Pittsburgh and San Diego

Tonight’s recap will cover the Pittsburgh (Thursday) and San Diego (Sunday) auditions. I didn’t change the format like I promised. I just mashed the auditions together and right margin justified the whole thing. Pretend it’s revolutionary. I did get rid of the “Idol Thoughts” banner. Still, whaddya think? “Idle thoughts…. Idol Thoughts…..” Right? RIGHT? Oh, never mind. Spoil-sports…

Aside: The spoiler list I saw earlier has been replaced by one listing the final 24. I don’t want to know the results yet (I wish I hadn’t seen ANY results ahead of time) so I didn’t look at it, and since I don’t remember much about the 32 of 42 list (other than a few contestants) I’ll go back to making some guesses about the auditions. If I remember seeing a name I won’t pretend I didn’t see it. I’ll either tell you they made it if they are obvious, or try my best to leave it ambiguous.

Pittsburgh

There was a huge gap in quality between the aired auditions from Savannah and from Pittsburgh. That’s standard procedure for Idol, alternating good shows and train wreck shows. They aired more teenagers than adults in the opener. Tonight’s contestants were mostly adults, and the kids they did air were mature and talented. Did they air any train wrecks? I don’t remember any.

The singers:

Heejun Han, 22: Nice job singing Michael Bolton, but in a “career moment” sort of way. I don’t expect him to be able to sing that well again…….. Reed Grimm, 26: Standout Number One. I dunno if he has any range or big time power (his song didn’t require it), but his intonation and phrasing are professional. He has style, and obviously plenty of imagination to come out and sing the frigging theme song from a cheesy sit-com ….. Aaron Marcellus, 27: He went deep last season as Aaron Sanders. He has a good shot at the semis, and I believe he was on that 32 of 42 list….. Chase Likens, 20: Country singer, but his voice would fit more styles. I don’t know if he’s unique, but he can sing….. Samantha Novacek, 19: I’ll spare you the eight hundred horrible puns that I thought of IMMEDIATELY when they showed her sister “planking”, and just say that I don’t see her as a semifinalist. She can sing, but there was something missing. I’ve heard dozens of girls sing like this, and they rarely make it to the live shows. Her tone was terrific and her intonation was fine, but there was no pizzazz. She has the dreaded  “frog effect” problem (From that old Bugs Bunny cartoon, the Warner Brothers frog who sang like crazy when nobody was looking, then just sat there immobile when he was done and people were looking at him)… You know, the Frog that ate Kenzie Palmer last year…. Creighton Fraker, 28: He has a strong voice and some professionalism, and he is really creative. He might be nuts, though. My guess is that he will either make the live shows or flame out spectacularly. Jermaine Sellers, anyone? ….. Eben Franckewitz, 15: For fun I ran his name through my spell-checker, and it flipped me off. Actually, it just came back “no suggestions”. He might look like Justin Bieber, but he sings like Jacee Badeaux….. Travis Orlando, 17: If Idol is going to exploit this kid’s sad story again they should help his family out; or at least get him a mentor or something. He is total fodder for the next round, and they have to know it….. Erica Van Pelt, 25: Does she have any range? She did the huh-huh thing too, which to me is a bad sign. I don’t see her making the live shows unless she has more tricks to show us….. Hallie Day, 24: Her command and intonation were very good. We’ll see about the phrasing (and her composure) down the road, but she certainly has plenty of voice and some stage experience under her belt from her time in New   York. I’ll call her a contender, just short of a stand-out. I’m skittish about her phrasing more than anything else, but I was skittish about Crystal’s phrasing in season 9, too. She has the coveted howitzer.

Pittsburgh gave us several auditions which I liked more than any of the Savannah auditions. The contenders are led by Reed Grimm and Hallie Day, along with wild card Creighton Fraker and returnee Aaron Marcellus. Some of the names looked familiar, but I can’t say for sure either way about whether any of them were on the 32/42 list. I would guess that at least a few of them made the final 42.

San Diego

I made it to San Diego several times while I was in the Navy. I always love to see the ships, and in HD the Midway is awesome!!! Not as awesome as the girl in the Daisy Duke outfit, but pretty awesome…..

The singers:

Ashley Robles, 26: There was a little sloppiness in there that might make me worry about a Paris Tassin flameout, and her auditon song was one of those perfect vehicles. That’s it. This kid has a howitzer, tons of style, and control of all of it. She is cute as a button and she seems to be comfortable under pressure. Standout Number Two ….. Jayrah Gibson, 26: Fodder. No range, no intonation, no command, and he doesn’t know where to breathe either. All style, no substance…… Aubree Dieckmeyer, 20: Spellcheck wants me to call her decimeter. Cute kid, but no voice. Fodder for Idol, but maybe she can win America’s Top Model…… Ali Shields, 19: Well, she’s fodder too, but I enjoyed the heck out of her. She’s kind of a dork, but she is fearless. Not that it’s important, but did anyone else notice who was standing beside her when her friend “outed” her for her kissed-lessness? No, not Usher (he kissed her in the next screen shot). There was a well known band with an Idol connection standing next to her. I’ll post the answer at the end of the recap…… Kyle Crews, 19: He is really good at his style of singing (Boy Band lead singer) so he’s probably a contender, but isn’t that style dated? ….. Jane Carrey, 24: First of all, why in the hell is Jim “I have more money than GOD” Carrey’s kid working as a waitress? She has a decent voice, but she seems really shy. Jim Carrey’s kid is shy? Maybe I’m jumping at shadows here, but I didn’t sense much excitement from her Dad when she called him with the news. I sense that this is a kid he didn’t raise himself or take much pride in…… Jason“Wolf” Hamlin, 24: Hey, here’s that guy from on the plane who looks like Zac Brown!!! I would call him fodder, but when he went for the high notes he was really good. I still don’t see him as a contender, but he should at least be fun in Hollywood.

San Diego’s best was San Diego’s first, Ashley Robles. I’m not sure any other singer from tonight’s show will still be around by the final 24. Maybe Kyle Crews. It wasn’t a trainwreck show, though. All of the auditioners, even the ones who were rejected, were interesting.

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Answer to “trivia” question: Lady Antebellum was standing next to Ali Shields. Hillary Scott, their female lead singer, failed two auditions for Idol.