Jan 172013

American IdolThe two-night Season Premiere of American Idol continues tonight with the Chicago auditions.

Last night, new judge Nicki Minaj baked some brownies and a cake for her viewer watching party. No, seriously. She did. See for yourself.

That was off the air. On the air, however, she wasn’t quite as sweet as brownies and a cake. Will she stay true to form tonight, or will be become the Betty Crocker of judging?

Tonight’s American Idol auditions come from Chicago. I’m just hoping we get through the night without someone try to do one of the songs from the musical.

Join me, the Token White Guy, after the jump as I live blog tonight’s show. And don’t forget to join other American Idol watchers over in our Shoutbox to dish about the show as it airs.

DJSlim will be posting some notes and videos of tonight’s American Idol auditions over on IdolBlogLive.com, so hop on over there from time to time to see what he has posted. In addition, make sure to check out The Idol Den, an all-new radio station that plays music from past American Idol artists 24/7. The station will also air the studio versions of this season’s crop of contestants as they are released.

And don’t forget to join Sir Darryl and me for the Idol Radio Show tonight at 11 PM ET / 10 PM CT as we talk about this week’s American Idol Auditions along with any other America’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance, The Voice, The X Factor, and entertainment news that needs to be discussed. Just click the Listen Live banner in the right column at the appropriate time.

Tonight’s show starts with a woman waiting outside the Judges’ Room for a friend or family member that is auditioning. The woman has the auditioner’s family on speakerphone. When the auditioning woman comes out, the friend starts screaming and jumping up and down for join, which prompts the people on speakerphone to do the same. Only, the auditioning woman didn’t make it to Hollywood. Oops.

I love this show.

MacKenzie Wasner

MacKenzie Wasner, from Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, is up first tonight. She first started singing when she was in Kindergarten….. the ABC Song. She apparently sings with her dad at various venues as well, so I guess there is some legitimacy there. That legitimacy is proven once MacKenzie starts singing. The girl is good, and the judges are all swooning. With good reason. Four yeses later, and MacKenzie is off to Hollywood. Hopefully she has someone waiting outside the room ready to jump up and down for joy with family members on speakerphone.

Kiara Lanier

Next up is Kiara Lanier, 21, from Chicago, Illinois. Kiara met President Obama for his birthday fundraiser. We even get to see a photo of them together. Don’t get me started. Nicki Minaj is in her British mode again. Don’t get me started. Kiara is now bringing up her multi-racial birth to compare herself to Mariah Carey. Don’t get me started. Finally, however, Kiara gets started……. singing. And she’s good. She has a really good command of her voice, something that Nicki says as well. Four yeses later, and Kiara is off to Hollywood.

Stephanie Schimel

Stephanie Schimel, 21, Milwaukee, WI, is next. We don’t learn much about Stephanie, but all I needed to know was in her choice of song: “Dream a Little Dream” by Cass Elliott, one of my all-time favorite songs. And Stephanie is slaying it. Great performance. Very different, but great. For some reason, however, Nicki hates it. But, thankfully, the rest say yes, so Stephanie is off to Hollywood. Stephanie tells Nicki that she still loves Nicki, which prompts Nicki to reveal that they are wearing the same eye shadow, which was the reason why Nicki didn’t say yes initially. This sets Mariah off. Big time.

We now get a long video montage of Mariah and Nicki arguing with each other. Chicago was the second audition city the judges filmed at, and it did occur before the blow up in North Carolina.

Melissa Bush

Melissa Bush, 27, from Grandville, MI, is up next. She is a massage therapist. She is wearing a jewel-encrusted pantsuit straight out of a Partridge Family rerun. After an attempt by Nicki at some pithy banter with Melissa, we get to the singing. Could we go back to the attempt at some pithy banter instead? Four nos later, and Melissa is gone.

When we come back from commercial, we see a guy practicing in front of his friends. He’s awful. The friends are cheering. Bad friends.

Gabe Brown

Small Town Idol Bus Tour is the official name of people who get nominated by someone and the show goes to them to bring them straight to the judges. Gabe Brown, from Marion, IA, is off the bus. Now if he would only get back on the bus. Gabe doesn’t sing so much as he shouts. Very loudly. There isn’t a tender moment in the shouts at all. Which means Queen Angie will love him, a lot. The judges, unfortunately, ask for a more subtle song, which Gabe obliges. For all of 10 seconds, at which point he goes back into shouting. Randy calls it rock singing. But it’s not rock singing. You actually have to sing in order to call it rock singing. Four yeses later, however, means I’ll have to listen to more of him. Ugh.


