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.
Ah yes, New Orleans. Harry Connick Jr’s hometown and one of my favorite places in the world. It truly is a musical city, so I can see why the episode opened with Harry and Ryan Seacrest emphasizing that we could expect some great talent to emerge from it and there certainly were some interesting singers. Here were some of my favorites:
Angelica “Jelly” Joseph (26) singing “Rolling in the Deep” (Adele) – Angelica was the first true talent of the night and her take on Adele’s hit was just interesting enough to catch my attention. I would have liked to see her pick a more creative song, but based on interesting vocals and a definite look, I give her a pass.
Greyson Turner (15) singing an original called “Chasing Shadows” – Greyson is young and adorable with his girlfriend, but more than that was the fact that the kid had a really cool voice for his age, very raspy, and his original song displayed some songwriting chops that could lead to some interesting choices in the rounds to come.
Quentin Alexander (20) singing “Royals” (Lorde) – Quentin’s “Ninth Ward” sobstory got to me but it takes more than that to get me to say yes and it seemed Keith’s early discussion about “sometimes it’s more than just the voice” held true for Quentin. He sang well enough but I, like the judges, definitely wanted him to let loose a little more. But really, it was the tone of his voice (definitely Andre3000/Terence Trent Darby as the judges described) and his fashion sense that had me agreeing with their decision to send him through.
Mikey Duran (19) singing an original called “My Demise” – Mikey’s a good-looking guy and went to the same high school as Harry, so he’s already in the judges good books but what I really liked about him was his original song. It was, as Keith anticipated based on the title, a little morose but I think there’s nothing wrong with that. The only complaint I had was that Mikey’s voice was so unique that I was left wondering if he could do anything but originals with it.
Adam Lasher (27) singing an original called “These Shoes” – Unlike Mikey, Adam “the-Jimmy-Fallon-lookalike” Lasher delivered an original song in a way that left me with no doubt about his vocal versatility. The song would have held up on the radio right now and his personality made him an easy person to like. His voice, unlike some others today, was just a straight up great singing voice and his guitar training from his Uncle Carlos Santana probably helped.
Erica Washington (24) singing “Halo” (Beyoncé) – Single mom Erica had the story and the look, but it all carried through when she started singing as well. She has a certain confidence when she sings and I think that’s what the judges meant when they said they forgot all about Beyoncé’s version. And her voice didn’t miss a beat, despite some obvious nerves, so kudos to her.
We also a few other interesting folks including return-auditionee Nalani Quintello (19) who sang “Counting Stars” (OneRepublic) and had a really gorgeous hitch in her voice that made the over-done song something original for me. Country boy Ricky Dale Hendricks (17) also got some great advice from the judges after singing a frantic version of “Thunder Road” (Garth Brooks). They told him to learn to channel that energy but I, like them, definitely saw potential in him. And finally drag queen Dakota Suarez proved to be an interesting contestant with a more relaxed version of Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over”. Dakota could definitely make for an interesting addition to the Idol stage.
Well that’s it for my recap. Next week is two nights in San Francisco and the last set of auditions before Hollywood week. Come back then for my recap and sound off in the comments below to let me know of what you thought of tonight’s auditions in the Big Easy.