AMERICAN IDOL Season 14 Recap: We Rank the Best and Worst Minnesota Auditions

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‘Idol’ rolled into Minnesota this week and it’s only fitting that the friendliest audition run on record would include such a friendly city on its cross-country tour this year.

Of course, that’s not to say it was all good…

THE THREE WORST AUDITIONS
Kemil
This was the guy who decided a leather jacket and thong sandals were a good look and came in with his own gold microphone that wasn’t plugged into anything. He sang “Human Nature” like a guy trying to talk his cat out of committing suicide with some of the same moves that cat might make as it struggled with its existential crisis.

Oddly enough, about every 17th note he hit was spot on. If you’d only strung 5% of his notes together you’d thought the King of Pop was reincarnated. Sadly for Kemil, there was the other 95% that somehow made him sound creepier than Michael Jackson. He does get props for the confidence behind the gold mic and for cuing the band like a diva ready to cut their fifth hit record.
Somehow, I don’t think Kemil is ever going to get within five of that number.

Cindy Jo
This was the girl who came in like the spokesman for Minnesota and all the wonders of its great outdoors. She played the part of the country cowgirl straight down to a necklace that celebrated the first anniversary of her first pistol match. I’m not sure exactly what that entails, but I’m actually a bit frightened now to disparage her.

While being on the wrong end of a Cindy Jo pistol does sound like a frightening fate, it might not be as bad as having to listen to her sing for any length of time. Cindy Jo’s a classic belter who doesn’t really know how to belt. Instead she screams. Screams loudly. Screams to the point that it seems like she’s angry at the song. Somewhere along the way, this got taken for good singing, but it’s really just some sadistic form of aural.

Jacob
This was the guy who currently works as the understudy to the guy who plays Jerry Lee Lewis in the Vegas iteration of “Million Dollar Quartet”. Man, Jacob could absolutely kill (no pun intented)the Jerry Lee Lewis impression complete with some awesome manic keyboard killing rock ‘n’ roll piano playing. This, however, is not that ridiculous impression show that was on ABC a few years ago, this is about finding a real singer and artist – not an animatronic of a rock legend.

Jacob did get a shot at singing some Sam Smith, but he just sounded like a guy who couldn’t quite sing and needed his gimmickry to really stand out. Though it is quite a cool gimmick he’s got. Great balls of fire!

THE THREE BEST AUDITIONS
Zach
This was the guy who couldn’t have been more annoying after insisting on a high-five right as he entered and choosing a grey hoodie as his audition outfit as though all sense of appearing professional in any sort of audition or interview is completely a thing of this millennial past.

As I attempt to sound like an old man, Zach did an excellent job of doing that. In a good way. He sounded like a legendary country crooner the minute he stopped yapping like a nutcase and started singing with his a sublime old school drawl. Harry thought it was inauthentic, but I thought he completely sounded the part. Why should it matter that he doesn’t speak with a country accent if he wants to sing with one? Honestly, I’m good with whatever prevents him from speaking again.

Hannah
Hannah’s the sixteen-year-old girl who decided she’d just kill herself some Etta James. I mean, just absolutely slay it despite barely being able to drive. Just dust the absolute hell off of a jazz song that’s four times as old as she is. Did I mention she destroyed a classic tune despite only being sixteen? Oh! Well, she did.

Mark
This is the guy who works as a landscaper and just became a dad for the first time. When you see somebody like Mark audition, you wonder what happened. What happened in his life that made him not be a musician for a living at this point? It’s like the scene from ‘Up in the Air’ when George Clooney asks JK Simmons what they paid him to give up on his dreams. Surely Mark must’ve given up somewhere along the line, because he certainly has much more than enough talent to thrive as a musician. And he’s unique to boot.

His style is a crazy blend of jazz, folk and soul that’s somehow radio friendly. Just a smooth bit of fun to listen to whether he’s singing the Allman Brothers or a song from ‘The Jungle Book’. Yes, he sang both, and yes I think he’d have a hit with either.

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