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American Idol: Season 15, Auditions, 1/7/16

January 8th, 2016 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

Second night of American Idol auditions for season 15, split between Little Rock and San Francisco (and I think I spotted a continuity fail, because last night’s San Francisco view behind the judges popped up in the premiere, too), and twelve more contestants (plus a montage) got Golden Tickets to Hollywood. At least this night’s field included more people who actually sounded like they should be on the show:

1.  Cameron Richard (pronounced the French way, “Ree-shard”)  is a young Cajun kid, with a guitar, who was born with a cleft palate. He doesn’t explain whether it’s been repaired or not, but either it has, or he’s learned to sing around it. He strains through an Ed Sheeran song–he’s untrained, unschooled, inexperienced–but the judges (especially J-Lo) love him. For some reason I can’t fathom, he reminds Harry of “a young Paul McCartney.” The judges cough up a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.

2.  Daniel Farmer, a young black guy, talks about grinding and then sings his way through a D’Angelo song. J-Lo talks through it and then tells him how she thinks he’s funny and sexy and very attractive. (But what about his voice, J-Lo?) He does have a classic R&B voice and the judges do unanimously vote him through.

3. Finally a voice that’s been trained! Dalton Rapatoni, a 19-year-old vocal coach with blond punk hair, plays guitar and turns a Broadway song (“Phantom of the Opera”) into acoustic emo. (J-Lo calls him a Green Day type.) Keith starts talking about how to make an artistic contribution to the show. For once I agree with the judges’ three “Yes” votes.

4.  La Portia Jennings is a big young black woman with big chestnut hair and a baby. She gives a big bluesy R&B take on Radiohead’s “Creep.” J-Lo, who’s been holding the little girl while her mother sings, gives the baby a Golden Ticket to give to her mother. Big voices like this don’t often win but they bring a necessary dimension to the competition.

5. Trent Harmon is a 24-year-old farm boy from Mississippi. He’s got a little voice, no power at all, but there’s something about it that makes you want to see what else he can do. J-Lo talks through his song, then swoons about how she was blown away. Harry couldn’t have possibly heard the singing clearly over J-Lo’s talking, but he declares that this is his favorite audition. Harmon’s through to the next round, when maybe we’ll hear him while J-Lo’s not talking.

6.  Brooke Sample has a pretty country voice but not a country look–it’s more like a trendy coffeehouse waitress. (She’s a waitress, but we don’t know about the trendy coffeehouse part.) She sings “Cold Day in July” better than the Dixie Chicks. Keith thinks she’s got an unique voice, that she’s special, and J-Lo swoons, “America may love you as much as I do.” She gets three “Yes” votes.

7.  Blonde California girl Olivia Hill (she’s from Agoura Hills, from a family of musicians) talks about her father’s advice to sing jazz. She plays piano and sings a Bruno Mars song, showing off her dramatic, bluesy, jazzy voice. She’s obviously more experienced than many other contestants. The judges agree she’s very talented and unanimously vote her through.

8.  Montage of female contestants getting voted into the next round:  Jessica Lambert in black hat, Kayla Mickelson, who’s a blonde with a guitar and a quirky cabaret voice, Melanie Trice with a bob, flower wreath, and pure tones, who Harry likes so well he says, “Yes,” the moment she starts.

9.  Miss Alaska 2014 Maylee Delgado shows some range on a Gretchen Wilson song. The judges give her three “Yes” votes.

10.  The judges get cute. Ryan Seacrest and Harry Connick, Jr. switch places for a dark-haired kid who plays piano and sings his own composition, “Lost.” Then Harry tries to throw him off by sneaking up behind and grabbing him. The guy just keeps right on singing and playing. Ryan and the judges give him four “Yes” votes. His name? Brandon? He’s got a very emotional, dramatic voice, so he’ll probably stick around long enough for us to learn his name, at least.

11.  Kristy Jewell Chavez gets a big hyped-up back story about how she and her parents are such fanatic Idol super-fans. Then she opens her mouth. She’s awful. It’s not like she’s off-pitch, it’s like no pitch. It’s not like she’s off-key, she’s not in any key. Simon Crowell or (even) Randy Jackson would’ve done the sensible thing but these judges aren’t sensible. Harry says, with “Mom and Dad” looking at them, how can they say, “No” and so they waste a Golden Ticket on her.

12? A red-haired girl talks a lot and can’t sing but the judges put up with her for precious minutes of air time and harsh Harry even turns softie and votes “Yes.” Softies J-Lo and Keith turn harsh (as in, sensible) and say, “No.”

12.  Krista Applecott has a white mother in the military (nothing is said about her black father, although I think he’s with the family entourage). She shows off a big showy voice that J-Lo (rightfully) compares to Alicia Keys. The judges think she can win. They give her three “Yes” votes.

Next week auditions move to New York and Clay Aiken makes an appearance.




Tags: American Idol