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.
The final audition city (and the final week of American Idol auditions) has arrived. As much as I love seeing the potential of the auditions, I always find the process a bit tedious considering only 24 of the people we see will make the finals, so we’re bound to get attached to people who may or may not become stars this season. That said, let’s talk about some of that talent we did see tonight:
Katherine Skinner (15) singing “Shake It Out” (Florence and the Machine) – When Katherine walked in, she seemed to fit the mold of a contestant that would end up inflicting pain on the ears of the judges within a matter of seconds. Her “pimp” coat and psychic cat who told her audition all seem like tell-tale signs of someone who had been duped up until this point that they could sing. But when she opened her mouth and delivered an interesting take on a song originally by a singer with an equally interesting voice, I was hooked. She had a bit of that Siobhan Magnus quality from Season 9: eclectic, unpredictable and a potential contender.
Rayvon Owen (23) singing “Wide Awake” (Katy Perry) – Rayvon, appearance wise, seemed to borrow from Pharrell, Bruno Mars, and Miguel to name a few, but his voice was all his own. I, unlike Keith Urban, have never been a fan of that particular Katy Perry song but the interesting vocal choices Rayvon made turned it into something with more depth, the way John Legend does, and his audition made me want more. I want to hear him sing everything, and I think that’s what a good audition should do.
Maddy Hudson (16) singing “Resentment” (Beyoncé) – I, like the judges, saw a lot of potential in Maddie before she even sang. She was charismatic, but a little awkward, and that made all her the more endearing. Add her raspy but cool voice to the mix and you get a young, cool female contestant that the young female voting block that traditionally dominates the Idol-verse could relate to. Jena Irene 2.0, perhaps?
In addition to the above three, who were the standouts for me tonight, I saw some potential in Zack Dyer, who the judges surprisingly turned down after making us guess about his fate prior to the commercial break. I agreed with the judges that Reno Anoa’i (16) from Hawaii who gave a good rendition of “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” (Rod Stewart) didn’t show range in the way Rayvon did. But I don’t think that’s a fatal flaw and Reno could go down the same route as Jason Castro from Season 7. We also got a trio of auditions set up back to back: Erika David (25) singing “No One” (Alicia Keys), Chandler Leighton (20) singing “New York State of Mind” (Billy Joel) and Ryan Pinkston singing “As” (Stevie Wonder). Each of these auditions showed promise, in my opinion. Erika had personality, whereas Chandler had the boho-chic thing going for her and Ryan had a cool, classic soul about him.
Overall, it was a good night that gave us a few people to think about going to the next round. Tomorrow night, we get our final group of auditions and I’ll be back to recap those as well. But until then, sound off in the comments and let me know what you thought about tonight’s episode.