Posted: 7:00 pm Thursday, January 30th, 2014
By Rodney Ho
Tonight is the final audition episode and 10th hour of “American Idol” this season. And while in the past, I’d be seriously sick of auditions at this stage, I’m okay this time around. It felt just about right.
The focus on good singers this year, more than ever, made a difference. Jokesters and baddies were kept to a minimum (the folks who liked that stuff are long gone from the show at this stage.)
In the end, we saw nearly all the 31 spoiler finalists. Only a couple showed up tonight. (UPDATE on ratings: 11.2 million in early ratings and a 3.1 18-49. That is way below the 13.8 million and 4.5 18-49 a year ago. The show took a major beating against a new episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” the first time it faces a new BBT this season.)
Omaha drew 21 tickets, the lowest of any of the cities, and 212 total over seven cities. That’s one of the lowest numbers they’ve had in many years.
Still, there is no doubt we’ve seen some potential big talent overall. Any stars? Too early to say.
I am looking forward to the next round. It appears “Idol” has truncated the Hollywood episodes so keep your eyes on who is given a lot of airtime. I don’t think they’ll be wasting much time on those that don’t make it with maybe a couple of exceptions.
Here’s the recap:
Nice to see Ryan Seacrest driving the judges to work in Omaha. What? No driver?
Quaid Edwards looks like he could be Harry Connick’s son. He’s just okay despite his mom’s connection as someone who worked with Keith Urban in his early days. J. Lo said he didn’t get all his notes in. Keith said he likes him but he doesn’t feel the runs. HCJ said he’s “heading in the wrong direction.” But he has raw talent. He’s just as green as they come, as he noted. So he’s IN. It’s doubtful he’ll get anywhere in Hollywood, though.
Simon Hauck is terrible. OUT. Next. Then more no’s. Clearly, Omaha was the least fruitful of the cities in terms of talent.
Madisen Walker, a 15 year old Iowan, is very chipper but her vocals don’t have any authenticity, the thing HCJ is always seeking. “A perfect karaoke rendition,” Keith said. J. Lo gives her a chance. Keith stares at her and says yes anyway. She’s probably going to disappear once Hollywood rounds begin, which HCJ anticipates. IN.
Alyssa Siebken, the selfie queen with Ryan Seacrest from Fremont, Neb., decides to do a rap song by Atlanta’s Waka Flacka as if it were a singer-songwriter song. Very creative though J. Lo said this has been done before. J. Lo liked her breath control and said yes. HCJ didn’t get it and said no. Keith is generous, gives her a yes. IN.
Tyler Gurwitz is a dude who goes after Adele, in this case “Set Fire to the Rain.” He’s passable. “I don’t know where I’d place you in ‘American Idol,’ ” HCJ said. “It’s hard to describe.” Keith said he has great range but you sound so angry and it’s “hard to watch.” HCJ said he may have trouble singing other styles. Keith said no. J. Lo said yes. HCJ also said no but Tyler asks for another song on the spot. He should have a back up instantly but struggles. He finally comes up with Jeff Buckley’s “Grace.” It changes HCJ’s mind. “That’s the first time I second guessed myself.” OUT.
Then more no singers, plus a dude who can do imitations of several U.S. presidents. Tyler Marshall, a party promoter from Omaha, is fun and a good voice but has no real star power. Still, the judges liked it. IN.
C.J. Jones said he’s going to sing “Stand By Me.” HCJ joked, no, he won’t. So C.J. insists he actually stands by him. He dances with him. He isn’t fazed. “I like the sound of your voice. It’s a pleasing voice to hear,” Keith said. IN.
Montage alert: Dajontae Lenear is smitten with J. Lo and is worthy of a ticket to Hollywood. Dylan Becker, a shoe caddy, sounds great. Both are IN.
Paula Hunt, an Air Force band specialist, does a quality Etta James cover. I don’t particularly like her look but she brings it. And her mom has MS and her voice was taken away from her. But her daughter fills the gap. No doubt she’s IN.
Andrina Brogden is from North Dakota, a state not yet represented on “Idol” among finalists. She is clearly an amateur but has a “halo” about her. I like her. “You’re singing with a little bit of fear,” J. Lo said. “I wonder how going through a competition, will you be able to be fearless?” HCJ said you’re way better than average but not good enough for “Idol.” Keith said she has a great voice. “I feel you’re going to rise to the occasion.” IN
Christian Scholl, a square dance caller, can’t hold a key at all. Yeesh. OUT.
Casey McQuillen has a decent voice but feels more theatrical to me than pop. “Angelic,” J. Lo said. “You sing beautifully,” Keith said. HCJ enjoyed it. All IN.
Now the final audition of season 13: Tessa Kate from Arkansas goes Johnny Cash on us. She has a cute voice and persona with serious cheeks. HCJ is smitten. She reminds him of Barbara Mandrell. “You have a timeless sound to you.” “So sweet,” J. Lo said. “It was almost in chipmunk territory.” Easy IN.
About the Author
I'm the media writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and ajc.com. I've been following radio since 2001, TV since 2005. I cover everything from the local radio and TV news scene to shows shot in Atlanta ("The Walking Dead," "Real Housewives of Atlanta") to networks based here (CNN, TBS, Up, Weather Channel) to celebrities who visit town.