American Idol made its way to Detroit on Wednesday night, and we were treated to a lot of strong talent, and some of my favorites from this episode I can’t wait to see how they progress in upcoming rounds (as long as they don’t stumble and get eliminated, that is).
We’re three episodes into season 13, and so far I am highly impressed with the amount of talent that is being showcased. You would think after 13 seasons, the talent would be running thin, but when you have singers like Kaitlyn Jackson, Jesse Roach, Briana Oakley and others last week, along with the many others that have impressed so far, we’re in for a fantastic season. I’ve never been this excited for a new season of The Voice — that’s the power of American Idol, the best singing competition show out there.
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Out of the singers advancing to Hollywood Week, I narrowed my list down to six who are in the running for The One Singer to Watch. I’m going to start from the bottom of the list and work my way up.
At the bottom is Jena Asciutto, who sang Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” which we’re hearing on a regular basis now on these singing competition shows. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as they’re good, and Jena is, but I wouldn’t say she’s great. She got a little pitchy (to quote Randy Jackson) in her upper register. I initially didn’t have her on my list, but when I re-watched it back, I think I found something in her voice to like.
Next is David Oliver Willis, auditioning with “Too Close.” For those who might not have taken notice of him during this audition episode, I think there’s a chance that he could be on everyone’s radar in future rounds. The thing about David is he’s really good and has a lot of potential. And he kept getting better as the song went on. By the end, I thought, I want to hear more from him.
The next two on my list are tied for third because I like them both but had a hard time choosing which one would go above the other. They are Mayala Watson and Maurice Townsend.
Mayala sang Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way.” We hear judges on all these talent shows go on and on about how much talent the younger singers have, and say things like “And you’re only 15!” Well, Mayala is 15, and the thing about her is she’s got so much control to her voice that not everyone can do, no matter if you’re 15, 25, or 35. Also, when we hear how some singers have “raw talent,” that term can rightly be applied to her. She’s one to look out for because as the season progresses, she could really take off.
And for Maurice, he’s 26 but looks a lot older to me — does anyone else think so too? I’m 25, and he looks at least 10 years older. But putting that aside, he’s got a great story, an adorable family and superb talent. He’s got such a soulful tone to his voice, which I love.
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Then we come to my top two from Detroit. I kept going back and forth on who to pick for the number one spot. Last night, I initially went with one, then after rewatching their auditions today, I’m siding with the other now.
So to me, the runner-up is Ryan Nisbett. I absolutely love, love, love his voice! It’s not necessarily the sound you’d expect from someone like him. He was in his upper register a lot of the time during Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” and his voice did crack at least one time when he went for one of the higher notes, and he also flubbed a line as well. That’s mainly why he’s the runner-up and not in the top spot. But I just love both his unique voice and look that I can’t wait to hear what he sings next.
The One Singer to Watch: Keri Lynn Roche
Keri Lynn Roche was the first one out of the gate in Detroit, and untill Ryan Nisbett came on screen, I wasn’t sure if we were going to get anyone as good as her. But she started off the episode very strong, first singing Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” then going without the guitar on Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind,” which has become a favorite of mine whenever I hear it performed on any of these shows. She didn’t show any weaknesses during either song.
Keri looks like a rocker and, even though she sounds like one too, it’s unique enough to where it’s not just another rock voice, and she’s not trying too hard — this is just who she is. Not everyone gets to perform two songs, but for me, I want to hear even more than that, and I hope we get to in the weeks and months to come.
Which did you think of the Detroit auditions? Who are your favorites, and do you think season 13 will end up being one of the stronger seasons for Idol? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)