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American Idol: Season 15, Last Auditions, 1/21/16

January 22nd, 2016 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

One of the sadder parts about American Idol leaving us is how we won’t get to see new judges. The final season is being judged by the same threesome that made such a mess of Season 14–and didn’t do such a great job on Season 13, either. This field shapes up according to the whims of Harry, J-Lo, and Keith, who keep talking about they’re looking for a bookend for Kelly Clarkson. (A what?) They have some strange ideas about who may be that bookend. Let’s see who they sent (and some they didn’t send) to Hollywood Week:

1.  Jessica Cabral, is a Brazilian-American with a frosted bob and a soulful voice. She shows off some jazz runs and stylings. The judges compare her to Kelly Clarkson, and give her a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.

2?  Cody Ostrenga rides rodeo, sharpshoots, shows off a belly dance (J-Lo likes it, Harry says you can see that anytime on Bourbon Street) and he sings “Rollin’ on the River” pleasantly, too. The judges agree he’s entertaining. That worked for Taylor Hicks–but not for Cody. After the judges all smile and nod about how entertaining he is, they say his voice isn’t good enough. There have been several pitchy inexperienced teens the judges thought were good enough, but this guy, they don’t.

2. Brian Dale Brown has auditioned for Idol ten times. He apparently has never got taken, which would mean he’s been turned down by every judging panel back to Season 5–at least. He’s a big heavy red-haired guy who shouts his way through “Unchained Melody.” The thing is, he is hitting the notes–and he’s doing the work of Bill Medley’s and Bobby Hatfield’s voices. That’s good enough for the judges, who send him to Hollywood.

3.  Sentimental story time:  Melanie Heber, 17, is a cancer survivor. She plays guitar and sings a Bruno Mars song in a folksy style–she whines but in a good way. The judges praise her and give her three “Yes” votes.

4, 5, and 6. Montage of Rachel Karryn, Briana Espinal, and Caroline Byrne–they all get to go to Hollywood. Maybe we’ll see if they’re actually capable of winning then.

7.  China Sherrod, a heavyset black teenager with bobbed hair, plays guitar and shows a very soulful, emotive voice on an Ariana Grande song. The judges love her and give her three “yes” votes. Harry says she could “stay in that lane and go far.”

8.  Lillian Glanton, bright brassy 15-year-old singer-songwriter from a chicken farm, sings one of her own songs. She plays guitar, too. Her voice is as bright and brassy as her long blonde hair. Harsh Harry says, “No.” J-Lo notices some notes were off but says, “Yes” anyway. Keith’s on the fence but eventually sides with J-Lo. So Lillian’s got a Golden Ticket.

9.  Casey? No, Kacye Haines, who has a sentimental backstory–he’s been through drug rehab. His vocals show some strength and range, but Keith votes, “No.” J-Lo votes, “Yes.” Harry’s on the fence but comes up with comparisons to Bono and Jon Bon Jovi, and finally says, “Yes.” Kacye’s going to Hollywood. Will he last long enough for us to remember his name?

10.  Zach Person (pronounced like Pierson), a teenage black blues-alt singer from Texas, sings and plays guitar on “Next Door Neighbor Blues,” a Gary Clark, Jr. song. Even though he’s young, he sounds professional, very experienced for his age. J-Lo likes the way he sounds like he’s “from another time.” Keith says, “It doesn’t matter who you sing, you sound like Zach.” The judges hand over a Golden Ticket.

11.  Collette Lush is loud and not much else–rough, jagged, pitchy, shaky. She’s also a teenage redhead from Orange County. The judges appear more fixated on her hair than her voice. Keith thinks she doesn’t sound like anybody–and I’m not sure how flattering that’s supposed to be. J-Lo thinks she sounds like Carrie Underwood, although I sure can’t hear it. Maybe because the judges like her red hair so much, they send her to Hollywood.

12.  She’s got long dark hair, she’s from San Diego, and she shows soul on a Beyoncé song. Avalon Young sings better than the last girl did, so she gets a Golden Ticket, too.

13.  Uson Isong is a very tall, very thin, very dark Nigerian-American kid with a black hat. He gives a little bit of soul to Sam Smith’s “Not the Only One.” His vocal is all over the place–but the judges insist he can sing. He gets a Golden Ticket, but maybe more because of his bubbly personality than his singing.

15.  We haven’t seen any promising rockers this season, except maybe for Jackie Butler. She’s 19, she’s got green hair and she sings lead in a punk-alt band. She delivers an uneven performance of a Bruno Mars song. Harry notes, “Something happened halfway through.” Keith says, “You moved out of the band.” She gets three “Yes” votes. Will she do better in Hollywood, or is this her best?

16. A montage of ten or so Golden Tickets–giving a tease and a reminder there are contestants that haven’t been featured yet.

17.  Like Avalon Young, Stephaney Negrete is from San Diego. She’s got a loud showy Broadway voice and strains her way through some big showy runs. J-Lo in particular is concerned about the performance, but she says she’d like to see Negrete one more time. Harry is less critical, and the judges send Negrete to Hollywood.

18.  Manny Torres is a dark-skinned Puerto Rican who proves he’s no Adam Levine on Maroon 5’s “This Love.” J-Lo thinks he’s a star, however, so we know where this is going. Keith and Harry like him, too, so he gets three “Yes” votes.

As the last auditions end, I’m left wondering what happened to Savion Wright. He auditioned for a third season but his fate is unknown. Next week comes Hollywood, the lines, the groups, and maybe the rooms. We’ll wait and see if Wright pops up, if any new faces emerge, and if the promising contestants still look promising.



Tags: American Idol