American Idol XIV – Live Blog and Recap – Auditions No. 6
Welcome to the live blog and recap for American Idol 14, “Auditions No. 6”! The search continues for the next American Idol!
Tonight, the auditions roll through Harry’s hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana! Will Harry’s old stomping grounds represent the way the South has in years past? Or will it be a disappointment? Will there be any standouts tonight? And could the winner actually come from tonight’s group of auditioners? We’re getting closer to Hollywood Week!
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 Harry taking us through his hometown of New Orleans, and expressing how honored he is that American Idol chose the Big Easy as an audition city. He seems genuinely touched, and it’s kind of endearing.
DREW PLAISANCE, 23, opens the show!
-Drew’s family grew up with Harry’s, as his second cousin babysat Harry as a baby. He recalls the stories he was told growing up, and even has a picture of Harry on hand. Yup, that’s harry, all right.
-In his audition, Drew recalls the stories of how Harry always used to play on the piano, and how he would never shut up. He then launches into his rendition of Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T.” and it’s absolutely PAINFUL. I don’t know what the hell this was supposed to be other than a joke plant. And by that measure, it was a massive waste of time, because it wasn’t even an entertaining novelty audition.
-We follow it up with a montage of terrible auditions, leaving Harry distressed about the lack of talent New Orleans has shown so far.
ANJELIKA “JELLY” JOSEPH, 26, is up next!
-Anjelika goes by “Jelly,” and performs on Bourbon Street. She talks about the multicultural, musical flavor of New Orleans, and I can already tell she’s someone people are going to like, whether she makes the top 24 or not. She’s just brimming with personality, and she’s got a great style, to boot.
-Jelly sings “Rolling In the Deep,” and it’s a pretty solid rendition. Very controlled, very smooth, and not at all plagued by the melodramatic runs that most people who do this song tend to try. It was very much Jelly’s version, and not simply an Adele imitation. I liked this quite a bit. The judges did too, with Harry noting that Jelly has delivered on his high expectations for New Orleans. The judges are unanimous.
JELLY JOSEPH is going to Hollywood!
-Back from break with Keith talking about how he’s searching for that intangible quality in singers. Basically, the qualities that a person can’t be taught.
TIFFANY STRINGER, 16, is up next!
-Kelly is SUPER bubbly, and it makes sense since she’s on drill team, cheer squad, and countless other extracurriculars. She’s also starving because she’s only had an apple today. She’s kind of adorable, and her enthusiasm is infectious. She even does a cartwheel! In her video, she explains that her mom is obsessed with Harry, while J-Lo is her personal girl crush.
-Kelly sings “Want U Back” by Cher Lloyd, and honestly, I really enjoy it. Her voice has a nice tone when she isn’t doing the Cher Lloyd speech patterns. Harry felt it was too “cheer team” for him, but I think if he were more familiar with this song, he’d have understood the choices she made in her performance. Still, I understand his objections, since it really was a bit too bubbly, and its best quality was largely that it was a good Cher Lloyd impression. I’m not sure how she’d be as her own artist. Still, the other judges find her entertaining, and Keith actually likes her voice quite a bit, so they overrule Harry’s “no”.
TIFFANY STRINGER is going to Hollywood!
-She loses her mind while rushing back to the holding room, and celebrates in the arms of her family.
GREYSON TURNER, 15, is up next!
-Greyson performs in a band with his girlfriend back home. They gig around town, as she plays piano and he plays guitar, and they both sing. She’s even here with him! Honestly, they’re kind of adorable, and that alone makes me want to root for Greyson, although I wonder why his girlfriend isn’t auditioning too.
-Greyson sings an original called “Chasing Shadows,” and it’s a pretty damn good song, honestly. And his voice is deep and raspy, and filled with soul beyond his years. I was genuinely impressed with this audition, since he already comes across as a seasoned, confident singer. His relatively static performance style leaves a bit to be desired, but he’s so much farther along than most people are at his age. I like this dude, and the judges like him too, with Keith noting that he also went gigging with his girlfriend at age 15, making him a bit of a kindred spirit with Greyson. It’s unanimous.
