It's our kind of town. We came looking for talent. We
leave taking 47 of the willing. Now the search for the
next Idol continues southward, down Carolina way. START
alert... there's gonna be a fight.
AUDITIONS: Time Warner Cable Arena
CALLBACKS: Charlotte Motor Speedway - Concord, NC
More successful American
Idol alums have come from NC than any other state. Kellie Pickler, Clay
Aiken, Fantasia, Scotty McCreery, Bucky Covington, Chris Daughtry...
First up, Naomi Morris (28;
Charlotte; bartender), a fashionable sort who came dressed to impress in
an ensemble of her own creation. Project Runway is tomorrow, dear. She
sings "Respect" by Aretha. We'll say it again... Project Runway...
Tomorrow. That's your bag, Naomi. Idol... not so much. She continues
with another song... Okay, this joke has gone on far enough.
Oh yeah, and Naomi has
rather large breasts and a rather small bra. At the 8p hour. What are
the kids thinking? ... By that, I refer to Naomi's kids... Boobies.
Joel Neimoyer (20; Carlisle,
PA; fast food worker) is a ball of nerves. And he's going to hurt
himself if he doesn't calm down. Probably a good idea to sing lying
down, a method backed up by science (See season 5). Will the judges let
him lie down on the job while singing "Feeling Good" by Michael Buble.
Lying down. Yeah, that's not helping. And he's lost his sense of
direction. At least he made it out of Concord alive. We hope.
Brian Rittenberry (27;
Jasper, GA; bookkeeper) draws inspiration from his son and his
cancer-stricken wife (appendix cancer) who, thankfully, is still with
us. A survivor's husband deserves a survivor's performance. Let's hear
one with "Let It Be". Very powerful low tenor on this guy. If he can
find a base of songs that match that voice, he can be a threat. The
judges give him a pass, and we finally have a hopeful out of the
Jimmy Smith (27;
Waynesville, TN; social worker) is another Keith Urban ingénue. So we
know who the star of this show is. Anyway, Jimmy found out about online
auditions via Twitter. And now here he is. He sings "Broken Road" by
Rascal Flatts. I picture him switching from country to R&B on a dime.
And if you're taking score at home, this is the 27th time Nicki has said
"Poppin'." It's a big "Yeeeeeep" from Mariah and the others. Sarah-Joi
Crowe (17, student), Haley Davis (26, Charleston, SC), Na'chelle Fullins-Lovell
(Charlotte)... all join him. So are a lot of other people as the judges
head to lunch.
Matthew Muse (23, Florence,
SC; student) likes karaoke. He communicates through his eyes and lets
the rest of his body fall into place. He thinks he sounds like Brad
Paisley. After "When I Get to Where I'm Going", we can safely say he's
NOTHING like Brad Paisley. Well, maybe one thing. They need to shave.
And now the judges are making fun of the poor guy.
Next up, another Idol bus...
it's a school bus. We're going to Alpharetta, GA to pick up Isabel
Gonzalez (16; student), who sings "Nothing Could Ever Change This Love"
by Sam Cooke. She has the old-time voice of someone three times her age.
It's distinct enough for Hollywood, but can she survive there? We'll
find out later on. Right now, though... SILLY STRING & CONFETTI!
Taisha Bethea (21; Concord,
NC, musician) sings for a local band. Her bandmates think that she's got
a good shot. And unlike most African American singers, she's straight
rock with "Folsom Prison Blues" by Cash. Very nice vibrato. Her second
song, "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morissette. She's got a different tone
to her, and she's got a nice upbeat vibe. But she's more suited to the
band thing than she is a solo artist. She deadlocks the panel, Keith
exercises executive privilege, which apparently you can do in year one
as a judge... so Taisha is Hollywood bound.
A long day of judging was
about to take an unprecedented turn with Summer Cunningham (20; Warner
Robins, GA; student) singing "Lean on Me". A few less runs, and she
could actually have something there. She has a nice voice. She's been a
country girl, but she sees herself more of a blue-eyed soul girl. Randy
says yes, Keith says yes. Mariah says yes. Nicki? "Why are we picking
her apart?" Because Fremantle is paying you handsomely to do so. And
then the bottom falls out. And because reality TV lends itself to that,
the cameras are still rolling.
