Here we go everyone! These are the singers who most impressed me during Wednesday’s Premiere a Show for American Idol’s Farewell Season:
Michelle Marie (15 years old): Michelle performed “Blue” and her voice sounded full and resonant. Really reminiscent of Lee Ann Rimes. I loved the sparkle and clarity of her voice. Plus her jubilant personality. Off to Hollywood she goes. Good luck, Michelle.
Josiah Siska (18 years old): Oh my goodness I love this kid. His low “Johnny Cash” voice is fantastic. And, when he touched his higher register, there was beautiful “heady” quality to his voice. Gorgeous. A nice gentle vibrato. See you in Hollywood and beyond, Josiah. Good luck!
Lindita (26 years old): This young lady lost 150 pounds for this audition so, for that alone, I think we can say she is a determined and focused individual. Performing “A Man’s World”, she displayed her ability to riff through the the melodic structure with pitch perfect finesse. It will, however, be interesting to see how she handles a simpler approach to the melody for, as we all know, this style of singing can become tedious over time. Well, at least for me it does. Best of luck, Lindita
Billy Bob (25 years old): I didn’t think Billy Bob would go too far in this competition but I liked the guy and loved his spirit. So, Billy Bob, don’t give up. Keep singing and sharing your love of music.
Lee Jean (15 years old): What a sweet, cuddly singer and he came to us with a poignant backstory. His voice is still very young and it aches for maturity but his musicality cannot be denied. However, with the proper technical guidance, he will be fine. I hope he is not eaten up in Hollywood because the potential for greatness is there. Good luck, Lee Jean.
Surprise everyone! Season 5 winner, Taylor Hicks, is on hand to assist with the judging process. Hi Taylor!
Jeneve Rose Mitchell (15 years old): Performing Chain Saw by The Band Perry, she accompanies herself on a cello. Yes, a cello! And it is beyond cool. it is an extremely impressive audition and rhythmically solid. She obviously is a seasoned young musician and, even though her voice doesn’t quite cut through as well as it could, the originality of her audition was undeniable. Watch out Hollywood. Here comes Jeneve!
Sonika Vaid (20 years old): Now, this is my kind of singer! Accompanied by Michael Orland on piano, she poured her heart and soul in to this performance. Gorgeous voice, gorgeous face, simplistic approach, nuanced vocals, sweet, genuine personality – she pretty much has it all. And I agree with Harry Connick Jr. – Sonika could win the whole thing. Watch out for this one. Amazing! Good luck, Sonika!
Reanna Molinero (24 years old): Reanna sings “Leave It On Your Mind” by Patsy Cline. Nice voice but a little generic. Very powerful and pure – so I will give her that. The editing of her audition song didn’t give me true sense of her vocal capability so we shall see no she does in Hollywood. Good luck, Reanna!
Sylvia Lee Walker (16 years old): Good Heavens – she spoke more than she sang. It was entertaining but her yodelling was all over the place. Too bad because I was starting to warm to her. Good luck, Sylvia.
Another surprise – Nick Fradiani, winner of Season 14, makes an appearance. Love him so much! Hi Nick!
Joshua Wicker (25 years old): Joshua is a Worship Director at his Church and he and his wife are expecting their first child in three weeks. He performs “Stay” by Rhianna while accompanying himself on guitar. His voice is tighter than I would like but he actually sustains his voice quite well. His take on “Stay” is unlike the original – which I loved. He put his own spin on it, which means he is an artiste! Bravo Joshua! Enjoy Hollywood and beyond!
P.S. The baby is a healthy bouncing baby girl – sweet little thing!
Alex Sasser (23 years old) and Jordan Sasser are husband and wife each perform a solo. Alex’s voice was a bit one dimensional – pleasant but, unfortunately it was not a memorable voice. Too bad. Her husband, Jordan, – now that was a different story. His voice is a powerful entity – so beautifully nuanced and his range is stratospheric. He has the look and the voice of a star – he is a full – out artist and I will be following him closely. Bravo Jordan and Alex, take care of that beautiful baby and keep singing.
P.S. Alex needed a less playful song choice. I think, in the end, this did her in. Her voice didn’t have a chance to shine and the ukelele accompaniment minimized the audition. Memo to singers: ukeleles at a preliminary audition is not the way to go unless it is a very unique, substantive arrangement.
Kerry Courtney (24 years old): Kerry is a very dramatic, almost eccentric sort of singer and is very interesting to watch. He truly enters his own world when he sings and is in touch with his soul when he performs. He is very risky with his voice and brings it to places that others would fear to do. I love this. I am not sure how far this will take him but, since he was jamming with Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks prior to his audition, I take this as a premonition of sorts. In many ways, they are the same. Good luck, Kerry!
Shelby Z (23 years old): Shelby power sings her way through the Carrie Underwood’s “Last Name” That’s quite the voice she has but, in the end, can she tone in down? A nuanced singing style has become so important in this competition – at least for me it has. We shall see. In the meantime, Shelby, dial it down a bit and focus on sustained, quiet head voice. It is all about balance. Good luck, Shelby.
Oh yawn – here comes Kanye West. Why is he here?
My top three were Josiah Siska, Sonika Vaid and Jordan Sasser
Tomorrow night, American Idol travels to San Francisco and Little Rock. See you then. And, don’t forget to add your insights in the comments section below.