Thursday, January 30, 2014

AI Season 13- Omaha Auditions

This season, every single auditioner passed through The Chamber, making faces in the mirrors, smelling their pits, smiling at the ceiling camera, talking to themselves. I am tired of The Chamber. Very tired of The Chamber.

We open with Ryan driving an SUV, and the judges squeezed in the back seat.  For the record, Omaha is a lot bigger than people think. It's a city, not a little country town. Keith is wearing a red tee shirt tonight (odd to see him in a color). JLo is in a white turtleneck with a black over-all Aztecish print. She has a ponytail and electric yellow nails.

At first I think Quaid Edwards is named Craig Everance. Thank you, chyron, for the clarification.  Quaid is wearing red pants and he has a nice smile. His blonde mother used to sing backup for Keith. Quaid sings A Change is Gonna Come, with far too many runs. So many that even JLo calls him on it. They let him through, but I think it's mostly because Keith knows his mother.

17 year old Simon Hauk is a beefy cowboy with a sparse mustache, who can't remember what he studies in school. He doesn't remember how to sing, either.

Next up: a string of NO.

Madisen Walker, 15, is wearing a blue strapless, floaty dress with a mullet skirt. She sings Before He Cheats credibly. I think she would benefit from another year's seasoning, but she gets the nod.

Alyssa Seibken, 20, is wearing a white tank top with a hem knot. She sings an odd, rap-adjascent song, but I like her voice. She gets enough yesses to move on, and takes a victory selfie with Ryan.

Tyler Gurwicz is 25. He's wearing a black denim jacket which is snapped up tight, like a shirt. His hair is reminiscent of a certain German dictator who reasonable people must never compare anyone to. I don't love his voice and he gets 2 no's. HCJ has second thoughts and gives Tyler a second chance to sing something, anything, else. Tyler has a brain fart and we go to commercial not knowing if he actually remembers the words to another song. Back from the break, he sings. I still don't like him much, but Harry, and the rest of the judges relent. I doubt Tyler will last long in Hollywood.

We get clips of more rejectees, including a kid who does fair presidential impersonations, and a weepy girl in tan shorty shorts which make her look pantsless when she plays her guitar.

Tyler Marshall, 23, didn't bother to dress up. He's wearing blue sweat pants tucked into Doc Martens, and a Boston ball cap. He sings Proud Mary and only hits one terrible note. He moves on.

Side Note: I really want to see the Lego movie. I think it's going to be a hoot.

Another side note: Omaha has steaks. It does not have cornfields downtown.

B.J. Jones is 20, and his hair is annoying. He's wearing a white blazer with black piping. He sings in an affected style which nearly masks his good voice.

Dajonte Lanear is 16. He's wearing a pinkish red V-neck tee and matching knee-length shorts. He sings well, in a very Sam Cookeish voice.

Dylan Becker is a 17 year old WGWG and I like his voice very much.

Both Dajonte and Dylan get Golden Tickets.

BTW- it's Day 2 now, and JLo is wearing a green and white top that matches her nails from the day earlier. She's sporting the smokey eye today.

Paula Hunt is 20. She sings with the US Air Force Heartland American Band. She's a solid girl and she walks solidly, wearing a red polka dot top with a peplum, over a tight black spangly skirt. She sings Etta James, and you can tell that she's used to fronting a band. Her lisp does not disappear completely while singing, but it's not too distracting. HCJ compliments Paula's runs (a rare compliment indeed from him). Paula's mother has MS. Paula gets 3 yesses.

Adrina Brigden is 18 and looks like a 14 year old cross between Little Orphan Annie and Molly Ringwald. She has a rather adorable gap between her front teeth. She sings Beyoncé, but I like her anyway. I watch HCJ's reaction and I can see that he's unconvinced. Adrina gets 2 yesses though, and that's enough.

Christian Sholl is a 20 year old cowboy from Sioux Falls. I am excited for a moment... until Christian sings. Oh well, it was a good effort.

So, we're down to the final Season 13 auditioners. Casey McQuillen is 21. She wears a lacy dress with a short, full skirt and cap sleeves, and suede knee-length boots. I don't particularly like her but the judges do.

And last up is tan Tessa Kate, 25. She's wearing a floor-length orange, turquoise and white strappy dress. Her hair is in a tousled updo and she has really pretty eyes. Tessa sings Folsom Prison Blues in a voice that I can only describe as Betty Boop married to Stevie Nicks. JLo goes me one better, saying that it verges into chipmunk territory, though she hastens to explain that she means that in a good way. She gets 3 yesses, though I'm not entirely sure why.

21 kids made it through from the Omaha auditions, including 3 from South Dakota who we never get to see. A total of 212 got Golden Tickets, and we saw and heard many of them. All in all, it was a pleasurable set of audition rounds.

