Friday, January 25, 2013

American Idol 12: Charlotte Auditions

"Please don't fight. That makes us sad." Strangely the most poignant thing I could recall in recent memory from American Idol. While I'm here for the contestants, I can't help but react - yes, I have an opinion about this matter - about the argument that went on in this episode.

Let me start by saying that, with Nicki Minaj putting Randy Jackson in his place, she just became my favorite judge EVER. Haha. I was predisposed to hate her, but she has won me over. She commands the panel with ease and her personality is compelling, fascinating, and ridiculously entertaining. Plus, her argument about pigeonholing contestants from the beginning of the audition rounds was actually valid and on point.

I've never been a fan of this trend of reality show judges - especially on American Idol - trying to railroad contestants into a specific box. Remember Katie Stevens of Season 9?  She was an awesome vocalist, but she NEVER sounded authentic because the judges confused her if she should go country or not. Haley Reinhart got the same criticism early on when she tried to do Alicia Keys one week and then LeAnn Rimes the next. She didn't listen to them, followed her musical instincts, and got her to the Final 3.

And as for Randy Jackson saying "30 years of experience", well, with that I would expect a hell of a lot more than the stupid critiques you repeat over and over year after year. Please remind me again why you are still on the show! Haha.

That said, I still don't buy the supposed hatred between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. They're NOT best friends by any means, but I think they are two big personalities who like to jab at each other, but also have great mutual respect. Most of the time they are barely hiding their giggles or smiles when they bicker.

Whew! That was long. Haha. Shall we go and recap the contestants - a lot of great talent and talented black girls!!

Brian Rittenberry
Let It Be
Let us start with someone who has some raw talent, but I personally would never even come close to being a fan of. Sob story aside, which I thought came out of nowhere, Brian has a big husky baritone voice that's very soulful, but his phrasing was odd and he's a bit forgettable. Oh, and Tate Stevens anyone? 5

Jimmy Smith
God Bless The Broken Road
A nice looking country dude with an accent? I guess, the search is all over no? Haha. Jimmy's voice is generically country, but I have no doubt that America will eat him up. I liked his tone though. 6

Sarina-Joi Crowe
Mama Knows Best
Good enough, but too brief for me to say anything else. 5.5?

Haley Davis
Blue Bayou
Eh. Nice tone. Yes, that's all the effort I'll put into this. 5.5?

Na'chell Fullins-Lovell
Shouting Mess?
Where's the lyrics? N/A

Isabelle Gonzalez
Nothing Could Ever Change This Love
She has got a cool bluesy tone and an interesting quality to her voice, but the way she worked the melody was a little too herky jerky for my taste. The potential is there and she's incredibly adorable, but I don't think she's ready for this. 6.5

Taisha Bethera
Folsom Prison Blues / You Oughtta Know
Too often American Idol typecasts it's contestants with what they should be as an artist, so seeing someone like Taisha, who clearly has aspirations of being an alternative rocker, was somewhat refreshing. She's clearly NOT the best vocalist on the show, but I love her tone and the unexpected genre mix up was too interesting to pass up. 7

Summer Cunningham
Lean On Me
And yes, the audition that caused the big blow up between Mariah-Randy and Nicki. To be honest, I enjoyed her audition. She has a clear tone with nice vibrato and great vocal control. She sounded like she's suited for country, but there shouldn't be any problem with crossing over genres right? What her problem was the fact that she didn't get her point across through articulation with her "country thing", which in hindsight, generated the BIG debate. Again, I thought Nicki Minaj was right and Mariah Carey and Randy Jackson both acted like giant douche bags and bullies. 6.5

Brandy Hamilton
All I Could Do Is Cry
She has a strong voice, but she's forgettable. No impact whatsoever. 5

Ashley Smith
Cowboy Casanova
Of course, Ashley's audition was edited to make her look like a joke contestant, but her vocals were actually pretty nice. Her version of this Carrie Underwood hit had some nice qualities, but she was obviously out of breath several times trying to get through it. Could she be the best pop country blonde in this episode? Haha. 7

Janelle Arthur
Where The Blacktop Ends
.. I guess, not until Janelle took the audition stage and blew the judges away. While it was weird that the show somehow pretended that she isn't a comebacker like Johnny Keyser, I thought her audition was pretty awesome. She was polished, beautiful, and vocally superior to most country pop singer I've seen this season. Well, I still stand behind my critique two seasons ago, "if American Idol is looking for a female country singer to showcase - and they should be, given the post-Idol success of Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler - I don’t think they’re going to do any better but with Janelle." 8

Rodney Barber
I'll Be
So. Annoying. I don't know. He has a good voice with some nice vocal control, but his song choice was whack and he was annoyingly confident that I want him to be good, but I want him to fail as well. Haha. 6

Candice Glover
Syrup and Honey
I admit, I somehow forgot how good Candice was and she proved here that she's one fantastic vocalist. Her transitions were flawless, her tone was lovely and the liberties she took with the melody were pretty impressive. To me, she was even better than the last time I heard her. Oh, it's funny how when Randy heard Joshua Ledet's name, he couldn't help but stand up. HAHA. And Mariah claimed that she didn’t have any words for Candice, and then continues to say about fifty words. Classic Mariah. 8.5

Ja'bria Barber
Pride and Joy
Paris Bennett's voice in Melinda Doolittle's body, anyone? Haha. Her back story was amusing, she's bubbly and her voice was shockingly soulful and rich. I really like her. 7.5

Seretha Guinn
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
LOVE her just for the song choice alone - I will pretend that How Do I Live didn't happen. Haha. Her voice was sassy, she has spunk and I actually like her style. No more treacly song choice please. Go back to the odd yet interesting song choices. 7.5


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