'American Idol' recap: San Francisco Auditions
For its final stop on this season's audition tour, Idol heads to San Francisco.
I can hardly believe it, but this is our last week of auditions! How time flies. For the last stop on its quest to find superstars, Idol’s set up camp in San Francisco, a city that is just weird and wonderful enough to give us some really excellent (and entertaining) auditions. Shall we?
Individuality is the theme for tonight’s episode, Ryan tells us, and so does the first contestant’s wildly patterned faux (I’m assuming) fur coat. This girl claims to have a psychic cat, so she obviously has a great audition or the cat wouldn’t have allowed her to bother showing up at all. This girl also apparently partied with David Bowie in the ’70s, which is a factual impossibility considering she’s 15 years old. Unless, in addition to a psychic cat, she also has a time machine. But who knows.
Anyhow, time-traveling Katherine Skinner sings Florence + the Machine’s “Shake It Out.” And you know what? It is not a mess. It’s far from perfect and a little shaky, but there’s a unique quality about her voice that is incredibly intriguing. Frankly, I don’t necessarily want to hear more of it every week for the next couple of months, but J.Lo tells Ms. Skinner, “you’re talented, but you’re cray.” And with that, she’s off to Hollywood.
Next up we get a look at three contestants, 25-year-old Erika David (good voice, don’t love the audition, but would like to hear more), 20-year-old Chandler Leighton (she’s perfected her cool L.A.-chick look and also her audition, which is pretty flawless), and Ryan Pinkston, 27, (his audition is ACTUALLY perfect, as confirmed by Harry). They all get through. These are three good yeses. I hate these packaged segments that make it seem like these contestants are less important than the others, but I’m excited to hear more from all of these kids.
Tim Tebow lookalike Andrew Bloom sings Alex Clare’s “Too Close,” and I thought he was going to be bad because he was so painfully awkward when he was in the holding room, but he’s pretty great. Sure, he’s another young white guy with a guitar, but all his awkwardness melted away when he started singing and playing the guitar and I’d like to hear more from him. He’ll be in Hollywood, so my wish is granted. But first, Harry asks if Andrew’s friend, Olympic silver medalist Ryan Bailey, can come say hi. That’s nice! Harry asks to race Ryan, who is a sprinter. An Olympic sprinter. So they run about 20 feet and Harry is of course left in the dust. (I actually think it took Ryan two steps total to cross the room.) This sounds dumb, but they replayed the clip in slow motion and it was VERY entertaining. If you missed the episode, it’s worth looking up. So many high jinks tonight, guys!
We’re back to the judges’ favorite joke of the season: That contestants can’t find the exit. #IdolExitFail. It is baffling that these people, who are told “go through the door with the sticker,” can’t find the door with the sticker, which is RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM. I guess if I had just auditioned for J.Lo, Keith Urban, and Harry, I might be flustered too, but for real, open your eyes. #IdolExitFail, indeed.
NEXT: J.Lo calls the winner.
Reno Anoa’I is a very precious 16-year-old. He’s one of six kids, and his mother is one of TWENTY-TWO, which is truly unfathomable to me. But then again, the Duggars are a thing. There are 60 people in Reno’s house on any given day. I think that’s more people than I interact with in a week. Familial fodder aside, Reno’s audition is lovely. His voice is warm and rich, and he’s got a ukulele but not in an annoying way. I’m not sure how far he’ll go past Hollywood (Harry is already lecturing him about whether or not he can be a versatile artist), but we’ll find out, because he’s off!
I understand attempting to flatter the judges is a reasonable way to start an audition, but Samuel Prince enters the audition room and is literally bowing down to J.Lo. He admits that he was on a soap opera (not surprising), and asks the judges to participate in a scene. (He also calls Harry “Henry,” which is amazing.) So American Idol makes a little telenovela (#idoltelenovela), and in the time it took me to type that sentence, I’ve grown incredibly bored with this entire bit. But J.Lo did get to fake-slap the kid, and now I want to watch Enough. Back to the audition, the soap opera vet is meh. He’s meh for the judges, too. So thanks for the laughs, Sam, but we will not see you in Hollywood.
The award for best outfit of the night goes to Rayvon Owen, who is just so snappily dressed and unexpectedly sings Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake.” Rayvon, a vocal coach, has the kind of voice that you could listen to all day and never tire of it. He has some serious technical ability, and boy can he belt. I mean big, solid, pure notes that will bring the house down if he (hopefully!) makes it to live shows. Man, he’s the best of the night so far. Loved him.
Twenty-year-old twinsies Ezekial and Jeremiah Cardenas are not having as easy a time as Rayvon did. Their first issue is, the guitar is wildly out of tune. The second issue is, they’re just not very good. This was a sad audition. Sad audition of the day. Not sure why they shared it with us, honestly.
Maddie Hudson, 16, gets a really big intro segment about how much she loves her mom and how music is her outlet and how she didn’t have an easy childhood. She’s also gorgeous and has perfect makeup, so I’m assuming she’s a fantastic singer. And, she is. Her voice is insanely mature for a 16-year-old, and she’s so confident and quirky and has that x-factor (sorryyyyy), she’s going to be great on the stage. And yeah, I honestly think we’ll see her and Rayvon in the live shows. They’re both fantastic. They’re also the only names I wrote down today. (J.Lo said she thinks Maddie could win! That’s the first time we’ve heard that this season!)
Tonight totally broke the Wednesday curse. This was a huge success. Here’s hoping we have the same luck tomorrow.
Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.