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American Idol: Salt Lake City, 1/29/14

January 31st, 2014 · No Comments

Sorry about my not reviewing the American Idol Detroit or Atlanta auditions last week.  Cold-and-flu season caught me, but this week I’m back to scout this season’s talent at the Salt Lake City auditions.  I may not always catch the names or spellings but, hey, if the talent lasts through the next rounds, we’ll get to know them.

After a tease about some guy and his kids, the first audition we hear is a young girl named Austin Wolf (?) whose edgy voice doesn’t match her rootsy looks.  She gets three “yes” votes, however.

Next is Kaylee Adamson, a rootsy country-flavored 18-year-old soprano who says she’s a female lumberjack (or lumberjill).  She gets three “yes” votes.

Tonight some montages go by so fast we don’t even see or hear much of the people who are (supposedly) featured in them.  We won’t really be able to say we’ve heard them unless they’re featured more prominently in the next rounds.

Next contestant the show spends time on is Alex Philbrick, who sings a bluesy original song.  Like the girl named Austin, his voice doesn’t match his look.  He’s got a little soft mousey voice–but the judges give him three “yes” votes.

Samantha Calmes, 25, who plays guitar and shows the judges what’s in the pack at her waist, sings an original song and also “The Jeffersons” theme.  Could she be this season’s Crystal Bowersox?  The judges’ discussion is divided but they give her three “yes” votes.

Just about everybody’s got a guitar and a rootsy sound tonight.  Laurel Wright, 18, is one, and the judges unanimously vote “yes.”  Same for a guy named DJ Bradley, with J-Lo noting his “quirky” voice.

One country singer has a name that sounds like “awful.”  Is that how it’s spelled?  Julie Awful?  She’s the one featured in tonight’s audience Twitter poll.  She gets huge audience support with her sweet pretty soprano.  For once the judges split in an unpredictable way.  Harry and J-Lo say “Yes.”  Keith, who may be extra-tough on country singers, is not impressed, but he’s outvoted.

Another country singer (Bonnie?) sings a John Mayer song with a big loud voice.  This time all the judges say, “Yes.”

A third young country singer, Paisley Van Patten, dark-haired and wearing paisley, has the kind of back story more often found on The Voice.  She once was a teenager with a record contract in Nashville but she drank it away.  She’s worked to get sober and is now trying for a comeback.

She sings Faith Hill’s “When the Lights go Down,” but her voice is much more subtle than Hill’s, more whispery and smokey.  For some reason there’s an in-joke that should have stayed “in” about her doing a Cher impersonation–she sounds as much like Cher as she does like Faith (meaning, not at all).  The judges all love her and send her to Hollywood.

Another subtle whispery smokey voice follows.  This time its CJ Harris, a Black blues guitarist.  (Who does he remind me of? Keb Mo, maybe?)  Here, too, the judges show some divisiveness.  Keith says, “You sing because you have to.”  J-Lo says some things sound wrong but can be fixed in the next round.  Harry likes the guy’s “pleasant vibe.”  It’s enough to get him to Hollywood.

Now come some very “iffy” auditions.  A very large, very loud young church-singing Black woman named Tequila Wilson does an Adele song in a screechy horror-show falsetto.  The judges collectively mistake that for range, and practically fall over each other to get her to Hollywood.  This is not going to be pretty.

A model named Chase follows, who’s no louder and screechier than Ms. Wilson.  This time, however, the judges come to their senses and say, “No.”

Tonight’s montages are making it hard to tell who’s auditioning and what the outcome is.  An curly-haired angel-faced teen named Jessica Bassett is auditioning, and I hear a voice that’s the most beautiful I’ve heard this season.  So I’m absolutely stunned when the judges all say, “No.”  Could the editing have been super-misleading, somehow mixing a good voice over a bad audition?

This montage effect of iffy auditions continues throughout the episode.  One young man looks–and his name sounds–Eskimo or Indian.  He says his nickname is “Fish.”  We don’t really hear him sing but he gets through.  We’ll see what happens later.

During a commercial break there’s an Idol trivia question.  Which former Idol contestant calls Utah home?  Is it Kris Allen or David Archuleta?  It’s Archuleta, of course!

Dexter Roberts, a heavyset man with a cap, a duck hunter and farm hand from Louisiana, sings “I Like to Drive,” a song by former Idol contestant Casey James.  Here’s another time when the voice doesn’t quite match the look–he rocks, although in a down-home country way.  The judges say “yes” unanimously.

Bruceton Maroney, 15, had a great-grandfather who was an early Nashville musician.  He plays his great-grandfather’s guitar but he sings a Rolling Stones song, full of loud bluesy rock slurs and not much range.  J-Lo says “Yes.”  The editing teases us and teases us and finally reveals the guy has a golden ticket.  (I think tough guy Harry said, “No,” but softie Keith said, “Yes,” as usual.)

Towards the end of the night there are several auditions that we just can’t tell what happened.  One exception is a petite dark girl–Kassandra with a K–who has one of the prettiest voices of the night, and the judges send her through.

Another petite dark-haired girl turns out to be the daughter of Wonder Mike of the Sugar Hill Gang.  That’s probably why the judges all said, “Yes,” because it certainly wasn’t because of any singing ability the young lady showed.

The second-to-the-last audition of the night is for a big gospel-singing Black man, Ron Gladdie, who gets through.

Then comes the audition apparently chosen as the finale.  Casey Brasshear is the guy whose super-sentimental story opened the episode–ordinary guy, ordinary family, American Idol contestant.  He also tells Keith he’s that fan who was hanging at the stage door at the CMAs last year.  He does a Brooks and Dunn song in a soft soulful country voice.  He gets three “yes” votes.

So the Salt Lake City auditions close with 30 golden tickets handed out.  Next and last come the Omaha auditions, in almost the very center of America.  Hollywood Week starts next week.


Tags: American Idol