Wednesday, January 15, 2014

AI Season 13- Boston/Austin Auditions

Well, my Hot Buttered Honey Biscuits, here we are again, Season 13 of the show that I simply cannot quit. We open with a clip from October 8, in Detroit, MI. A gal with a guitar, a black and white dress, and red straw hair, steps into an elevator and checks her hair in a mirror, and then walks out onto the judges' set. Mariel is 17 and she sings Bruno Mars in a thin voice.

JLo (man, did we miss her last season- pipes notwithstanding, I would have traded 3 Mariahs for her) is wearing a school girl top with a white collar and a ponytail. Harry Connick Jr (now and forever HCJ) looks scruffy. Keith Urban also looks scruffy, but man, does he have pretty eyes. Anyway, all three judges say yes.

So now, finally, we get to the opening credits. We see lots of clips of Boston folks, all looking strong, and many holding signs. Hey, there's Ryan! Hi Ryan, we've missed you! Oh, that first audition must have been on another day (or in another town), because JLo is now wearing a black and white striped knit dress. HCJ is quite a bit taller than Keith. And they're all happy to be there. And they all seem to genuinely like each other. That's nice.

First up in Boston is Troy Somethingorother. Right away, he invites JLo to twerk with him. Ick. I hoped he'd be awful, but his voice is adequate, though that vibrato is totally out of control. He gets 3 yesses.

And now JLo is wearing a dark green, scoop-neck shirt, and her hair is wound in a fairly intricate topknot.

Sam Wolf is 17. He has a backstory of inadequate parents and a loving Grandpa. He has very pink cheeks and severely neat hair that screams Farm Boy. But he can sing. I like him, and so do the judges.

Ryan narrates clips clips clips, and more clips. No names are given.

Aha, what I thought was an elevator is actually this year's gimmick: The Chamber, where the kids are sent to be filmed composing themselves until the green light comes on (when the light is green, the chamber is clean), at which time they face the judges. It's going to get old fast, The Chamber is.

Ethan Thompson, 23, from Montana, Jack Johnsons himself to Hollywood.

Lindsey, in a kitty cat shirt, Nora Joneses herself in.

30 year old Jillian Jacobs, wearing dangerously cut keyholes in her top (I wasn't sure that the girls weren't going to make a surprise appearance) and a horrendous mullet skirt, sings very well, and also gets the nod.

Taylor Hildak is wearing a very short black dress. She announces herself as a jazz singer, but then sings Carrie Underwood. Badly. JLo softens the verdict by saying that it was *good for the most part*. Keith and HCJ are more blunt. Taylor goes home.

We get a montage of rejections, tears, tears, tears, sobbing (from a guy- and I mean real sobs), and someone who appears to have pinned rhinestone necklaces all over her head.

Stephanie is 16. She's wearing a leopard print, vinyl fedora, and she's missing a side tooth. She's also wearing a hankie top over pea green legggings. I don't know the song she's singing, but she has a nice tone. The judges give critiques that are actual critiques, and truly constructive. So, that's what not having Randy Jackson around is going to do for us. Hmmmm. Anyway, Stephanie is going through.

Morgan Deplitch is 15. She is also wearing a hat, and ringlet curls, and a summer dress with black booties. Her voice isn't doing a thing for me. HCJ dings her for singing a song that is totally inappropriate for a 15 year old (something about being shaved smooth... urk). I may fall in love with HCJ. Morgan gets a golden ticket too.

James Earl annoys me right out of the bucket. He's wearing an embroidered silk Chinese jacket. I can't understand anything he's saying (mumble mumble, ya know wha I mean, mumble). He compares himself to Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, and Luther Vandross, and he may possibly be high. He sings his own composition in a teeny little breathy voice, and it's just about as good as you'd expect from someone who compares himself to Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, and Luther Vandross.

Jacqueline Verna is 18. She sings far too many runs, and HCJ calls her on it. 3 no's.

Austin Percario is 18, with a Helicopter Mom. He interviews that if he gets through, he'll be 18 and he can go to Hollywood without his mother. Run, Austin. Run. His voice is far too Justin Beibery for me, and it's thin in the higher register, but he gets 3 yesses.

Katelyn Jackson is 15, and she has written her own song about her grandpa who had a heart attack in the bleachers, watching her sing. She cries at her own sob story. The song is serviceable and her voice is fine and she leaves with a Golden Ticket.

