When the show began it was apparent that they will be using way more production this year to really reel in the viewers. They have so much more “heartfelt” production that I actually found myself fastforwarding alot. I feel like the American Idol producers are looking for reasons to put these kids on camera, rather than putting the kids that have apparent reasons already on camera. I don’t know, maybe I’m just over the attempt at a storybook ending…or maybe the Idol producers are just trying to recreate a “Carrie Underwood” or “Kelly Clarkson” effect.
Overall, I thought the judging was good. You can tell they were nervous to fill in the spots. I can only imagine what it would be like to know that millions of people aren’t just judging YOU but that they are comparing you to the previous judges. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I want to be compared to Paula Adul…as CooCoo for Cocoa puffs as Paula was, she had like a cult following, put someone normal in there and they’ll be catergorized as “not normal”.
Last night was the Jersey Shore night of auditions, tonight they head to New Orleans for another 2 hours audition special.
Here’s a rundown on the auditioners we saw get through…via one of my favorite Reality Blogs on Yahoo:
Caleb Hawley – My favorite male singer of the episode, this soulful rocker had Steven drumming on his desk and hollering up a storm. Caleb’s belty, bluesy take on Eva Cassidy’s “Hallelujah” (not the overdone Leonard Cohen song–that came later) showed a lot of potential, and really, Caleb is only one David Cook-esque makeover away from total heartthrob hotness. Summon in the stylists and watch the girlies swoon in no time, I predict..
Ashley Sullivan – During her bio package, this goofy girl openly declared her love for Britney Spears. And to loosely quote Britters, this girl’s got your crazy. A nutcase of Tatiana Del Toro-esque proportions with a brash Broadway persona and a mission to be the “first show tunes pop star,” Ashley’s manically bug-eyed, neck-vein-throbbing performance from “Thoroughly Modern Millie” was borderline-terrifying…but man, it was darn entertaining. Two crazies like S.Ty and A.Sull on the same TV screen excites me to no end. I doubt she’ll make it past her first Hollywood Week meltdown, but I look forward to drama while it lasts. I’m also pretty sure Vote For The Worst has already picked this chick to be their Season 10 posterchild. With a catchphrase like “Mainstream pop needs to get with Liza Minnelli,” how could they not?.
Devyn Rush – Simon Cowell was never much of a fan of singing waitresses, but if he’d stuck around this season, this woman would have served him some humble pie on a plate. Devyn’s scatty, sassy performance of “God Bless The Child” reminded me a bit of Megan Joy’s promising early audition from Season 8, and it whetted all the judges’ appetites for more. “That was delicious,” purred Steven. Yes, Devyn also needs a makeover (“Someone needs to take her shopping,” advised Steven), but her voice was one of the tastiest of the episode. I’m hungry to hear more..
Travis Orlando – A nice 16-year-old Bronx boy who spent much of his childhood living in shelters when his father’s illness rendered his family homeless, Travis is the kind of contestant people root for. And I do think this boy with the Bruno Mars-ish good looks and honey-covered vocal cords is one to watch. It seems his years of hard living have lent him a mature, soulful voice that belies his age, and yet during his audition he demonstrated a plucky spirit, a youthful optimism not crushed by his tough times. I personally preferred his rendition of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” over his second song, the done-to-death “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, but regardless of what this guy sings, I’ve got a feeling America will eat it up..
Rachel Zevita – A young soprano who made it through in Season 6 before being cut on the first day of Hollywood Week, little Rachel is all grown up now. She was a four-eyed nerd five years ago, but this girl cleans up nice, and she’s blossomed, swan-like, into quite a stunner. But has her voice evolved too? Well, Jennifer actually remembered Rachel’s first appearance on the show, and while she was underwhelmed by Rachel’s 2011 audition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”–aka The Most Oversung Song In “Idol” History, a song even Cohen himself doesn’t want to hear anymore–she put Rachel through based on her earlier promise. Personally, I’m glad Rachel got another chance, and hope she stays in Hollywood a little longer this time..
Briell Von Hugel – A lovely young lass inspired by her doo-wop dad, this girl has “Idol” written all over her. Besides delivering a sweetly stirring performance of “Endless Love” and exhibiting what seems to be a genuinely pleasant personality, she has the made-for-TV sob story (her singing father got throat cancer, but pulled through based on his desire to one day see his daughter compete on “Idol”) that viewers will just adore. “I beat cancer, and she’s going through to Hollywood,” Daddy Von Hugel declared proudly. Aw..
Robbie Rosen – Steven said this 16-year-old kid had the best voice in New Jersey after hearing him warble the Beatles’ “Yesterday.” That might be overstating things, but with his heartstring-tugging sob story (he was wheelchair-bound as a child), all-American-boy looks, butter-smooth boy-band voice, and what Simon used to call “likeability factor,” he seems certain to go far..
Melinda Ademi – Yes, yet another sob story. Luckily, so far this season’s sad-sack contestants have the voices to ensure they won’t have to coast by on sympathy votes. This girl–like Briell, Travis, and Robbie–can also sing. I was rooting for this Kosovo refugee all throughout her emotional bio piece, cheering on her pursuit of the ultimate American dream, and thankfully her performance of Alicia Keys’s “If I Ain’t Got You” was the payoff. She didn’t disappoint me..
Tiffany Rios – The obvious Snooki of this competition, this loud and proud, hairsprayed Puerto Rican bombshell was eager to show off her, um, assets to the judges. She likened her “non-stick-figure” booty to her idol J.Lo’s, and boldly tore open her shirt in the middle of her self-penned novelty song to reveal a star-spangled bikini top. (“Why do you have jujubes on your ooh-ooh-bees?” queried a confused but clearly amused Steven.) Fortunately, Tiffany buttoned up and dropped the sexy shtick for her second song, Celine Dion’s “Glory Of Love,” and proved she actually can sing. I just hope that in Hollywood Week’s group challenge, this crazy lady is in the same ensemble with Ashley Sullivan. And that they wear matching star-studded bikini tops. That’d be crazy-awesome..
Victoria Huggins – This painfully precious 16-year-old cutie definitely lived up to her cuddly surname. A pageanty, princessy Pollyanna with a Minnie-Mouse-on-helium speaking voice, Victoria seriously annoyed me…until she sang “Midnight Train To Georgia” with an unexpected amount of throatiness and maturity. Dang! I just hope Steven remembers that Victoria really is only sweet 16 and possibly never been kissed. His flirting with Vicky was kind of…icky..
And so, there you have it. I’ll wait until “Idol” has a finalized top 10 before I decide whether or not it can survive all this season’s shakeups…but so far, I’m surprisingly encouraged, and I can’t wait to see what sort of talent turns up Thursday in audition stop #2, New Orleans..