Posted: 8:03 pm Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

‘American Idol’ Salt Lake City auditions recap 

By Rodney Ho

"Idol" has had Casey Abrams and Casey James. How about Casey Thrasher? CREDIT: Fox

“Idol” has had Casey Abrams and Casey James. How about Casey Thrasher? CREDIT: Fox

Enough about Atlanta traffic woes! Let’s get to ‘American Idol.”

Tonight was very heavy with guitarists but plenty of promise. Oddly, we were in Salt Lake City auditions but heard from three Alabama singers. Yes, that’s the state of Ruben Studdard, Bo Bice and Taylor Hicks.

It appears they flew a lot of folks in who they found through the bus trip through the South.

As a result, we get a heavy dose of country and some seriously good talent. Overall, 30 made it through.

We hear at least seven of the final 31, based on the spoilers.

One more hour to go in Omaha and then we’re off to Hollywood.

Here are some of the more notable auditions:

Austin Wolfe (“Radioactive”): She brings a little jazzy feel and intensity to the song. Is she a star? I’m not sure but she’s a decent singer. IN

Kylee Adamson, lumberjack (“When You Say Nothing At All”): She didn’t do anything special but was good enough of a country singer to get to Hollywood.

Montage of folks who are IN. Keith Sanders (Lenny Kravtiz-ish), Michael Simeon (cool tone/singer-songwriter), Tessa Norman (R&B with an attitude).

Then montage of OUTS: Samantha Townsend (“I did not now that was Eeglish,” said Harry Connick Jr.) followed by two more who get no names. This montage only illustrated that Keith Urban is the nice guy, aware folks are being seen by their family and millions of viewers.

Alex Preston sings an original with a guitar. Pretty voice but he does not have much of a look, save for serious bags under his eyes. He does feel what he’s singing, which Jennifer Lopez likes. IN

Samantha Calmes is the type of singer who seems to work better because of her guitar. Then again, she sang “The Jeffersons” theme song a capella. So I’m a fan!”I wasn’t as impressed with your voice but the choices you made,” HCJ said.  IN

Montage time: Lebryant Crew, a real estate appraiser, brings poise and confidence to his audition. He even winks. Laurel Wright has a Taylor Swift-ish voice. both IN.

D.J. Bradley sings a really boring song and doesn’t really entice me. He has interesting hair, though. “A quirky vibe,” J. Lo said. “Mysterious vs. disinterested, which makes me disinterested,” Keith Urban said. He was on the fence but ultimately said yes. I don’t anticipate he will go far. IN

Julie Awful is borderline. She gets a no from Keith Urban but gets through. I expect we will never see her again. IN.

Kenzie Hall goes John Mayer on us. She is cute and sweet. Her personality enhances her vocals, which are versatile. Who is she? She’s only 16. “She played a diminished chord,” HCJ said, impressed. Easy IN.

Paisley Van Patten had a record deal in Nashville at age 15 who suffered from alcoholism. “I really blew it with my addiction,” she said, in a rare back story feed this season. Her boyfriend quit on her because she was trying again for stardom. She has a wonderful voice. “Love your voice,” Keith said.  IN.

Haydn Olsen doesn’t sound particularly good. HCJ says it’s not good enough. J. Lo likes it. Keith? No. OUT

Quick NO’s: Chase Boyle and  Julia “Miss Cyclops”

Montage guitar quickies are IN: Jocelyn Baker and Blake Branscom.

C.J. Harris from Jasper, Ala. gets a swift back story with vague parental issues and his dad died a year earlier with a heart attack. He brings a southern rocker/country vibe with just a hint of soul. “You had my attention through the entire tune,” HCJ said. A 100% IN. He has tears of joy afterwards. We’ll be seeing this guy again for sure.

Tiquila Wilson travels from North Carolina to sing Adele. She has a lot of energy and tackles Adele with verve. J Lo gets the “goosies.” Easy IN.

Chase Thornton, an enthusiastic buser and model, should stick with modeling. OUT.

