'American Idol' in Milwaukee: Scott McCreary, Chris Medina find 'the good land'
In the montage of good ol' Midwestern auditioners, we spy a girl from Cedar Falls, IA alongside the CF sign, which is our hometown. Excitement. You go, little girl.
But first we have Scott McCreary, an adorable 16-year-old with a very deep voice. He sings "Your Man" and wow, he has such an old-school country voice. The deep stuff is fantastic. Steven Tyler asks for something a little more contemporary and he busts out some Travis Tritt. It's fabulous. We mean, not everybody loves country, but you can't deny this kid's talent. Randy cites his throw-back country voice which -- totally. Hope to see this kid go far, what a cutie.
Joe Repka has an interest in radio, so Ryan Seacrest talks with him and it seems to be all in good fun, but has vague undertones of making fun of a not-so-attractive fellow. He does have a decent radio voice, though, but when he sings "The Longest Time," it ... feels like it lasts about as long as the title belies. This is a hard song to sing a capella even for talented singers, which Joe is not. Tyler tells him not to quit his day job.
And we think it's going to be an amicable, friendly, constructive session, until Joe busts out "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You." Oh, just stop. Take the hint, Joe.
Why did we just waste so much time on that? Just when we thought last week's auditions episodes were so good, they make us sit through 5 minutes of this clown. Blargh.
Thankfully, we move on to Emma Henry, who has some skunky-punk hair. She busts out "True Colors" and has a very crunchy-coffeehouse-Colbie-Cyndi-Tori thing going on with her voice.
Steven Tyler likes her character and says yes, J.Lo says she has a special quality to build on but says no and that she needs to work on her voice. She starts crying as it comes down to Randy, but he thinks she might get swallowed up by the whole experience and she needs to develop her skill. It's very tense, as Tyler argues for her and she cries and promises to work hard. So Randy caves because he can't be a meanie.
To the strains of "Don't Stop Believing," we get a montage of scary-looking, mentally ill adults who can't sing. One guy does what he thinks is kung fu, then there's a woman who forgot to button her dress, a guy trying to shout-sing "Paparazzi" and then a girl who you can tell actually thinks of herself as a good singer and we feel bad for her.
Naima Adedapo is next and she's got a very fun Jamaican look and a sad story about being a janitor. She sings "For All You Know" and it's very pretty, she has a nice Alicia Keys quality to her voice and is through with three yes votes.
There is now some footage of a guy doing backflips and landing square on the poor camera operator on the floor and breaking the camera. Yeouch.
We have more bad auditions and -- good God, "Idol!" You did so well last week with tightly-edited, mostly good singers audition episodes. This week stinks.
Jerome Bell does a little Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get it On" and it's ... not as good as the judges act like it is. Right? We were a bit surprised at their effusive praise. He's not awful, but it wasn't knock-our-socks-off either and he wasn't completely in tune.
Tonight's 15-year-old prodigy is Thia Magia and ... we know that name. She was on "America's Got Talent" in 2009 and her call was "I Am Changing" by Jennifer Holliday, which was really good. The night Thia was eliminated, we wrote, "The judges go Piers voting for Thia because she's progressed (that's debatable), Sharon voting for Arcadian and The Hoff voting for Arcadian Broad. Thia can go try out for "American Idol" in two years, she'll be fine."
Clearly, we are psychic and should take this act on the road.
"Chasing Pavements" is Thia's call tonight call and it's ... good, but a little stylized/swoopy in a way that we don't care for, but we can see how some people like it. She's very talented, though, we remember really liking her on "AGT." She's through unanimously, which leads into a montage of 15-year-olds who all make it through, to the strains of one of those soundalike Taylor Swift songs.
Now we have Nathaniel Jones, a Civil War enthusiast who does reenactments. At least he doesn't call it the War of Northern Aggression. As he enters auditions, J.Lo mutters, "Oh no." Hee. He chooses "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and does all the parts, so that's a treat. We feel like we've fallen into a David Lynch short play, wherein Civil War soldiers sing 1960s hits to us. Up next, Robert E. Lee on "Wooly Bully."
Mason Wilkinson takes about an hour to pull himself together enough to sandpaper out "Serenity," which ... why did we watch that? Ugh.
