Listen, if I had a choice, to only pick people in their 20s or only pick people in their teens on my final season, I’m sorry but I’ve got to go with the 20 year olds. They’ve put in their time. They’ve committed to this passion, and to some extent, they’ve probably spent some time trying to make it on their own before they decided that maybe the only way to get that big break, is on Idol.
Sure, maybe that also means they were never good enough and that’s why they are in their 20s with no record deal, but I’d argue that’s not the case. The thing with teenagers is proven time and time again, there comes a point where it’s proven that they just aren’t ready. Sure I will see a 15 year old from time to time that I would definitely beg to put through, but just let me be mad about you not letting them through. I will probably forget their name within the week anyway.
It’s really not that big a deal. Think about the past winners. Even when they lowered the age you could try out, we’ve still never had a winner younger than 17. There’s a reason for that. And even with those numbers, only 3 of those contestants were under the age of 20. At this point it’s pretty clear that Idol won’t learn from their mistakes, but to all you young children who get kicked off the show, just know that it’ll be ok. You really were just not ready, as the judges probably told you when they let you through anyway. So with that, lets talk about some of my favorites from last night.
There were 14 ticket winners and I couldn’t pick a top 3. I went with a Top 4.5 instead which I think you’ll just have to deal with. Also where last time I picked almost all girls, I think it was mostly for the guys last night. I only had 1 girl in my Top 5 (though I think Mary was close).
Amber Lynn – 28 year old from Provo, UT
James VIII – 23 year old from Provo, UT
Song: Sun Comes Up
So Amber Lynn is my for real Top 5, while James is the half I spoke of. For a first audition, I thought Amber was going to be very tough to beat. Her voice was wonderful and she has a sweet quality that reminds me of Molly Syverson from the first season of Fargo. Like a hipster version of her. Or troubadour version of her? The thing about James is that when I wasn’t looking at him I liked him a lot more. Maybe he can be Ambers guitarist on her tour? I mean, he’s a solid back up vocalist I’m sure. And definitely deserved the ticket in his own right. I just think it was a little difficult going after Amber because she was great. An excellent way to start the show!
Thomas Stringfellow – 17 year old from Bentonville, AR
Song: Give Me Love
This kids look needs some work, but I’m not going to hold it against him. It’s mostly just that his hair reminds me of the Joker or something. I can’t put my finger on it. What he really reminded me of is a character from Newsies. He’s like a really colorful newsboy. But anyway, I thought he picked a great song and he played it quite well. I know, another teenage white guy, but he was good. I can’t discount him.
John Wayne Schulz – 27 year old from Salt Lake City, UT
Song: The Dance
I did remember him and I thought I liked him but looking back at my notes, I couldn’t find anything about him so maybe I didn’t, but if it came down to you and McCreery and he won, you couldn’t have been that bad. I think he’s a perfect “come back” contestant and I do hope he lasts a little longer this time! His song was super great. I even looked back at his first audition for comparison and this one was definitely better. I think it was the guitar he brought with him this time. His look certainly hasn’t changed a bit!
CJ Johnson – 28 year old from Memphis, TN
Song: Dreams Come True
Here’s the thing, that whole spiel earlier in this post, it was for Chris. To me, this is the guy that American Idol is about. Well, one of the contestants. He does remind me of a lot of winners (Kris Allen, Lee Dewyze, David Cook) but on that same note, I guess maybe that’s why I figured he’d be a shoo-in. I mean, he’s been practicing this craft a while and he’s got stage presence. He doesn’t seem like the type that would freeze up on stage or forget lyrics. Those are the contestants I appreciate.
I’d like to give an honorably mention to Tank Jackson as well. I think had he not done all that dancing first, he probably would’ve sounded a little better (being that he seemed really out of breath when he started). Although, you do have to do some dancing on stage so maybe it’s good to get a little workout in before you sing to make sure you’re up to par?
Finally, just some little notes to mention/thoughts to leave you with as we get ready for a 3 day weekend…
- I’m a little surprised we didn’t just cancel Idol altogether last night to pay tribute to Alan Rickman and just rewatch the entire Harry Potter series. It’s something I’m considering doing this weekend. Or just an Alan Rickman marathon since my favorite roll of his isn’t Snape anyway, it’s Metatron from Dogma. Obvs. But the only character I ever loved was Snape. Always.
- If I HAD to pick an under 18 year old, I’d pick Ethan Kuntz. He looked like a human version of Bobby from King of the Hill and I can appreciate that.
I also wonder if it was just that he had a baby face that made him seem so much younger. I mean, don’t get me wrong – he IS young, but I also think he looked younger than he is, compared to other boys his age.
- And then I just need to talk about Mary Williams really quick. She was very good. Like I said, she was probably my 5th or 6th pick. But honestly, her audition was almost lost on me (I had to rewind) after her line about “I’ll ride anything, I mean, #YOLO”. I know that’s out of context (she was talking about how she rode a foxtrotting mule) but it made me love her so much more… I just find her very amusing and I hope to see her again, since I won’t get to hear that girl that wouldn’t stop talking about her chickens.
And with that, we are complete week 2 and I believe (please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) that the auditions conclude next week and then we’re on to Hollywood Week! Things sure are moving quickly for this abbreviated season (which will probably still feel like what a season is supposed to feel like and not some kind of long drawn out madness that it usually is)!