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American Idol may have spoiled viewers last Thursday.
Not only did fans have Adam Lambert sitting in at the judge’s table, but the talent was so amazing that if the live shows began next week there would be a serious competition.
So what happened in Minnesota-a state that gave us Prince, The Replacements and Brenda and Brandon Walsh? While there were a few contenders that certainly deserve a go at the top 24, the talent pool didn’t feel as deep as it did in New York last week.
Case in point—Zach Johnson—a guy who came into the audition room who sang with a twang but didn’t speak with one—looked like he just woke up. Sure, he got a ticket and a golden opportunity to join ever-so-gracious judge Keith Urban on stage at a concert two weeks later, but if he doesn’t care how he presents himself, why should viewers? Another guy came in wearing a bear suit. Yikes.
The Minneapolis auditions had its fair share of hijinx complements of Harry Connick Jr., who amped up the jokes and goofiness while sneaking in stinging critiques with a smile. Perhaps the best Connick moment came early in the episode when he offered his impression of a 14-year old girl trying to give a back handed complement after joke auditioner Kamil Casey ruined Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” aided by a gold microphone.
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Later on, Jennifer Lopez became the “butt” of the joke when overzealous singer Vanessa Andrea complemented her most famous asset. Truth be told, Andrea was not a bad singer at all. Her take on “Some Kind of Wonderful” had a nice, country rock feel to it, but her fan girling of the panel (particularly Urban) made it hard to take her seriously. Hopefully she will tone that down in Hollywood.
Here’s hoping that Connick’s hometown of New Orleans produces some potential winners, because last night’s crop included a guy that plays Jerry Lee Lewis In Vegas, and auditioned as if he were trying out for that show and not Idol (bonus points to Connick for calling him out on that one) and a girl that got a ticket because she killed a bear. Seriously.
So who stood out?
Shannon Berthiaume: Despite never having sung in front of people before, the 17-year old singer delivered a gut-wrenching version of The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun,” and sang it like she means it. It will be interesting to see how she develops when she gets in front of an audience for real.
Hannah Mozrak: She’s only 16, but Mozrak has an old soul, and gave a believable rendition of Etta James’ “Something’s Got A Hold On Me.”
Mark Andrew: You’ve seen him before on The Voice, but it seems like he has been busy with his landscaping business and being a first time father. His choice of “Soulshine” by the Allman Brothers was soulful and strong, but his second selection from The Jungle Book prompted the cutest Connick response of the night that he wanted to critique him “on the beat.” Andrew has a lot of potential, and hopefully will go further than he did in the Battle Rounds.
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