Wednesday, January 26, 2011

American Idol Season 10, Episode 3 -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Hometown American Idol hero Danny Gokey welcomes us to Milwaukee.  As one of the natives says, "We don't have a accent here we just like our cheese & beer."  Who doesn't!

Up first is Scotty McCreery.  He's described as an all American kid. Rosy cheeks, buzz cut.  He plays baseball, naturally.  And he's all of 16.  He doesn't do too good a job with his Bye Baby Bunting rendition, but when the audition starts, his voice is surprising.  Deep, twangy country voice.  I break out in hives.  But if you're into that kind of music, you probably like this.  Boys done his homework. He knows Randy has worked with Travis Tritt and does a Tritt song.  And he sounds good, even to these Southern California ears.  I wouldn't exactly give him the same review as Steven Tyler (something about ducks hatching), but I like him.

We're then forced to listen to Joseph Repka attempt to sing ... "For the Longest Time."  Why do people pick songs that provide such an easy joke?  Because any time you have to listen to Steve sing will feel like the longest time.  Ba-dum-dum.  Then the producers gave us even more by having his mother tell us that she doesn't sing because she's tone deaf.  Apparently, that hasn't stopped her son.

Fifteen-year-old Emma Henry from Littleton, Colorado is up next.  She's singing "True Colors" and she has a unique, quirky voice.  Raspy and dangerously close to  being wrong.  But it stays right.  You would remember her if you heard her.  Is that tricky instrument developed enough to move on to Hollywood? Randy has the deciding vote after Steven (yea) and JLO (nay) split.  He does not think she's ready, but she cries and begs and he caves in.  He gives her one more shot, and says, don't disappoint us.  I like her less after finding about a thousand You Tube videos of her performing, starting with a tapdance in utero.  Maybe I exaggerate, but she's a little too "Gypsy" for me. 

Karate GaGa and then something really off fill my TV screen.  These people actually came back months after they originally auditioned just to bomb and not even in a memorable William Hung fashion.  Why?

Naima Adedapo has been working the biggest musical festival in the country -- Summerfest -- as a janitor.  Will American Idol give her the chance to be on stage?  She has a sultry sound and beautful eyes and confidence and a big smile.  She's the whole package.  And she does a fierce high kick.

Jerome Bell is introduced as a bar mitzvah singer. That was the first thing I thought of when I saw him. He sings, loudly, and is benefitted by the fact that Let's Get it On, is an amazing song.  I'm not sure if I'm digging him or I'm just thinking about Marvin Gaye right now.  He's not bad and he's easy on the eyes as they say. So, of course, he's in.

Somehow, I have to live through Bieber fever as he's the reason that kids with retainers and driver's permits are auditioning.

Thia Megia, whose name is fun to say out loud, is just a babe, 15.  She sings Chasing Pavements and has a weird southern accent when she sings.  I don't get it.  What Steven calls character, I find indulgent and overwrought.  OMG, I'm channeling Simon Cowell.  So not feeling this girl.

Shocking(?) statistic -- every 15 year old who auditioned was put through.  So it's clear what they're looking for this year.  If your voice has changed, if you need a razor, if you're legal in all fifty states, don't bother applying.

We have a civil war Wisconsin.  Since I knew he wouldn't sing well, I had time to research Wisconsin's role in the Civil War.  Did you know they sent just under 100,000 men to serve on behalf of the Union?  Me either!  Oh, my, he's still singing!  Did you know that they lost about 13% of those men?  Thanks for your service all those years ago!  We'll remember you while forgetting this young man.

Hmm, we have a contender for the worst singer of the Season.  Way to go Mason!  Don't make eye contact when you sing, they'll only try and steal your soul.

Raise your hand if you hate Molly Swensen?  She's a Harvard grad who fell into a White House internship.  Then she comes in guns blazing, saying that Randy elbowed her as he was high-fiving his way into the audition room.  Did I tell you that they teach you at Harvard how to work in the name of your alma mater in a casual way for maximium effect?  She's singing Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, slooooowly.  She probably thinks she's awesome because she's been told that every day of her tall, blonde life.  That's great, beautful, blah blah.  I'm starting to wonder if Randy's punching her in the face was an accident after all.

And with that, we're done with Day One.

Haley Reinhart has tried out before and is back for more.  She's knocking out some Beatles, Oh Darling!  I loved her.  She's got it and then some (some being roots that need attention, stat!).  A different sound, powerful voice.  Like her.