Bottom line is... she's
going to Hollywood... and a misplaced comment from Randy brings the day
to a halt. That's all you need to know.
Day 2. The four judges
return to the perch.
First up, Brandy Alexandria
Hamilton (25; Charlotte; Navy reservist), who got in trouble for singing
in uniform. She sings out of uniform, "All I Could Do Is Cry" by Etta
James. She's got that gospel voice to her. I can see her as a balladeer.
So can the judges. She's in. A good voice to unite a panel in need of
unity. And parting words (translated by Nigel) "Please don't fight, it
makes us sad."
Ashley Smith (22; Charlotte;
hostess) is ... wily. She sings "Cowboy Casanova" by Carrie Underwood
while making Nicki look normal. Meanwhile, her voice is not bad at all,
and like the rest of her, you never expect it. The judges LOVE the song
choice. Randy thinks she can sing anything she wants. And the judges
send her through.
Janelle Arthur (22; Oliver
Springs, TN; fitness instructor) performed at Dollywood when she was 8.
She also met the lady. She sings "Where The Blacktop Ends" by the
Australian on the panel. The judges love her, but I think she screeches.
The judges send her to Hollywood. Less screeching in the future? Hope
Keith has to leave early, so
the rejections will come fast and furious. Just to let you know.
Rodney Barber (27;
Charlotte; singer/bouncer) is "The Voice of Charlotte", saying "'bout a
million people of Charlotte put it on me". He's singing downtown quite a
bit. And he's very good. But is he American Idol good? He has been
homeless for a while, but people have given him the strength to pull
through. He sings "I'll Be" by Edwin McCain as a way of paying it
forward. He's got a big strong voice. He's got a nice backstory. He
should wow the crowds in Hollywood. Let's see how he gets on there.
Candice Glover (22; St.
Helena Island, SC; administrative assistant) was last seen as the FINAL
cut in last year's Vegas round. She's back for another go, and she's
simply being Candice. Let's see if the judges will respond to that with
"Syrup & Honey" by Duffy. In a word... WOW. Don't be surprised if she
outlasts Hollywood this time.
Ja'Bria Barber (16; Clover,
SC; student) likes to hunt & fish. More specifically, she loves "frog
gigging", which entails going out at night, spearing bullfrogs, tearing
their legs off, frying them in hot sauce and eating them. And yes, they
taste like chicken. She tries not to croak on Bonnie Raitt's "Pride and
Joy". Very raspy and very emotional. Good song choice to match a feisty
young little thing. Grab some frogs, because you're going to need the
energy in Hollywood.
Brad Harris (28; Maiden, NC;
supermarket worker) is a guy who butts heads for a living. Or a hobby.
Or something. He also does a killer Seacrest, AND he was a rapper in
Houston under the name "Bakon". Here's your bacon moment. He sings "A
Whole New World". And after singing that, I'm about to shuttle off this
planet. More bacon, please.
It's getting down to the
wire, as victories are celebrates and defeats are consoled. That leaves
Seretha Guinn (26; Charlotte; hair stylist), who is here with her
daughter cheering her on. Her boyfriend was in an accident that nearly
cost him his life. He ended up getting some metal grafts, eight
surgeries out of a possible 10, and one less finger. All things
considered, he's no worse for wear. She sings ... the Fresh Prince of
Bel-Air theme. SERIOUSLY.
Let's take a moment to
consider the following. The American Society of Composers, Authors and
Publishers has a register of 360,000 songwriters, composers, and music
publishers. That translates to millions upon millions of songs from
which to cull audition material. And Seretha chooses "The Fresh Prince
of Bel-Air". Props for her voice, but... WHAT THE BLOODY (^_^)?!
... she continues with "How
Can I Live" by Leann Rimes. THAT gives her a golden ticket. She and 36
others get the checkered flag at Charlotte Motor Speedway. But as one
race ends, another must begin.
Next time, we trade our
wheels for alligators as Randy comes home. Our trip through the South
continues with New Orleans NEXT TIME.