Jessica Bassett, a student with a really lovely voice, was given a no by HCJ and Keith. Surprise! OUT.

They then did a bit showing the judges in their early days. Urban himself did a TV talent show at age 16 doing Air Supply. The criticism didn’t deter him. There’s J. Lo as a fly girl! And then Connick as a kid playing the piano at a festival.

Emily Rottler does that thing with her enunciation a lot of singer songwriters do nowadays. But she’s good at it. “You’re the real thing,” J. Lo said. IN

Dexter Roberts, another Alabama man traveling to Salt Lake City who is a dog kennel dude, brings interesting country blues. “You seem like the kind of guy who sings to get through the day,” HCJ. “Sounds authentic to me.” IN

Ally Roundy sings that oversung Etta James song “At Last.” Keith thinks she’s not quite ready. “Diamond in the rough but too much rough,” HCJ said. OUT

Briston Maroney travels from Knoxville. He has a very unusual voice, sounds much older than his age (just 15!) Makes me smile. HCJ only worries he might mess up his voice, the way he growls. But he’s a definite IN.

Montage again of youths: Carson Heline (OUT), Sabrina Lentini (IN) and Lei “Fish” Loutetai (IN) are all promising.

Johnny Newcomb looks nervous but is more imitative than original on Pearl Jam’s “Last Kiss.” ‘I don’t believe that’s your voice,” HCJ said. “It’s premature for you to be on ‘American Idol.’ ” J. Lo changed her mind with a Daryl Worley cover. HCJ still said regardless, he’s not ready. Keith gives him a yes.  But he has almost no chance of going very far in Hollywood unless he brings more confidence to his performance. IN

Kimberly Toshi irritates with “Barracuda” an is OUT.

Carmen Delgina, whose dad is Wonder Mike is from the Sugarhill Gang, opts for “Tainted Love” but overdoes the runs. “You’re a talented young woman but I don’t think your vocals are strong enough to get you to the end,” HCJ said. “Very inconsistent,” J. Lo said. “Something was disconnecting,” Keith said. But they all give her a yes. IN.

Kassandra Castaneda does yet another Adele cover (this time, “Chasing Pavements”). I really like her even if she’s a bit raw. “It was just alright,” HCJ said. He felt she missed too many runs and said no.  J. Lo liked it. “You had a lot of good control.” Keith is the tiebreaker who feels she could blossom in Hollywood. IN.

Kenneth “Woodie” Gaddie goes gospel with “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” He gets yeses and is IN.

Last up: Casey Thrasher from Tuscaloosa, Ala. He is a traveling musician. He met Urban at the CMA Awards and chose “Believe” by Brooks & Dunn. He is special. The man can sing with heart. “I love you,” J. Lo. “It had so much feeling.” HCJ: “Your drive is extremely strong… You will do practical things to get better.” Keith: “You have such hunger and desire and desperation and want to get a break.” IN.

216 comments
RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

I have posted a blog entry for tonight's episode. I won't be there live. But have fun in Omaha! Peyton Manning has yelled that word out many times, too. So go Omaha!

MercedesS
MercedesS

The man with the babies / what happened to the wife/mother?  Or is this is a Hugh Grant story? (Hugh has three babies with two women)

Woodpappy
Woodpappy

Wonder if the young man with the 2 infants living in the trailer is among those?  I'll just wait and see....

RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

I finally caught up on the show. It was pretty good. You could see they carted in a lot of folks from the South to salt up the Salt Lake City auditions. At least eight of the folks we saw last night are in the spoiler 31. You can guess at least a couple of them for sure.

Woodpappy
Woodpappy

Enjoyed last nights show.  Wouldn't have put as many thru as they did tho.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

I liked Kenzie Hall a lot.  She's all personality with a very good voice and an interesting style.

