American Idol Season 12 Could Be The Best Season Ever As The Show Picks Up Pace With The Enormous Talent It Had In The Second Episode (RECAP)
The second episode of American Idol Season 12 auditions turned a good day for the boys and fierce for the females on thursdays Chicago auditions.
The ‘idol’ city stood to its goldmine of singing talent with standout singers displaying their enormous talent.
On the second episode we learned that Keith loves comparisons, Nicki loves to flirt and Mariah loves Mariah fans. With less feuding this time, the focus has concentrated on the talent portion of the competition. Minaj seemed like she was born for being the American Idol judge forever.She sang at people in a British accent as they entered, kisses rejected male contestants on the head while telling them she loved them, and cooed “I see you licking your lips playboy, what’s really good?” at hot guys. Sometimes she appeared to have so much fun playfully acting with contestants that she looks mildly hurt when they turn out to be Mariah Carey devotees. Well Nicki was good at championing hot men.
Lets recap the audition with a good and a bad part.
The GOOD part had Mackenzie Wasner, from Tennessee, whose father, Pete, is a prominent Nashville musician who co-wrote the Vince Gill song she auditioned with, “Whenever You Come Around.” She said her father is “my own American Idol judge” at home. Carey was captivated, saying, “There’s a star power there.” Minaj was impressed and told her that it was “like listening to your first single.” Urban compared her to Dolly Parton and Lee Ann Womack, adding, ”You got this great mix of strength and vulnerability.” Wasner was put through with an emphatic “Pow!” from Carey.
Kiara Lanier, looked like a star and already performed a high-profile gig singing for President Barack Obama for his birthday party. “He hugged me,” she gushed to Ryan Seacrest. Her song choice, Celine Dion’s “The Prayer” was a “big song,” according to Jackson, but Carey said she handled it with control and what she described as a “soft and pretty” vocal. “You’re a beautiful girl, and I love the way you went in and out of loud/soft,” she said. Minaj was taken by Lanier’s sense of style, saying, “You look great.” Urban compared her nuances to Aaron Neville, a spot- on assessment. She earned her Golden Ticket.
Stefanie Schimel tried a soft and sultry version of “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” which Carey called “really pretty.” Urban found her to be an interesting “Carrie Underwood/Gwen Stefani blend,” but Minaj, threatened by Schimel’s similar choice of eye shadow, “wasn’t wowed.” “I thought your voice was pretty, you’re pretty, but nothing jumped at me,” she said. “I don’t think you feel like a star.” Minaj was the lone “no” vote.
Gabe Brown, from Iowa, a baker bearing gifts of cookies, was discovered during the show’s new auditioning method of finding talent through small-town bus tours. Brown bears a resemblance to Idol alum Chris Sligh, but that is where the similarity ends. Brown simply wailed on a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” and the judges were excited, as the show hasn’t found a legit rock guy a la James Durbin in auditions yet. Carey wanted to hear something softer, and Gabe complied, but he couldn’t help howling at the moon at the end with a cover of Steel Dragon’s “We All Die Young”’; “When you do your rock thing, I believe you,” said Minaj. Urban points out that “guys with big massive belting voices have big hearts.” Said Carey, “You don’t need a microphone.”
Isabel Parrell cajoled Urban into singing the male part of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” She has a sweet and breathy tone. Carey loved it because it’s a Christmas song. Urban was charmed that she wrote a note at the bottom that instructed him to send her to Hollywood. Minaj said she looks like a star, but Jackson was the lone dissenting vote. But he even liked the note she wrote at the bottom of his lyric sheet that said he should send her on to Hollywood.
Mariah Pulice, a recovering anorexic with a heartbreaking story of her struggle with the disease. The whole package reminded me of Jillian Jensen’s bullying story onThe X Factor, and it set up her powerful audition of The Beatles classic “Let It Be.” “I know what it’s like to have to sing through tears. It’s really difficult,” said Carey. All the judges, touched by her story, sent her through, and Pulice said she felt beautiful for “the first time in so long.” Curtis Finch Jr., a tutor from Missouri who was a member of Ledet’s Hollywood Week group, came in ready to take the judging panel to church, and he did it with gospel singer Smokie Norfu’s “God Be Able.” This impressed Jackson — and the panel, who sent the season 11 hopeful back to Hollywood.
Brandy Neely is another returning Hollywood Week contestant, but this time she gets to audition in front of her favorite artist, Urban, whose record she bought when she was just 9. The Kentucky teen impressed with Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” a song her grandfather used to sing. She’s off to Hollywood once more.
Johnny Keyser, the Florida contestant who was cut during Hollywood Week last season, then teased as a potential wild card (only to be passed over for Jermaine Jones), returned for another shot, this time auditioning with Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness.” Keyser is still as handsome as he was last season, and Minaj commenced flirting immediately, while Urban predicted Keyser won’t be “girlfriendless for long.” Jackson, of course, kept the focus on singing and said he likes “when people come back. …You show that you really want it.” Kez Ban, a self-described “fire performer,” had no problems being interviewed on camera but warned that if she was going to be used in a blooper reel that would embarrass her family, she was ready to bail! She sang, “I’ve Got No Strings” fromPinocchio, for the audition. Ban is quite simply an amazing vocalist, with an interesting voice and delivery that is indie and cool — and versatile, to say the least.” I can feel the realness in you, that you really are that person that you sing about,” one judge said. Plus, after earning a ticket to Hollywood, she deadpanned to Seacrest that excitement won’t come until the “shock” wears off, and then complained about doing paperwork!
Cuba-born Lazaro Arbos had a terrible stuttering problem. His parents said the boy doesn’t have any friends. However, he has music, which is always a powerful healer. When he entered the audition, he told Carey that speaking was like a “ro-ro-ro-roller coaster,” but then he proceeded to sing Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and the stutter completely vanished. That is what music is all about! “Your story is very, very inspiring,” said Carey. “I think you brought a really great vibe into the room.”
Now coming to the BAD or the QUIRKIER ones. Melissa Bush and her bedazzled pink Elvis suit, for example. There was also Kevin Nabity, 25, one of the weirdos. The Vanilla Ice / Ninja Turtle lover debuted his crazy stick dancing skills for the judges before his pathetic portrayal of Barenaked Ladies’ hit, “One Week,” almost sent them over the edge.
Then there are the truly terrible singers who wholeheartedly believe they are fantastic. Like 19-year-old, Chicago-native Leisha Cotton and her hack-job of Ashanti’s, “Thank You,” that prompted the judges to keep it real.
Ashley Curry, who took on “Mamma Knows Best,” by Jessie J. This was not the inspiring vocal we heard of the same song in New York, and it was so spectacularly sung in the key of
a screeching cat that Carey had to get up from her chair as she couldn’t contain her laughter. “You sing in the theater?” Jackson asked. “Is the sound off?”
Also Josh Holiday, Courtney Williams, Andrew Jones and a slew of other people whose auditions the producers didn’t bother one second of airtime.