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American Idol: Season 14, Minneapolis Auditions, 1/21/15

January 22nd, 2015 · No Comments

All three current American Idol judges–Keith Urban, Harry Connick, Jr. and Jennifer Lopez–are back together for Season 14 auditions in Minneapolis:  This episode featured twelve successful auditions including a couple of major finds:

1.  Shannon from St. Paul is 17 and has never sung before as part of a public event (she’s just sung to herself).  I’m guessing she’s the contestant that Idol PR hyped as making the top 24.  She says her style is white soul  She sings “House of the Rising Sun,” showing power, range, and yes, soul.  In this season of loud singers, she’s mercifully more than that.  She gets three “yes” votes.  She’ll definitely get much more airtime.

2. and 3. and 4.  A montage of three women crammed into so little airtime that we’ll have to wait to see if any of them get face time in the next round.  Morgan Ovens plays guitar and sings an Alanis Morissette song.  Gabrielle Noel has long dark hair and wears black clothes.  Courtney sings the country hit, “Independence Day.”  All three get to the next round but will any of them get any more airtime?

5.  Vanessa Andrea (from California) plays guitar and can’t stop talking about Keith Urban or anything else.  Her singing skills are unremarkable, but she’s such a chatterbox nobody has time to notice.  In a season of loud pitchy singers, she’s loud and pitchy and singing a man’s song, “Some Kind of Wonderful.”  Keith (using vague logic) thinks it suited her “to at T.”  She whips out her cell phone so her serviceman-husband can hear the judges vote.  They all say, “Yes.”  Wouldn’t it have been funnier if they’d all said no?

6.  Zach Johnson, a heavyset round-faced guy with red curly hair, doesn’t look like a country singer.  However, he sounds like a country singer on “Don’t Close Your Eyes.”  (He’s a Garth Brooks fan and it shows.)  Keith the country judge says “yes” fairly quickly but J-Lo and Harry are critical. J-Lo wants to hear another song.  After a 2nd country song, it’s Harry who hands over a ticket to Hollywood.  Keith’s so impressed he invites Johnson to join him in concert–and we see a clip of that, two weeks later.

7.  Harry has fun with Aaron Bissell, a typical coffeehouse WGWG.  We don’t actually see much of the judges’ vote, but Harry talks about playing in places where the patrons say, “Shut up!”  He gives Bissell a ticket to Hollywood if he’ll just shut up!

8.  Cindy Jo, 26-year-old blonde teacher, spends more time bragging about her hunting and shooting skills than her singing.  She sings Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” in  a loud pitchy voice (another one).  J-Lo says, “no,” Keith says, “yes,” and Harry’s on the fence.  He finally says he’d like to see her in the next round and coughs up a ticket to Hollywood.  After she leaves the room, he jokes about how he had to say “yes” because she can hunt and shoot, you know.

9.  Matt, a rocker type with long wavy reddish-blond hair, rocks, even if he’s loud and pitchy (this season’s trend).  During a commercial break there’s a Twitter poll about, is he headed to Hollywood or headed home?  The result:  55% like him and he does get through.

10.  Jacob Tolliver understudies the part of Jerry Lee Lewis in the Vegas production of Million Dollar Quartet.  He does a jaw-dropping Lewis performance, combining “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire” with wild pounding and jumping around on the piano.  (If he’s the understudy, what the heck is the lead actor like?) The judges are all really into it but then they get critical.  (Maybe there was too much piano and not enough vocal.)  They want to know what he can do besides impersonate Lewis.  So he sings a Sam Smith ballad.  I think he sounds great no matter what he’s doing–it takes a formidable amount of talent to be able to channel Jerry Lee so perfectly.  The judges, despite their criticism, cough up three “yes” votes.  We’ve found one of the breakouts to watch this season.

11.  Hannah Mrozak from Wisconsin is a 16-year-old jazz singer who auditions with Etta James’ “Hold on Me.” For once we have a singer who’s loud in a good way, and not pitchy.  She’s through to Hollywood.

12.  Mark Andrew, a big guy with a dark beard who plays guitar, is at the upper end of the Idol age limit, making him 28, maybe even 29.  Voice fans may remember him making Team Shakira in Season 4.  He’s from Minneapolis and works as a landscaping foreman.  He sings “Soul Shine” in a rich full voice.  Keith praises his tone but asks for a different song.  Mark then tries a silly kids’ song in a higher pitch, going back to Disney’s animated Jungle Book.  “What sets you apart is the tone of your voice,” comments J-Lo.  After two songs, the judges are impressed enough to all vote “yes.”

Fun time for the judges!  Harry improvises a little song and dance and J-Lo joins in.  Harry looks like he’s been having fun in Minneapolis, and he’s probably warming up for the New Orleans auditions in the next episode.

 

Tags: American Idol