We open in the Dolby Theater with HCJ lecturing the kids about whining- he doesn't want to hear who is tired, he doesn't want to hear who is sick, he doesn't want to hear any excuses at all because audiences don't care, they just want to see a performance. Hurrah, HCJ!
We go back and forth between the final solo performances and the whole *walk across the big ballroom to hear the verdict* all night, so outfits change frequently. JLo is either wearing a curly topknot with a headband, smoky eyes, and a black and white top with a black and white chevron skirt, or she has her hair tied back, slightly more subdued makeup, and a very short leopard print dress and over-the-knee boots. Keith either wears a checkered shirt or an odd tee shirt. HCJ looks the same, always.
We go back and forth with the kids too, from final solo performance, to the judgment chair, so outfits will change.
#1. Emily Piriz wore a floor-length, slinky, black, long-sleeved, knit dress and perhaps no foundation garments, to sing at the keyboard for her solo. She sounds good on a dreary song, though I like her lower register better than the upper. During the Long Walk, she has on black skinny pants, a blue velour surplice top, and heels. She's in.
#2. Spencer Lloyd was an ass during the group performances and rehearsals, choosing a song he knew well at the expense of his groupmates. I, personally, think he's all pretty and no character. For his final solo, he sings an original song that is neither interesting, nor particularly melodic. And he pronounces the word *beautiful* with about eight syllables. The judges torture him, but he's in.
#3. Jillian Jensen (who?) has long shiny hair, a nose ring and a lip stud. Her original solo song sounds better than Spencer's but it's still not great. For the Long Walk, she wears a really unflattering high waisted black, tight skirt and a tight, scoop-neck leopard print top. She and JLo are twinsies! Jillian sheds lots of anxious tears, and then there are a lot of hugs, and then there are happy tears. She's in.
Madeline Patterson has a little girl speaking voice. During her solo, she's dressed like a pageant contestant in a strapless, shirred top long dress and sleek hair. She also sounds like a pageant contestant. For the Long Walk, she has big hair, big messy hair, a lacy sweater over a black top, and clunky boots. She gets a no, and is really graceful about it.
Michael Simian, Labryant Crew, and Sabrina Lantine all get no's. I don't remember any of them, so I don't care very much that they're going home.
#4. George Lovett sings a gospel-y solo in a good, clear voice. He gets his good news while wearing a white sweater and a heavy gold chain.
Shelby Someone sang Wide Open Spaces, and Connor Zwetsch sang an original song. Neither impressed the judges, and both are going home.
#5. Sam Woolf has very pink cheeks, a baby face, and Clark Kent hair. He sings an original song, and I actually like it- it's sad and heartfelt. For the judges he wears a gray striped hoodie. He's in, and I think he's going to go collapse now.
We se some more rejections of folks whose names I either never knew, or cannot recall.
Kari Lynn Roche decided to wear a satin slip and army boots for her solo. She sings I'd Rather Be Blind in an overwrought way, with some very weird stage moves (dragging the toes of her shoes as she wanders around the stage, for instance). It's an obnoxious performance. For the Long Walk, she wears a black skirt and a white blouse. She gets a no, and I think that overdone solo performance did her in.
#6. Malaya Watson and the band started out performing in different keys for her solo. Harry calls a halt and has them start over. It's better, but I'm still not thrilled, but JLo gives Malaya, in camo pants, heels, and braces (on her teeth, not the kind you wear on your sleeves when you're an Old Timey gambler) a Standing O. For the Long Walk, she wears a baggy tan sweater and black pants. She's in.
#7. I think Maurice Townsend is the one with the four adorable kidlets. He has braids, glasses and a leather jacket, and he sang, I kid you not, Wrecking Ball, for his solo. He's in.
Oh no! Randy Jackson dropped in. Argh! I have not missed him for one moment. At least he leaves just as quickly.
#8. Bria Anai, of the formerly glittery lipstick, is wearing her sparkles on her shirt for the Long Walk. For her bluesy solo, she wears a mullet skirt that looks like it's made from a torn garbage bag. She's in.
Jessica Meuse, of the pink streak in her hair and the confrontation with Stephanie's horrible mother, is a drama magnet. She sings an original song that actually sounds good. Her long tunic blouse seems to have a fish skeleton printed down the center back.
Jessie Roach is just like Jessica, only without the drama or the original song.
Jessica and Jessie are sent in for a tandem Long Walk. They look very much alike, and both could use a good face wash. The judges have them do a sing-off, and frankly, I don't love either one, but if I have to choose, I like Jesse's voice better. Which is why Jessica Meuse is in at #9.
Dexter Roberts is a good 'ol country farm boy and he's #10.
#11. Emmanuel Zidor is not my type, but he can sing. He does the Long Walk already crying about what an inspiration he is to *others* who think there is no place for them (the word gay is not used, but it floats just out of sight). I do wish Emmanuel would dial it back just a tad, because he's in.
#12. Ah, the androgynous girl with the scabby nose is M.K.Nobilette. Her solo is the first time I've gotten to hear her sing, and she's great! Onstage, she wears camo pants and a floppy knit hat. For the Long Walk, she wears a camo quilted jacket and a backwards hat, and she announces that she's gay, which is not exactly a surprise to anyone. She's in, and I am looking forward to hearing more from her.
#13. Kristin O'Connor is the nurse tech. Her voice is not exciting, but she's exactly what this show likes. For the Long Walk, she wears a black and white print knit dress with keyhole sides. I HATE that dress. Kristin is the audience guess person but I don't bother trying. She's in.
#14. Jordan Brisbane is a stocky, short kid with a very round face. I would love to own the fair isle zip-front hoodie sweater he wears for his solo. Long Walk Day is Jordan's 16th birthday, and he gets a very nice present.
As kid after happy kid emerges from the Long Walk, the remaining ones who can do math, get more and more subdued.
Casey McQuillan and Nika Nashae both get no's.
Andrina (Little Orphan Molly) and Leah Guerrero (with the half-shaved head) are called in together. Leah sings I'd Rather Be Blind in her solo, and she blows the roof off with it. I like Andrina too. I would keep both of them in the competition, but Andrina is #15. Leah is very very sad, though HCJ tells her to come back next year.
#16. Malcolm Allen is the glasses and bow tie kid. For his solo he sounds fine, but I can't hear him much for wondering why he has streamers hanging from under the back of his shirt. For the Long Walk, he wears a yellow sweater and Dockers. He's in.
#17. I finally figured out who Alex Preston looks like: Tiny Tim with a rounder face, more color, and shorter hair. I would imagine that was never Alex's ambition. He always sounds better than I expect him to, and he's in.
I liked C.J. Harris from the start. He and Casey Thrasher (with the adorable blonde toddlers) are both from Alabama and they became friends. They're called in together for a sing off. C.J. starts first, beating the rhythm on his hip. Oh man, he's trying way too hard. Casey sounds nasal. Neither sounds particularly good, and if this was their first audition, I think both would go home.
But one is going to stay.
Which one? We don't know because those Rat Bastards aren't going to tell us until tomorrow night, when the rest of the Top 30 is revealed.