It was business as usual for “American Idol” judges Randy, Jennifer and Steven during last night’s eleventh season premiere. The Savannah, Ga. auditions exuded the same general theme the show has been repping since season ten: less snark, more positivity. True to that fashion, the majority of the contestants featured on last night’s episode were of the strong-voiced variety, rather than those of the strange-voiced inclination.
To recap, we sound off on some of the most memorable auditions from Savannah — the good, the bad and the downright puzzling.
The 20-year-old Georgian possesses the Southern charm of last year’s winner
Though it’s not necessarily good to judge from first impressions, there were skeptics right off the bat when the West African transport announced that he would be singing a country song. In that regard, Mawuena didn’t surprise. “I can do any kind of voice I want to,” he claimed, but country definitely doesn’t seem to be his bag. He stumbled through a rough audition of
With the way the “Idol” producers set up the prelude to certain contestants’ auditions, a contestant is, many times, already slanted toward a certain outcome before the performance even begins. The Buffalo native was one such singer, as the moments leading to her audition portrayed her as one of the crazies we’ve come to know and love over the years watching this show. Perhaps eclectic is the better word to use from now on, because while Ashlee’s audition was certainly, um, original, it was also quite good. The dreaded wonder is “the right kind of crazy,” according to Randy, and pleased with a funky rendition of “Come Together.” She’s even got her own dance — the “joy hop.” Look for Ashlee to stand out again during the Hollywood rounds — we sure are.
The 26-year-old from South Carolina at least gets points for originality. In addition to his audition, Shaun showed off another talent of his: being a scarily spot-on Ryan Seacrest doppelganger. Not only does he look somewhat akin to the “Idol” host, he even sounds like him, too. Most of Shaun’s time on-screen was devoted to this impersonation, and when he took to singing the Chi-Lites’ “Oh Girl,” his pitchy voice fell flat in comparison. It was a disappointing ending for the sales consultant, but if “Idol” is ever looking for a Seacrest sidekick or even replacement, they now know who to call.
Schyler and Colton Dixon
This audition wasn’t so much weird as it was awkward. After being eliminated in the Hollywood rounds last season (though Colton just barely missed the semifinals), the Dixon siblings returned to “Idol” this year, with at least one hoping to wow the judges enough to move even further in the competition. That one was the younger Schyler, with brother Colton deciding not to audition this time around, though he traveled to Savannah anyway in support. As soon as Schyler walked into the audition room, the judges immediately remembered her and her brother. Long story short: Colton is brought in, and both end up auditioning. And while both made it to Hollywood yet again, one can’t help but feel sorry for Schyler, whose sweet-sounding (and much improved from last season) performance was overshadowed by the judges gushing over her older brother instead. Poor girl! (For what it’s worth, I was more impressed with Schyler this year.)
Also worth checking out: the Etta James swagger of Shannon Magrane, Bruno Mars vocal dead ringer Neco Starr, Amy Brumfield (who resides in a tent in the woods outside Gatlinburg, Tenn.), the Jennifer Lopez-backed Gabi Carrubba, NBA dancer Brittany Kerr; and on the side of not-so-good auditions, Erica Nowak, who will apparently be Steven Tyler’s ex-wife someday.
Who were your favorites from the Savannah auditions? Did we miss anyone? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out the second night of “Idol” auditions tonight at 8 p.m. on FOX.