As much as I'd like to give attention to all of the young hopefuls that will be radiating from my TV screen over the next few weeks, I know from experience it does no good to become invested in someone who will not end up in a voting round. Jermaine Purifoy? Josiah Lemming? Mary Powers? I spent too much time learning about them and caring about their results only to forget all about them once they failed to get a phone number attached to them.
With that in mind, I am cautious about dipping my toe in the spoiler pond. But the folks over at Joe's Place Blog have been gathering data over the past few months to find out who of the nearly 200 who were handed a golden ticket to Hollywood will end up in the final 40. I've been watching their YouTube videos so I'm well prepared to make a snap judgment about few of them. Click on the video links and see what you think of this new crop.
First, if Ashthon Jones isn't the ultimate ringer, I don't know who is. When I played her videos, I thought my iTunes had switched on. This was professional, catchy, worthy of repeated plays. Maybe it's a false rumor or maybe there are two women whose parents decided to bless them with an excessive amount of consonants in their name. But if she's for real, and is a real contestant, then let's shut it down and just hand her the crown.
Brett Lowenstern sounds like a podiatrist, but he's a Art Garfunkel-haired singer-guitarist. His cover of Apologize reminds me of last year's Alex Lambert. He's quirky and the voice has an interesting tone, but then he just goes off key (like last year's winner!) and it is goes from eccentric to painful.
Casey Abrams perhaps should sue the videographer who kept his camera poised on the horn section as Casey sang some wicked old time jazz come blues. Love the sound of his voice. The video listing says it's from the Idylwild Arts Academy Jazz Festival, so the guy knows his stuff. There's another video that shows him doing one of those stunt a cappella numbers with himself, and he's definitely got a unique sound, but is it too old school?
Chris Medina has this year's Danny Gokey heart-tugging story, of his fiancee's near-fatal car accident that has left her severely impaired. Hard to separate the sadness from the performance, and rumor has it that Steven Tyler was driven to tears by the story. The only YouTube I've seen of him has an original song. He's got the Daughtry/David Cook rocker sound. He's definitely a contender.
I almost wish Simon Cowell was here just to tell Clint Jun Gamboa that he sounds like karaoke. You see, Clint is a two-time karaoke winner. He has a good voice for that sort of thing, but will it work in the real world of music? It didn't for me. Boy, Simon could also tell him he's too theatrical. Good times.
There is a brother-sister combo in the final 40, Colton and Schyler Dixon. The videos of Colton have been removed, so perhaps he is expected to make it far? Or his uploaders were less diligent than the other contestants?
Jessica Cunningham is a serial auditioner, having tried out almost every year for AI. She went far enough to have a Golden Ticket interview on the AI site The only video I've seen is of her Hollywood group performance last year. I think the new judges should in this case trust the old judges' opinion and pass once more.
In the case of Pia Toscana, who made it to Hollywood week during Season 6, from what I've seen, I think that she does deserve her second chance. Beautiful face, beautiful voice. What more do you need? How 'bout a video of her adorable self belting Whitney Houston at the ripe old age of 4?
Robbie Rosen may not be as magazine cover ready as Pia, but he has a current sound and he's young -- which seems to be the key to selling records these days. And I'd like to see all his years of practice on the piano pay off -- I'm sure playing wasn't cool when he was younger! But, dude, lose the hat. And be careful not to lose the tune -- you got a little pitchy at the end, dawg.