BigAintheBigA
BigAintheBigA

Alex Preston stood out. Haven't quite seen anybody like him so far. Can he pull off a range of styles? Also think C.J. Harris has some sort of rawboned soul that will be interesting to see more of. Lots of decent talent but what I saw on this episode was a few get through that don't really have a shot. I guess they have a quota. Won't be much longer now before America decides.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Morning!

It's 7 degrees at my house but the tv says the official low temperature in PTC today is 2.  Seriously?????  When will this end and someone needs to remind me when I'm complaining that it is 95 and humid!

MercedesS
MercedesS

And good morning - don't know why I woke up so early. Miss my morning AJC, the real version.

Rodney, looks like the Mrs. is going to miss a really good Idol season.

MercedesS
MercedesS

Skipped the Barracuda song. Never heard of Wonder Mike

GeoffCoe
GeoffCoe

Yes, good night and be safe, Atlanta!!

jeniferhopez
jeniferhopez

ok bye- stevie is singing on American horror story!!!

Pitchy
Pitchy

As usual, happy to blog with you guys. Enjoy the rest of your evening and those here in Atlanta, don't get out if you don't have to...corporate America will be FINE!  Good night.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Last audition round tomorrow night!  See y'all then.

Pitchy
Pitchy

I like the judges, but I miss crazy STyler. He was quirk and refreshing.

DanJohn
DanJohn

Not as good as I had hoped. But he may do well, if he doesn't it won't be because lack of effort.

jeniferhopez
jeniferhopez

why does harry connick jr always come on right after killing a bag of Cheetos??

G_
G_

He's just okay for me......

GeoffCoe
GeoffCoe

He's the kind of singer I'd love to hear do TWO songs in audition.  His heart might be stronger than his chops. 

jeniferhopez
jeniferhopez

not sure he's a star but root for his story

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

I like Casey.  He's a singer, not just a voice.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Casey...a dad who accepts responsibility...

GeoffCoe
GeoffCoe

Good comment, DanJohn...leads me to wonder how they figure out if they are putting too many through.  Do they have a quota they work against?  Do they stop auditioning when they hit that quota? 

Seems like they would have to have some kind of control in place about that, but I have no idea.  Does anyone? 

G_
G_

I like big man, but he's not for AI.

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

I think these kids need to cool it with the runs.  First, most can't pull it off.  Second, and most important, is this set of judges aren't as over the top about runs.

DanJohn
DanJohn

If a contestant who has a year...even a lifetime to know a song inside and out can't WOW the judges in the audition then they shouldn't be put through. Far too many are going through that are so-so! 

GeoffCoe
GeoffCoe

I like Cassandra.  Glad she got through.  But I like Harry's consistency about the runs..."if you're gonna do 'em, know that others do them better." 

G_
G_

Cute girl.  She's okay.....

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

Geez try not to make it so obvious that she got thru because of her dad 

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

It's so nice that these judges recognize that a good voice doesn't necessarily mean someone is a good singer.

GeoffCoe
GeoffCoe

She never would've gotten in without her dad backstory. Hope she gets to work on what's missing


Segertune
Segertune

I would like to say that even though I am from Texas, I found your website through American Idol links and am really enjoying your blog each week, I even read all the comments because I Love Idol and love to see how others love and react to it, and y'all's site rocks with the recap, and banter back and forth... Been reading for awhile and just wanted to say "Hello" wish I could do it "Cook" style, but there ya have it... Thanks Atlanta!!! Brian...

Pitchy
Pitchy

@GeoffCoe - Like I've always said, they have to put semi talent through to be able to vote people off to keep better talent going forward.  There's always good singers eliminated.  It's how the show works so the viewers think they're being fair.  What's unfair is giving those golden tickets to contestants thinking they have even a slight chance!

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Segertune 

Hey Brian...why not join us in the comment section.  You know how friendly we are...even when we disagree.  We are always happy to meet one of our lurkers!

G_
G_

@DanJohn@G_


Old school R&B is so old.....it's dead. LOL! I miss it though.....

Segertune
Segertune

Thank you both so much for the welcome and I will join in the blast soon...