American Idol XIV – Live Blog and Recap – Auditions No. 5 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for American Idol 14, “Auditions No. 5”! The search continues for the next American Idol!
This week, the auditions will roll through Minneapolis, Minnesota, and through Harry’s old stomping grounds of New Orleans, Louisiana. Will there be any standouts tonight? Will the winner come from this crop of auditioners? The auditions are heating up as we inch closer to Hollywood Week! Who will stumble and who will soar?
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating the post with live, running commentary and analysis.
Let’s get this show on the road!
-We open with Ryan arriving in Minneapolis ahead of the judges, and disappointing the media outlets there, who were apparently hoping for J-Lo. Such is the plight of Ryan Seacrest.
SHANNON BERTHIAUME, 17, opens the show!
-Shannon talks about how she’s never really sang in front of people before, noting that she almost did the school talent show, but she was afraid she’d get torn apart. She seems shy, but not in a way that should inhibit her ability to perform, if that makes any sense.
-Case in point, she RIPS into “House of the Rising Sun,” delivering a very raw, passionate performance. She just has no control over her voice whatsoever, but in a way that’s really compelling to listen to. She overdoes it in places, and she nearly shouts herself hoarse, but I actually like her tone a lot.
-Harry loved her take on the song, and Keith declares her the “rawest talent we’ve heard,” and giving her their unanimous vote of confidence.
SHANNON BERTHIAUME is going to Hollywood!
-And we move immediately along, as the next guy up hears Shannon’s celebration from the holding chamber, and worries about his own chances of making it to Hollywood.
KEMIL CASEY, 19, is up next!
-Kemil has brought a golden microphone with him, because he feels it’s more natural for him to sing with it in his hand. He sings “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson, and “sings” is probably being generous. This is just awful.
-Harry praises him for being entertaining, and J-Lo notes that he knew how to work the camera. She feels he has a future in show business, but just not in this role. Keith is much more blunt, saying that the vocals simply aren’t there. At all. But they all think he’s a cool guy with a good heart, so they wish him luck in his future. But it’s a future that doesn’t include a Golden Ticket.
-Back from break, with Harry coming to the terrifying realization that he ate an entire bag of kettle corn in his sleep. We then launch into more auditions
MORGAN OVENS, 24, sings “One Hand In My Pocket” and while her voice isn’t a blow-away, she does sound pretty damn good. And she absolutely looks like a star. GORGEOUS. Like, insanely so.
GABRIELLE NOE’L, 23, sings…something. I couldn’t tell because we only hear about 4 seconds of her total. The rest is spent on J-Lo detailing her early career in a law office, a tidbit that serves no function in this episode.
COURTNEY GUNS, 23, SINGS “Independence Day” and gets a little too close to the judges while performing.
MORGAN OVENS, GABRIELLE NOE’L and COURTNEY GUNS are going to Hollywood!
-Gabrielle thinks Hollywood is going to be “so much fun.” Let’s see how she feels about it when she’s stuck in a group with three people who hate each other and think they should all sing lead.
VANESSA ANDREA, 25, is up next!
-Vanessa has a huge crush on Keith, and shouts out J-Lo for Selena (the first movie she ever saw in theaters) and Harry for Hope Floats. She ends up getting emotional when talking about her husband, and I’m surprised she was able to continue her audition. She sings “Some Kind of Wonderful” like it’s no big deal, and I love it.
-Harry notes that she can play guitar better than most people who say they can play, while both Keith and J-Lo love Vanessa’s voice and her overall attitude. They’re so eager to send her to Hollywood that they prepare to vote right then and there, but Vanessa wants her family to be on the phone with her for the big moment. So she calls her family and puts them on the line with the judges, who vote her through to Hollywood. This then leads to an endearingly awkward moment in which Vanessa congratulates J-Lo on having a nice butt, admitting that she had planned on saying this to Keith, but she felt she had to say it to J-Lo as well.
VANESSA ANDREA is going to Hollywood!
-On her way out, Vanessa tells the judges they can go home now, because she’s the next American Idol. Harry loves that kind of attitude, although I worry that she’ll get backlash for being cocky. But if that ends up happening in the event that she gets to live shows, she won’t have to worry about it for another month or two, and I imagine it will have all blown over by then anyway. So I guess it’s a “mountain out of a molehill” situation.
-Back from break with our next auditioner, who’s super enthusiastic…
ZACH JOHNSON, 20, is up next!
-Zach gets it started off with a high five from Harry, who’s loving Zach’s boyish enthusiasm. Zach says he needs to get workout tips from Harry, since his high-five was amazing. He also recalls having shaken J-Lo’s hand at the start of the day, but he’s ready to get to his audition. So he sings a lovely rendition of “Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Keith Whitley. I was stunned at how great this was, since I wouldn’t have pegged him as a country singer from first appearance.
-The judges love him, particularly Keith, who loves how psyched he is for the Garth Brooks concert coming to Minneapolis. However, Harry has a surprising critique, saying that while he loved Zach’s voice, he shouldn’t sing with a country accent if he doesn’t speak with him. He feels Zach is better than that. Zach believes country music is telling a story, and that’s what it means to him, but that doesn’t really explain why he puts on an accent. He swears he’ll work on it for Hollywood, but Harry admonishes him by saying, “We don’t know if you’re going yet.” So now, to artificially throw some drama into this outcome, J-Lo goes from defending Zach over the accent critique, to suddenly saying she’s not sure she wants to put him through unless he can sing without the accent. So Zach decides to sing a quick song without the accent, and honestly, I thought he sounded much better with the accent than without it. He still sounds good though, to be sure. The judges vote before he’s even done singing…
ZACH JOHNSON is going to Hollywood!
