Thursday, January 17, 2013
AI Season 12- Chicago Auditions
We open with a lady on a speaker phone, telling someone on the other end that she's waiting for someone else to finish singing for the judges. The singer comes out and smiles. The lady with phone goes batshit crazy- screaming and jumping and cheering, totally oblivious to the growing discomfort of the auditioner... who didn't make it.
This, more than anything, is American Idol.
Day 1 Chicago:
Mariah looks puffy in a tight, sparkly copper blouse and curly hair. Randy and Keith are twinsies in black shirts. Nikki... well Nikki is the star driver for the Leopard International Cab Company. She has long straight electric blonde hair, neon pink lips, glittery eyelids, and a bustier that barely keeps the girls corralled.
First up is McKenzie from Tennessee. Her father is a piano player with a hat that, from the assorted clips, appears to be surgically attached to his head. We hear McKenzie singing with her father which segues to her singing the same song for the judges. She's a pretty blond in a floaty blue top. Her voice has an uncontrolled vibrato and she sings with far too many runs, but the judges love her.
Austin has one of those hairdos where his head is shaved except for the top part, which is dyed yellow and sticks straight up. Austin cannot sing. Why did we have to see and hear Austin? Because he gave Mariah and Nikki a chance to roll their eyes and shake their heads at each other. That's why.
21 year old Kiara has a cool fro and a nose ring. She got to sing for the president, which was pretty exciting for her. She's wearing a black leather jacket, flower print leggings and heels. She has a fairly big voice, but like everyone else, cannot manage to just sing the song. Nikki slips in and out of that annoying English accent as the rest of the judges put Kiara through.
Blond Stephanie is dressed like Stevie Nicks in mourning. She sings Dream a Little Dream softly but with a well controlled voice. Nikki wasn't impressed but the rest say yes. Nikki says she was distracted by Stephanie's glittery shadow, which is Mariah's cue to jump in.They pick, chip, snot, and snoot. This is ridiculous.
It is also totally unentertaining.
Melissa is 27. She is rail thin, has no makeup, and is wearing an exceptionally weird pink glittery knit jumpsuit which is embarrassingly form fitting. Melissa sings and it is terrible and it goes on far too long before they break her poor, clueless heart. Melissa's last name is Bush, which gives Nikki ample opportunity to make vulgar jokes. She should be ashamed.
The traveling AI Bus, which drove past Mt. Rushmore I guess, found Gale in Marian, IA. He's big guy with lots of hair. He screams Gimme Shelter, but he screams it in a controlled fashion which means he might not blow a vocal chord before he's 30. Randy asks him to sing something softer, and we have time to hear that his voice is nice before he heads into more controlled screaming. He gets 4 yesses. Gale is this year's rocker.
Kevin announces that he's into Ninja Rap. Seriously. He prances around on a dock, flailing with a couple of long sticks until he flips one into the water. He has moppy hair and scary eyes. He's also from Iowa and he dances like the Scarecrow from Oz. He sings so unintelligibly that we need captions. He gains speed exponentially, right past ludicrous and on into plaid. He gets 4 no's (noes?).
Next we get a montage of more rejections and more tears, but no angry outbursts. I have a feeling that we'll get them later.
Isabelle is a fifteen year old who looks fifteen. She's wearing a long-sleeved lace top and a black satin bubble skirt. Her hair is in a bun and either she's not wearing makeup, or she's wearing that incredibly expensive makeup that looks like skin. She's fresh-faced and adorable and she sings Baby It's Cold Outside in a good jazzy voice. She hands Keith a note with his lines for the duet, which he sings in the wrong key. Randy says no for no reason that I can discern, but the rest say yes.
Then Keith has to leave to do a concert, so Randy sits between Nikki and Mariah, the better to play Elder Statesman, I guess. We see a montage of Nikki inappropriately drooling over an assortment of generic hunks. Luckily, we don't have to listen to any of them sing.
Griffin, from Wisconsin, comes in wearing a soft gray sweater and jeans. We'll just get this out the way right now: Griffin is extraordinarily handsome. And I do mean handsome. Extraordinarily. Nikki nearly faints and even Mariah straightens up and takes notice. Griffin's singing voice is not nearly as handsome, a fact that Randy notices. He's the only one who notices though, and he's outvoted, so we'll be seeing more of Handsome Griffin. And maybe more of his really handsome papa.
