Posts Tagged ‘Kansas City auditions


Kansas City, Missouri 1.14.09

Kansas City, 1/14/09

Lil’ Dawg
(Continuing to be a woman of few words. It will get better – she’s promised!)

Day Numero Dos.

Kansas City reminds me of a circus!

Brian Hettler: No comment on the singing, but Simon’s face was priceless.

Billy Vinson: Hahahahahahahahaha

Danny Gokey: Love his voice, definitely the best we’ve heard, I think. He’ll go far. Puffyheart the rasp!

Lil Rounds: Tons of passion, so natural

Tight Black T

11,000 showed up in Kansas City, home of AI7 winner David Cook, and an additional 27 came away with the coveted golden ticket to Hollywood.

Of course, every night has to start out with a bit of pain – that’s the AI way. Tonight’s introduction to the pain came from Chelsea Marquadt. I think Simon summed this one up quite accurately, though the girls disagreed. “You sounded like a cat that jumped off the Empire State Building, and the sounds it makes before it hits the floor.” Yup.

Ashley Anderson may have started out on the wrong foot, singing the wrong lyrics to a song Simon co-wrote. But once he corrected her she proceeded to wow them with her control and range.

Casey Carslon, a cute 20-year-old from Minnesota was the full package as far as the panel was concerned. She’s cute, and her voice is cute. I sensed a bit of country in her voice even though she performed “A Thousand Miles,” by Vanessa Carlton. We’ll see if that’s the direction she takes if she moves on.

Opera singer Brian Hettler took on Aretha’s, “Think.” What a train wreck. Randy couldn’t stop laughing, Simon sat stone-faced and I said, “okay, but he can sing opera.” Uh, no. Not that Josh Groban is opera, but when he attempted “You Raise Me Up,” I seriously could not wait for one of the judges to put a stop to it!

The next contestant was a bit confusing to me. In his pre-performance package piece, Fedora wearing Von Smith said, “My range is a little bit strange and I attempt to sing things guys don’t sing.” Well, that really got me excited to hear his audition. Rolleyes He sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” LOUDLY! Okay, trying to get past that, he did have good control of his voice (just not the volume). But I thought, nah, he’s a goner. Then they surprised me – he’s going to Hollywood. We’ll I’ll be damned.

Next was Jason Castro’s brother, Michael, a much-anticipated contestant in my household. The only resemblance between the brothers is their mouth (pointed out to me by my Castro loving watching companion). Michael claims to have only taken up singing 20-days before the auditions. “Hey, if J can sing, I can sing.” Most would consider this fool-hearty; Kara thought he was a ballsy dude. I’d have to agree with that. And you know, he wasn’t bad. I heard Jason in his voice, but there’s more power there.

And then we reached the contestant who is 27-years-old, doesn’t look like an Idol, and was a bar singer. Sound familiar. All those things together had me thinking, welder Matt Breitzke didn’t have a snowballs chance in a pizza oven with this group. And when Randy said, “Cool bar singer,” my viewing companion and I were like, “Oh, here it comes.” But, his very soulful “Ain’t No Sunshine,” while not the killer TH version, was very nice and won over all the judges, except Randy.

Jasmine “Jazzy” Joseph was up next. Uh, no.

Jessica Funney, a very unassuming young girl from Kansas was up next. Jessica lives with her nearly deaf grandmother so she can continue to live in the home she loves. She sang “Crybaby” by Janis Joplin, and this red-haired, eyeglass wearing girl from Oz, won over all the judges. “I like you; you stand out, small town girl with a big dream.” Awww. The kind of story AI thrives on!

There was a pleasant surprise with the rapping sisters – one of them could actually sing! And for a moment, I thought Simon had a heart when he said how much he liked the sister that didn’t make it, and how everyone should have a sister like her.

