Sunday, January 19, 2014

American Idol 13: Boston and Austin Auditions

I'm sorry for the lateness of this post. I almost didn't come back this year after the mess that was Season 12 - thanks to Mariah and Nicki, and of course, the useless Randy Jackson - and as much as I tried to contain the primal urges that demanded me to watch American Idol, my love for this cheesy television show prevailed.

And so, we’re back for American Idol Season 13! I hope everyone enjoyed the long break, but it’s time to once again dive down the proverbial rabbit hole in our quest to find a new recording superstar capable of taking the music industry by storm, or more likely, a young white male who plays the guitar since we've already crowned a girl last season. But, either way, the show is back!

But, like every season, we begin with the audition phase. Jennifer Lopez is still a mixed bag for me, but I'm cautiously optimistic with her. I hope she ups her game more now that the other guys have A LOT to say and not just goosies and baby.

It's nice to see Keith Urban back though. Sure, I wasn't completely impressed with him last season as his comments and feedback became more dodgy and lazy as the season went on, but he made me tolerate the panel a bit more last season. I enjoyed how he sang along with nearly every song and he seemed like he was enjoying his job. I also thought that he did an amazing job of navigating the minefield American Idol was last season with Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. Now, he seemed much more easy going, fun, and witty.

Oh, but there's a new lead judge on the panel though, and his name is Harry Connick, Jr. Guess what? I fully support his ascension and I came out loving him. He gave articulate, precise, intelligent and detailed criticisms without being harsh. Plus, he's incredibly hysterical - I especially loved how he tried to teach Jennifer Lopez about pentatonics! Together, this year's panel has an outstanding chemistry that's pretty riveting and I can't wait to watch more from them.

So yeah, we’re off to a great start! So let's take a look back as I recap the people that stood out in the premiere episode of American Idol Season 13.

Marialle Sellers
I'm not sure why, but Marialle reminded me so much of Miley Cyrus. Maybe it's her speaking voice? See, her take on Grenade was decent if a bit unremarkable, but there's something about her that's pretty magnetic. She had presence enough for another look. 6.5

Sam Woolf
Lego House
Yes, we got the first strong contender for this season, and his name is Sam Woolf, and I don't see him having problems getting those votes. His take on Lego House was awesome, and he has a tone that's very rich, his phrasing was amazing, and he showcased his good grasp on pitch. Very nice. 8.5

Ethan Thompson
Bring Me Down
Phillip Phillips anyone? Ethan looks so much like him it's almost creepy. But seriously, his voice has a smooth quality to it that's very soothing. His tone actually reminded me a bit of Ed Sheeran. Sweet. 7

Lindsey Pedicone
Bottom of the River
Lovely tone. Great rhythm. Pretty face. 7

Jillian Jensen
Not Over You
I'm not really a fan of her even during her X Factor days, but she has a good if utterly average voice. One things for sure though, she can really connect well with whatever she's singing. 6

Kaitlyn Jackson
Another Angel
Her original song wasn't that bad - in fact, it sounded sincere and honest. She also has good set of pipes to back up her songwriting skills. Not sure if she's tough enough for this process, but we shall see. 6.5

Keith London
His voice isn't anywhere near spectacular, but Keith's rendition of Roar was actually pretty interesting. The way he navigated the melody with some smart phrasing was pretty riveting to watch. There's something about him - maybe his awesome name? - that makes you want to root for him. 7.5

Savion Wright
Both Sides of Me
Wow. There's an innate musicality to Savion that's quite astonishing. His original song sounded like a legit track, his voice had a distinct sound it but not polarizing, and there's a quiet confidence that I love. I hope he sounds equally good with singing covers no? 8.5

Viviana Villalon
Love Somebody
Fantastic tone. Her phrasing was also pretty stellar. At this point, I'm intrigued. 7.5

Savannah Young
Her quirky tone added much life to her interesting arrangement of Britney Spears' Toxic. She has this breezy voice that sounded unique. 7

Malcolm Allen
I'm not sure I'm digging his choppy rendition of this Stevie Wonder classic, but there's an effortlessness to his singing that's very easy to watch. He has a vocal control that's pretty impressive and a charisma that's undeniable. 7

Munfarid Zaidi
Crazy For You
This was definitely funniest auditions of the night! How everything transpired was completely hysterical I almost lost it - especially how Jennifer and Keith reacted when Munfarid sang the words "I just want you close" while Harry was cradling him. Classic. But that's not to say this kid has no talent because the way he delivered this Adele tune was actually quite lovely. There's power and his pitch was precise especially during those tough runs. 7.5


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