The Blogging Dead: American Idol – Episode 6 (Hollywood Week)

The first episode of Hollywood Week got intense. We lost a bunch of amazing voices, but some of my favourite people still remain. Most importantly, in my opinion, Catie survives. I feel like she’s like Daryl Dixon to me. You know how a bunch of Walking Dead fans say if he dies they’ll stop watching? I think if Catie doesn’t make it past a round I’ll just stop watching. Probably not, because there are other great contestants, but she is by far my favourite.

She performed Come Together by The Beatles and, of course, did amazingly. But even when she wasn’t performing it was literally impossible not to love her. All of the judges even hugged her because she’s just too precious. There was even a short segment in that video about she and another contestant, Zach, becoming good friends, and it made me happy to see them together. But unfortunately Zach didn’t make it past this round, even though he was also really good. I would have liked to have seen the two of them together throughout the season. It was adorable seeing them.

Dennis Lorenzo sings Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran, and in the time since his audition has gotten married. We’re already seeing major life moments from these people and we’re not even to the live episodes yet.

When it comes to the group round, Marcio Donaldson‘s group had me worried. He and Maddie Zahm were taking it seriously, while the other two people in their group weren’t. I was afraid they were going to drag them down. And for a minute there it looked like they weren’t going to make it, but most of them did. Marcio was saved, at least.

Catie’s group, Taco, was full of other amazing people. I loved watching all four of them work together and interact. Sadly, only three of the four made it through. Highlight here is seeing Catie beatboxing. Wasn’t expecting that, but it just made the performance all the more entertaining. Never a dull moment when she is involved.

Denis Lorenzo’s group, Superdope Hotmess, had a single flaw in it which I thought was going to ruin them. Milo Sposato joined them after they’d already picked a song, and quickly tried to take over. Or rather, his mother tried taking over. But it doesn’t help that he changed the arrangement at the last minute, to where even the vocal coach was asking him to specify the changes as they were walking onto the stage. I thought for sure Milo was going to not make it to the next round, because the whole point of the group round is to see how they perform with other people. Milo was essentially trying to make it about him in a way. When it came to his part, he asked that the music stop so he can sing it A Capella, basically putting all of the focus on him. At one point he even says, “I do care about the group, but this is my decision”. No, it’s a group decision. They let him through anyway. If he’s like this now, just imagine if he wins and has actual star power.

I think my second favourite part of the episode was when Crystal Alicea’s group, Don’t Touch, went to perform. Crystal felt a little insecure about her voice, because she hadn’t been singing nearly as long as the other three girls in her group. At one point they were sitting at a table and she got emotional, and the other three comforted her and tried to encourage her and give her tips. When it came time to perform, all four of them were amazing. But when they finished, Katy said that they only had enough spots available for four more people. They were the final group to perform, and there were four people in the group. Katy said that she’s going to need one of them to volunteer to go home. Crystal said she’d do it, reminding me of Katniss Everdeen saying, “I volunteer as tribute”.

Obviously, she was devastated because she was voluntarily giving up her dreams. But then Katy told her to not cry, because she was joking, all four of them were going through.

That moment was like something out of a movie. Crystal Alicea is a truly amazing person, and even though I put her on my top ten favourite contestants list, I feel bad for putting her at #8. She’s more like #3, after Dennis and Catie.

This show just keeps getting better, and I seriously look forward to seeing these people go far.

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The Blogging Dead: American Idol – Episode 5 (Auditions 5)

This is the final auditions episode, and in my opinion the best episode they’ve had thus far.

It starts with Gabby Barrett not only singing amazingly, but also pranking her dad with the help of the judges. It’s things like that which is why I love the current judges so much.

It’s always risky to sing one of the judges’ songs during audition. Caitlin Lucia sang Katy’s I Kissed A Girl, but instead of trying to imitate Katy, she made it her own by doing it differently, and it totally worked. Katy even said that she did the song better than she even did, which I think is probably the greatest compliment you could get in that scenario.

Mylon Shamble said that she was going to audition with Stand By Me, and the judges asked if she was sure she wanted to do that one, as it’s “more of a B song”, like a casual one that shouldn’t really show of any talent. So they said that they were going to let her sing it, but wanted her to sing a follow up song. But she was so good that all they needed was a few seconds of her Stand By Me. When she stopped they told her to keep going. She made a casual song sound amazing.

