This week marks the last “American Idol” auditions—ever. For many viewers and winners, the milestone is a hard bite of reality, no matter the understanding that all things end, and life moves on. This was the competition that demonstrated before all the world that stardom can be crafted and won from an unknown voice from behind bedroom door. “American Idol” delivered on the dream, and lots of past winners have taken part in this final season to ensure the show goes for its final bow with honor. One of those past winners didn’t mince any words on tonight’s January 20 auditions, or thoughts about the judges, and the old advice to practice really hit home. A second shot may score more than another golden ticket for a final few.
The sister connection couldn’t have been any stronger than it was for Miranda “Poh” Scott (yes, that middle name is after her favorite Teletubby!) and her sister, Shi, who made it to the top 25 last season. There were lots of things that the judges loved about Miranda’s raspy perfection on “Fairy Tale,” especially the way she “sang like I don’t care” according to Harry. That love translated into three yeses and gold, with sister looking on, beaming with pride! Sometimes, it’s best to stop thinking and sing! For one certain wig-tossing somersaulting, supremely ridiculous contestant, Clay Aiken summarized it as “pretty damn bad,” for the show that gave me every opportunity I’ve ever had.” However his recent Twitter talk may have offended, he nailed that one. Amelia Eisenhauer nailed everything about her audition, too. The first ever fiddle playing singer struck every note rife with her rendition of Annie Lennox’ “Many Rivers” and her gorgeous red hair. She was the first to evoke the “WOW response” and expect her to be staying a while. Keith called her voice extraordinary, and Harry deemed her “soulful and mysterious.”
No one had to wonder about Joy Dove– love and spirit just pour from her being, and she let it all out on Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya,” and her incessant “Put me in the game” drive. Jennifer Lopez loved that she sang loud, and Harry called her “absolutely awesome.” It was bespectacled McKenzie Bourg’s birthday, but he wisely gave the gift of a well-crafted medley of the judges’ songs as a gift, including “Stupid Boy,” “Come By Me,” “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” and capping with “Making Memories of Us.” He could not have made a smarter move. The panel was speechless, except for compliments. This “smart son of a gun” got his ticket to Hollywood, and time will tell if his easy manner serves him well.
There was an interlude of seeing double, with all the twins trying out for the competition, where pairs doesn’t always prove to be a good strategy. So it was for Aaron and Andrew Birdwell. Theirs was beyond a bad audition. Keith Urban dubbed it “a Gregorian acid trip,” with dreadful discord, and nothing sung in tune, much less to “Idol” standards. Jenna Renae tried her hand last season with “America’s Got Talent,” and she pleased the panel with her try with Eric Pasley’s “She’s Just Lonely.” Before she came out, she fretted over a broken door in that tiny audition holding cell, but there was nothing broken about her performance at all, and her background of Broadway to country all came through in her voice, for an easy three votes to gold. Mario Bonds has a big voice, a bigger spirit, and a very big drive to make it in music. All of that was felt in his performance of Natalie Cole’s “Inseparable,” but the panel couldn’t be pushed to allow him the chance to put himself out for the Hollywood performances, and he took it . very hard. Hopefully, he will keep singing, and using his spirit to inspire others, because a door will open.
Adam Lasher had a big following last season with his longer hair and free spirit persona, but this season, he’s back with a more coiffed look, and a Samba version of “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” and he sold all the judges! A new look, a new song, may be just the right restart. Emily Brooke was another talent from last season. She had all the right stuff then, but hadn’t been “seasoned” enough by playing in front of real audiences to allow her to get that tougher sort of “stage confidence.” Well, it’s clear as a bell that she’s done her share of “gigging” now, because she tore into “Careless” like she wasn’t any teenager, and the words she heard were “excellent” and “so much better.” Taking good advice usually reaps good things. No House of Blues crowd can scare Emily now.
Tomorrow brings the true last of the “American Idol” auditions.