-On the way out, Zach notes that he plans on attending Keith’s concert in two weeks, so Keith tells him he’ll not only make sure Zach gets in, he’ll bring him onstage for a song. And, true to his word, we flashforward to two weeks later, as Keith brings Zach onstage to sing “Friends In Low Places,” with the hashtag #KeithDelivers emblazoned on the screen.
-We return from break with a youngster named AARON BISSELL, 17, and OH MY GOD WHO IS THIS GUY HE’S AMAZING. I have no idea what he’s singing, but he has a voice far beyond his years, like a super young Damien Rice. Seriously, they came dangerously close to montaging the best damn audition of the night so far!
AARON BISSELL is going to Hollywood!
-And we keep things rolling…
CINDY-JO SCHOLER, 26, is up next!
-Cindy-Jo a Pre-K teacher and hunts a lot. She’s overstylized a bit for this audition, enough that Harry points out the horseshoe necklace, the studded headband, and all the other over-the-top accouterments. But she insists that this is who she really is. She launches into her version of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” but she shouts the hell out of it. So much so that she loses the melody in places.
-J-Lo likes Cindy-Jo but comments on how she lost the melody. Keith feels she has a good voice but just needs better control of it. Harry also digs Cindy-Jo, but felt the pedal was to the metal the entire time, to such a degree that he couldn’t see past all the shouting and all the over-the-top styling choices.
-The judges vote, and it’s a no from J-Lo. However, Keith and Harry want to see her one more time, so…
CINDY-JO SCHOLER is going to Hollywood!
-Almost immediately afterwards, a man in a bear outfit comes in and starts singing “Lately” by Stevie Wonder. And honestly, he doesn’t sound too bad. But Harry quickly notes that it’s fitting he came in after Cindy-Jo, since she would have shot his ass. You know, I’m really enjoying Harry this season. He’s loosened up a lot, both in the chit-chat non-judging bits, and in his standards. Which isn’t to say his standards aren’t still high, but rather that he understands people can have a bad audition but still be talented and deserving of another chance.
-We go to break on the question of whether or not a redheaded soul singer named Matt Riehle makes it to Hollywood. He’s good but not great, delivering a largely forgettable version of “Hold On, I’m Coming”. But it’s enough to get him to Hollywood.
MATT RIEHLE is going to Hollywood!
JACOB TOLLIVER, 20, is up next!
-Jacob is a performer in the Vegas production of Million Dollar Quartet, a musical about Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. He recalls being contacted by a casting agent through his YouTube channel, and being offered the role of Jerry Lee Lewis. We cut right to his audition, where he’s doing a crazed, over-the-top rendition of “Great Balls of Fire” at the piano. It’s great, but mostly because of how accurately he nails the Jerry Lee Lewis cadence.
-However, Harry isn’t all that thrilled, saying there was so much mimickry that he isn’t sure who Jacob is underneath it all. So Keith asks him to perform a little bit of something at the piano to show who he might be as an artist. He sings some of “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith, and honestly, it still sounds like he’s pretending to be Jerry Lee Lewis. I just don’t get this guy at all. But the judges apparently see something in him, so…
JACOB TOLLIVER is going to Hollywood!
-And we go immediately into our next audition…
HANNAH MROZAK, 16, is up next!
-Stunningly gorgeous girl, and she’s got a superstar voice to match. She sings “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” by Etta James, and her enthusiasm pours through. It’s one of the better auditions of the night, although she could probably stand to work on her vocal control, since it seemed like her voice got away from her in places. But that could have just been nerves.
-The judges interrupt her during the song, saying they already know what they’re going to do. J-Lo can’t believe she’s just 16, and beckons for her to come get her golden ticket. Hannah is absolutely beside herself, delivering one of the best “You’re going to Hollywood!” reactions of the season so far. She hugs the judges and tells J-Lo she’s gorgeous, and then goes running out into the holding room to her screaming family.
HANNAH MROZAK is going to Hollywood!
-I like Hannah and hope she goes far. Although if she’s going to last, she’ll need to offer something more current. For a 16-year-old, Etta James is a bit of a mature choice. But that’s just my opinion. If Etta James is the type of artist she wants to be, more power to her.
-And now, we get into the last-minute rush, as we try to squeeze as many people in at the end of the episode as possible. It’s a montage of rejections, including a no for KRISTI KROKER, 21, who sings a piano version of “Demons” by Imagine Dragons, and sings it pretty well, actually. But the judges don’t feel it was the right audition for American Idol. I don’t really see how Jacob Tolliver merits a golden ticket and she doesn’t, but eh, these judges work in mysterious (and deeply confusing) ways.
MARK ANDREW, 29, closes the show!
-In his video package, Mark breaks down when noting that this is his last chance at making it in music. At the very least, it’s his last chance for the show, as he’s 29. He’s the foreman for his family’s construction business, but he wants to provide better for his family. He loves music, and wants this to be his career.
-He sings a gorgeous version of “Soulshine,” but Keith wants to hear something else. So he decides to sing a swinging version of “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book, and it’s outstanding! So much personality, and a stunning tone. I love this guy. The best of the night, in my opinion.
-J-Lo loves his individuality, while both Keith and Harry love his voice. Harry, in particular, wants to hear what his album would sound like. They’re unanimous in their vote…
MARK ANDREW is going to Hollywood!
-Harry and J-Lo then have a cute back-and-forth in which Harry says he wanted to critique Mark in time with the song, which leads to J-Lo noticing that Harry is essentially doing her booty routine. It’s one of those things you kind of have to see. Hell, I saw it, and I’m not even sure I knew what they were on about.
-And that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s auditions? Any contenders? Or was it mostly a wash? Who were your favorites? And who shouldn’t have gotten a Golden Ticket? Sound off in the comments! Until tomorrow night, thanks for reading!