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When possible, I will attempt to keep up with my American Idol recaps, although Thursday is now my busiest day, with my son's piano lessons and soccer class jammed into a full afternoon. So I'm probably going to mostly take live notes and post them, unvarnished.

Here are the highlights from the first show of Season 14.
• In an unprecedented move, the show started off with the Top 24 performing "Feeling Good," but without their voices being shown. They were all carefully silhouetted, sometimes with their hair backlit. They certainly sounded amazing, which is enough to make viewers want to find out who they are.
• Auditions kicked off in Nashville, and Keith Urban showed up to pick up the other judges (Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr.) in a giant pick-up. Very cute.
• The first auditioner, Riley Bria, 17, Springhill, Tennessee, had performed with Harry at an awards show after winning a contest associated with a summer camp. He was a young, skinny guy with white-blonde hair. He performed one of Keith's songs, "Georgia Woods," and had a sunny smile as he accompanied himself on guitar. His playing was a bit better than his vocals, but he was engaging. Harry called him captivating, and Jennifer said he was made for the stage. Keith advised him to "dig into" a performance. He got three yeses.
• Priscilla Barker, 19, Amory, Mississippi, is the youngest of 10 children and a big Keith Urban fan. She sang "Delta Dawn" by Tammy Tucker, and though she had a guitar with her, she did it a capella at the beginning. Priscilla tossed her chestnut brown, long hair as she played, and Jennifer danced in her seat as she listened. Harry and Keith got into a weird conversation about Wolverine and Bigfoot. Harry said he liked her enough to want to see her again, but Jennifer said no, saying it wasn't special enough. Keith said she'd have to find something to separate herself from the rest. He said yes, to give her a chance to prove herself.
• Cameron Bedell, 25, Wichita, Kansas, sang "You Are the Best" by Ray LaMontagne, accompanying himself on a guitar that needed tuning. In this case, his voice was clearly better than his guitar playing, with a jazzy soul feel. He was a tall guy with a neatly trimmed, short beard and toffee-colored complexion. The judges were in a good mood, joking around, but all three voted to put him through.
• Next was a montage of some of the more interesting entrances, including someone playing a bongo drums. Another guy, a bad singer, refused to take guidance from Jennifer, who suggested he'd started too high.
• Amber Kelechi Walker, 15, Memphis, Tennessee, grew up in a crime-infested area. She sang the Elvis song, "Heartbroke Hotel, accompanied on piano by the musical director. A shy, seeming African-American girl with long dyed-pink or red hair and a cut-off gray shirt, she had a bluesy tone. Jennifer said yes, but Harry said she needed more time. Keith made her day by voting yes, putting her through.
• Kyle Blaine Corman, 24, Staten Island, New York, had striking long copper rocker curls. Harry liked it so much he asked to touch it. He sang "Give a Little Bit" by the Goo-Goo Dolls. A somewhat awkward guy when he was talking, he was much more confident when he was performing. He had a fierce rocker delivery but was rough around the edges, and you could tell the judges were considering him carefully. Harry asked Keith if he wasn't feeling it. Jennifer told him he had his own style, but it was more of a talking tone. Kyle didn't really listen to her, beginning to sing again, and Keith told him that if he couldn't take criticism, he ought to just leave.
• Then there was a montage of some other people who were told no, some leaving the audition in tears, vowing to try again next year.
• Kory Wheeler, 26, Nashville, Tennessee, who works in the coffee shot across from the auditions, sang, "I Can't Make You Love Me," accompanying himself on guitar. He had a scrubby beard, brown hair, blue eyes and longish bangs. He had a lot of heart, but often ran into pitch problems. Jennifer said that he gave her goosies. Keith liked that he did it his own way. Harry loved the sound of his voice. He got three yeses.
• Michael Simeon, 20, Mississippi, a farm boy now attending Old Miss, sang "Stay with Me" by Sam Smith, accompanying himself on guitar. He had light brown hair in a longish brush cut and a very boy-next-door look. Three yeses, without much discussion, except Harry saying, "Thanks for making it easy." He asked Jennifer to dance with him. Harry jumped on the piano, and Keith played guitar, and he sang as he danced slow with her, and she even put her head on his shoulder. Cute. Clearly a set-up, but cute.
• Emily Brook, 15, West Palm Beach, Florida, had long blonde hair, red lipstick, a black-and white top and jeans. She played guitar as she sang, and she had a little bit of a twang to her performance of a Carrie Underwood song. Jennifer called her "very great." Keith thought there was a lot of raw talent in there, and Harry thought she was cool. She, of course, made it to Hollywood.
• Auditions continue tonight!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 9th, 2015 04:26 am (UTC)
Hi! Looking forward to chatting with you again!

I liked the Top 24 montage at the beginning of last night's show a lot - there are some very interesting voices in there.

The contestants that stood out for me were Riley Bria, Priscilla Barker (loved her sense of humour, but my goodness her mother was scary!), Amber Walker (I was thinking her voice was one of the ones I heard in the Top 24, which would be good), Kory Wheeler in a bad way (his pitch problems hurt my ears - I'm surprised Harry didn't comment on it because iirc he was big on pitch problems last year), and Michael Simeon.

When I first saw Kyle Corman from the back, I thought for a moment it was Brett Lowenstein come back. Imagine my disappointment when he turned round and it wasn't - and my even worse disappointment when he started to sing!
Jan. 10th, 2015 10:28 am (UTC)
Riley was cute; I think he has potential. Priscilla will have to do something to make herself stand out from other country singers. Yes, Kory was ear hurting, and I don't know what they saw in him. Michael Simeon could be a real contender, thanks to his down-to-earth charm. I felt really bad for Kyle Corman, because he did have a lot of heart. However, when he wouldn't listen to the judges' critiques, I knew he wouldn't have been a good fit.

Nice to talk to you again! Sorry I didn't blog "The Voice," but I only have so much time nowadays and that show has been boring me for a couple seasons now. They even had everyone dress in the same red-and-black palette this whole past season!
Jan. 10th, 2015 05:39 pm (UTC)
I have to admit that I found this last season of the Voice rather boring, apart from the blind auditions, and that was for the judges' bickering rather than being blown away by any of the contestants, like I was the 2 previous seasons I've been watching it. In fact, when I thought about it, it took me a long time to remember who had actually won this season! (Then I remembered it was that country singer who'd pissed me off by singing 'The Old Rugged Cross' - it really annoys me when contestants pander to voters so obviously) And most importantly, the only new discovery song-wise this season was Hozier's 'Take Me To Church'; everything else I knew already and/or didn't care for.

Jan. 10th, 2015 07:36 pm (UTC)
Of course, being a fan of the local public station, WXPN, I'd been listening to "Take Me to Church" for much of the year already.

As far as the winner of the Voice, I would have preferred it be Matt, who hailed from Philadelphia, just because at least he wasn't as boring. I was shocked that, as behind as I got with the show, I was able to catch up after the season ended without the winner EVER being announced in the media while I was watching! Of course, it probably would have been different around here if the Philly boy had won. ;)
Jan. 10th, 2015 11:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, Matt was better (and he was the one who sang 'Take Me To Church', wasn't he?)
Jan. 11th, 2015 12:17 am (UTC)
Yes, he did. Besides being from Philly, I liked the fact that he was able to make a song his own. I mean, the country guy was good, but he was sort of predictable.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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