American Idol auditions bring the heat while making you cry like my kid when she has to take her Legos apart

DANIEL ETHRIDGE (AUSTIN, TX)

If you think I’m not rooting for the Asian country singer you’re reading the wrong blog

That’s what I needed from an Idol audition episode – some sweet, sweet sap with a ton of talented contestants. Screw with my emotions like a jilted lover, then tell me how it wasn’t my fault with big voice after big voice.

I don’t think we have a heavy favorite from the Monday episode, but there were more than one contestant who I think could have a deep run.

The ep also showed up the lineup Idol producers are trying to build and it seems like they’re going back to the penultimate season where there was a good amount of talent even if it wasn’t the most marketable vs the final season that was all about marketability with actual vocal talent taking a backseat, which sucked with American Idol being a singing show and all.

Anyway, Idol is kinda on the backburner for me right now with the NCAAs and everything, but with Hollywood Week it’s picking up some steam. Hopefully things don’t get screwed up from here.

Here are the recaps, maybe next time I’ll try and stay awake past 11 and actually do these night of.

GOLDEN TICKETS

1) Trevor McBane

“Colder Weather,” The Zac Brown Band

The goat farmer looked more like a fat Matisyahu than Johnny Cash and nailed the stereotypes you’d expect from a contestant from Oklahoma – farmer, loves his granny, sings with a growl, has potential, judges love the sounds because they’re not used to voices that aren’t overproduced. Not gonna say he was my favorite, but anyone not wearing skinny jeans I’m gonna be a fan of.

2) Genavieve Linkowski

“I Won’t Give Up,” Jason Mraz

Incredibly dirty move by Idol to have an incredibly emotional song play over Genavieve’s story, then have her sing it. Not gonna make me cry this into a show you dirty motherfuckers. Genavieve was good, think she’s gonna get lost in the crowd of vocalists we’ve seen but at this point I’ve completely lost count so WTF do I know. She’s got the voice, look and story and traditionally, producers only need the latter two to move people on. We’ll see. Lionel comparing her to a young Celine Dion was WILD tho. Celine at 12 would win Idol. Genavieve?

3) Kenedee Rittenhouse

“I Told You So” Carrie Underwood

Being from the same town as Carrie Underwood doesn’t make you Carrie Underwood. Maybe take a note from Carrie and tone it down with the deep purple lipstick until you’re super famous and can do whatever you want. Credit on the romper (fire), voice wasn’t Carrie, no problem with her getting a ticket, definitely my favorite in the clubhouse for having a mental breakdown during group night. Also, we need to have a talk to people about spelling names. Probably the most obscene spelling of Kennedy I’ve ever seen. TOO MANY EEEEEEEEEs.

PS She’s an 11 out of 10.

4) Brandon Elder

“Original Song,” Not Gonna Make Fun Of It Because It’s About His Mom

Only way this guy could have been more Southern would be rolling into the audition with a plate of fried chicken and then screaming “Roll Tide” at the end of his performance. Probably a Top 5 most tragic story in the history of Idol – birth mom gives him up for adoption, adoptive mom gets cancer and dies – and so I guess I was wrong about not crying in the first 45 minutes of an episode of Idol. Tough audition to judge between sobs, but I’m gonna try to be as unbiased as possible. Just kidding, this guy fucks, might sneaky know how to play this game better than the others because getting in on songwriting with a questionable voice is a huge accomplishment on a singing show.

5) Cody Martin

“Happy Birthday”

There’s one of two things that are going to happen with Cody – he’s going to be an unmitigated disaster in Hollywood or he’s going to the Top 24. In the past Idol has snuck some high quality contestants into the audition process through montages or brief appearances and Cody coming in crushing Happy Birthday to Katy Perry seems a little suspicious to this guy. I’m guessing the real audition he sang a couple other songs, but they just edited this in nice and tight so people would forget it until he’s sitting on a couch next to some other rando and Ryan’s voice comes in saying “Also in, Cody Martin, who surprised Katy on her birthday.” Not gonna sneak one by me Idol.

6) Victoria McQueen

“Don’t You Worry About a Thing,” Stevie Wonder

I don’t care if she’s 15, her into package was like Top 5 most annoying things I’ve ever seen in the audition process (being an old I have a disdain for the current youth and their Instafaces and SnapGrams) but you don’t win Idol on intro packages, you win on singing and she’s good. Real good. She can sing whatever she wants, but my worry is overbearing stage parent who’s going to lead her in the wrong direction because the only thing a stage parent should do on Idol is start crazy fights on group night and looking at her parents after she walked out of the audition, the problem ain’t gonna be dad, so that should be fun for Hollywood. Victoria and Christina Jones gonna battle for a Top 24 spot, gonna break my heart when one doesn’t get it.