Next week we move on to Hollywood, when things get really interesting. And Keith gets a haircut.

Thursday Tab- Kyusha, a Russian Doll

I used to be able to read Cyrillic, but I can't any more. But I do think that this doll's name is pronounced Kyusha. I love how the Russian artists show us exactly what the outfit will look on the doll, just in case we can't figure that out on our own. Also, that we're to use scissors to cut everything out. It's interesting that Kyusha has a printed back, but all of her outfits are front facing only.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

AI Season 13- Salt Lake City Auditions

We open with crickets and a single-wide trailer out in a meadow. Inside, a young father named Casey Thrasher is feeding a baby. The ticker says that was 4 months ago. Then we see clips of other auditioners, and then we go to the opening credits.

We're in Utah, Salt Lake City specifically, tonight. JLo is wearing a black leather raincoat over a pink print top. I think those are flowers, but we never get close enough to see for sure. She's wearing a matching pink head band, pink sunglasses, pink lipstick, and big hoop earrings. Her hair is soft and sort of draped over one shoulder.

First up is Austen Wolf, who is a girl (which you wouldn't know just from her name.) She's an 18 year old blue-eyed blonde in a tie dye dress and a black cardigan. Like a lot of kids this year, she's singing Radioactive. She's singing it a capella, and it's not really an a capella song. She gets 3 yesses.

18 year old Kylee Adamson is a lumberjack and she's okay, though she's wearing a white mullet skirt and a denim jacket. I like Kylee's voice better than Austen's. The judges like her too.

Keith Sanders, 28, is a BGWG (black guy with guitar).
Michael Simpson, 16, is a WGWG (white guy with guitar).
Tessa Norman is 16, w/o a G. She's wearing a long wig, and a gray fishnet sweater over an electric green shirt. I'm not hot on her at all.
All three move on.

Samantha Townsend has raspberry hair, a straw fedora and a really terrible voice. Luckily, the judges think so too.

Alex Preston is 20, and he has poorly-styled retro-hip hair. It's plain that Alex here is an odd kid- he's not handsome, he has zero charm, he makes weird faces while he sings... but... but... I like him, and his original song is interesting. He gets 3 yesses.

Samantha Calmes is 25, and she appears to be a hippie. She practices the judges' names while in The Chamber. She's a WGWG (white girl with guitar). Her original song has far too many spoken interludes, but when she sings, it's intriguing. It gets even moreso when she launches into the theme song for The Jeffersons. The judges are charmed.

We meet Ellie Duke, Phaya, Evan Sharp, and Julie Awful. We do not get to hear Ellie Duke, Phaya, Evan Sharp, or Julie Awful sing, we just get to contemplate their stage-ready names.

Lebryant Crew is 24, and he has a very nice, smooth jazz voice.
Laurel Wright is 28, and she has a sweet voice and a nice original song.
The Two L's get Golden Tickets.

D.J. Bradley is 20, but looks 16, what with his styled-but-purposely-messy-Beiber-adjacent-hair. He needs a shower and his clothes look dirty. For some reason, the judges like him.

Aha- Julie Awful (that's how she pronounced her name, and I didn't see it on the screen, so that's how I'm spelling it for now) is the You Guess. I think she sounds awful and she should go home. I am wrong. (Well, I'm right because that's what I actually think, but I'm wrong in my guess as to what happens to her on the show).

Kensey Hall is 16. She wears tan booties, a gray sweater, black pants, and a blue sweater tied around her waist. She's blonde and cute and rattled, but she relaxes eventually and earns 3 yesses.

Paisley Van Patten is a recovering alcoholic (I wouldn't mention it, but she did, multiple times). She's wearing a pink and gray print blazer over khaki jeans. She's one of the very few auditioners this year without a guitar. She sings with a lovely, mature voice. It's a pleasure to listen to her. She gets 3yesses, and then does a spot-on Cher impression.

I'm pretty sure that Haydn Olsen, 16, thinks she's singing. The judges disagree. I am so glad they did.

Chase Boyle, 23, has very long, surfer boy curls.
Julia Missy Cyclops (seriously) has blue hair.
We won't be seeing either one again.

C.J. Harris is 22. He's another BGWG, and he admits to a checkered past. He's wearing a plaid shirt and a ball cap. I like his voice. A lot. He has a very happy, teary girlfriend.

Day 2- JLo is wearing a slinky, long-sleeved, tight, calf-length, red lace dress. Her hair is lovely, as is her makeup.

Oh lordy- usually I love me some Big Girls, but Tequila here is overcompensating in a big way. She shouts and writhes and screams, and in general, makes a pest of herself in the main room, and is not very restrained in front of the judges either. I think her voice is thin, and her personality is grating. She's trying way too hard, but the judges like her. Please Tequila, dial it back a notch or two. I want to like you.

