AMERICAN IDOL Audition Recap: The Beginning of the End Starts Here!

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It’s back! For the last time, it’s back!

After recapping AMERICAN IDOL for almost a decade, there’s something extremely comforting about bad singers, Seacrest, and that oddly 80s theme song coming into my home for the first time, one last time after all this time.

In its last season, ‘Idol’ isn’t trying anything new, just a dose of nostalgia added to the typical cattle call of auditions. Some good. Some bad. Some Kanye. (We’ll get to that in a second).

THE FIVE BEST AUDITIONS
Olivia
This was the pink-haired youngster with a Jostens-catalog smile and a military jacket. I’ve heard Jennifer describe getting “goosies” before, but never really got it. Then Olivia poured an overdose of authenticity into stripping down a Bruno Mars song and suddenly chills, goosebumps and all sorts of other bits of awe overcame me. She’s an early favorite to win. Because calling things like that right now are so useful.

Billy Bob Evett
This was the self-described Honky Tonk Man who ironically came in wearing Hillbilly Jim overalls. He started an honest-to-goodness hootenanny in the audition room as Harry and Keith joined in to harmonize as he sang some country song I don’t know the name of. He didn’t make it to Hollywood and he wasn’t even that good, but he did allow me to fit two wrestling references into one sentence and that automatically makes him one of the best.

Cameron Richard
This is the pure country bayou boy who might have weighed less than the guitar he played for his audition. Cameron may not have been the best audition this week, but he was certainly the most surprising. A small boy who sounded like he had spent the last five years on a fishing boat, Cameron sang like he belonged in some sort of acoustic boy band, and I swear to God that’s a compliment.

La’Porsha
This was the relatively new mother who rocked the most wonderfully parted afro in the history of the hairstyle. On her way into the room, Keith could be heard muttering “Please be talented. Please be talented.” She answered his prayers with a smoky slow jam of Radiohead’s “Creep” that soared to the heavens as she brought it home. It’s not easy to turn an alternative classic into a true blues tune, but La’Porsha made it look effortless as she just slayed it. Even if her screaming baby didn’t seem to like it that much.

Trent Harmon
This was the country boy with the purple shirt that looked like magic eye poster got tie-dyed. After discussing his farm and his donkey and every country cliche under the son, Trent played an insanely good R&B acoustic guitar right from the jump and then flashed vocal chops to match. I don’t want to Clark Beckham levels of love for this guy this early in the process, but he definitely has that air about him.

THE FIVE WORST AUDITIONS
Jeneve Rose Mitchell
This was the fifteen-year-old who lived “off-the-grid” despite having braces, knowing contemporary music and having a generator her family uses “only to watch ‘American Idol’”. She sang something by The Band Perry, but it was more of a jangled rush through the song than it was an actual performance. Really she was what I imagine is the annoying equivalent at a whiskey jar tootin’ hoe down like what we might run into at a bonfire with an acoustic guitar.

I swear that made sense in my head. Also, she’s going to Hollywood for some reason.

Joseph Kohlruss
This was the Clay Aiken-looking freak of nature who strutted around the audition room like he was the perfect combination of Pavarotti and George Michael with his “classically trained voice” that was also “bright and contemporary”. What he really ended up sounding like is the guy at church on Christmas Eve who shows up trying sing hymns like he’s in the choir when he really probably shouldn’t have had that third glass of Egg Nog at the party earlier in the evening.

The lowlight (highlight in my book) was Joseph trying to sing a scale down to the “F below the Bass Clef” in a slurred run that ended up sounding like the worst pizza and beer burp you’ve ever had. Maybe he did have a few before his audition.

Sylvia
This was the sixteen-year-old girl who sounded like a valley girl mated with the biggest methed-out hillbilly on the planet except that she talked even faster. As entertaining as her insane ramble about her backstory that involved missing her pig and only living part-time in Athens, GA, it couldn’t compare to her decision to yodel at the top of her lungs in what sounded more like a Swiss climax than actual singing.
At least somebody had a good time.

Jordan Sasser
This was the dude sporting a man bun, a baby bjorn and ukulele-playing wife who sounded like she was auditioning for the world’s creepiest children’s show. Jordan gets insane props from me for attempting to sing “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” and tearing up at the end over how much he likes Celine Dion. Where he came up incredibly awful was an almost satirical devotion to singing runs that, as Emmit Smith would say, debacled the song in shrill fit of overhanging.

Again, he went to Hollywood. Much to the dismay of his wife who went almost hysterical “A Star is Born” on him in the video confessional after their audition. Hey. I liked her better.

Kanye West
Okay, so this wasn’t actually bad, I just needed a place to comment on the presence of Mr. West and lumping him in with a bunch of amateurs as one of the “best” just doesn’t seem fair.

I do have an issue with the audition though. Why did he come in as Kanye? Why not go a little bit incognito and surprise the judges? I mean he essentially just walked in, rapped a little bit, and that was it.

All that for a Kim Kardashian cameo? Pretty unnecessary.

Check back next week as the AMERICAN IDOL auditions continue!

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