Monday, January 21, 2013

turban idol: new york auditions

And here we are.  Its time.  The delay is over, we've put it off as long as we could...

The Lovely Steph Leann just finished watching the better-than-you'd-think 2012 film "21 Jump Street", and as she deleted it off of our DVR, I said, "Well... do we want to watch American Idol Audition 1?  Or just call it a wash?"

"Sigh... well... I guess we can try it..."  And so here we are.

You've already had a chance to read my thoughts on the judges... Randy the Dawg is the ol' staple... then keith urban... Nicki Minaj, who I've shared my opinion on... and then, Mariah Carey.  The diva.  The pre-skank awesomeness, post-skank okayness, Mariah Carey. 

Just now, as Ryan Seacrusty just discussed the judges, I heard Nikki Minaj talk... for the first time.  Ever.  Now, we know that Nikki and Mariah don't get along... its been reported several times that there have been harsh words spoken and egos clashing, so this should be interesting.

Did you know that Nikki Minaj was featured on Mariah Carey's single "All Up Out My Face".  This was in Mariah's ick period, so I can't say I've even heard it.

And New York City is the setting for the first round of auditions, and automatically, Nikki Minaj and Mariah Carey butt heads over a fluffy drum major hat, interrupted by a dude coming in singing a random version of "We Will Rock You", using the judges in the song, before hitting a high octave and then some sort of Rastafarian tune.  And the judges say "No!" 

The Lovely Steph Leann:  What just happened?  I'm confused.  Are we... watching American Idol?
Mariah and Nicki at it again. keith urban just sits there and shakes his head.  I'm Team Mariah, just to be clear.

Tenna Torres, 28, went to Camp Mariah when she was 13, way back in the day.  Tonight, she sings "You've Got a Friend"... Judges love her, Mariah speaks first, Nicki rolls her eyes, keith urban loves it, Randy the Dawg and she goes on through to Hollywood.

Montage of a few voices that went to Hollywood that we'll probably see later and not remember.

Here comes a young Psy type kid, Asian, and is ready to be the next Justin Beiber.  The Lovely Steph Leann says softly, "...oh dear..."

James Bae takes on a Beiber song... wearing oversize headphones around his neck, genuine 3D glass, a terrible necklace, a terrible haircut and a terrible voice.  Which we know this was coming.  Mariah suggests he become a DJ... Nicki asks if he has a girlfriend... keith urban says he doesn't have the whole package... and Randy the Dawg says a big NO. 

Christina, from Boston, tells us her story of losing weight in high school, being inspiring to an obese nation.  Christina's name flashes on the screen, but it says Christina "Isabell", and I don't know which name is actually her.  She has a great voice, though.  Nicki says "OMG!"... keith urban calls her a "natural singah"... Mariah loved it... Randy the Dawg loved it... she goes through!

BACKSTORY ALERT!!! So here comes dancer Evan, who at 19 was diagnosed with cancer... and he lost his right leg to the disease. Boom. And he comes in, metal right leg, guitar in hand... and we hope this kid is good now. Now he takes on "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz... and I'm unclear if I like him or not... then he take the chance to strum some "Wanted Dead or Alive" on guitar--which sounds much better. Mariah, keith urban and Nicki all agree he's awesome, but also agree that Idol isn't for him... and I actually agree with that. Randy the Dawg agrees with me. As he should.
Seacrusty tells us how Idol has tossed up a new twist... people can send in nominations, and one or more of the judges go out to find this person to hear them sing.  This is a brilliant twist...

...even better when NBC's The Voice did this already...

Randy the Dawg shows up, hears her sing, and gives her a number to go straight to the judges.  Jessica Kartalis from Staten Island sings a little bit of a song she wrote... and stumbles a bit on the guitar.  And isn't doing all that great... come on chick, rescue this! 

Nicki tells her to mold herself and come back next year... Mariah says come back next year... Randy the Dawg says come back next year... keith urban loves the guitar and writing music... but still says no.  Sad. 

If I was Jessica, I'd be mad... "You freakin' came and told me to come sing, Randy the Dawg!?  What the crap, yo!  I was minding my own business!"

We get a video clip of how New York--and Idol--is worldwide... Belgium, Mexico, Russia, Sweden and more.. and Shira Gavrielov is from Israel, who had a #1 hit in Israel.. but is here to chase that American dream.  And other than some annunciation problems, she's not that bad.  All four judges shout YES, so she is on her way.

Brooklyn native Frankie Ford is the last contestant of the day... and found out he was adopted at age 8, with his real mom being caught up in substance abuse.  He sings on the subway to collect money on the train... which I'm guessing might be some good jack.   

Nicki Minaj touches her hair alot.