Chase Thorton, 20, says he's a runway model, but man, I doubt it. He's wearing manpris, flip flops and has very very white teeth. The fact that he cannot sing appears to be news to Chase.

Jessica Basset, 22, has braces and brown hair. I seriously think this girl has a great voice, but all three judges say no. They must have heard something that isn't coming through my TV.

Keith started out on a competition show at age 16, where those judges shot him down. He was a goofy looking kid, but he grew into himself rather well (and had some dental work in the interim). We all know that JLo was a Fly Girl on In Living Color. And HCJ was performing in front of crowds at age 10.

Full Disclosure: Though I have never met her, I have a connection to 17 year old Emily Rottler- her older brother is my high school best friend's son-in-law (him, I've met). I was worried about hearing Emily audition, wondering if I would feel the need to tone down the snark. But Emily, in mustard yellow tights, a blue and yellow skirt, black top and brown booties, needs no soft-soaping. She's good. Quite good. Whew!

Farm boy/hunting dog trainer Dexter Roberts, in his plaid shirt and hunting cap, confuses JLo a little with his good 'ol boy style, but he still gets 3 yesses.

Ally Roundy looks like an 18 year old Carole King. The judges tell her to come back next year and try again.

Briston Maroney is 15, with Young Tom Hanks hair. He comes from musical family, and plays his great-grandfather's guitar. Briston's grandfather was a Nashville recording artist. When asked what name the old guy used, Briston says, "Grandpa.". I love Briston's playing, but not so much his voice. He's pushing and growling way too hard, though I can't fault his song choice ("You Can't Always Get What You Want"). I hope Briston tones it down just a tad in Hollywood.

Leia "Fish" Louteli has a very large entourage. He's wearing a camo zip-front hoodie, a bow tie, and a backwards hat. Said entourage is very happy for Fish.

Carson Henline is 16 and I'll eat Fish's backward hat if Carson isn't in musical theater. He gets 3 nos.

Sabrina Lentini looks like a 16 year old Paula Abdul. She gets a ticket.

Johnny Newcomb, 16, is a cute kid, with brown curls and big brown eyes. He sings Last Kiss with an inauthentic growl. They ask him to sing again, in his own voice, and he sings something else in another inauthentic growl. I do like his voice though (whether it's his or not), and he gets enough yesses to move on.

Kimberley Tosti is 26 and looks 40. She says she's trained in opera, but the way she sings Barracuda makes me doubt it. She's going home.

Carmen Delgina is 24. Her father is Wonder Mike, and I think I'm supposed to know who that is. She has a nice, low speaking voice, and oddly, she looks like Lionel Richie. I like her voice, and she goes through, but all 3 judges waffled on the decision. A lot.

Cassandra Castenada has a far more mature voice than her 16 years would lead you to expect. She's inconsistent though, and only gets 2 yesses (which is enough, but still, not unanimous).

Kenneth "Woodie" Gaddie is a Big Fella. He sings with a sweet voice. Did he go through? Who knows.

So, we're back to Casey Thrasher, the guy from the opener with the cute little baby. He also has an adorable toddler son. It seems that Casey is a single dad- at least no mother/wife/girlfriend is mentioned or appears on camera. Someone should take Casey aside and tell him that when it comes to fancy headbands on baby girls, that the flower goes to the side, and not smack in the middle of the forehead. At any rate, Casey sings well, in a nice country voice, sometimes using his guitar, sometimes not. There was way too much time spent on Casey for him not to go through.

So, 30 tickets were handed out in SLC, with a total of 193 so far.

Tomorrow night we'll be in Omaha- the last of the audition shows. We're bookin' this year.

Friday, January 24, 2014

AI Season 13- Catch Up Recap: January 22, Detroit Auditions

We're in Detroit. #44584, a pretty girl in black pencil pants and long brown hair, is nervous. Other auditioners are also nervous, including some fairly odd looking kids. Ryan makes a selfie home movie in the Motor City. Things in Detroit are not uniformly wonderful at the moment, it seems.

JLo is wearing a red plaid flannel shirt. Or at least I assume it's a shirt until later in the show, when she stands up to reveal that it's a very short dress. Or maybe, it's still a shirt, just a longish one, with no pants underneath. She has tousled hair, and is chewing gum.

Keri Lynn Roche has tattoos. Lots of them. She also has a nose ring, a long black dress, a necklace made of dangly chains, and messy, side-swept hair. She sings hunched over, and I want to tell her to stand up straight. But she sounds good. When she sings without the guitar, I'm not as pleased, but she moves on.