Molly DeWolfe Swensen recently graduated from Harvard and got an internship at the White House (which she applied for "randomly," like ... must be hard to be you, Molls). She first has to point out to Randy that he kind of smacked her in the mouth that morning while running down a line of contestants and high-fiving. HAHAHA. The clip is priceless. Oh gosh, we could watch that 100 times in a row.
She sings "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" with a very nice smoky voice, wow. We did not expect that to come out of this willowy blonde. Steven Tyler wants to jump over the desk and take her right there. Heh. She's through unanimously.
Haley Reinhart is an auditionee from last season and Steven Tyler is smitten with her curly blodne hair and corn-fed good looks. She sings "Oh Darlin'" and it's a bit over-done in the runs in that way where you want to punch Xtina in the mouth, but clearly she can sing. Can't wait to see more out of her, as she gets a ticket with three yes votes.
We have an interesting '60s throwback with Tiwan Strong on "Twistin' the Night Away," which happens to be a favorite oldie of ours. He's not contemporary at all, but it was so delightful that how can you not put him through? The judges like it and he's through. One of his poor relatives celebrates so hard she gets a Charlie Horse. Heh heh. Seacrest has no idea what is happening right now.
Steve Beghun, a CPA who is a big, dorky hulk of a man and we really want to hug him. He sings "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" and it's ... interesting. He has to be really careful not to have a Kermit quality to his voice, but it wasn't bad. Steven Tyler is smitten with his weirdness and he gets three yesses. In his jubilation, Steve picks up tiny Seacrest and puts him on his shoulder like the Green Giant and Sprout. Hey, Halloween costume idea!
Breaking the Golden Ticket streak is Vernika Patterson, one of those people that makes you sad because they really think they can sing but they really can't. Oof. But then it turns ugly as she starts criticizing the past "Idol" winners and thinking it's because she's not skinny. Randy says, "This girl's not skinny, that first winner." So who was he talking about? Kelly, obviously, is the "first winner," but who was the other one? Jordin? Hmm. For shame, Randy. But Vernika storms off with some profanity, leading into a montage of tears and four-letter words. Heh. You stay classy, America.
Albert Rogers III does a decently funny President Obama impression, then sings "Stand by Me" and ... whoa. We were expecting him to be good, but he is not. Bait and switch, "Idol." Bait and switch.
Speaking of bait and switch, nerdy student teacher Scott Dangerfield gets lots of respect (ba dump ching) for his "Dreamin'" by Amos Lee. He has the total Clay Aiken thing going, minus the dreadful Carolina accent. J.Lo is in love and calls him her favorite, to which he adorably blushes. He gets three yesses.
A wholesome Wisconsin family comes with Megan Frazier and they get their Packer fandom all over everything, which is cute. Go Packers, beat Steelers! (ahem.) So she sings "Baby" by Bieber but does it like she's Ana Gasteyer in the singing Culps sketch. Yikes. J.Lo can barely contain her seething hatred for this weird tom-boyish blonde girl. Snort.
Alyson Jados is the cute version of Amanda Overmyer and her love of Steven Tyler is a little terrifying, mostly because he totally wants to hit that. He says, "What are you into?" and saves it by following up with "What do you like to sing?" Hee.
She sings "Come Together" and it's good, though we do enjoy her lyrics flub (what are "doo doo eyeballs"? isn't the lyric "juju eyeballs"?). She's very Carly Smithson, right? Tyler is scared because she's all over the place with her pitch ("pitchy," if you will). Randy says no, but J.Lo and Steven Tyler say yes.
The final audition sad story of Milwaukee is Chris Medina, who has a fiancee named Julie. She was in an accident in 2009 and suffered a bad brain injury and is wheelchair-bound, hardly able to speak. He says that he has to stick by her, what kind of a man would he be if he didn't? Goodness gracious.
Chris sings "Break Even" and it's not just the sad story connection that makes us think of a Danny Gokey-Chris Sligh hybrid, but with a better voice, actually. His falsetto is beautiful. It turns into a bit of a spectacle when the judges want to meet Julie, I mean, this is just too much. We can't really make fun of this, but we can make fun of the show a bit for getting a little gross about his personal tragedy. Hmph.
Tomorrow night: Nashville! Join us, won't you?