Jamar Rogers and Danny Gokey are best friends that decided to come to the auditions together. If you’ve been a watcher of AI over the years, you know that these situations often do not work out. In the case of this pair, it did. I wasn’t particularly fond of Jamar. His performance was too loud and a bit overdone, but the judges gave him a ticket anyway. And then there was Danny. I love Danny’s voice. I read a blogger last night on who said that Danny had “the most soulful voice of any white guy on AI ever – sorry Elliott.” My apologies to Elliott and Taylor – I think this guy might be right. I can’t wait to hear more from him, and hope that the pressure of Hollywood week on top of the grief he is experiencing over the death of his wife is not too much for him.

And talk about not looking like an Idol – geeky Anoop Desai surprised everyone with his voice. But we’ve been down that road before, haven’t we? They shouldn’t be surprised when an amazing voice comes out of some unassuming geek (or dork) – see Clay Aiken and Taylor Hicks.

Band director and father Asa Barnes was questioned why he chose the song he did. His answer “I like it.” That’s tellin’ em Asa. LOL! It got him a ticket.

Michael Nicewonder, relative of Hank Williams, Jr., put his Oedipus complex on display with his original songs, making my ears bleed and causing me to cringe over the lyrics he wrote to his mother and grandmother.

Simon was so right when he said the panel was duped for putting back flipping, whining, Dennis Brigham through. Sheesh!

And of course we had our annual outraged contestant. This one apparently has some in with God because she insisted that they were wrong and God was going to make them pay – over, and over, and over again.

As they often do, they saved the best for last. 23-year-old mother of three Lil Rounds kicked ass. She is the full package – beautiful, classy, sweet, and a killer voice. Was it me or did her husband not look thrilled about her getting that golden ticket? Maybe the prospect of taking care of those three kids on his own was too much for him!

My top picks from Kansas City – Danny and Lil.

Seacrest’s Hair

We are short on time and very stressed this evening, so this will be way shorter than last night’s, with just a couple highlights. When they were bad, they were really, really, really bad, and “Jazz” Joseph and Michael Nicewonder came close to the horrificness of years past.

The first one shot down, though, Chelsea Marquardt, was a really hard read. She looked like she was going to have a technically perfect voice and the emotion of a steamrolled toaster, with that polished blonde look. But she actually couldn’t sing for beans! We just want to know how terrible everyone else in “varsity choir” is.

Before we get into the ones that got through and the ones we liked (not always the same), is this the new Lumberjack Seacrest? Seriously. Plaid? I’m skeered!

All right. We don’t know why Casey Carlson got through, she wasn’t that great. Von Smith is a little scary with all that power, and he shall henceforth be known as “Hat Guy”. Castro’s brother is… the obnoxious version of him. Is that a little sister in the family shot? When’s her turn? Dennis Brigham, the guy who dreamed of Simon, needs to dial back his personality — whoa, buddy.

The ones we liked: Breitzke, the welder, may give Phoenix’s Sarver a run for his money in the married-guy-with-kid(s)-and-dangerous-job category, and we’re not sure why Randy thinks a “bar singer” type isn’t right for AI, since Taylor Hicks won. Y’know, that guy in the far left corner of the backdrop.

Anoop Desai has us thinking this might be the year for an Asian-American Idol. Nice surprise in a Geek Squad package, kind of like a boy we worked with many years ago.

Jessica Furney is pretty, chubby and has glasses, and lives with her really old, really deaf Grandma. She shows up looking like she’s going to do yardwork (except we wouldn’t do yardwork in nice Guess jeans) and blows us away. Hopefully she won’t get made over too much.

India Morrisson is Princess P redux. Cute, though. We have a ton of music teachers getting through, which is astounding. And a couple sob stories, of course, Danny Gokey the widower and Lil Rounds the mom of 3 tornado survivor. At least they both can sing worth a damn.

So this could be interesting. Hopefully next week we will be better rested and maybe even able to watch the show in real time… but then we’d have to give up the fast-forwarding. Hmm. We’ll think about this…