All-‘American Idol’ rejects: Wacky auditions steal the show on Season 18 premiere – Yahoo Entertainment
Alejandro “Scarypoolparty” Aranda, since last season’s second-place fan favorite received a lot more airtime during the premiere’s cold open than actual champion Laine “Party With a” Hardy, for whom the party seems to have already ended.) Anyway, the two-hour episode offered some impressive auditions, including a British balladeer whose original song had judge Luke Bryan saying, “I think you might be the biggest star we’ve ever had” (move on, Alejandro?), and the usual sob stories, courtesy of a humble garbage man and a hard-luck subway singer.
scene bangs, the Metro Station skinny black stretch jeans, the crabcore poses. He even saw Katy on the 2008 Warped Tour (he recalled her being booed offstage, sadly) and thinks her “first album is everything” (he’s not wrong there). Maybe it was because Hunter was so supportive of Katy in her early days, or just because she is a genuine emo fan, but Katy seemed into his strident, manic, sing-shouted rendition of All-American Rejects’ 2002 pop-punk classic “Swing, Swing.” She was belting along with seemingly genuinely enthusiasm, and later explained to Luke and fellow judge Lionel Richie, “This is an actual movement. … That was great, that brought me back.”
However, in the meantime, let’s review the successful auditions from the judges’ hometowns: Luke’s Leesburg, Ga., Lionel’s Tuskegee, Ala., and Katy’s Santa Barbara, Calif.
This Georgia teen worship leader sounded mature, soulful, and most importantly, not forced. There was an effortless, earthy grace to her that reminded me of Tracy Chapman and Edie Brickell. “For it to be so natural and easy for you, at this age, is remarkable,” marveled Luke.
This sweet student’s first performance, a Maggie Rogers cover, showed potential, but he was so, so nervous — stammering, hyperventilating, clammy all over — that this audition almost seemed painful for him. I was half-hoping the judges would just put him out of his misery and send him back to school, or at least give him a time-out so he could decompress in a corner with the Calm app. Instead, the judges surrounded him in a big group hug, which seemed to make him even more nervous. Still, there was enough magic in his first song that the judges gave him another chance, and when he soared on his second song, an original, he was so good that they were convinced that this had all been a set-up. “You little devil, you!” quipped Luke. Katy actually said Francisco is “top 10” material. I think he could be, but he’ll have to conquer his nerves if he wants to succeed on live TV.
personal reasons,” and Katy is understandably over him by now. She was unimpressed by Nick’s competent but hardly remarkable Lauren Daigle cover, telling him, “I just have the feeling that you think you’re too good for us. I mean, that’s the only reason you would abandon us!” An uncharacteristically nasty Lionel also didn’t think Nick deserved another shot, barking, “I gotta be honest. I don’t like you. It’s not sitting well with me. I don’t like your attitude. And I don’t really think you’re going make it in Hollywood.” It turned out Lionel was just trying to give Nick some sort of tough-love lesson in humility (“I want you to understand what it feels like when people don’t adore you”), and Nick eventually got three yeses again. But I think Lionel may have been right. This guy is good-looking, but that’s about it.
This Nepalese immigrant and open-call bus auditioner, who moved to Kansas five years ago and quickly became enamored with bluegrass and country music, is the real deal, and he is the embodiment of the American (Idol) Dream. I loved is raw, roughhewn voice, which gave me full-on Richie Havens/Van Morrison vibes. He needs to work on his eye contact and stage presence (he was more present and connected on his second song), but he’s got the goods. “What a unique artist you are,” said Luke. “Arthur, you’re a rock star,” said Katy. “You have no idea what this journey is going to be for you. God bless you. You are the story that we need to tell,” said Lionel.
performance on a local Philly news show further showcases his talent.
Come back next Sunday, when the search for the next Alejandro Aranda (or the next American Idol) continues! In the meantime, here are a few more minutes of Alisa Ermolaev, sharing the screen with Sam for the first (and possibly last) time: