Who are these people to the left of my blog entry? We don’t really know, do we? Not at least until tomorrow evening! One could be a major star next year at this time.
So, as we anxiously await to hear the singers who auditioned in Milwaukee, we can bask in the glow of last week’s exciting premiere. Do I hear sighs of relief out there? It was a very exciting couple of evenings! With the addition of new judges, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, the show has been thankfully rejuvenated and adopted an innovative and progressive framework.
Here are my quick thoughts on the singers who were most successful last week.
NEW JERSEY AUDITIONS
Rachel Zevita, 22 years old, started the ball rolling with her bluesy arrangement of Hallelujah. She displayed a very beautiful vocal range, especially when she showcased the clarity of her head voice.
Caleb Hawley, 25 years old, sang one of my favorite songs ever, Ray Charles’ Hallelujah I Just Love Her So. This was an incredible version of this song and, like Rachel, he exhibited wonderful control throughout his upper range. Additionally, he had a wonderful personality that, hopefully, will carry him far in this competition.
Our first 15-year, Kenzie Palmer, had a good voice but I thought I heard too much push in her vocal delivery, especially through her upper register. Her lower voice was lovely and unconstrained, so, with time and training, she should be able to adopt a more relaxed approach to her upper register voice.
Tiffany Rios was an eccentric little thing but she knocked the socks off of I’m Your Lady with her powerhouse voice.
And then along came 16-year-old Robbie Rosen who reminded us that age has nothing to do with delivering a sophisticated vocal performance. He sang a heartwarming rendition of Yesterday, exhibiting a phenomenal vocal range and musical phrasing. This was a seamless and fluid performance. One of my two favorites of the night, in fact.
Then, our Broadway-babe, 25-year-old Ashley Sullivan screamed her way through Gimme Gimme from Thoroughly Modern Millie. Maybe the final editing was all wrong for this girl, but, from what I saw and heard, I was actually surprised that she did receive a gold ticket from J-Lo and Steven.
Victoria Huggins was a sweet little 16-year-old girl who, perhaps, needed a little insulin to tone down the sugary persona. But, she did sing a great version of Midnight Train To Georgia.
Melinda Ademu, also 16-years-old, was just outstanding and exhibited true star potential.
Devyn Rush, a 20-year-old singing waitress, sang a lovely, bluesy version of God Bless The Child. She also incorporated some impressive scat singing and turned this very good performance into a very great one. She displayed a lot of depth and intelligence in her singing style and showed great promise.
Brielle Von Hugel, 16-years-old, sang a good version of Endless Love but, like some that came before her, just needs to learn to tone down the old pipes before they burst.
Our last singer from New Jersey, 16-year-old Travis Orlando, performed a beautiful version of Eleanor Rigby followed by Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours. He was an excellent singer, perhaps a bit tight and a little green, but one that showed so much promise if given the opportunity. And he was! Off to Hollywood! I have my fingers crossed for this guy!
NEW ORLEANS AUDITIONS
Jordan Dorsey, a 21-year-old musician and music teacher of voice and and piano (You rock, dude! You want my job?), sang a very confident and innovative arrangment of Over The Rainbow. I loved the personal style he broght to this song, fluid riffs and all! Those students are lucky to have secured him as their teacher.
Sarah Sellers, 28-years-old, is a marketing analyst who performed a very musical and relaxed arrangement of To Make You Feel My Love. She did experience some technical issues but, overall, she was very musical.
Jovanny Sorretto, a 23-year-old singer who works in a ship yard, performed a Luis Miguel number.(sorry, the name escapes me). He has a powerful voice and, at times, the singing bordered on shouting, so he will have to develop a more nuanced approach when he reaches Hollywood.
Additionally, 24-year-old Jacqueline Dupree (love the name!) performed a well-belted version of I’ll Stand By You, but I was not a fan of the power singing. It seemed that her lower/softer range was very compromised throughout this audition.
Then along came yet another 16-year-old male by the name of Brett Lowenstern who knocked my socks off with his incredible version of Bohemian Rhapsody. He was just so impressive and his singing style was so fluid and relaxed. He made it look all too easy. However, don’t be fooled – there were some serious technical skills happening during his performance.
Jaycee Badeaux, 15-years-old, sang a gentle version of Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay. His youthfulness combined the ease of his vocal delivery brought a smile to my face.
The final singer from New Orleans, Paris Tassin, is a 23-year-old mother of a special needs child. Her performance of Carrie Underwood’s Home brought Jennifer Lopez to tears and it was indeed a passionate and beautiful performance.