Wednesday, January 27, 2016

DAM NATION: All-Time Best American Idol Auditions

The final audition episode on American Idol EVER was aired a couple of days ago, and I'm still here in denial that this is, indeed, the end of the road for my beloved reality singing show. 

So, I decided to put up a list moving forward - random or related to the current show - to celebrate the fifteen years of American Idol. Why not relive then the Best 'Idol' Auditions EVER! To some, sure, this is possibly the less exciting part of the competition because more often than not, the show tends to focus on the awful and embarrassing auditions during the earlier seasons of the series and currently the annoying antics of the judges. But I have to say, there's always a good mix of good, undiscovered talents somewhere. Seriously.

Now, this list is biased, which is usual, and my methods aren't scientific, but I do take things like voice, personality and how memorable the actual audition was. Ha! Extra points were also given arbitrarily, based on things like song choices and other things. So, forgive me if you believe my reasons are trivial.

Who's on your list?

30. Kady Malloy
I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman/Unchained Melody

Kady was one talented lady and she absolutely proved that with this audition. Sure, her vocal impressions of Britney Spears and - unknowingly - Carrie Underwood were pretty much riveting and probably the reason why she was memorable, but her Unchained Melody was equally interesting. Her pitch was spot on and she had good vocal control.

29. Chris Daughtry
The Letter

During that time, Chris' radio-ready sound during the audition was rare. I genuinely thought he could cut a single right then and there and it would be a big hit - given how huge American Idol was at that time. It's understated, but he sounded good.

28. Najah Lewis

Her slowed down version of this Maroon 5 hit was lovely and she backed it up with a rich lower register, great vocal control, and a grounded quality to her that connects. Hands down, one of my favorite auditions of this season. Gorgeous.

27. Fantasia Barrino
Proud Mary

To this day, I still remember Fantasia Barrino's audition when she sang Tina Turner's Proud Mary. Truly, she just sang it with soul and the rawness of her voice stood out. Plus, an upbeat audition piece wasn't entirely an easy thing to pull off because it's hard on stay on key.

26. Phillip Phillips

If Casey Abrams and Taylor Hicks had a kid.. it's Phillip Phillips! Haha. His version of Thriller was quite impressive. Yes, his vocals weren't all that, but there was something strangely magnetic about him that makes you sit up and take notice.

25. Sarina-Joi Crowe
Love Runs Out

She's just a brilliant singer. She was brilliant a year before this. She was brilliant the year before that year. Haha. Sarina doesn't know the meaning of the word 'quit' and I love her for that. Her runs were impeccable, the dynamics was good, and her range was insane. I was glad she found a way to solve the conundrum of getting eliminated right before the live shows during this season because she deserved a spot.

24. Heejun Han
How Am I Supposed To Live Without You

Heejun had possibly one of the most hilarious auditions on this show. I don't know. He's was witty enough to balance that line where I wasn't sure if he was just being weird on purpose or if he had a touch of mental illness. Also, his voice sounded rich with some lovely, natural tone. Some diction issues, but that's something completely irrelevant when you're extremely likable. Right?

23. Jax
I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Refined and highly listenable - is there such a word? Jax was smart to just navigate her vocals around her limitation to create something special. I liked that she took her time caressing the melody of the song and her unique tone added something different to her version.

22. Mario Vasquez
Whatever Happens

After his audition, I was convinced that it was his competition to lose - yes, even more than Carrie Underwood. He was oozing with charisma with incredible vocal technique and a palpable sense of musicality. I swear, he probably could've given Ms. Underwood a run for her money if he hadn't quit. Just saying.

21. Jordin Sparks
Because You Loved Me

She may seemed a bit undercooked during that time, but there's no denying her ability as a fantastic vocalist. Plus, that youthful energy was incredibly infectious.

20. Lisa Tucker
One Moment In Time

Lisa was probably one of the more underrated contestants on this show and her soaring rendition of this song was a proof positive of that. She has a strong voice, but what really impressed me was the placement of her vibrato is stellar. It’s just the perfect amount and it always sneaks up on you at the right time.

19. Andrew Garcia
Sunday Morning

Andrew Garcia's version of Sunday Morning had a good amount of soulfulness that exceeded all my expectations about him. I thought his take was effortless backed up with that very smooth, velvet voice. Clearly, I really thought he was the one to beat until he completely bomb as soon as he stepped into the live shows.

18. Jennifer Hudson
Show Your Love With Me

Jennifer Hudson's melisma-tastic rendition of Aretha Franklin's Share Your Love With Me was loud, but that's Jennifer Hudson for you. The sheer power of her vocals just put me in awe and the passion was palpable.

17. Savion Wright
Both Sides Of Me

I was seriously disappointed when he was eliminated during this season. Savion, to me, was one of the more mature contestants I've seen on this show. He knows already who he is as an artist and he knows that he has an insane amount of talent, but it doesn’t mean he isn't willing to work. That's pretty admirable.