Kevin is twirling long poles when we first meet him. He says he sings Ninja Rap style, which led to Ninja Rap dancing, which led to something else I didn’t catch and probably didn’t want to catch. He says he tries not to be cocky. So not a good way to introduce yourself to me. And the dancing he does for the judges isn’t a good way to introduce yourself to them. For the second audition in a row, there is no singing. There is simply talking really, really, really fast, hence the Ninja Rap label. It’s so bad, we have to have captions, and even those don’t help. Nicki asks for something else, and it’s even worse. Which causes Nicki to go back to being British. Four nos later, and that’s it for Kevin.

Isabelle Parell

Isabelle Parell, 15, from Centerton, IN, is next. She grew up listening to country music and says Keith Urban is married to one of her favorite actresses. Isabelle is in high school and is skipping today to audition. Her audition song is actually a duet, at least at first, so she gives a note card to Keith to do the second part. Isabelle has a decent voice. She has a sweet, demure voice, which makes me wonder how she will do with harder songs. After all, we’ve seen in the past how the judges tear up singers who do nothing but ballads. Randy votes no, but the rest vote yes. So Hollywood for Isabelle.

Before the next audition, we find out that Keith had to leave to get ready for an audition. So Randy moves in-between Mariah and Nicki to keep them in line. We also seems several clips of people auditioning, one who has his shirt off and one who has a hole in his crotch. Ugh.

Griffin Peterson

Griffin Peterson, 22, is next. Nicki wants to know if Griffin has a girlfriend. When he says he doesn’t, Nicki blushes. Griffin has a decent voice. Not great, but decent. Randy doesn’t like his season. Nicki thinks Griffin is good looking and could go far. Mariah agrees with Nicki, who then promptly says Justin Bieber doesn’t do what Griffin does to her. I didn’t need to know that. But it’s off to Hollywood for Griffin.

Curtis Finch, Jr.

The next audition of the first night belongs to Curtis Finch, Jr., 24, from St. Louis, MO. He says he believes he is the next American Idol because he has what it takes to perfect his craft. This usually doesn’t lead to good singing, does it? Curtis sings something from one of Randy’s favorite singers, and, surprisingly, does well. At least until he goes into the super high notes. However, despite the high notes not working, the rest of the song is great. He has a very soulful voice. Nicki and Mariah are swooning. Three yeses later, and Curtis is going to Hollywood.

Mariah Pulice

Mariah Pulice is up next. Mariah Carey loves the fact that there is another Mariah in the room. Mariah, the auditioner, tells the judges that she is overcoming a battle with anorexia. This prompts both Mariahs to get tears in their eyes, and we flashback to see the auditioning Mariah’s story about the battle. After the video playback, Mariah auditions to “Let It Be,” an inspirational song that fits her anorexia sob story (saying sob story here doesn’t really seem right, does it) very well. Mariah has a very good voice and a lot of emotion, at least with this song. Ryan takes the family into the Judges’ Room, though they don’t actually enter until the judges all vote yes. At this point, the family all run in and surprise her.

Brandy Neelly

Day 2 in Chicago starts off with Brandy Neelly, 17, from Louisville, Kentucky. Brandy says her life has been a roller-coaster all her life. She was adopted when she was six months old. Her birth father was her adopted mom’s brother. The adopted mom says the mother and father just were emotionally able to take care of a kid. Brandy sings “Your Cheating Heart” by Hank Williams, Jr. And Brandy is knocking it out of the park. She has a very strong voice and can go from subtle to strong and back to subtle again without even thinking about it. Great control of her voice. I love it. Four yeses later, and we get to hear more in Hollywood.

Josh Holiday

Josh Holiday, 24, Celeste, TX, is up next. We don’t learn anything about him before he auditions, which is fine with me. The guy has a voice. A great one. I look forward to hearing more. And I will get to hear more since all four judges say yes.

We then see a video montage of several more auditioners, none of whom we really get to meet. However, we do get to hear more singing from them then we often do. It’s a shame we don’t get to hear more or get to know these people better, because they all sound amazing!

Clifton Duffin

Our next auditioner, Clifton Duffin, 22, has never performed before his parents. When Ryan asks how long he’s been singing, the parents speak up about never having heard him sing. Uh-oh. Not a good sign, is it? Nicki asks X why, and he says he didn’t feel confident. Ryan sneaks the parents into the side room so they can eavesdrop on Clifton singing. Thankfully, Clifton can really sing. He’s good. How he manage to get that good while never singing in front of his parents, I have no clue. But he’s good. Four yeses later, we’ll all get to hear him sing some more.

