Forget the hyped up confrontation between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj that aired (or actually didn’t air) Wednesday night. Thursday, the “American Idol” season 12 bandwagon rolled into Baton Rouge, and for once it was all about the contestants…except to remind us that this is judge Randy Jackson’s home town. Yo Dog!
Megan Miller (22) a.k.a. ”Miss Baton Rouge” sang “Something’s Got a Hold on Me.” She was interesting because she had a busted leg which would require surgery later that same date. She was even more interesting because she invited Keith Urban to her surgery. None of the other judges, though. Just Keith. But I’m guessing he was busy. I love how he kind of pitifully pointed at his wedding ring. But I didn’t really love her singing, although she was cute and funny. Randy called her a “natural.” Not to be outdone, Nicki Minaj called her an “undeniable superstar.” She got a golden ticket.
In fact, I’m only really going to tell you about the golden ticket auditions in Baton Rouge. The show was an hour long, as it used to be. I don’t know when/how we switched mostly to two hours, but last night’s “American Idol” reminded me how I like the sorter shows, more economical with the craziness.
On to Charlie Askew (17). I was confused at first when he began his audition by telling this very famous and awe-inspiring judges right off the bat how socially awkward and shy he is. I didn’t notice that at the time. But actually, I really liked him. He sang Queen’s “Breakthru” and his voice had a certain quality to it. Everyone in the room (and at home with me) cringed as Charlie raised the volume, but at least we know he can rock it out and I’m looking forward to seeing him again. David Urban compared him to David Bowie, with it’s gender neutrality. Now that’s good! Randy called Charlie a “seemingly dark, strange but cool guy.” He is. I’m sure he’ll be remembered.
Maddie Assel (17) got a visit from Randy Jackson as she just happened to be performing in front of an audience in the middle of Baton Rouge while on a family vacation. Come on. We all do that. Don’t we? Oh all right then we don’t. But she had quite a twang on “Oh Darlin” and her idols are Beyoncé, Adele, and “American Idol’s” very own Haley Reinhart so she gets points. That’s quite a drawl she has there so hopefully voice coaches will encourage her to throw a few consonants in there for us so we stand a chance in the “guess what Maddie’s singing” game. I’m sure we’ll see more of Maddie, and hopefully of her Grandma, who boasted about how much “magic dust” she’d consumed in her life. Maddie had a bluesy thing going on and a slightly awkward stage presence, so you can see where her love of Haley Reinhart comes from.
Paul Jolley sang “I Won’t Let Go,” and he looked good. So I’m going to forgive him for a far from faultless audition, and the judges for not picking him up on it. Nicki Minaj liked his “sparkle” and Keith Urban dug his “honesty.” The best part of his segment, though, when Ryan Seacrest hugged Paul’s grandma, who’d just lost her husband, (who apparently really was called “Jewel”) and as she sobbed in his arms, Ryan said, “I’m glad you got some happiness here.” I was gone.
Dr. Calvin Peters had put his passion for singing on hold to focus on getting into med school. You know, that’s quite a sensible and lucrative career choice. I don’t think we need to feel so sorry for him that the music has gone from his life. Just sayin’… He was a real cutie, though and Keith Urban called his “Whenever Wherever Whatever” the equivalent of a triple-black-diamond ski run. That’s good, right?
We didn’t see much of Michelle Montezeri on “Tainted Love”, Breanna Steer on “I’m Goin’ Down”, or Brandy Hotard on “Hell on Heels.” Don’t know if we’ll see them again but my guess would be yes for at least one of them. But it won’t be Breanna. A piece of advice here auditionees: pick a melody and stick to it.
Burnell Taylor really made the judges sit up and take notice with “I’m Here” from “The Color Purple.” It even got a standing ovation from Keith Urban. “You can turn an atheist!” he declared, reeling from the 19-year-old Katrina survivor’s audition. Mariah even cried.
Singing fireman Dustin Watts earned a golden ticket for his on-point rendition of Garth Brooks‘ “She’s Every Woman.” Oh I loved it. Nooooo! Don’t make me go country again!
The baton was certainly thrown down in Baton Rouge. Some great performances. Who was your favorite?