16. Adam Lambert
Bohemian Rhapsody

His clean take on Bohemian Rhapsody drew one of Simon's oldest and most dreaded critiques - "theatrical," which I wondered, aren't most Queen songs theatrical? Adam proved how polished and well-formed he was as a performer with this audition showcasing some impressive vocal control and penchant for theatrics. To me, he out-sang and out-charmed possibly half of the Idol hopefuls that season.

15. Majesty Rose
Violet Hill

This blew me away. It's rare that someone delivers a "wow" moment for me during the initial audition round of the competition, but that's precisely what happened here. Effortless. Understated. Lovely.

14. Casey Abrams
I Don't Need No Doctor

Right from the start, I knew Casey was a natural. It was passionate, forceful, and showed an incredible degree of control. Plus, there was scatting! His musicality was just beyond at this early phase of his season.

13. David Cook
Livin' On A Prayer

Quite frankly, I didn't expect David to make enough mark on me during his audition - other than the hair, maybe - but the way he tweak the melody a little was already a sneak peak of what's to come in his American Idol journey. His textured vocals sounded rich and full and there's a quiet confidence to his demeanor.

12. Tristan McIntosh
Why Baby Why

I cried. Not sure if I was just really emotional or how everything was presented during her audition. I admit, that bit where her mom suddenly appeared was a good heartwarming moment, but let's not forget how she sang beautifully the song. There's a maturity to her delivery that's very impressive for her age, and the clarity to her voice was insanely beautiful. It's clearly one of the more memorable auditions of the farewell season.

11. Candice Glover
Syrup and Honey

No sob story. No weird costume. Just a ridiculously strong talent. Candice, to me, was unjustly eliminated back in Season 11, back when she came back, she became unstoppable. Her dynamics here was just absolutely fantastic, her runs were dead on, and the modulation of her vocals was very good. Powerful.

10. Hollywood Anderson
My Bestfriend

He did crash and burn eventually, but I can't deny the fact that he had one of the most memorable and possibly the most well written original song performed as an audition piece. His voice was instantly recognizable and it was packed with raw emotion.

09. Trent Harmon

I wasn't expecting much from Trent as I figured he's probably one of those country singers that somehow flocked American Idol the past few years - just watch him talk about his farm, cows, and vegetables - but as soon as he mentioned Allen Stone, I got confused. I was with Jennifer Lopez freaking out with his audition. His transitions sounded seamless, his tone was gorgeously soulful, and he's a very likable guy! Trent is basically a prototype of what the usual audience of this show is going to show up and vote for in large numbers.

08. Todrick Hall

Who would have thought? Before Todrick became a Youtube superstar and now an MTV artist, he actually showcased some flashes of brilliance with his entertaining original song. Sure, his vocals weren't the strongest, but it was enough to support his charming songwriting, which was what made him successful now.

07. Scotty McCreery
Your Man

I dare say, Scotty McCreery had one of the most iconic American Idol auditions EVER! Who could ever forget the lines, "Baby lock them doors and turn the lights down low"? He's very charismatic, his tone was quickly recognizable, and he has a fantastic old-school country sound.

06. Carrie Underwood
I Can't Make You Love Me

.. and then, there's Carrie Underwood. When she walked into the audition room, I already found her to be quite adorable with all the demeanor of a typical country girl. But as soon as she opened her mouth to sing, I was quite impressed. No, it wasn't primarily because her voice was sensational, but because I wasn't expecting her to have that big voice with superb clarity and great grasp on pitch.

05. Scott Savol

Talk about a package that's a little mismatched. Haha. True, I eventually lost interest with the guy as the season progressed, but Scott Savol's audition was quite unforgettable. I was seriously prepared for some tuneless garbage, but once he opened his mouth, his textured tone was front and center. He had some good control of his vibrato and his range was pretty good. To me, this was one of the most rare goosebump-inducing moments of the entire American Idol series.

04. Kelly Clarkson
At Last

I loved her audition just because of how it went down and how she interacted well with the judges. I mean, yes, her voice was AMAZING, but all the shenanigans just made it more amazing and you could tell that she was ready to be a superstar.

03. Melinda Doolittle
For Once In My Life

This shy, former backup singer came into the audition room with little confidence, but then exploded, turning in a stunning performance Stevie Wonder's For Once in My Life. Her vocal dexterity was outstanding, his voice commanded attention, and she actually transformed to something a lot more in tune with the surroundings as soon as she began to sing. Up until this day, Melinda's audition will remain as one of the benchmarks of just solid singing.

02. Katharine McPhee
God Bless The Child

Just flawless. To be honest, I thought that her package was a setup for a vocal coach with a not-so-good daughter, but her rendition of God Bless the Child eventually came down as one of best auditions on American Idol history. Just listen to how beautiful her lower register sounded and then effortlessly transitioned to the higher notes with precise vocal runs.

01. Paris Bennett
Cowboy Take Me Away/Take Five

Chills. Goosebumps. @#^$&*+. One decade later, Paris Bennett's audition is still, arguably, the best audition in American Idol history. To effortless transition from country to jazz was, on it's own, already incredibly impressive, but Take Five was just on another league of its own. Words can't explain how splendid this was. Just watch.


Anonymous said...

Wasn't Andrew Garcia in season 9?

DAM said...

Thanks for catching that. I already updated it. :)

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