Julian Miller, 18, wears a lot of clothes: a knit cap, a denim jacket over a long sleeved shirt and a bow tie, and red pants. He sings in a bluesy voice which I enjoy. He gets the nod.

Paris Primeau has aggressively pink hair and a black leather jacket. She sings an overwrought version of House of the Rising Sun... I mean even more overwrought than the original. She's going to Hollywood.

Blonde Samantha Furtwegler is kind of screechy. She's going home.

Olivia Diamond sings in a way that makes my ears hurt, but she's moving on.

Malayan Watson is 15. She plays tuba in her school marching band. She's wearing sweatpants and a sweatshirt, and she is kind of hyperly confident. She also has a powerful, clear and lovely voice. She's earned that confidence. She also has a very cool dad. She's going to Hollywood.

Ryan Watt is 29 and dressed all in blue. He has a mature voice, what a novelty. Unlike many of the others this year, he looks 10 years younger. He's going on too.

Khristian d'Avis, whose name annoys on spelling alone, is wearing a pink jacket, a short black swirly skirt, and polka dot booties with pink flowers. Oh my, this is really awful- she sings loud and then soft and then on key and then off key, all in the sacred name of Whitney Houston. It's a bad performance and as soon as she realizes that the judges aren't thrilled, she begins to beg. For some reason, the begging works. Keith says no, but the others pass her through.

In the next segment, JLo is fooling with her necklace, which is nestled down inside her shirt. An absolute asshole of a contestant comes in and makes a bleeped comment about whatever she's doing in there. JLo is insulted, the guys are insulted, the asshole digs himself even deeper, and we don't hear him sing. Good.

Gena Ascuitto is 17. She has black hair softly falling to her shoulders, and she's tastefully dressed in a gray jacket and black pants. She sings an adequate Adele imitation. I have no idea how she might sound if she decides to sing like Gena Ascuitto, but I guess we'll get the chance to find out.

We see short clips of some really creepy auditions. Luckily, they're very short.

Melanie Forrest has big curly hair, lots of makeup and red lipstick. Her dad gave up his dream of singing professionally to raise Melanie by himself, so she wants to do this for him (and, presumably, for herself as well). Melanie is wearing an oddly constructed yellow strapless short dress with a long lace overskirt. Her raspy voice suits Fever, and then Dead or Alive. She gets 3 yesses.

JLo leaves for a moment, and HCJ and Keith fool around, with HCJ auditioning. It's actually pretty funny.

Liam Newberry is 18. Unfortunately Liam Newberry is wearing turquoise pants, a white shirt, and a matching turquoise plaid tie. He loves HCJ and he sings a credible karaoke version of The Way You Look Tonight. But it's not interesting or original enough to please the judges, who tell him to go home and loosen up a bit. I hope he listens.

My lordy, what is it with flowered headbands this year? 20 year old Jade Lathan is wearing one too. She's also wearing a black leather jacket over a purple flowered dress. And thigh high stockings. Her button earrings say *open*. She sings Amy Winehouse and I think it sounds horrible, but the judges love her.

Some guy sings while Keith plays his (the guy's) guitar. He already has a ticket, but no name, I guess.

Ryan asks a stupid question for the Twitter followers to answer. It's so stupid that I'm not going to repeat it.

Sarah Scherb, our #44584 from the opener, sings. Her voice is nasal. Her dad works for Delta Airlines and HCJ asks if Sarah knows Delta Lena. In the safety video, Delta Lena shakes her finger seductively and says "no, no, no" to smoking on board. I have, in the last couple of years, become very familiar with Delta Lena. Oh, Sarah gets 3 yesses.

Cindy Arterbrider is 15 and looks 30. She's truly adorable in her office manager red knit dress with a black belt and a neck scarf. She sings Loving You and she hits the high note. When she gets the nod, she hits it again.

Maurice Townsend is 26. He has very long dreds and a fedora. He's wearing a blue blazer and jeans. He also has 4 of the most purely adorable kids I've ever seen. If this competition hinged on cute offspring, Maurice would take the crown right now. Luckily, Maurice can sing really really well.

Day 2- JLo is late, but she runs in wearing a lacy black schoolgirl dress with a little white collar. Her hair is pulled up into a ponytail and she's wearing pink lipstick.

David Oliver Willis was cut in Vegas last year. In the interim, he has opened a coffee shop with his wife. I like his voice. A lot. HCJ worries that David will rely on his guitar too much, but agrees that he should move on.

Rakita and Karlita Gulledge are 19 year old twins. They have identical horriffic Sharpie-drawn eyebrows, but only one has peek-a-boobs. They sing something by someone named Beyonce Knowles. Maybe you've heard of her. Or rather, they sort of sing and sort of screech. They get 3 no's.

You Guess whether a girl in a white lace dress, fake eyelashes, a stupid halo-style headband, and an unpleasant voice makes it through. Go ahead, guess.

