Welcome to the fourth “American Idol” audition show of the season! We’re still enjoying the season despite our frustrations about last night … or frustrations every time Jennifer Lopez says the word “goosies” out loud. #PleaseNo. Is there something better that she can say there, or are we losing our minds for suggesting changes in the final season of a show.
We’re going to bring you the same thing that we do in this article every week, and that is try to track the action as it goes along. We’re playing a little catch-up in the early going, but plan to be back on track very soon. As a result, let’s not focus on the people we’re never going to see again, mostly since a lot of them are so forgettable that you won’t recall them come the time you’re reading this anyway.
Amber Lynn and James VIII – First of all, how is James the VIII of anything? Are we back in the British monarchy all of a sudden? Anyway, the two are good friends who are auditioning together but not dating. Let’s just make that clear. both are pretty good. James would be great if he didn’t try so hard with the affected vocals; he needs to pick up some of that classic “use your own voice” critique from Harry Connick. Both could have a hard road in Hollywood.
Chris CJ Johnson – Really fun. Great swagger. Great sounds. You can actually hear that this is a guy who has been performing for some time. Maybe these people are not as attractive to some since they don’t have that “raw” vibe and can’t be molded into whatever executives want.
Ethan Kuntz – Basically the opposite of everything we just said with Chris. He’s still super-young at 15, and can be molded into almost everything. There is some talent here, but it’s not so apparent that he needs to be on the show now. Why not go on “The Voice” in a few years instead? Agreeing with Harry on this one.
Mary Williams – For a country singer, Keith Urban was surprisingly tough on her. Mary did some things really right, and had a nice, expressive tone. The only issue is that maybe it felt a little too much like she was trying to play the emotion in the song versus it coming organically. That can be worked on; also, you’re auditioning in a very nervous situation.
Terrian – Super-cool name. Like her vibe. Also, if you’re going to perform “Happy,” you better be pretty darn happy in the process. She was! She had the perfect sort of energy for this crowd, but will need to bring it up if she advances.
Leann “Blue” McIsaac – Blue is different than anyone we’ve seen this season. Extremely folksy. She sounds like a singer on a Fleet Foxes album. We already previewed her, and we have a feeling you’re either going to love her or hate her. She’s the one exception to the “no rejections” rule just because she’s fascinating.
Thomas Stringfellow – His name sounds like an oil prospector from the old west. He looks like the kind of kid who would sing Ed Sheeran. We don’t blame him, though, since he’s really good and will have thousands of votes the moment he strums the guitar for any song. One to watch.
“Tank” Jackson – Who thought this guy was gonna be a hot mess with his corny dance moves and goofy personality? Brownie points to Tank for being at least much better than we thought he was going to be, but we’re not sure he has the power to go all the way.
John Wayne Schulz – Here’s a hot take: We liked him more in the early stages of season 10 than eventual winner Scotty McCreery, and we still think he’s really good. There may be a misconception that we don’t like country, but the reality is our preference for the genre is something more earthy and heartfelt. Make it less about the songs about hunting, booze, and tons of women, and more about the soul and the storytelling. Most moving performance of the night.
Jordyn Simone – Pro tip: Anytime someone starts out with a really long, good note, it’s probably going to be a very good performance the rest of the way. Jordan proved this right by the time we got to the end of her number. Very strong, great falsetto, and a good personality. “Let me feel your fifteen-ness” may be the creepiest thing Jennifer Lopez has ever said.
Jake Dillon – Our second-favorite country singer behind John … at least for tonight. Nice musicianship at the end (albeit a bit raw), and he wasn’t afraid to hit some of the higher notes in the song. He may need to push himself more, and got by on the skin of his teeth.
Ashley Lilinoe – Hawaiians have done well on the show in the past, and we’re all about Ashley’s chill vibe and “Black Velvet” audition. It’s so nice to see someone come on the show with a song and a style like this. It makes us think that she is the one making her choices, rather than just doing something that producers wanted her.
Andrew Nazarbekian – Born in America but raised in Moscow, Andrew is another contestant with interesting flair. Wonderful voice. Apparently, the fact that he is from Russia means that we have to hear a lot of stereotypical Russian music.
Elvie Shane – We would’ve assumed he was country, but he’s more blues than anything. It was a “House of the Rising Sun” like no other, with the goal more about preserving the ebb and flow than trying to draw out every note. Super-cool way to end the show.
If you missed our review of “American Idol” from last night, head over to the link here right away! Also, sign up over here to score some other updates on all we cover, sent right over to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: Fox.)