Keith London works with the elderly. He has a guitar, a white tee shirt, and upraised hair. I think he sounds ordinary, but Keith and JLo like him, which is all he needs.

Ryan is not around much tonight, but when he is, he looks good in a blue plaid short. He's starting to look like an actual grownup.

Sam Appleton plays an air guitar and he messes up the saying about putting all of your eggs in one basket. He starts out by insulting Keith, and it goes down from there. He's snotty and abrasive and really quite unlikeable. Thank goodness he can't sing. His exit interview is truly nasty.

All God's Auditioners love JLo. All of them.

Well, here's another new wrinkle- we get to hear a singer, and then we can tweet or text whether or not we think the kid went through. Since our votes don't count for anything, I'm not going to bother caring (for the record, I thought the girl was barely okay. The judges liked her more than I did).

Shanon Wilson is 23, and Ruben Studdardish. Of course, he was a football player. He's wearing camo shorts, a blue denim shirt, and loafers with no socks. I assume he's going to be the baritoniest of baritones and am shocked to hear him sing with a high voice. A very high voice- we're talking Frankie Valli high. Minnie Ripperton high. High. The judges love him.

Stephanie Petronelli is a cheerleader. She auditions in a very small cheerleader outfit, showing a whole lot of skin. I think she sings the notes but not the melody. Keith and JLo say yes, HCJ says no. A whole gaggle of identically dressed cheerleaders squeal in happiness.

Austin is in Texas, did you know that? We see a guy in a Mariachi outfit. He plays guitar to accompany a conversation between JLo and HCJ. It's amusing. I have no idea if Mariachi Guy can sing or not.

Here in Austin, JLo is wearing a gray sleeveless silk shell and a black pencil skirt. Her hair is in a messy updo. HCJ is wearing a brown suede jacket, and Keith is in a *Keep Austin Weird* tee.

Durann Cree is wearing a crop-top and a flowered skirt. She sings Carrie Underwood, and she's okay but unformed. JLo says yes, the guys say no.

We get some clips of ticket winners- Michael Gonzales, Lyden, Nikki, and more.

Savion Wright has ADHD, and he waited 8 years to audition. He has big glasses, lots of braids and a brown check shirt. He plays guitar and sings his own original song. Unlike most of the original songs heard on this show, Savion's song sounds like actual music. It's a good song. I would like to hear it again. I like Savion. He is good. Very very good. I will be very interested to see how he does in Hollywood.

Terrica Curry has a pretty pink scarf and lots of curls and sings R&B. Justin Fira is Latino and plays guitar. Shelby... eeek.... no... Blonde and tinny voice. All three get yesses.

From The Chamber, we get a shot right down the front of Madelyn's shirt. She's either wearing a very short skirt, or ruffly shorts.  Either way? No. Just no. She's mangling a song that Crystal Bowersox killed. But she gets 2 yesses.

Viviana Villion sings a Maroon 5 song accompanying herself with a ukelele. Savannah Young has a guitar and is wearing a sleeveless denim vest. Ben Boone, with the pretty pretty eyes, gives JLo her first GOOSIES of the season. All 3 go through.

Malcom Allen also plays air guitar. He sings Stevie Wonder with runs, runs, and more runs, He performs very awkwardly but he gets yesses.

A chatty, happy, gay young man bursts into tears when meeting JLo. He sings JLo's song. I'm hoping it sounds better when JLo sings it. 3 no's, but he got a hug, so he's happy.

A whole bunch of auditioners have no idea who HCJ is (one thinks he might have had a music career before he did movies). But Monfarid Zaidi, from Texas by way of Pakistan, knows HCJ. He reads HCJ's Wikipedia page every day. Monfarid is small and scruffy, and he's going to sing an Adele song. HCJ says if the song is good, he'll cradle Monfarid like a baby while he sings a second song. Against all odds, and all of my predictions, Monfarid pulls it off, and HCJ is true to his word.

So at the end of tonight, 25 tickets were given in Boston, and 21 in Austen. And against even more odds, it was a thoroughly entertaining show. The judges seem to like each other, and they play off each other well. They give actual critiques, and HCJ is a real asset to the team.

We'll see how long that lasts.

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