GREYSON TURNER is going to Hollywood!
-No blowaways just yet, but I’m not hating this episode either, barring the joke auditions, which really have no real place on this show anymore.
-We return from break with blues singer SARAH QUINTANA, 28, who performs at the piano with Harry. And I feel like I should know this song, because it sounds so familiar. But I just can’t place it, and it’s driving me nuts! In one of the most baffling decisions in YEARS, Harry says that although he loved Sarah and think she’s super talented, he doesn’t think Idol is the right route for her. She respects his opinion, but says she’d still like to go to L.A. (Los Angeles, not here, in Louisiana). In a perplexing moment, J-Lo agrees with him, so an AWESOME singer gets sent on her way because…reasons, I guess. What an asinine, stupid-ass decision.
QUENTIN ALEXANDER, 20, is up next!
-Quentin comes in dressed like a cross between a Boy Scout and Pharrell Williams…so, basically, he’s dressed like Pharrell Williams. He’s got that Pharrell swagger though, and brings a lot of personality to his audition. He sings “Royals” and accompanies himself on percussion by stomping along. His vocal choices are really interesting, making for one of the best auditions of the past two nights.
-The judges love his weirdness and how unconventional he is, with Harry comparing him to Sly Stone and Terrence Trent Darby, the latter of whom I only ever hear about on this show, when a judge needs to make a comparison. For his part, Keith compares him to Andre 3000. Regardless, they all like him a lot, with J-Lo adding that he makes unique vocal choices. They vote and…
QUENTIN ALEXANDER is going to Hollywood!
-Quentin didn’t think he’d make it this far, but always dreamed he would. He’s proud to have this Golden Ticket, and says it stands as proof that you should never give up on your dreams. Well, optimism never hurt anybody. Well, except those who audition but can’t actually sing. In those cases, the crash is HARD.
-Up next is another guy with a connection to Harry…
MIKEY DURAN, 19, is up next!
-Mikey went to the same high school as Harry. He’s in LSU now, but Harry wants to know his GPA. It was 2.8…which Harry reveals was two whole grade points better than his. He says he basically smooth-talked his way through high school, which really is the only explanation for how the dude could have possibly graduated with a 0.8 GPA.
-Mikey is singing an original, and it’s really impressive. His voice has an impressive upper register, but what’s more impressive is his songwriting talent. Keith is absolutely IN LOVE with the song in a way I haven’t seen him be in love with anything in his years as a judge on this show. He even shouts out in the middle of the audition that he loves the song, practically swooning at one particular line in the song. Mikey takes the compliment and simply keeps playing, thrilling the judges. Harry credits that Jesuit High School spirit with putting out a quality artist like Mikey. The judges don’t even have to talk it through…
MIKEY DURAN is going to Hollywood!
-We then follow it up with an impressive trio of female singers…
NALANI QUINTELLO, 19, sings an acoustic rendition of “Counting Stars,” and her upper register is just gorgeous.
TORI MARTIN, 20, sings Chris Stapleton’s “What Are You Listening To,” showing off a delicate country voice.
HOPE WINDLE, 24, sings Keith’s own “Stupid Boy,” showing a talent that’s a bit more raw. She needs work, but I think she has potential. J-Lo is the deciding vote and opts to take a chance on her. A tearful Hope is thankful for Jennifer’s vote of confidence, and her kindness.
NALANI QUINTELLO, TORI MARTIN and HOPE WINDLE are going to Hollywood!
-We go to break on the question of whether or not a girl named ALEXIS makes it to Hollywood. She sings Elvis Presley’s “Trouble,” and I like her voice. It’s not a blowaway, but she’s another person with potential.
