After last week’s premiere and second episode, it seemed like the ‘farewell season’ of American Idol would be packed with talent. However, the 3rd and 4th round of auditions weren’t really all that. I doubt any of the following hopefuls will make it to the final 12, 24 or even 48, except for a quirky lady, three cowboys and a 15-year old girl nobody believes is actually 15 years old.
Idol starts and ends this week with the same classic song ‘House of the Rising Sun’. First one to do it: Gianna Isabella. She can sing, but it’s nothing special. She’s got one thing going for her, though: her mother. Gianna’s Brenda K. Starr’s little girl. There’s no way Harry Connick Jr, Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban are able/permitted to send her away without a ticket. Derek ‘they don’t like a good entertainer, I guess’ Huffman doesn’t have a parent in the industry. Even his boombox can’t save him. For some reason, he takes off his shirt after being rejected by the judges. Meanwhile, Clay Aiken is playing a game of ‘How Well Do You Know Clay Aiken?’.
Hair, Eggs and Underpants
Isaac ‘I’m going to do my a capella song with my guitar’ Cole is up next. In order to look hip, he’s combed his hair over his face. Either that, or there was just a lot of wind in the waiting room. He’s ‘close to being ready, but not quite’. Apparently that means three yeses. Joining him is Sara ‘egg shells’ Sturm, who met Keith’s egg-spectations. Harry: ‘I’m-a let you go through to Hollywood’, but no one gets his ‘I’m-a let’ (omelette) joke. The more skin you show, the less likely it is you’ve got a voice, which definitely applies to Ellis ‘glitter underpants’ Banks. He was ‘born this way’, but some people are born without talent. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Piano, Tinder and Guns
Then it’s time for slow scooter Jenn ‘t-h-i-s–i-s–m-i-s-l-e-a-d-i-n-g’ Blosil. She must be the quirkiest auditioness in 15 years of Idol. It turns out to be a smoke screen, because she does a great, great rendition of ‘Radioactive’ by Imagine Dragons on the piano. This girl you want to look out for. I wonder if any of the relationship advice Harrison ‘Tinder on steroids’ Cohen got from his ‘foxy’ grandpa would work on her. The last contestant of the night is John Arthur Greene, and it’s like picking up a news headline, 19 years later. He accidentally shot his brother when he was 8 years old. There were guns in the house, and it was always very safe, because they were never loaded, until they were. Understandably, it’s still weighing on him to this day and it’s a brave thing to come out and share something like that with the world.
The fourth episode shows that even J-Lo can go over the edge with eye shadow. I suppose you can’t be a style icon without totally missing the mark sometimes, so it’s forgiven. It’s once again an episode with a lot of mediocrity. The singers are all pretty average, with only a couple of them standing out. Even though Amber ‘I dragged not my boyfriend with me to audition too’ Lynn and James ‘not the boyfriend’ VIII both went through, they’ll probably be the first ones to not make the cut in Hollywood.
Sweet, Inked and Ready(ish)
Auctioneer Emily ‘butterbutterbutterbuttergoingoncegoingtwice’ Wears has a very sweet voice and has got the looks, but a spot on the ‘cute list’ doesn’t always give you a pass. Overall, it just wasn’t strong enough. Human tablature Chris ‘cool man’ Johnson, already a professional musician, but struggling, has got a lot of ink, but the voice to back it up, too. Someone who’s a long way from ink is Ethan ‘dog trainer’ Kuntz. He’s as green as they come. Harry doesn’t think he’s ready. Jennifer’s convinced he’s born ready; that’s one no, one yes. Keith: ‘You’re not ready, but I want you to go through anyway.’
Leg Goosies and a Game of Basketball
The next contestant gives Jennifer goosies. On her leg. Mary ‘bling’ Williams, who’s singing a bit ‘clinical’, according to her fellow judgies, gets a ticket, but it wasn’t all that great. It’s like we’ve gotten to the point where they’re letting people go through, just because they wouldn’t have a show otherwise (or not enough people to create that ol’ Hollywood rounds drama). Xavier ‘American Idol hotshot’ Soller brings in a (miniature) basketball set. Every judge gets one ball to throw and, wait a minute. Wasn’t this a singing competition?
Gangs, Stars and Strings
Terrian (no last or first name) has a nice flow about her. She’s got gangs shooting each other up on the street corners around her, but she’s got a different career in mind. She’s singing ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams, or as she says: ‘by Pharrell’. You can always just travel the world and sleep underneath the stars, like Leann Blue ‘going with the wind’ McIsaac. A singing nomad, she calls herself. She makes up a song, on the spot. Needless to say that’s not what Idol is about. This show is more about imitating Ed Sheeran, like Thomas ‘perfect name’ Stringfellow does. The jury finds him interesting, but apart from his name, I don’t see it.
Sweat, Hats and Spears
I don’t know about his voice, but Tywan Tank ‘and left and right and left’ Jackson definitely knows how to entertain. After his singing (and dancing), he’s completely out of breath, sweat’s dripping from his face, but he’s through. A real contender, though, is John Wayne ‘one handsome cowboy’ Schulz. He tried it once before, back in season 10, but they felt there were too many cowboys already, so let Scotty McCreery go through to the live shows instead. The Schulz of 2016 is – like Randy used to say – in it to win it. One piece of advice: don’t teach yourself to sing by listening to Britney Spears, like Leah Harbert did. She silences the jury, but not in a good way.
Phenomenons, Overwhelmingly Good
A run for their money. That’s what’s Jordyn ‘you are not 15’ Simone is going to give her fellow contestants. Such control, such a woman, such a phenomenon. We get a glimpse of the auditions of Kassy ‘I feel like I was designed for this’ Levels and Rhea ‘it’s all working’ Raj. The latter seems the better singer, the former the better performer. The best audition of the night comes from Jake ‘daddy!’ Dillon. Such a great guy. No nonsense. Heart. A strong voice, great presence, great storyteller and great vulnerability. Why doesn’t the jury see it? Harry says he looks for ‘overwhelmingly good’, so it’s a no for him. Jennifer says yes, and Keith… long pause… Then we see Jake walk through the door with a golden ticket. He absolutely deserves it.
Straight out of Justified
There’s a fine line between relaxation and nonchalance. It’s hard to tell on which side of the line Ashley Lillinoemaineleipuananiokaloni-Adams-Soderbergh is. No, I didn’t just fall asleep on the keyboard; that’s her name. Andrew Nazarbekian also didn’t blow me away. He was way too theatrical. Another cowboy closes the night: Elvie ‘straight out of Justified’ Shane. His girlfriend and her son made him change his ways, which was a nice uplifting story. And he sang well. I’m afraid, though, that there are too many cowboys in it this year yet again.