Ieisha Cotton

Ieisha Cotton, 19, Chicago, IL, is up next. X tells us that she has been a huge Mariah Carey fan since the day she was born. She also tells the judges that she is a dancer, and Keith wants to see some. The dancing is good. The singing, not even close. In fact, the longer she sings, the worse it gets. Mariah tries to be delicate about how bad it is. Randy, not so much. He tells her that she is tone deaf. Ouch. Four nos later, after a false yes from Mariah, and we are put out of our misery.

Johnny Keyser

Johnny Keyser, 23, from Pompano Beach, FL, is next. You may remember Johnny from Season 11, when he shockingly didn’t even make it to the Top 40. No clue why. And Randy Jackson says nothing about remembering him from last season, and the other judges don’t seem to realize he’s returning. Okay, Randy does say he is coming back and mentions that he hopes Johnny won’t crash and burn this time. Now I really want to know what happened last season. Hopefully we’ll see more of Johnny in Hollywood this time around, cause he got four yeses.

Kez Ban

As we enter the final 30 minutes of tonight’s OH MY GOSH WILL IT EVER END show, we meet Kez Ban, 27, from Durham, North Carolina. Oh boy. Kez starts off by telling the camera that if she is going to end up on the blooper reel in any way that’s going to embarrass her mother, she will leave right now. She says she is an “up-and-coming fire performer.” She also says she won’t win. She really just wants to go to Hollywood. The judges asks about her being a fire-performer, which prompts Keith to ask if Kez is in a relationship. When she looks at him funny, he says he just wants to know if she has any old flames. *groan* Kez is actually a good singer, surprisingly. She starts off a capella, but then goes to the guitar with the judges blessing. It’s a great audition. I just wish she didn’t put herself down. And now she won’t shut up while talking to Ryan. I don’t like her now. NEXT!

When we come back from commercial, we get a montage called The Miserables. It’s a play on the word, obviously, because these people are miserable when it comes to singing. Actually, miserable isn’t a strong enough word for how bad they are. And now we get the montage of the people cussing and flipping off the camera because they were rejected. Very classy, people.

Ashley Curry

Ashley Curry, 19, from Flossmoor, IL, is up next. X loves singing because it was the one thing that separated her from her twin sister. She also says she’s not a confident person and that people say her voice is something they’ve never before. Oh no. No no no. And the dirt keeps piling on when she tells the judges that she is studying musical theater. How? How is this girl allowed to study musical theater? She has no voice! She also refuses to take no for an answer and starts in again. Nicki almost falls out of her chair recoiling in horror, and Mariah tries to shout over her. Four nos later, and hopefully she gets the message. Whoops. Spoke too soon. The judges try to get her to do a monologue. She starts singing again, then is escorted out by security.

Lazaro Arbos

The final audition of the night belongs to Lazaro Arbos, 21 from Naples, FL. Lazaro has an extreme stutter when talking. And when I say extreme, I mean extreme. He came over from Cuba when he was 10. He doesn’t know where his stuttering comes from. No one knows why it’s happening to him. As a result, he had no friends in school because no one wanted to hang out with him. I really hate hearing stories like that. Kids can be so very, very cruel. But Lazaro loves singing. I’m hoping he’s a good singer, but even if he’s not, I give him kudos for auditioning. He is going to sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Wow. No hint of stuttering at all when singing. He doesn’t have the best voice, but it is good. He just needs to work with a singing coach to help him grow more. Still, I’m hoping the judges will send him to Hollywood because I would love for him to have some more experience and interaction with other contestants (though, that scares me as well because they can be just as cruel as kids). We’ll find out, causes he gets four yeses.

So what did you think of tonight’s Chicago Auditions? Do you think American Idol made the right choice hiring Nicki Minaj as a judge? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

And don’t forget to join Sir Darryl and me for the Idol Radio Show tonight at 11 PM ET / 10 PM CT as we talk about this week’s American Idol Auditions along with any other America’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance, The Voice, The X Factor, and entertainment news that needs to be discussed. Just click the Listen Live banner in the right column at the appropriate time.

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  • http://idolradioshow.com/ Token White Guy

    Okay. That fake out at the beginning of tonight’s show was too funny! Sad, but funny!