Blake Soles is a singer/songwriter. He's told to go home and work on it a bit.

Brandi Neely is 18, and auditioning again. I don't know how well she sings because I cannot stop looking at her blotchy red neck and chest in contrast with her waxy white face. No one told her to blend her foundation in all the way down, I guess. She gets 2 yesses, which is all she needs.

Ethan Harris is 20, and he looks exactly like a young Robbie Benson in a white shirt, black vest and jeans. He sings in a very high voice (exactly like his speaking voice) and it's interesting. He gets a ticket.

Leah Guerro is 21. She's wearing a pair of really unfortunate print leggings. Her head is shaved on one side, and has very long hair on the other. She has a very good voice, which is nice because otherwise I'd never get past the hairdo.

Zach Day is 21, and he's not great but he's going through.

I really don't like Symphony Hawlett's voice but she's moving on too.

Alya Stackhouse is from Detroit, but she currently lives in Hollywood. She has long hair and a headband (not flowered this time), and is fairly adorable. She sings a terrible song well and gets 3 yesses.

Eric Gordon is 27, from Kansas. He has an impossibly high pompadour. Something About Mary high. It's distracting. He's wearing a Members Only windbreaker, which is also distracting. He sings John Mayer, which layers on the distraction even more. And he snaps his fingers. But for some reason, the judges like him.

Xavier Cavillio is 25, with a big bushy beard. He sings like a street musician and is sent back to the streets.

I'd say that Tony Delbarrio is a Weird Al clone, but that would be insulting to Weird Al.

Ryan Nisbett is 24. In the last year or so, he lost a couple hundred pounds and his thin new self appears to be the unholy love child of Salvador Dali and Johnny Depp, with maybe just a tinch of Eric Gordon's hair thrown in. He sings Sarah Maclachlan and gets 3 yesses. They're going to eat him alive in Hollywood.

17 Marielle Sellers looks exactly like an African American Miley Cyrus- same hair, same mouth, same tongue. I can't begin to imagine why she'd want to do that to herself, but there it is. She has a Dead Dad , about whom we will hear a lot, I imagine. She's wearing a teeny little dress and stilettos. And she's good, maybe a bit too much with the wide-eye emoting, but still, she's good.

So, 40 tickets were awarded in Detroit, and this gets me up to speed with Season 13. Woot!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

AI Season 13- Jan 23, Atlanta Auditions

6:43 am... assorted parents waking up assorted groggy auditioners... also a cheery mama waking up a sleepy Ryan Seacrest. Mama Ryan is pretty darn adorable.

We're in a limo, with three judges and wee Ryan squeezed into the back seat. JLo is wearing a tight, white knit top. Her hair is in a really pretty updo and her makeup is perfect- she's flat-out gorgeous tonight.

First up is a girl with curly hair and a really unfortunate headband dotted with huge flowers. Majesty Rose is 21. She's wearing a gingham shirt and red pants, and she's playing a denim painted guitar. And guess what? Majesty Rose is good. Really good. Good enough to forgive her for the headband.

Jesse Cline is 19. He works as a night shift gas station attendant. He squints as he plays and his voice has not a lot of power, but he's in.

Alyson Ragona has pink hair and a cat shirt, and she's playing a ukulele. And she's terrible.

Chris Medina, 23, has dark hair, a white shirt, a cowboy hat, a guitar, and most importantly, a cute doggie. I don't think he sounds very good, but the judges like him. I blame the dog.

Kristen O'Connor is a nurse tech. She's wearing a camo shirt over a white tee, dog tags and leggings. She also has a hankie tied around her wrist. She's not my style but the show loves her kind of voice.

Emily Piriz is 17. She's wearing a black and white dress that looks more like a short nightie. She sings sorta jazz (though she didn't call it jazz, and therefore did not invoke the HCJ wrath). There's a spoken interlude. Sigh. But the judges love her.

Ben Briley is 24. He's sturdy, wearing a ball cap and a blue shirt. He carries a guitar, but he sings a Capella. His voice is kind of bluegrassy. I like it. So do the judges.

Nika Nashae is a 24 year old student. She's wearing a dress with a tube top that looks like it's made from an actual innertube. She sings Natural Woman, and I think she murders it (not the good kind of murder), but the judges are deaf tonight. They send her through.

Jordan Brisbane is a confident, chunky 15 year old student who likes to cook. Confident enough to wear turquoise shorts. He sings Bruno Mars and his runs are a little ridiculous (*anooo-ooo-ooo-pause-ther man*) and HCJ wisely calls him on them. But he gets 3 yesses.

