Our writer and Idol expert, Andrew Rogers is back this season covering the popular FOX reality show, “American Idol“. The pressure is on and the stakes are high as the musical competition searches for a real superstar in its fourteenth year. With weekly recaps discussing the contestants’ performances and choices, Rogers looks ahead at what’s in-store each week in his exclusive Idol recap series.
Tonight we had two hours of Idol with a smattering of great auditions. I’ll jump right into the highlights of those, since there wasn’t much filler tonight (thankfully). I think the producers have finally clued in to the fact that the loyal Idol audience really just wants to see the talented singers, and here were a few of the ones we saw tonight:
Returnees Sarina-Joi Crowe (Age 19) singing “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic and Savion Wright (Age 22) singing “Change the World” by Eric Clapton – I loved both of these contestants last year and I still love them this year. I think Sarina could have chosen a better song for her voice because I felt like she was shouting on “Love Runs Out”, but she does have a great, strong voice underneath all that and I’ll be interested to see if she can finally make it work this season.
Savion Wright also got unjustly denied a spot in last year’s Top 24, but the new and improved Savion that came back this season makes me almost glad he did. His rendition of “Change the World” was as tender, rich and warm as melted butter. His voice, if anything, has improved and he’s become a more positive, open person. I think that will take him a long way in this competition.
Cody Fry (Age 24) singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz – Cody’s range blew me away from note one, but after that heavy-handed blow to the head, he toned it down and really let the lyrics guide his musical choices. It was a rather original take on a song that’s been done to death on Idol and I appreciated that. I think if Cody can continue to mix that creativity with his extensive talent, we may have a fighter.
Gina Venier (Age 24) singing “Put the Gun Down” by ZZ Ward – Truthfully, Gina’s voice wasn’t the best of the day, but there was something about her “One Women Band” with her egg-shaker and wooden box that made her audition that much more interesting. She also chose one of the coolest songs of the night and that makes me think she could bring that kind of freshness to that competition. That, combined with her infectious personality, makes her one to watch for me.
Clark Beckham (Age 22) singing “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” by James Brown –I didn’t really get what Keith said to Clark after his audition about it lacking emotion. I thought Clark brought the emotion in spades and, on top of all that, he did the song justice on so many levels that I was saying yes before he even finished. I think if Clark can kick it up a notch and not lose his ability to deliver songs in that way come Hollywood week, he could be one for the big stage.
Jess Lamb (Age 28) singing “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers – Harry said it best when he said that Jess had a unique look, voice and everything else. After so many young singers during Thursday’s two-hour broadcast, I was aching for someone with experience and Jess brought that like a big juicy steak after nibbling on appetizers all night. Her love for music came through her audition and seeing her play with Harry just made me like her all the more. Too cool.
There was plenty of other golden ticket recipients tonight but some of the judges’ choices felt questionable for me. Lovey James (Age 16, singing “Break Free” by Ariana Grande) and Loren Lott (Age 21, singing “Treasure” by Bruno Mars) felt a few years shy of being ready for the big stage to me. Garrett Miles (singing “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival and “Como La Flor” from Selena) was endearing and fairly talented, but I don’t know how far he’ll make it. Alex Shier (Age 19, singing “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran), although good-looking, just didn’t (as Harry said) bring anything that distinguished himself over-and-above Sheeran’s version. Of the other auditioners, I’d say Trevor Douglas (Age 16, singing “Sing” by Ed Sheeran) had the most potential if he can tone down how hyper he is and focus on his music prior to the next round of competition.
That’s all I’ve got for tonight’s auditions. It was another good episode with glimmers of great potential, but we’ll see who can keep that fire going into the live rounds. I’ll see you again next week for two more shows of auditions on Wednesday and Thursday.
Let me know who your favorites of tonight were in the comments! And if you didn’t read my review from last night, check that out here.