San Diego

Schubha Vedula, 17: First up, just the guys. It’s rare to hear a really good low range at an audition, since (1) most of the contestants want to show off their upper ranges and (2) young singers generally don’t have good low ranges. Scoobie (can I call her Scoobie?) has a terrific tone low, and plenty of tone and power high. She has tremendous breathing technique, so she pushes just tons of air compared to most singers her age. She has good feel for what she wants to do, and she is fearless in going about doing it. She is easily good enough to make the live shows now, but I wonder if she might be better served to wait a year or two, especially since it appears that this year is stacked. Her intonation and overall command could still use a coat of paint, and she is physically still more a girl than a woman.

Purple haired girl…. after she left the building, both middle fingers straight up and banshee screaming like she was being raped by Sauron from Lord of the Rings, Mariah, reading off her crib sheet, reported; “she plays the piano, and she LOVES the ballet….”

  • Purple highlights: 75 dollars
  •  Thrift store leather jacket: 40 dollars
  •  Converse deck shoes: 6 dollars
  •  Getting every punk fan in Southern California looking for your band’s name in club listings: Priceless

Well done, purple haired girl. I’d post your name, but you would probably sue me for publishing rights.

Jesaiah Baer, 16: Sea captain, with a voice that apparently sinks ships. Jes, stylistically, is Ramona to Haley Reinhart’s Beezus. From Henry Huggins. I think they even made a movie about it, but I haven’t seen it; I read the books when I was a kid. Ramona was the little sister who tagged along behind her big sister Beezus. I probably have about 65 percent of that wrong. Jes is really good. I have that correct.

Micah Johnson, 24: Tonsil operation gone wrong. I think I’m pretty good at handicapping the chances of these kids on Idol, and I have a decent record of picking who makes the tour. I suck at picking the winner (I keep picking second place finishers), but overall I feel like I know what I’m talking about. I will be wrong sometimes, but most of the time I’ll at least be able to make a guess that I can stand behind.

Most of the time. There are rare exceptions; contestants who I can’t even make a guess about. Micah is one such contestant. He is such a complete outlier, a complete wild card, that I have no clue whatsoever where he’s going with his talent. Idol just outed him on National TV, so he’s not going back to obscurity. He can sing, so he ain’t leaving the show next week. Some odds:

  • Win Idol: 200-1
  •  Finish runner up: 100-1
  •  Make the Tour: 5-1
  •  Make the live shows: EVEN
  •  Make the top 40: 1-2

It’s possible that I have his odds way too high; that I’m overrating him based on the shock of his singing voice compared to his speaking voice. It’s also possible that I have his odds way too low; that I’m underrating him based on his poor speaking voice compared to his singing voice. I have no clue. Tonight the singers have been so freaking good, so talented, that I’m pretty much confused. I need to post this show, decompress, and get some fresh air before I take a shot at my power rankings.

Oh crap, there are more singers? Idol what are you doing to me? Ok, moving on…

Rachel Hale, 21: Hick chick. She has tremendous command, and professional quality intonation. Her issue, if she has one, is that she doesn’t have that high range fifth gear that she’ll need to make it deep, especially in a year like this. She has virtually no chance to win, but if she dances between the raindrops she is talented enough to make the tour. I love her accent.

Briana Oakley, 16: She looks eerily like Queen Elizabeth, doesn’t she (the first one, not the “I don’t like spam” one)? In a normal world I would love her even more, but on a night like tonight she doesn’t stand out as much as she normally would. She has some bleating goat in her tone, and I’m not sure she knows what to do with a melody. The good stuff? Everything else. She has tons of power, range, command, strong intonation, phrasing, what else? She can sing, and it’s pretty obvious that the feedback she gets from “singing purty” is the principle base of self esteem. The kid’s focused, just saying. Standout number nine.

Matteaus Fernandez, 21: All I have to say about Mattie is that he can sing his butt off. He picked a great vehicle in “Change is Gonna Come”, and he nailed it. My only reservation about him is that he picked such a perfect song. He can sing, and he is a strong contender. I’d probably call him a standout if I hadn’t had so many standouts tonight already. I love his speaking voice, too.

Man, I need to decompose. Oh wait, I mean decompress. Was it me, or did Idol just put several years of talent into a single show? I’ll get back with you later, I need to go get some air.