We're reminded that Phil Phillips also came from Georgia, which segues to PP Clone Sam Burchfield. He's dressed the same, right down to the flip-flops. I expect him to sing something growly but he surprises everyone by trotting out "I Wanna Be Like You" from Jungle Book... yeah, that Jungle Book, the one with Balou and Mowgli. This performance is different, and unexpected, and totally fun. I love it. HCJ says no, but the others put him through. After Sam leaves, HCJ predicts that Sam won't last. The last time a judge made that kind of prediction, it was Simon Cowell... talking about Taylor Hicks.

BTW- it must be a different day now, because JLo is wearing a blue print top and her hair is down but sort of French Braided on top.

Jessica Meuse is 22, but she looks 30. She has pink and brown hair and heavy makeup. She sings an original song- it's not terrible, but it's also not great. The judges like her.

You Guess: nerdy guy in a red shirt and glasses sings terribly. I hope they send Jared Cotton home.
Finally, I am right.

Travis Hunter-Brown is very weird. Also some other unnamed auditioners.

Lauren Ogburn decided to wear a statement costume- she has a headband tied around her forehead, a six-shooter necklace, red white and blue boots, and a tank top. She sings Fancy, the world's best song about a mother pimping out her daughter. For some reason, JLo gets goosies. HCJ tells her that she's trying too hard with all of the accessories. She goes through.

Commercial side note: all of a sudden, Greg Kinnear looks a lot like Dave Barry.

Previous eliminees Neco Starr and Caleb Johnson try again. Neco goes home, and beefy Caleb (with longer hair now) moves on.

Bria Anai is 15 and she looks 25 (sort of a trend tonight). She is wearing sparkly purple pants and matching sparkly purple lipstick. Her black, stretchy top has streamers down the back. Someone needs to tell Bria that having a *momager* is not a good thing. She sings Adele, and it's not at all to my taste, but the judges love her.

So 44 kids from Atlanta got the nod, and the total (including the show I haven't watched yet) is 163.

Next week: Salt Lake City

AI Season 13- Jan 16 catch-up recap: Austin and San Francisco Auditions

Here's how the catch-up recaps will work- as much as I love this show, I cannot watch six hours in a single day. This is the recap of the Thursday, January 16 show. Tonight, I'll watch the new episode in the usual way, and tomorrow I'll watch and recap last night's episode (Wednesday, Jan 22). At least I can fast forward through the commercials on the recorded shows.

So, on September 25, 2013, a slightly heavier, greasier version of Jesse Tyler Ferguson sang in a forced and yodely voice. We get no name and no verdict. Instead we segue into clips of hopeful after hopeful holding up hopeful signs. We also see the judges holding up handmade signs. And Ryan, who, for the first time this season says: This is American Idol.

Evidently, Austin has long-horn cattle right in town. At least that's what the scenery clips imply. Keith is a bit more blond than usual, with more highlights. He's wearing a black tee. HCJ is in a brown leather jacket over a gray tee. JLo is all in denim and diamonds, with a cropped top and jeans with holey knees. Her center-parted hair is straight and her lipstick is nude.

Jessie Roach has a matte black guitar, matte black hair, and matte black clothes. She's 27 but looks every day of 39. Some strange woman heard her playing in her garage and offered to pay for Jessie's trip to audition. Sounds stalkerish to me. I do like Jessie's country/folkie voice, however. The judges agree.

Steven Curd sings boy-bandish blues. Anna Melvin, in a midriff blouse and short full skirt, tries way too hard. Bearded Ryan Clark is not my style at all. All 3 go through.

Up next are high school besties Jamiah Malik, who is 15, and Quiandra Boston, who is 17. I think Jamiah has been friendzoned. He sings his own original song in a sort of country raspy rap, which I like just about as much as you might expect me to like it. Quiandra has an attitude, and her voice is thin. We're asked to guess which one goes through- I guess Jamiah, but nope... At least Jamiah is graceful about the rejection. He holds it together fairly well on camera.

Megan Miller is wearing a black crop top with fringes, and a floaty black mullet skirt. She oversings Carrie Underwood terribly, but for some reason, the judges like her.

Gracie Steele is a 27 year old professional piano player- the kind you hear in restaurants and mall food courts. She has lanky blonde hair, a pink skirt, cowboy boots, and a white jacket. She actually uses her cell phone to find her pitch. I don't think it worked. She was genuinely shocked to get 3 no's.

Austin Alvarez is Adam Lambert Jr, and Eric Wood is an oil field worker. Both are in.

Spencer Lloyd is 19 and very very pretty. He seems sweet and looks a bit like Zachary Levi. He gets 3 qualified yesses- mostly because he's pretty. Have I mentioned that he's pretty?

They play football in guitars in Texas, in just about equal numbers I think.

Marlon Lindsey is a 27 year old, bow tie wearing army veteran. He sings A Change is Gonna Come with far too many runs, but he has a good voice. He moves on.