Curtis, 24, is from Missouri. He's a tutor, and a big guy. He's wearing a red and blue gingham checked shirt that is not quite big enough for him. He mentions a singer and gives Randy his first chance of the season to name drop. This makes Randy oh so very happy. Curtis has a big beautiful gospel voice and a perfectly serviceable falsetto. Nikki was either transported to a better place by the music, or she was rendered comatose. Either way, Curtis is going to Hollywood.
Last auditioner of Chicago Day 1 is Mariah, age 19. As with all final auditioners, Mariah has a sob story, but Mariah's is literal- she breaks down talking about her battle with Anorexia. She still looks painfully thin to me, but what do I know. She sings Let it Be in a rich lower register. Mariah C is moved to tears. All three judges say yes and Mariah A (auditioner) loses it completely.
Chicago Day 2:
Randy and Keith must have signed an agreement to wear matching outfits- both are in black leather jackets over dark shirts. The Widow Carey is in transparent black lace over a black bra. Nikki's blond curly wig and white beaded jacket with the high collar and long sleeves and nary a boob in sight, look almost primly Victorian.
Brandy, 17, was adopted and raised by her maternal aunt. She's pretty and blond (lots of that so far this year), in a shorty denim jacket, cowboy boots and tight red pants. Brandy is country through and through- she sings Your Cheatin' Heart okay, though her final note sounded a bit wonky. She's through.
24 year-old Josh sings some song in the kind of male voice that this show loves. Boring.
We only get a glimpse of Courtney and Andrew, who also get through.
Clifton, 22, has no performing experience whatsoever. In fact, his parents have never heard him sing. Ryan sneaks them in and they lurk and listen to their son embroider Superstar. This is also the kind of voice that this show loves. Clifton gets 4 yesses and huge hugs from his weepy mama.
Iesha says she's a professional dancer but from the little bit she does for us, I'm not sure if she's a street dancer or a stripper. She's wearing blue jeans, a blue shirt, red glasses, and has no talent whatsoever. At least no singing talent.
Johnny Keyser made it to Hollywood in Season 11. He's back, still looking like every Frat Boy Bully in every underdog movie ever made. Nikki hits on him, but his dead eyes scare me. He's through.
We now meet Kez Ban. Kez Ban is a 27 year old street musician, fire performer, and balloon animal artist. Kez is wearing a hat, a red dress, and chunky boots with yellow caution tape tied around one toe. Kez Ban is bizarre. I do not know if Kez Ban is a man or a woman, but once Kez Ban begins singing, I do not care. Kez Ban has a wonderful jazz voice, full of depth and character and soul. Randy asks to hear some guitar work, and Kez Ban sings an original song. I fall in love. He/She gets unanimous yesses! Yay!
Aha, here are the naughty words, the angry rejectees and the rude hand gestures in a sepia montage titled The Miserables. We get to hear a few of them sing, and truly, they are all miserable.
Ashley, 19, is a musical theater major. She has a twin sister who does not sing. Ashley is wearing a very pretty peach summer dress and oddly patterned black hose. Oh dear, Ashley cannot sing. Not at all. And she won't stop. Mariah gets up and leaves. Nikki moans. Security has to escort Ashley out. Ashley seems bewildered- evidently no one in her theater department ever told her not to sing.
The last Chicago auditioner is Lazaro, from Cuba. Lazaro is a handsome young man. He also stutters. It's obvious that the judges haven't been coached in how to converse with stutterers- they're going to need to learn not to finish his words for him. He sings Bridge over Troubled Water, and it's nice (and for the record- with nary a stumble, which does not surprise me at all). His voice is good, though maybe not quite as astonishingly good as all of the intro stuff lead us to believe. Lazaro has a natural talent but he needs some serious work on his breath control. The judges love him though, and Lazaro falls apart. It will be interesting to see how he progresses.
So 47 golden tickets were handed out. in Chicago We got to hear 15 of them sing, which is better than last night's tally.
I believe next week we head to Charlotte.