Tiwan Strong is a throwback to the fifties.  He's singing Twisting the Night Away and doing that annoying finger snap.  Can that be banned, the same way they were thinking of banning instruments again?  He has a interesting retro sound that you will never hear on your radio unless you're an oldies fan.  I see Broadway in his future!  Or booking some of those bar mitzvahs.  He will not be the next American Idol.

Steve Beghun is a CPA with the sense of humor you would imagine an accountant would have.  He has an awkward, different voice.  For once, I'm unsure how I feel about this.  He has zero appeal, and a voice you can't explain. He might be so wrong he's right.  But probably not.

Vernika Patterson is threatening us with Minnie Riperton.  Put the dogs outside, cover your kids' ears. This could be painful.  Okay, she can't sing.  But what will happen when she tries for the high note?  Will my TV explode?  My head?  Nothing.  She doesn't even go for the money note.  It's a dud.

Okay, Albert Rogers, III, is not going to get a gig as an Obama impersonator.  Rerun, possibly.  He said he's been told he sounds like Luther Vandross and Usher and Ruben Studdard.  He's singing Stand By Me.  What is it with people slowing down songs to the point they're unrecognizable?  His voice isn't train wreck awful, but it sure isn't great.

Scott Dangerfield audition starts strangely with Steven Tyler talking about his lips.  Awkward.  Scott is singing Amos Lee, Dreamin.  I'm digging him.  He's cool, he's hot, he's got it.  IT.  I like his choice of song and his whole vibe.  Just watch the runs, dude.

Time for the obligatory Green Bay Packers segment of the show.  We have found the ultimate Packers fan, Megan Fraser.  But can she sing?  She has such a heavy Wisconsin accent, I want a big hunk of cheese.  She's singing Bieber as an operetta.  Of course she is.  Hope her Packers do better than this in the Super Bowl.

Alyson "Ally" Jaydos promised to bring an edge, some rock and roll to Hollywood. She has a huge crush on Steven Tyler.  The feeling appears to be mutual.  She professes her love, she gets a hug.  She's singing Come Together.  She's a little heavy-handed with the rocker-chick schtick, but her voice is pretty good.  She then tackles Dream On, and has a nice rough edge to her voice. Steven mercifully takes over because she can't hit those crazy notes.  But Steven's worried about her pitch problems.  Oh no, Randy says no. JLo says yes.  Now Steven has to cast the deciding vote.  He caves like a Chilean mine and she's going through.

The last contestant has a story we've heard about for weeks and yet it still pulls at your heart when you hear it. Yeah, it's an old AI trope to give us a romantic sob story (remember Danny Gokey), but this is this guy's real life.  So, manipulative or not, it is part of his story. 

Chris Medina is from Chicago.  He's 26 and he's engaged.  And here it comes. His gorgeous fiancee was  seriously injured in a single vehicle car accident just as they were getting close to setting the date. She suffered a traumatic brain injury.  He now takes care of her along with her mom.  He better sing well!!  He's singing Breakeven, by the Script.  And luckily, he sounds really good to me. He apparently sounded good to The Script as well as the day after they tweeted him:  "Not only R U a major talent but U R 1 in a billion! Stay Strong,Never waver,This world needs more MEN like U. Peace+Love, Mark"

I like the tone of his voice and the fact that it can cross genres.  And then they bring his financee in and I'm losing it.  I hope she has some idea what's going on.  Wow, this is tough.

On that sad note, I'll put the snarkiness aside.  There are some good singers and some others who may have potential.  We'll see when they get to Hollywood.  Maybe I'll even learn to like Molly.

Be safe out there!


  1. Karen Smith from HillsboroJanuary 26, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    15 year old Emma has something unique. Don't know how it will develop....but I'm glad she got to move on. It's going to be another one of those catch 22. They lowered the age to 15, yet they're telling her she'll get swallowed up in the process. MAKE UP YOUR MINDS!! I liked Scotty but I'm a true country fan.

  2. You're hating on Molly just as Jennifer Lopez did. The look on her face spoke volumes when Molly said that she's a Harvard grad and a intern at the White House! She's smart, beautiful and has a great voice. She really does have the whole package. Yea for MOLLY!!!

