In the first four audition episodes of American Idol season 14, we spent two hours each in Nashville, Kansas City and New York. Now we get just one hour from the auditions in Minneapolis, and even that is padded with a terrible, joke contestant and several mini-auditions. Something tells me that, when the Top 24 is revealed, we’ll find out that Minneapolis has the fewest contestants in it from any audition city.
It’s so bad that the “good” singers moving on to Hollywood include a frat boy who sings with a very thick and fake country accent, an all-over-the-place hunter who got in primarily because she killed a bear, a Jerry Lee Lewis impersonator (literally, that’s his job) and a recycled contestant from The Voice.
The Good from Minneapolis
Shannon Berthiaume: She’s a shy 17-year-old who doesn’t sing in front of people. She wears a black t-shirt and jeans, but she’s clearly a cute girl who’s only pretending to be a plain Jane. She sings very loudly. It’s raw and soulful, but I’m not sure if she has the precision to go far.
Girl Montage: Three Golden tickets get lumped together. Morgan Ovens sings Alanis Morissette, which makes her my favorite of the three. Gabrielle Noe’l has an unnecessary apostrophe in her name (that’s a pet peeve of mine) and Courtney Guns sings way too closely to the judges.
Vanessa Andrea: Her husband is in the Air Force, but Keith Urban is the celebrity she could cheat on him with, and she has put a LOT of thought into that. She’s sweet with an impressive set of pipes and a cool country/classic rock sensibility. She hugs Keith and compliments his butt. There’s a fine line between cute and stalker, and commenting on how good Keith’s hair smells puts her squarely on that line.
Zach Johnson: He looks like a frat dude who spends every Friday night hitting the beer bong. He sings country with an overly affected twang. Harry Connick, Jr. calls him out for using a fake country accent when he sings because he doesn’t have it when he speaks. Jennifer Lopez agrees and asks him to sing without it. He does (sort of), though the accent is still perceptible. He gets a ticket anyway. Zach says he’s gonna see Keith in concert in two weeks and Keith promises to bring him on stage to sing with him. And we see that Keith actually did it.
Aaron Bissell: He’s a gravelly-voiced 17-year-old coffee house singer. We don’t see or hear much from him, but he gets a ticket.
Cindy Jo Scholer: She’s an adorable pre-K teacher. But she’s also a hunter who loves shooting guns and who killed a bear with a bow (while with her beau). She has a powerful, raspy voice, but the audition is horrible with lots of unnecessary, off-the-rails runs. J. Lo says “No,” but gets outvoted. Just once this season I’d like to see a 2-1 decision that goes the other way.
Jacob Tolliver: He’s the understudy to play Jerry Lee Lewis in a Vegas show. And that’s all he does, a giant Jerry Lee Lewis impersonation that’s entertaining on the piano, but distracting. He then sings Sam Smith and does it without the “Great Balls of Fire” theatrics. It’s just OK, but he goes through anyway.
Hannah Mrozak: She’s 16 and sings with a big, very loud voice. She’s definitely good, but it all feels overly rehearsed to me.
Mark Andrew: He’s 29, which is as old as you can be on this show. He’s a recent dad just trying to make it in the music industry one last time to provide for his family. He’s really good, as you might expect considering the fact that he made Team Shakira back in season 4 of The Voice (losing in the Battle Rounds). Rather than waste my time, just read my recap of when he auditioned on that show HERE.
The Bad from Minneapolis
Kemil Casey: He’s a nerdy, awkward dude with a gold-plated microphone. The whole thing is one big joke, and this crap was annoying 10 years ago on Idol.
Next time on American Idol: The Thursday shows get cut down to an hour thanks to the series premiere of Backstrom at 9pm, and Idol heads to Harry’s hometown of New Orlenas.
(Image courtesy of FOX)