San Francisco and Little Rock Auditions

judges and ryanTonight’s episode was packed, and I found my first two standouts of the season. Please click the follow button if you don’t mind a little spam in your email, my dealer won’t give me any more skittles until I score at least fifteen follows. I linked most of the contestants to a video and a picture, but a couple were hard to find. I’ll try to fill it out the rest of the way tomorrow. Tonight’s show was amazing, the most impressive block of talent I’ve seen since maybe Chicago in season nine.

Quick Takes of tonight’s golden ticket winners:

cameron richardCameron Richard, 15. More braces. He has a rich tone, not quite Irish tenor but with a high, sweet timbre and some angsty overtones, sort of like Alanis Morrisette has. He’s young and he’ll be a lot better in a few years, but this is the final season so here he comes … I can’t call him a standout – he’s too inexperienced – but I love the kid.

daniel farmerDaniel Farmer, 24. He got a little wonky at the end, which makes me wonder if he has enough self-control to get through all the ego-sucking criticism that’s about to be thrown at him, but he has some insane vocal chops and a fairly strong voice … I’ve seen a lot of guys like him on the show, with the trilling and the over-the-top showmanship, and their track record is not reassuring. I’m sure he’ll be around at least until after group night, but it’s no better than 50-50 that he gets past the first live performance. He strikes me as someone who would be terrific in musical theater.

dalton rapattoniDalton Rapattoni, 19. He sounds like a fan of someone who is a fan of Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20. I’m sure the girls are going to love him; I like him, but he strains a lot for someone who works as a vocal coach. If he’s straining for effect he’s probably going to be ok, but I’m skeptical. Straining like that on purpose would be like throwing a ball with your sleeves pulled down to your elbows … He’s likely going to be in the mix towards the early live shows, but I don’t expect him to last beyond that.

la'porsha renae La’Porsha Renae, 22. That hair is so awesome, like she’s a human chia pet. She has lots of style and solid command of her voice, but she hardly moved from her middle range so I’m concerned that she might not have any extra gears to keep her interesting. This audition might have been the best she’ll sound … probably fodder, but almost all of the successful auditions make it at least to group night these days, so we will probably see her again. With that hair she won’t be hard to spot.
trent harmonTrent Harmon, 24
. He talks like one of the Duke boys but he sings like the guy from Five for Fighting. I used that reference yesterday, was the Five for Fighting guy the original falsetto back and forth guy, or should I be using someone else as my reference? I should look up the guy’s real name… Vladimir John Ondrasik the Third. Holy crap. I think I’ll just keep calling him Five for Fighting; there is no way I’ll remember how to spell all that under pressure … Trent would have been a contender last year but he might be up against it this year, with everybody and their dog taking one last shot at the brass ring.

brook sampleBrook Sample, 28. Karaoke singer, straining mightily to get through the song … fodder for the competition but great TV, so she’ll probably be a group night star.

Olivia roxOlivia Rox (Hill), 16. I think she can do better; her audition was a little over-the-top and I don’t think it demonstrated her full potential. Kids who learn music as young as she did, if they have some talent for it, can almost make music an appendage that they can count on without even thinking … I’m taking her a little bit on faith, given that her audition wasn’t the best, but I’m going to tag her as Standout Number One. Most of these kids are stretching and straining to be good enough; this kid didn’t get out of first gear and she was already passed through, done, and off to Hollywood. After seeing the video I linked I might downgrade her a little – her falsetto ain’t as good as it might need to be – but I still think she’s dammed near a lock for the live shows. She can win if she makes good choices.

photoJessica Clark, 24. Her voice reminds me of the lead singer from Expose, if anyone remembers them. Their big hit was “Seasons Change” … no idea whether she’s a contender or not, but she’s at least different. She’ll carry the banner for all the bar band singers out there, and because of that I’ll be rooting for her.

Ameet kanonAmeet Kanon, 18. Give her another song and I think she’d be exposed … probably fodder, but her voice is unique enough that someone might fall in love with it.

Kayla Mickelson, 18.  Coffee house hipster; for a second I thought she was going to start channeling Tiny Tim … she’s probably fodder like the rest of her montage, but all three of them have relatively pleasing, unique vocal styles. I’ve seen a few of these montage singers break out and go deep. Paul McDonald was a montage singer, and so were Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze.

melanie tierceMelanie Tierce, 21. She has the tone, if not the light tower power, of Brandie Carlile. Very folky style; I suppose she sounds like Joan Baez … we’ll likely get to vote for her, and then we’ll see how it goes. If she had the power to go with the tone, she’d be a standout. From the right angle she sort of looks like a young Amanda Peet, but not in this picture.

malie delgadoMalie Delgado, 20. Miss Alaska has a strong voice and apparently some experience – she was on season three of X-Factor – but she’s also a good illustration of my theory that beauty queens have almost no shot at winning American Idol. Beauty queens spend most of their time learning how to avoid being natural, keeping their faces still and demonstrating more of a political, almost military neutrality. Idol winners are usually the geeks and the dorks who spend their formative years honing their musical chops, and they learn how to bend their faces and express their inner feelings. Idol winners are obsessed with their music, without much else in their life to distract from their goal. For Malie Idol is just one thing she wants to do on her way to showing the world that not all prominent Alaskan women are airheads … I would be genuinely surprised if she made it to the live shows.

brandyneburnetteBrandyn Burnette, 25. Dude … Standout Number Two, and the rest of you Vladamyr Ostrich the Five for Fighting guys can go home now, the slot is filled.

Kyrsti Jewel Chavez, 15. Wild, racehorse of a voice, but at this point she’s still trying to get it under some semblance of control, like a pitcher with a hundred mile per hour fastball who can’t throw strikes yet … she’s fodder at this point – too green – but she’ll probably be on “The Voice”  or “America’s got Talent” or “The Gong Show” next year. She’ll have better control by then. I couldn’t find a picture, but here is a link to one with her in the room.

tristan mcintoshTristan McIntosh, 15. She is nowhere near ready for prime time but she has some vocal power, she seems mature in her bearing, and she has nice musical sense … she’s probably group night fodder, but her mother showing up got me a little. Ok, more than a little… I think it was genuine for the kid, even if it was a set-up for the adults.

What a great show tonight! Last night made me nervous, but tonight got me back on board and fully invested. There are what, five, six singers from tonight that can win if everything goes their way? I don’t think I’ll post anything this weekend, but next week there will be another round of auditions and by next weekend there will be enough of a contestant pool to work up the first power rankings of the season. Don’t forget to click on that follow button up there. I would say that I hate to beg, but we all know better than that, don’t we?