  3. Burn this blog.
    Molly Swenson was engaging in every moment, and her singing had such range on every dimension. As J-Lo said, the low pitch at the beginning was astoundingly deep and rich, and then she took it up and out and around - every note as rich as the first. I put Idol on to entertain Mom (who has Alzheimer's), but now Molly has got me hooked - I want to see her journey.

  4. Glad you have a contestant to follow! So far from tonight it's just Scotty and Naima for me. But, coming up....

  5. Karen Smith from HillsboroJanuary 26, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    Hate on me if you must, but I'm with Shari about the Molly thing. Good enough voice, good personality...not American Idol. Really liked Chris and his story. He put me in mind of Andrew Garcia..really nice guy, really nice voice..but just not "the" one. Scotty for me tonight.

  6. Ally towards the end of the episode that made it to hollywood was standing behind me in line with her dad the whole day so I got to talk to both of them a lot. They were both really cool people to talk to. I remember them saying she plays acoustic shows by herself around the chicago area and has a pretty good following. Unfortunately for me I lost my voice the day of the audition! Probably all the screaming from 3am till 10am that they have you do for all the filming shots :/ haha. oh well good luck to everyone!

  7. Thanks for the info on Ally. I liked her quite a bit. Better luck with your voice next year!

  8. I agreed with most Shari, except I liked Molly, lol We'll see if she can bring it again.

  9. Hey Shari! Thanks so much for including AI discussion in your blog for all of us idol watchers. You do such an awesome job in your recaps & look forward in seeing your perspective along with the views in the comments. Before last year we would just watch the show & I had never logged onto a forum or discussion about the episodes. I just didn't really look into it. Of course last year by default, we were really just pulling for one contestant & didn't care about any others. Kinda anxious for the clean slate & ready to see someone who has IT to root for. Honestly at this point there really hasn't been someone (voice/talent) wise for me. It's early now & in Hollywood we will get to see everyone....maybe. As far as the judges, I really like all of them, a lot. Now it seems different, more light hearted & fun. Not missing Simon. I think the two nebys have enough past music experience that equals Simons. His head was to big for the stage. It still boggles me how the producers will pick out the handful of gold ticket winners to showcase. Granted they are doing great by taking out much of the fake bad auditions, but... I don't know... it's is still so set up. Like the rocker chick & her crush on Tyler. You know that was set up to make him cast the dramatic deciding vote that sealed her fate. I know it's TV & drama sells. Then there's the one story we had already heard about(somehow). The closing audition about the engaged man with the big heart caring for his fiancée. Don't get me wrong, I admire him in every way. He is a great guy for not abandoning the situation. This story had us tearing up & glued to the TV. I have to keep thinking, this is about singing, wright? It seemed he had a decent voice, but time will tell. I just hope they don't continue showing her for more drama. Ok we know his story & saw her situation, which is horrible & admirable. We will see how much more they bring it up.
    Anyway, thanks for your insight on this years show & we all appreciate your hard work on keeping us informed & entertained in your articles. Great job friend!

  10. Oh I forgot to say. I like the super smart, tall, slapped in the face, abused..... Molly. I figured you would like a smart girl with a voice. I will remember her because like the accountant they are sooo out of place. The odd ducks. So we agree to disagree but that's cool. I'll bet we see more of Molly later in the show. Ok done! :)

  11. Ok, thought about this all night. Was completely moved by Chris Medina's story...cried like the rest of America. Still, there was something uncomfortable about it for me. I don't think they should have shown the part when she was brought in to meet the judges. I think that should have been private, off camera. Felt intrusive to me. (Altho Steven Tyler was very sweet). Of course, we're going to hear the story, Idol wanted him to tell it...that just seemed like it should have been just between them. As far as Molly goes, I'm with you Shari. Her voice is pretty good but, to me, she seems smug and a bit off putting. I don't think she will win America's heart. My fave of the night was Scott Dangerfield...I was hooked before he even sang. Was funny. Loved his voice and song choice as well. My favorite part of the night though, was charlie horse lady. I laughed till I cried.

  12. Jake,
    Except for your opinion of Molly, I agree totally! You could feel the strings being pulled! It's not really a reality show is it?

    Showing the judges meeting Chris' fiancee, and then her holding the golden ticket as they left the audition room, felt intrusive.

  13. My favorite was Scott Dangerfield, and I also liked the country kid McCreery. I'm lovin' the new judges!!!!