Some shirtless no-name idiot with red suspenders, sunglasses, and cut off jeans strides into the judging room spouting stale imitations of Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson... lordy, and even more stale jokes. And then he Rick Rolled them. The judges booted him before he could beg for another chance.

t.k. hash (no caps in hashville, evidently) bears a very slight (and I do mean slight) resemblance to President Obama, which he exploited shamelessly. I'm not feeling the singing- he has a nice smile, but otherwise... meh. But the judges liked him.

The Audience Guess- a blonde generic singer named McKenna Dennis. I say no, but I am wrong.

In The Chamber, auditioners check their pit stains, waggle their batwing arms, second guess their talent, use mouth spray, and in all ways, display a lot of nerves.

Tristan Langley is 15. He comes in with  his mom, a redhead who looks like she was rode hard and put up wet. Turns out that Tristan is the son of Nikki McKibbin, Season One's 3rd place finisher. Nikki has a history of poor choices and bad decisions (including a stint on Celebrity Rehab), but her son is adorably clean cut and polite. He sings with an okay country voice which would not have been enough to get him through if not for the novelty of being the show's first second-generation auditioner.

We see clips of lots of hopefuls, including Taylor Sterros, who sings in a blue waitress uniform. Lots of tickets are handed out, and lots of sad kids are sent home.

L.J. Hernandez is a rancher. He says his former fiance told him he didn't have enough talent to get on the show. LJ is wearing a white leather jacket slung over his shoulders, and pleated pants. He talks a mile a minute and is deeply annoying. He should have listened to his ex.

Now we're back to the show opener, a church leader named John Fox. He's still forced and yodely, and he sings with his eyes closed. He gets 3 yesses,

We move on to San Francisco and see home movies, clips, and famous landmarks. I think there's a bridge there, or something. Maybe some hills.  Unless Keith starts wearing things that are startling or different, I'm going to stop talking about his clothes. HCJ is wearing a camo tee with a blue placket. He's a bit less scruffy than usual. JLo has middle-schoolgirl hair, and a sheer black lace top over solid black. Or maybe the lace is under, I can't tell. Anyway, her long sleeves are gathered at the cuffs.

Rachel Rolleri, 17, is a big Keith Urban Fan. She has a good, clear tone, and I like her, not the least because she looks a bit like my oldest granddaughter.

Athena Williford, 20, Whitneys the heck out of herself in a crop top and navel chain. Remi Wolf is 17, with shapeless curly hair and a shapeless curly dress. M.K. Nobilette sounds just like a girl, but he knows it very well. I would have happily sent all 3 home, but they move on.

The next guy comes in crawling on his hands and knees, singing. The judges are not amused. He's Emmanuel Zoder, 24. His shaved hair is dyed blond (yes, I meant both of those things), he cries, is overwrought, and in general, has the Drama Queen thing down pat. I really really don't like him, but he gets the nod.

Aaaawwww, we see JLo's adorable little twins.

Samuel Ramsey is wearing a terrible turquoise sideways hat which matches his turquoise tank top. He says he is going to sing his song in a jazzy style. Samuel now knows that it is not a good idea to invoke the sacred word JAZZ in front of HCJ unless you have some notion of what jazz actually is.

Kaitlynn Johnson is 15 and maybe 8' tall. She lives on a horse ranch, and sings Etta James by way of Christina Aguilera. I'm not sure what to think of Kaitlynn. The judges think she needs more seasoning but she squeaks on through.

Ronald James Reed is hyper. He can play the guitar, but he sings subliminally, and then he squeals. All 3 say no, and Ronald purely falls apart and whines like a puppy.

David Lunning is 26. He wears a vest and checked shirt, and a fedora over his Keith Urban hair. Usually hats annoy me, but David pulls this one off. He sings an original song, and twice in a single season, an original song has actually been worth listening to. It's bluesy and growly, and David might be better suited for The Voice than Idol. He goes through, though I don't know if the vote was unanimous.

A pair of twins comes in. Selena (wearing black with pink accents) and Serena (wearing pink with black accents) are 22. One sings Janis Joplin and I am not impressed. The other has a better voice. So of course, the Janis Joplin girl makes it. She is very sad for her sister.

Season 12 auditioner, and Hollywood alumna Brianna, is back. She still has great curly hair, a cool baggy sweater, and Nefertiti eyeliner. She has a powerful voice, but sings too many runs. I actually think she's off-key throughout, but she gets a unanimous nod.

Rico Perkins, with red clown hair, cannot be serious. Aransea seems to be. Both sing songs from Willy Wonka, and both move on. Makes no sense to me.