They moved the “great personality” audition to later in the episode this time instead of right at the beginning (not that Gabby doesn’t have a great personality, just that she’s not a Catie). Carly Moffa was obviously very comfortable there. She said that she wasn’t going to worry about “being appropriate” and all of that, so she was very, for lake of a better word and because I really want to use this phrase at some point, “Loosey Goosey”. It clearly wasn’t just for show, either, because they played a short clip of a video from when she was little and she was just as funny back then as she is now. And of course, she sung an original song which she wrote.

You know you’ve got something special when Lionel Richie compares you to his friend, the late Luther Vandross. Which is exactly what happened to Samuel Swanson. I was not expecting him to have that voice, but I was pleasantly surprised, so I wasn’t surprised when Lionel made that comparison.

Since this is the final audition, I want to quickly list my top ten favourite contestants. I liked a lot of the people who made it to Hollywood, and most of this list was hard to compile, except for the top four, I went ahead and added them, then went through the rest of the videos to compile the rest of the list.

10) Mara Justine

9) Gabbii Jones

8) Crystal Alicea

7) Marcio Donaldson

6) Caitlin Lucia

5) Genavieve Linkowski

4) Effie Passero

3) Ricky Manning

2) Dennis Lorenzo

1) Catie Turner

I know they will never see this, but good luck to all of the contestants. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone compete and go far.

 

The Blogging Dead: American Idol – Episode 4 (Auditions 4)

They broke tradition, and I wasn’t that impressed with the opening audition this time. So I won’t be talking about them for once. So I’ll start by talking about Genavieve Linkowski. It seems no one is allowed to just be good at singing. They have to have some dramatic story behind them. Sometimes it feels forced, but not this time.

Kenedee Rittenhouse not only takes inspiration from Carrie Underwood, she grew up in the same town and even sang with her once when she was younger.

Victoria McQueen was born the day the first ever episode of American Idol aired, so it only seems fitting that she made it through auditions the day she became eligible.

Speaking of everyone having a dramatic story, Marcio Donaldson was crying so much during his audition I was almost afraid he wasn’t going to make it through. But luckily he did because he was very good.

I know I just rushed through the highlights, but I’m honestly finding it difficult to think of things to say about most of them that the judges don’t already say. This is basically me listing the auditions I really liked. Next Sunday is the final audition episode, then it’s onto the actual competition part. So hopefully then I’ll have more to say. At the end of the next one I’m going to go through and list all of my favourite contestants and maybe even rank them. I know two my top three are (thus far, we still have one more audition episode), but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do a full top ten. But we’ll see.

The Blogging Dead: American Idol – Episode 3 (Auditions 3)

Since these episodes technically don’t have a plot, I’m just going to focus on the highlights like I have been doing, unless there’s something major of note I wish to discuss.

They tend to start these episodes off strong, because for the third time in a row, I really liked the first audition. Her name is Crystal Alicea, and she had me emotional before I was fully situated in my seat.

Ricky Manning is another one I hope makes it far. Catie Turner has 21st Century Machine (she posted the full song to her YouTube channel), Ricky Manning has LA Is Lonely. The song is a powerfully moving one. Katy looked like she was about to cry as he was singing, and it turns out she was. She said after that it hit close to home because it reminded her of when she was first trying to make it. He’s now one of my favourite contestants.

Effie Passero is another one that I liked. She has a strong voice and it didn’t surprise me when she said she grew up with opera.

Tyler “Cougar” Gordon was told no, but I think it was because his voice isn’t what they’re looking for. He’s really good and would be great singing classic rock-style music.

There was a ton of funny moments between the judges this episode, but they don’t seem to post that on the YouTube channel. They really should. They also remove pretty much all of the Ryan Seacrest parts. He’s pretty much the only thing from the original show to come back, and I’m glad for that. It wouldn’t be the same without him.

The Blogging Dead: American Idol – Episode 2 (Auditions 2)

The second episode of the reboot was just as full of talent as the previous one. I want to highlight some of my favourite auditions.

The first one of this episode was Mara Justine. Much like Catie in the previous episode, she was first and had both an amazing personality and voice. Unfortunately, it appears that American Idol doesn’t post the introductions, just the auditions.

It’s not too often  that the judges interact directly during the audition, but Michelle Sussett made sure that the judges got up and danced with her. I knew it was going to be a unique audition when she walked in and casually said, “Excuse me one second”. She set a speaker off to the side, and when asked what it was, she said, “It’s a surprise”. That’s one way to grab everyone’s attention.

