Saturday, 19 January 2013

Chicago auditions cont'd. Yes, more Mariah fans...

This was an extra hour broadcast this evening with a chance to see a further nine contenders (and flashes from about twenty more so quick that even counting them was difficult).

First up was a lovely girl called Brandy Neely who, once we'd got some long back story out of the way, had a first class audition. Powerful voice and yet showing that she could control it too. We'll see her again, for sure.

We should also see more of Josh Holiday, one of the very few decent male acts we've seen so far. I couldn't get that excited about him, particularly when he tried a falsetto, but for the most part he had a nice tone. Just average appearance but he gets through for all that. I reckon they've short of males and will be putting almost anyone through.

Courtney Williams was nice enough and flew through, as did some guy with no name displayed on screen and I failed to catch one in the preview too. He sang Knock On Wood and sounded good.

Clifton Duffin started the run of no-hopers. His parents hadn't heard him sing before. They hadn't missed much as he destroyed his mother's favourite: Superstar, which would have had Karen turning in her grave, Followed by Ieisha Cottton who was a simple 'No.'

Johnny Keyser returns after just missing out on the live shows last year. I didn't think he sounded a patch on how he performed last year but it was enough to get to the Hollywood Round once again.

Next came a really interesting act. Kes Ban had a longer name but that's what this girl wanted to be known as. She sang one cool track and then, with guitar accompaniment, did her self-penned number about an Azure Sky. She was excellent and, in particular, I liked her intelligent and rebellious attitude, joking about 'How much I want this' and other cliché remarks and then, with Ryan, about the 'paperwork' she'd be obliged to do before actually getting to Hollywood. She was amazing, very different, but they'd be taking a big risk with her so don't expect to see her around that long - however much she might deserve to be.

Now the production team start playing around with sepia settings for a series of what look like dreadful auditions ending with an admittedly clever 'The Miserables' poster with judges replacing those more familiar show people. They might have included the ridiculous Natasha Curry who shouted her way through a couple of tracks and even sang when Mariah asked if she could give them a monologue!

Chicago auditions close with Lazaro Arbos. Some UK readers may remember Gareth Gates on Pop Idol way back in 2002. He had a terrible stammer and struggled with normal conversation. As soon as he started to sing, though, he was amazingly good - going on to be runner up (to the excellent Will Young) and developing a successful career as a recording artist, on tv and, more recently in West End theatre as well as running his own Speech Therapy Centre. Well, Lazaro will be America's Gareth Gates. We'll see him and many repeats of his struggle over the years, no doubt, as he wends his way through Hollywood and maybe even the Live Shows. He does have a good voice and an attractive, lovable personality which will have bags of appeal (and votes if he does get that far). He does, though, also have a pretty obvious Spanish-type accent which spoils the way he can deliver English tracks and that may halt his progress, probably rightly so as he isn't that talented and not really able to compete with some of the acts we've seen already. But they do need guys so this could be a year for him to apply.