Gaddy Basil Foster is a muscle bound doofus. He looks a bit like one of the Wayans brothers in a felt beret and a torn tank top. He sings in that Kermit voice, like there's a bubble at the back of his throat. The judges send him home.

Adam Roth is a barefoot hippie, a sound healer who aligns chakras with his voice. Seriously. He sings with a breathy, soft voice, and has an uncontrolled vibrato. I am not healed. HCJ says no, but JLO and Keith overrule him.

In the last clip, JLo gets bleeped because something was blank-blank hilarious... heeee.

All in all, 19 kids from San Francisco and 14 from Austin moved on, for a total of 79 Golden Tickets so far.

Last night's episode was in Detroit, but I won't recap that until tomorrow. I have no idea where we'll be tonight, but I'm sure it'll be interesting.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Still with the interruptions...

I got home after midnight last night, and frankly, I doubt I have the oomph to watch American Idol tonight, much less take notes and write a recap. I'm behind on last Thursday's episode as well, but I have it DVRed. I'll have to watch them both tomorrow and write short recaps.

In the meantime, it's nice to be home again, even if it's cold and snowy. This is where I've been...

And here...

... which is Los Algodones, Baja California, Mexico (for a day trip with my sisters- much more about that later), which makes my view this morning a little harder to bear...

But tomorrow, I should be back up to speed. I hope.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

We interrupt our normal AI Recapping...

I'm in Yuma, AZ. No, you didn't know I was going to Yuma... no one online knew I was going because this long-planned trip was a surprise for my Dad's upcoming 80th Birthday, and he watches my blog and Facebook pages. I've been up something like 20 hours already and I'm getting a little punchy. I have AI set to record at home, and I'll catch up on recaps next week.

Sorry I couldn't warn everyone- but I promise lots of pretty travel pics.

In the meantime, I'm going to bed.

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.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Spindle Mode

Ever since I opened this beautiful spindle at Christmas, I've been in spindling mode.

And not just with the new hand-painted spindle, either. I bought a little brass tahkli spindle at SAFF this year, but I hadn't quite figured out how to use it. Bless YouTube- this video taught me something I never would have figured out on my own- that *park and draft* works really well for cotton. And it always takes me awhile to remember to hold the cotton loosely for the long-draw.

It's a teeny little thing, isn't it?

1 oz spindle spun and plied (to itself, Andean Bracelet plying) of wool/bamboo. And whatever was on the tahkli spindle plied with a very fine cotton wool commercial yarn.

I also decided to try spindling some angora rabbit fur. I've never successfully spun it unblended on the wheel. The Angora Spirits were with me, because I got nearly a full spindle of lovely soft and fuzzy singles spun. I'm going to ply it with the same cotton/wool yarn that I used with the cotton on the tahkli.

 Speaking of the tahkli- this is what I got spun while watching Galaxy Quest. I never gave up, I never surrendered.

Handy dandy spindle stabilizer for plying...

And here it is, plied.

I wonder what I'll spin tonight...

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Those Darn Gloves

I searched the blog archives, and the earliest mention of these gloves was from  way back in September, 2007,

I've worn them every winter, and they've traveled with me on every cold-weather trip since then. Last week, I noticed that my thumb felt a little chilly...

I inspected the rest of the gloves and found a couple more weak areas,

including a couple of the finger tips.

I still have a lot of the Rowanspun 4ply discontinued yarn that the gloves were made with, but none of the light green. I decided to reinforce the weak spots with a darker green (mostly because it was already wound into a ball). I knew it would show, but really, a darned spot is a badge of honor- proof that the gloves have been worn and loved.

For the most part, I just re-tightened the tips, and duplicate stitched the weak spots.

It's a textured yarn, with nubblies, so the surface isn't totally smooth.

Voila! Good for another six or seven winters!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


It's not as cold today (cresting 0F) and the wind isn't blowing, so I ventured further out for more frozen bubble shots. The bubbles didn't frost over like they did yesterday (amazing what 17 degrees will do), but they did last, and they did freeze. I took a few this morning on the deck, before it was fully light, and later I tromped out to the little barn and got some very cool shots. Just so you'll know- the clear bubble solution didn't work well, so I went with the yellow. I happen to like the yellow bubbles, but if the reaction on Facebook is any indicator, some of you will dislike them. Strongly. Bear with me, if you're one of those folks.

I bow to our Alien Bubble Overlords...

The silly things wouldn't land on the railing, like Nice Bubbles. I had to get all the way down on the deck floor to take this shot.

And this one.

A little later, the light was much better. That's me, btw, in the reflection. I'm wearing a red sweatshirt.

 Oopsie- it spilled. This was the homemade solution, which didn't work all that well anyway. It's going to warm up steadily the rest of this week, so I doubt there will be any new frozen bubble pics for awhile. It was fun while it lasted.