RICKY DALE HENDRICKS, 17, is up next!
-We see Ricky doing some of his country-oriented hobbies like hunting and fishing, etc. But more than that, he’s into music. He feels a kinship with Harry, being from the same state. But he’s particularly thrilled to be auditioning in front of Keith Urban.
-Ricky sings “Thunder Road,” and it’s a very cool, effortless performance. Physically, it’s a bit of an erratic, frenzied performance, as his body mostly just flails all over the place. But he sounds great. Harry notes that he sounds like a young man, but the only way to fix that is with time and experience. J-Lo loved how he moved his body, and Keith thinks he has a lot of raw talent, noting that while it was a bit all-over-the-place, that was what he liked about it. Harry compares it to boxing, and wants to see what Ricky would do in the ring against the Mike Tysons of this competition.
RICKY DALE HENDRICKS is going to Hollywood!
-The judges comment on his likability, as Ricky celebrates with his teary-eyed mother, in a cute moment.
DAKOTA SUAREZ, 18, is up next!
-Dakota is a drag queen by the name of Bianca J. He notes that he idolizes J-Lo because she played Selena, which makes this the third contestant of the season to mention that movie.
-Dakota sings “Dog Days Are Over,” and I think he’s got a decent voice. Not great, not bad. Honestly, I think he’d be forgettable without his personality. But that’s kind of what this show is about, finding someone who’s more than just a voice. And I think Dakota’s personality far eclipses his vocals.
-Harry loves the idea of a drag queen on the show, who’s a man one week and a woman the next. But he doesn’t feel the voice is there. J-Lo likes Dakota and says yes. Dakota pleads with Keith, but Keith says he isn’t swayed by the “effort” argument, since everyone at the panel has worked their asses off to get where they are. It’s a question of whether or not you have “the thing”. So, for that reason, Keith wants to see Dakota in Hollywood.
DAKOTA SUAREZ is going to Hollywood!
-We quickly move on to our next contestant…
ADAM LASHER, 27, is up next!
-He’s Carlos Santana’s nephew, and learned guitar from the master. The judges, however, are more freaked out by how much he looks like Jimmy Fallon. And he DOES! He’s also got a broken thumb in what Harry calls a “raggedy ass cast,” as well as a blood sugar monitor Adam describes as “a robotic pancreas.”
-Adam sings an original called “These Shoes,” and it’s yet another in a long list of terrific tracks. Seriously, if you put out an EP of just the originals from this season so far alone, I’d totally buy it. As an added plus, Adam comes across as a really cool guy, with a tight voice to go along with it. I was genuinely impressed by this guy. For me, he was one of the very best of the entire night. The judges love his artistry, and their decision isn’t really in doubt…
ADAM LASHER is going to Hollywood!
-And we close out with our last audition of the night…
ERICA WASHINGTON, 24, closes the show!
-Erica talks about how having a daughter changed her life, and she gets teary-eyed in the process. She’s from Mobile, Alabama, and Harry expresses his love for the city, since his father is from there. From what little we see prior to her audition, Erica comes across as a lovely, humble woman.
-Erica sings “Halo,” and while I thought there were some minor pitch issues, her tone is just terrific. It wasn’t my favorite audition of the night, but I thought it was one of the best. The judges talk about what a great singer she is, with Harry noting that he didn’t even think of Beyonce once. It’s unanimous…
ERICA WASHINGTON is going to Hollywood!
-And that’s it for New Orleans, which is kind of a disappointment. There was good talent, but I was expecting some MAJOR blowaways. I’m not even sure why, other than that New Orleans is traditionally a pretty musical town. Next week is San Francisco, the final audition city on the road to Hollywood!
-So what did you think of tonight’s auditions? Did someone get a ticket to Hollywood that you thought shouldn’t have? Was there someone who should have gotten a ticket but didn’t? And were there any potential contenders in this lineup? Sound off in the comments! Until next week, thanks for reading!