded out, which seems only natural.
-Kassandra sings “Chasing Pavements” by Adele, and I really love the tone of her voice, although Harry really isn’t impressed by all the runs. He feels she just isn’t ready. However, as is gradually becoming the case more often than not (at least concerning younger contestants), J-Lo and Keith disagree.
KASSANDRA CASTANEDA is going to Hollywood!
-SAM TSUI is in a Coke commercial?! Finally! I’ve wanted this dude to be famous for years. What’s funny is that I first noticed him in a duet with Christina Grimmie on Nelly’s “Just A Dream,” and now Christina is apparently going to be on The Voice. Small world, and it apparently keeps on turning, as Idol is back from break with the young father from the opening…
-Or not, as we briefly touch on the audition of KENNETH “WOODIE” GADDIE, 28,, who looks like Lavell Crawford (Huell from Breaking Bad). He sings “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” and while I think he overdoes it a bit, the judges like him enough to send him through.
KENNETH “WOODIE” GADDIE is going to Hollywood!
-And NOW we move on to the young dad…
CASEY THRASHER, 22, closes the show!
-Casey lives in his aunt’s house, and he constantly tours in order to make ends meet and to give his kids (aged 2 1/2 and six months, respectively) the life he feels they deserve. He constantly tells his kids to believe in their dreams, and he intends to do the same for himself.
-Before his audition, he recounts a story in which he met Keith at the CMA Awards. Casey talks about how Keith was very humble and took the time to speak with him about his dream (saying, “I believe in ya, brother!”). That’s why he’s choosing to sing “Believe” by Brooks & Dunn, since “believing got me here.”
-Casey’s audition isn’t perfect, but it’s really heartfelt. And his hunger to make it is obvious in the performance.
-J-Lo didn’t feel it was the most flawless vocal, but she likes Casey a lot. Harry feels Casey has tremendous drive, saying he’s the kind of guy who will take his critique, go home, and make practical choices in trying to get better. The judges vote…
CASEY THRASHER is going to Hollywood!
-He tearfully calls this the best day of his life next to the days his children were born. “God bless you, Keith Urban.”
-And we close with judge shenanigans (Harry stealing silverware!), a tally of Golden Tickets (30 from the Salt Lake City auditions, bringing the season total to 193 so far), and a preview of tomorrow night’s show, the final audition episode before Hollywood!
-I don’t even know where to start with the talent in this episode. Alex Preston is possibly my favorite contestant in all three weeks of auditions so far, and Samantha Calmes is a real keeper. C.J. Harris was the big surprise of the night for me, though, as I was really moved by his audition. With each episode, the roster of talent grows more formidable, and I find myself wondering how the hell they’re going to cull this group down to a manageable number once we get to Hollywood.
So what did you think of the auditions tonight? Sound off in the comments! And check back for videos, as I’ll be adding new clips as soon as they become available!
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