Portland and St. Louis

The Singers – 

Brittany Zika, 21: Nice husky tone in her lower range and decent intonation; upper range is sloppy and maybe a little whiny. Her personality is more fun than irritating, and if she can sing it certainly won’t hurt her chances…….Jermaine Jones, 24: Rich, deep lower range befitting a gentle giant (6-8 ½, don’t forget the half). Far less polished than someone who was born singing should be, and his lisp won’t help. I can’t call him a contender, but he’s an interesting sleeper……..Britnee Kellogg, 27: Love her tone, but she missed badly (flat) on one of her run-ups. If she can sing in tune (a big if as far as I’m concerned) she has one of the best pure tones I’ve heard so far this season. She seems like she might be fragile despite the bravado…… Romeo Diahn, 22: I enjoyed hearing him, but he’s probably toast when he’s up against experienced singers……..Naomi Gillies, 22: She might be a picker; her phrasing sounds to me like that of someone who usually sings with a guitar strapped on. Let’s hope for her sake that she is. Her voice isn’t all that special…….Jessica Phillips, 25: The pimp spot means that she probably went fairly deep. She has natural passion in her voice and a good strong tone. I’m not sure, or sold yet, that she can stay in tune under pressure. If she can, she can make it to the live shows.

None of the aired contestants from Portland appear to be a lock to still be around for the live shows, but at least one of them probably will make it. I’d rank their chances, in order:Jermaine, Brittany, Jessica, Britnee, Naomi, and Romeo.

Saint Louis

The Singers – 

Johnny Keyser, 22: Charismatic looks, charismatic personality, charismatic voice, and the judges love his charismaticity. Is that a word? Spellcheck says I should spell it chromaticity. What the hell is chromaticity? Anyway, what else does he need? I’m worried about his intonation (he was all over the place when he started out), but he got better as he went along. Contender? If he can sing in tune he’s a huge contender (if not a standout) but all of those trills and flourishes, with anything less than masterful control over his intonation, is a huge minefield to traverse. He has as much blow-up potential as he has star potential. He won’t be in the middle. He could be gone by Group Night, but if he is good enough to make the semis he’s going to be on the tour, and he could win. Hell, why not? Standout Number Four……..Rachelle Lamb, 26: Love the kid (so cute), hate the sob story (so cliché), loved the voice by the time I heard the third note. Like all country styled female Idol hopefuls she imitates Carrie Underwood’s tone, but she sounded more like Patty Loveless or Sara Evans when she got distracted and forgot to do the imitation. This might not be the best year to be a country singer after what happened last year, but she is the real deal. Dudette can sing. She’s a contender unless there is a bias against country singers this year……..Reis Kloeckener, 20 : Spellcheck wants to call him blackener. I have no expectations for Reis so his issue is different than, say, Johnny Keyser. He’s so held in that I was impressed that he could stay in tune at all. If he can open up, or rather (hopefully) when he learns how to open up, he’s going to have something. I hear Rascal Flatts potential in his voice, but he’s going to have to learn how to push more air out than he pulls in…….Ethan Jones, 22: I was kind of hoping that they would ask him to sing something else. He has the chops, the tricks, decent range and professional command, but he sings from a horrible place in his face if that makes sense. He’s as held in as Reis, but he has professional experience so he can hide his weaknesses the early rounds of the competition. He won’t last if he sings like this every time. He is way too nasally, way too throaty, and the sound seems to come out of his hair instead of his mouth. To simplify it, he is a professional singer with a LOT of bad habits…….Lauren Gray, 22: Huge voice, cool tone, and I went into the audition wanting to like her. I won’t dun her for her intonation in and of itself, but her audition was all in a range of less than an octave. The entire song was right in her wheelhouse. I won’t be sold on her until I hear her sing something soft, or at least melodically demanding. She seems to have everything that she needs other than that, so she is at least a strong sleeper.

Saint Louis kept the Idol tradition of bad show/ good show going, giving us three contestants with massively more upside than anyone they gave us from Portland.

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Now that the audition rounds are over the field seems a little bit weak compared to last year, but that might be because they decided to hold something back that they didn’t hold back last year. Pia Toscano and Jacob Lusk were the only tour singers missing in the audition rounds for season ten. This year, who knows?

Since this was the last audition show, I’ll just announce that my man Scott Dangerfield from last year came back this year. He was listed among the 32 of 42, so we will see him again soon. I’m not as high on him now as I was last year, which is weird since I know he made the final 42. I’ve seen a bunch of his videos, and he doesn’t have that deep voiced charisma that I fell in love with anymore. He sounds like just another trill spewing Bruno Mars wannabe now, instead of someone unique. We’ll see.

I’ll post my final audition round power rankings sometime this weekend. Hollywood Week starts next Wednesday. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to hear someone sing with music backing them up. Acapella singing is nice for a change of pace, but three weeks of it gets old. Let’s hear some guitars, some pianos, some drums. Let’s get the game on!!!

Idol Video: I found this video trolling YouTube last weekend. It’s Allison Iraheta, the kid who I named the “Allie” award after. You gotta love the pigtails, right? Her drummer is just awesome, not good drummer awesome (she isn’t very good), but just awesome.