Trevor Holmes was very good, but the thing I loved about the audition is that before he even went in the room, he told Ryan Seacrest that he has had a huge crush on Katy Perry for as long as he could remember. Without him even saying that to her, she immediately liked him and seemed to have a crush right back. So when he eventually tells her he had a crush on her, it just makes it even better.

Gabbii Jones is another one with an awesome personality to match her awesome voice. She sings Ariana Grande, which as Katy points out is a hard song because of Ari’s pure talent. So for Gabbii to have perfectly pulled it off was outstanding.

All of the people I’ve mentioned above were a yes, but Misha Gontar was told no. I think he should have been a yes. I think the reason he was told no is because of the song he picked. It was an unusual song. BUT, he is from the Ukraine, and it was a Ukrainian song, so they should have taken that into account. Here is the original version of the song he chose.

The next two auditions will be next Sunday and Monday at 8/7 central on ABC. I am looking forward to it!

The Blogging Dead: American Idol – Episode 1 (Auditions)

When I started this series, I never could have imagined that my second series to cover would be American Idol. But here we are.

For those who don’t know, American Idol ended a couple years ago, ending after fifteen seasons. But what apparently not a lot of people know is that ABC has rebooted the series. There has thus far been two episodes, and I’m instantly a fan.

I actually hadn’t watched the show since Clay Aiken back in season 2 (2003). But I’d seen clips here and there, and I could tell that this was definitely a vast improvement. In the manner in which they chose to present the auditions, as well as the judges themselves.

The new judges are Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan. It is immediately clear that they have amazing chemistry. Even though this is their first season (or even episode) as American Idol judges, it feels like they’ve been doing this for a long time. They are all great together. There was plenty of funny moments, usually from Katy (she is hilarious!)

What I meant by “the manner in which they chose to present the auditions” is that in the old show, everyone loved watching the auditions because we all loved laughing at the people who couldn’t sing. I guess they were trying to prevent that to an extend here, because they mostly only showed the people they said yes to. They threw in a few of the rejections, but they left most of those for a montage.

One thing I loved is that instead of mocking the people who they were rejecting (like Simon, Randy, and Paula laughing at the people who couldn’t sing, then making fun of them), they judges chose to use it as an opportunity to encourage them. Even if they’re totally awful, Katy, Lionel, and Luke will encourage them and tell them to try a different area (like Broadway).

There were a bunch of great auditions this first episode, but there are three I want to highlight here. One of them was a rejection, though…

The first one I want to highlight is actually the very first audition of the reboot. Her name is Catie Turner, and I remember thinking while watching her introduction (which I couldn’t find the video of) that even if she didn’t make it past the audition she needed to be famous somehow. I was an instant fan of her based solely on her personality alone. But then she sang. I know that I will be voting on her every week, and she is who I hope wins. I actually tweeted at her after I finished watching the episode.

Twitter

 

The second audition I want to highlight is Koby. I didn’t catch a last name, and I can’t find one online. She was rejected, and I knew she was going to be rejected the second she started singing, if not the second she started talking. She was clearly trying way too hard. Confidence is a good thing, but she literally told Katy, “I’m not leaving here without a golden ticket” when she implied she was about to say no. She even tried going, “Don’t do this to me Katy”, like they’re old friends. When she left the room, she went out and said, “I think Katy is just jealous”.

She is actually kind of pathetic. In my search for the above linked video, I found out that she created a YouTube channel and tried acting like she was famous. The channel is literally called Koby Idol American, and the description in her videos say that she’s on most streaming services. Which makes her sound like a big deal, but then I looked her up on Spotify. No one is listening to her. Which actually just taught me something. Anyone can put themselves on Spotify. I always thought you had to be someone to be on there.

Spotify

 

The third and final audition I want to highlight is actually the final audition of the episode.  His name is Dennis Lorenzo, and he has an amazing story to begin with. He’s essentially had a very rough life. Watch that video to hear him tell it. Then keep listening because he’s one of the best singers the entire episode. I hope Catie wins, but I’m pretty sure Dennis is going to win. At the very least, I think they’ll be the final two.

Hopefully the rest of the season is as amazing as this first episode. I might not follow every season of the reboot, but I intend to do every episode of this season at least.