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American Idol: Season 15, More Auditions, 1/14/16

January 15th, 2016 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

After three episodes went by with no front-runners emerging, last night we finally saw some auditions that promise the final season of American Idol may live up to its hype after all. Here’s who made it to Hollywood Week and potentially to the voting rounds:

1. and 2. Amber Lynn and James “The Eighth” Dawson audition together but not impressively. He plays guitar while she sings in a quirky voice. Then he sings, and his song choice is John Legend’s “Sun Comes Up.” His voice isn’t a technical wonder but it shows some character, enough to make you want to hear another song, at least. The judges offer mixed comments but give both singers Golden Tickets to Hollywood.

3? No. Emily Weers is hyped as somebody who can do an auctioneer’s spiel, but can she sing? At her audition, she sounds (and looks) a little like Buffy Sainte-Marie. That’s not good enough for the judges who think her vocals aren’t strong enough and find her pitch drifting everywhere. She’s better than half the people they’ve taken (including the two above) but she’s not (even) going to Hollywood.

3.  Chris “CJ” Johnson is a White-Guy-With-Guitar (and tattoos and a goatee) but his voice is soulful. He gets three “Yes” votes.

4.  Ethan Coots, a fifteen-year-old country boy (another WGWG), looks about twelve–and J-Lo thinks he’s cute. He says, “Blues and Southern is my genre.” He shouts his way through “Stormy Monday,” copying the Allman Brothers’ recording. Harry and J-Lo argue about whether to put him through or not. (Guess which one wants to put him through?) It comes down to Keith, the softie, and we have to wait through a commercial break for Keith the Softie to outvote Harsh Harry.

5. Mary Williams, with blonde wavy hair, from Tennessee, performs some old-school country with Tammy Wynette’s “‘Til I Can Make it on my Own.” She’s got a powerful country voice, and a pretty one. For once the judges get a little unpredictable. Harry and J-Lo vote “Yes,” meaning the lady’s going to Hollywood. Keith, who can get hyper-critical with country singers, dissents but is out-voted.

6. Terrian (like “Terry Ann”) is black with bushy red hair. She’s from what might be called the wrong side of Memphis. She sings Pharrell’s “Happy,” and she’s got a pretty voice. Even though Harry criticizes her vocal flaws, the judges give her three “Yes” votes.

7.  Time for another (white) guy with a guitar, Tommy Stringfellow. This one’s a tall thin (stringy) fellow with a shock of curly red hair. He sings Ed Sheeran’s “Gimme Love” in a quirky voice. (There are many quirky voices this season.) J-Lo thinks he’s cute, so we know where this is going. Keith and Harry like him, too, so he gets three “Yes” votes.

8.  Tank Johnson is a black teacher who’s about as wide as he is short. He shows up with a boom box and dance moves, but finally gets around to singing “Superstar.” (He’s copying Luther Vandross, not the Carpenters.) His singing shows charm and personality, even if it’s not technically thrilling, and the judges give him three “Yes” votes.

9.  John Wayne Shultz (Harry calls him the show’s “big handsome cowboy”) is back–in Season 10, he almost made the semi-finals, but that judging panel liked Scotty McCreery better. Shultz sings “The Dance” (Garth Brooks) and the judges love him. Keith likes his “natural way of doing it, not a Garth impression.” They welcome him back with three “Yes” votes. We may have found our first potential winner of the season.

10. During Season 5, Tori Kelly auditioned but didn’t get far. Now she’s got a hit record, and is influencing the next generation of singers.  One is a fifteen-year-old black girl, Jordan Simone. She has a very mature voice and style for her age. The judges give her three “Yes” votes.

11.  A montage of successful auditions including quirky-voice Rhea Raj on piano, and somebody named Casey, or something.

12.  Tonight’s showing us more good singers than the first three episodes combined. Jake Dylan (guitarist, white) is a working plumber from Oklahoma who sings well–then Harsh Harry says, “You’re good but we’re looking for spectacular.” (Given the some of the mediocre people the judges have raved about, you could’ve fooled me.) J-Lo and Keith outvote Harsh Harry, however.

13.  Ashley L. has a last name that’s hard to spell and pronounce. (There’ll be time to learn it if she makes it through Hollywood Week.) She’s a brunette with a guitar, and somehow the song “Black Velvet” suits her well. For once J-Lo’s the judge who’s unimpressed, saying, “I wanted a tiny bit more.” Harry and Keith outvote her.

14.  Speaking of last names that are hard to spell and pronounce, Andrew V(N?)azarabekian came all the way from Russia to audition. He says he’s doing an Adele song, but the song he does is Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love.” The judges agree he’s got a beautiful voice and give him three “Yes” votes.

15.  Have we found our first breakout of the season? L. V. Shane looks old-school seventies-era singer-songwriter, with guitar, long hair, beard, earrings, and a past that includes drug use and rehab. When he sings “House of the Rising Sun,” it’s like he’s giving a concert (even though Harry notices his guitar’s out of tune). J-Lo notices how his voice fills the room. He gets three “Yes” votes, and he’ll either shine through the season or will never be seen again.

Auditions wrap up next week.

Tags: American Idol