8) Dominque Posey

“A Song For You,” Donny Hathaway

He’s Top 24. If you can make a Canadian Tuxedo look fashionable and belt out the classics, you’re gonna do just fine. BUY BUY BUY.

9) Amalia Watty

“Make You Feel” Bob Dylan

Her story was on the same line as Amelia Hammer Harris so if American Idol was hoping the old whites would get Amalia and Amelia confused, congrats because there’s no way they don’t. Helen in Nebraska’s gonna see Amalia in Hollywood like “Oh Donald I love this girl, her dad wrote Wooly Booly, remember when we danced to that at our wedding?” Carribean Hammer even dressed from the era as her audition song. There’s no way both make the Top 24 because of the massive confusion it would cause for the midwesterners, so look forward to both of them on the couch during the Top 24 announcement with only one getting through is too easy for the producers not to do.

PS Luke Bryan saying “I love your hair” is exactly what someone trying his best not to look racist would say. Awkward White Guy 101.

10) Daniel Ethridge

“Fire Away,” Chris Stapleton

I’m a huge fan of people who play right into stereotypes or go 1000 percent the other way so I’m a huge Daniel Ethridge guy. Did not think the first country singer, non-Mega Hunk Edition, I was going to genuinely enjoy was a Korean dude with a little beef on him. I want, no NEED, to see him get to the Top 24. Feel like he’s got the talent and the right sense of humor for the show, plus I think we’re gonna be best friends.

 


11 & 12) Taryn Coccia & Payton Taylor

“Masterpiece,” Jessie J

“Angel From Montgomery,” John Prine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZVyvY9dySg

This thing was set up like a motherfucker because because there’s no way Payton just randomly showed up and stole the shine right off her sister. Last time we saw a move like this was when Colton Dixon “randomly” showed up to his sister’s audition and caught a ticket and had a great run in Season 11 while she got shown the door. Taryn was what she was – good looking, decent voice, but if she’s just gonna do that rap/sing thing she doesn’t have to worry about being on Idol too long. If you’re gonna pick a Jessie J song at least pick one that shows off your vocals.

Payton on the other hand? Whoo boy. You could see Taryn’s hate steaming off her head while her sister put out the best female audition of the season, complete with the fake bitter smile at the end. Payton is the real deal. Katy could have put her in the Top 10 and I would not have argued one bit.

PS Payton has like 26K Twitter followers so her being Top 24 is the lock of all locks.

13) Sam Sohmer

“Tennesse Whiskey,” Chris Stapleton

The second I saw Sam I had two questions – is this a white guy and does that make the hair problematic? And which Idol does he look like? First answer, I don’t care. Second answer, he doesn’t look like one, he looks like two, because if Season 8’s Danny Gokey and Matt Giraud had a kid together it would be Sam Sohmer. Wasn’t a huge fan of the kid coming out as “Samothias” – you’re not allowed douchey nicknames until you’re famous – but was a huge fan of everything else. Not to sound like Katy Perry again, but this kid’s a Top 24 lock, probably ends up like Top 10 overall, really excited for him to become the new Clark Beckham and bang out McDonald or Kenny Loggins.

14) Marcio Donaldson

“Jealous,” Labrinth

This kid’s already won American Idol he decided to raise a child that wasn’t his. No idea how you can be his age and just say “yeah, I’m gonna take my sister’s kid and make sure he has a strong upbringing.” When I was in my 20s I was barely responsible to keep myself going, nevermind a child that wasn’t mine.

Not gonna critique this guy too much, but I do love falsetto and if he comes out and buries Frank Ocean or any song with any sort of ties to the love he has for the kid, it’s gonna be real hard to match that on stage. It sounds like bullshit, but you need emotion on stage to succeed and finding that emotion isn’t going to be an issue. Rooting for him even if I have a feeling where it’s ending.

THE TOP 3

1) Payton Taylor

The absolute package. I think they’ll shy away from a country-heavy lineup, but with the demographics of the show, I can’t see her not making Top 24 short of pulling a Katniss Everdeen screaming “I volunteer as tribute” and walking off stage so her sister gets through.

2) Sam Sohmer

Probably the most versatile performer we’ve seen. Piano guys don’t have a terrific record vs. WGWG but if you wanna be called “Samothias” you’ve probably played a Dave Matthews song on an acoustic guitar under a tree on the quad once or twice, so he’s gonna be fine.

3) Daniel Etheridge

If you think I don’t play favorites, you must be new. I play favorites like I eat cheeseburgers. Does that analogy make sense? No, but Daniel is officially my guy, so nobody else can call dibs. I was there first.

Last audition Sunday, first Hollywood show Monday. You know where I’ll be. 

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