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American Idol: Season 14, San Francisco Auditions, 1/28/15

January 29th, 2015 · No Comments

We’re near the end of auditions for Season 14 and American Idol is starting to let its freak flag fly.  We saw little in the way of breakout performances last night but we saw plenty of gimmicks.  We saw a lot of why American Idol remains popular–and a lot of why some people continue to hate it:

1.  First freak flag of the night is flown by Katherine Skinner, who’s fifteen going on burnout.  (J-Lo:  “Is this a joke?” and “She’s crazy!”) She wears a fake-fur coat (“I got it from Bowie in the seventies!” when she wasn’t even born yet) and babbles pretentiously but she really can sing. She’s shrill, loud, and pitchy, but shrill, loud, and pitchy is the story of this season’s auditions.  The judges have reservations but the guys in particular really like her.  (Harry:  “Extremely exciting.”  Keith:  “Bold and fearless.”)  She gets three “yes” votes.

2. and 3. and 4. A trio of auditions come at us so fast–they’re edited together in a head-spinning way–that we need a pencil and paper to keep track.  Here’s what the final score is:

2.  Erica David,  25 is loud and pitchy (another one) but the judges call her sassy and let her squeak through.

3.  Long-haired blonde does a decent “New York State of Mind,” gets three “yes” votes.

4.    Black guy (good-looking) who Harry calls “pitch perfect,” gets three “yes” votes.

5.  Andrew Bloom from Yorba Linda, California, WGWG, sings “Too Close” in a voice and style similar to John Mayer.  The judges all like him well enough to sing along and give him three “yes” votes.”

Oh, yeah, and Andrew’s friends with Olympic sprinter Ryan Bailey. Harry challenges Bailey to a footrace, and the Olympian’s across the room before the jazzman’s taken three steps.

6.  We see very little of a red-haired gal with a jazzy voice (I think Kelly is her name) but she gets to go to Hollywood.

7.  Another freak flag gets unfurled, and this time it’s a Hawaiian guy whose mother has 21 brothers and sisters (and the whole clan lives together, off and on).  About sixty members of this family have come to the audition.  Now dig this:  he sings Rod Stewart’s “I Don’t Wanna Talk About it,” Hawaiian-style, while strumming a ukulele.  Even I can hear his bum notes, and I can barely tell high from low.  Now it’s the-judges-can’t-be-serious time:  Keith thinks he’s got a great voice, and J-Lo swoons about how “pretty” and “beautiful” it is.  (Maybe J-Lo’s really into ukuleles?)  Tough Harry provides the only serious criticism, that we’ve seen “only one side.”  Softies J-Lo and Keith voting “yes,” that’s not the punch line.  The punch line is, even Harry votes “yes.”

Remember (or don’t) the Pakastani-American guy last season, who was the go-to storyline until the final thirty, when the show suddenly didn’t bother to give his story an end?  I suspect this guy will get the same kind of airtime this season.The guy’s name?  Reno, or something. Oh, yeah, and when the whole family screams collectively at the news their guy made it, the noise is loud enough to make Harry dive under the table!

8?  Samuel Prince, and another freak flag flies!  He spends more time flirting with J-Lo, wasting airtime on getting her to do a drama improvisation with him (She slapped him!) than singing.  It’s just as well because the judges (even J-Lo) like his acting better than his singing and say, “No.”

Is this 8?  No, it’s a montage of bad auditions.

8.  For real?  No, it’s a “Hollywood or Home” Twitter poll.  The guy (Zack Dyer) sounds like a fairly decent country singer, but the vote splits almost 50-50, and the judges say, “No” when they’ve told some worse singers, “Yes.”

8.  Finally!  Ray Von Owen, a good-looking black guy with a hipster style, sings “Wide Awake” but he’s got a tiny soft high voice that would make Michael Jackson sound like an opera singer.  (I liked Zack Dyer, the “Hollywood or Home” guy that got sent home, better.)  The judges all rave, though, and all say, “Yes.” Really?

9?  No, it’s a pair of twins (from Puerto Rico, I think they said) and they look just like when George Michael was in Wham! and doing songs like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-go” with Andrew Ridgeley.  The twins audition together, but all we hear is one playing guitar (I guess that’s Andrew) and the other singing.  (I guess that’s George.)  Looks aren’t everything, and the song is terrible, and the singing twin is no George Michael.  The judges say, “No” to both–even though we never heard the second guy sing.  (That’s a little like Andrew in Wham!)

9. (For real?)  We thought the Cardenas twins doing their Wham! rip-off were the last audition of the night, and the episode was going to end on an unsuccessful audition for once, but there’s a few min. for Maddie Hudson, with long red hair and bright red lipstick on her pale face.  She’s loud, but at least she’s expressive and dramatic as well.  Her singing isn’t spectacular, but her emoting is.  J-Lo’s getting goosebumps and praises the singer’s “sad eyes.”  The guys rave, too.  The judges like this girl so much, they give her three golden tickets.

Tonight (Thursday 1/29/15):  still in San Francisco.    



Tags: American Idol