He sings "Sweet Dreams" from the Eurythemics... and blows it.  He starts again, a little slower.  That may have saved him, as it is a 1000 times better.  I hate this song, but at least he's making it sound better.  keith urban loves the voice and tone.  Randy the Dawg believes in him.  Mariah loves his inner glow.  Nicki loves that he's different.  All big YES votes.

keith urban says "Frankie goes to Hollywood!"  (rim shot)

Baby break!
Food break!
Tropical Smoothie break!

Nicki and Mariah go back and forth, keith urban just smiles uncomfortably.
Benjamin something or other is wearing an outfit very similar to the Michael Jackson outfit I've worn in the past.  That's all I'm going to say.

Okay, I have to mention he's singing Boyz II Men's "I'll Make Love to You" to Mariah, then immediately switches over to Babyface's "Everytime I Close My Eyes" to Nicki... then keeps going.  keith urban literally just climbed under the table.  He seems genuinely crushed when he's told NO all around... they play "End of the Road" as he walks out.

And next up is Roxanna Shindelman, singing "To Know Him" from the 60s... and its not too bad.  Well... its not too good either.  She hits high notes, and blows it completely.  The song was supposed to show her range and Nicki squashes a second song.  Its a No. 

And the obiligatory bad voice montage, including one guy who just ripped one on camera, causing The Lovely Steph Leann to choke on her ham & swiss flatbread from Tropical Smoothie.   And the ending shot is some chick cursing in front of the camera in anger, as per usual
Another chick named Sarah blows the judges away with a Carrie Underwood song... then Randy the Dawg asks for another song, and she does "Super Bass".

The Lovely Steph Leann:  What is Super Bass?
Me:  I think its a Nicki Minaj song...?  Maybe?

Which now has thrown Randy the Dawg and keith urban into turmoil, because they hear country and rap from the same artist and throw the whole "I dont know who you are..." card down.  However, keith urban gives a Yes... Mariah says Yes... Nicki says Yes... and Randy the Dawg tops it off with Yes.

I refuse to listen to Super Bass, because I'm afraid I might like it..

Albert Chang, 25, from Queens NY... he works as a medical clinic receptionist... and he's subtitled because we can barely understand him.  He tells Seacrusty that he is excited about the new judges, then tells the camera he has no idea who the judge are. 

His attempt on "Phantom of the Opera" lacks... well, tune.  And then hits hilarious tones... The Lovely Steph Leann grimaces and almost chokes on her Harvest Cheddar Sun Chip.  Whew.

For some reason... Nicki Minaj speaks with a British accent for the next few contestants.  Like, what the what?

Now, here is a chick with 40% hearing loss... Angela Miller from Massachusetts is singing a song that I don't know what it is... "Mama Knows Best"?  I like it.  Seems like Idol does too, as they allow her to sing for a while. 

Nicki loves her tone... keith urban likes that she moved... Mariah likes her tone... Randy the Dawg loved her much.  Yes for Angela!
Food break for Campbell! 
Feed Campbell!
Run to Fresh Market for Organic Peaches for Campbell!

And we're back... and we have a "dream sequence" with some dude named Brett Holt, who has one of the most amazing voices in history... in his dreams.  He's auditioned 7 times, and he's singing "When I Fall in Love"... and I feel like if he could just sing the word "When" over and over, he'd be alright... but when he got past that first word, it collapsed immediately.  Bad.  Just bad.

And our first ever contestant with a turban... and he matches his turban with his clothes.  Can you do that with Islam? Or Muslim?  Or whatever he is?  Gurpreet Singh Sarin is singing Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning"... and I didn't expect this.  He's like... like... good.

Nicki is telling him no.  But, keith urban says his voice is a little too light.  Mariah thinks its pretty, and says Yes.  Randy the Dawg says Yes.  keith urban struggles with an answer, but says no.  Nicki now tries to decide this kid's fate... part of me doesn't want him to go through, just so I don't have to type Gurprett Singh Sarin over and over... but she says Yes, and off he goes.

And now, two days of contestants and singing and wailing, Ashlee Feliciano is the final contestant...

BACKSTORY ALERT!!!  She comes from a family that sponsors a ton of medically challenged foster kids.  She's got a few biological siblings, several adopted siblings and a bunch of foster kids in the home.  And I tip my hat to the whole family... that is a spiritual gift from God himself.

Naturally, she does an old standard, Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On"... and kills it.  You kinda knew she would.  And she gets four YES votes, well deserved.  Love it.

So that's Audition #1 in the books... we still have Audition #2 to look at, with this week's episodes yet to air.  With a 14 month old, plus a Disney trip 2 weeks away, Clouds in my Coffee's next Idol review is never promised!  So stay tuned!

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