‘American Idol’ Recap: Charlotte, Start Your Engines!
Tonightâs round of âAmerican Idolâ auditions took North Carolina by storm, sweeping through the famous Charlotte Motor Speedway. The episode was filled with talent, laughter, tears and, of course, a healthy dose of drama.
Nicki Minaj was hard to miss with her cotton-candy hair. Her personality was just as loud as her wig, as was evidenced by her spat with Mariah Carey halfway through the episode. Thankfully, the two women were (mostly) able to put aside their differences in order to focus on the true purpose of the show â the singing.
Speaking of singing, here are the results from tonightâs auditions:
Naomi Morris: âI want the judges to remember me, but not just for what I have on â for my voice, too,â said the 28-year-old Charlotte native who enjoys designing clothes but whose true passion resides in music. Sadly, though, her vocal talents werenât nearly as strong as her eye for fashion. Ultimately, the judges voted âno.â
Joel Nemoyer: Apparently, itâs a good idea to lie down while singing, a technique that has been promoted by musicians such as Daughtry and David Foster. However, Nemoyerâs attempt to recline while crooning Michael Bubleâs âFeeling Goodâ didnât exactly have the desired effect on the judges. âI donât know if singing is quite your expertise,â said Keith Urban. They didnât send him on to Hollywood, but they were amused by him nonetheless.
Brian Rittenberry: His powerful rendition of the Beatlesâ âLet it Beâ immediately captured the judgesâ attention. His wife, who fought a long and grueling battle with appendix cancer and recently made a recovery, was there to support him at his audition. âThatâs the real stuff,â praised Randy Jackson.
Jimmy Smith: This 25-year-old social worker submitted his audition video on a whim and decided to sing âBless the Broken Roadâ by Rascal Flatts. âYour voice is the voice I was waiting to hear today,â said Minaj. âYou have something incredibly special and unique,â agreed Carey. The judges voted a unanimous âyes.â
Matthew Muse: Although he bears a striking resemblance to Brad Paisley, looks can be deceiving. His audition left the judges speechless (but not in a good way) when he broke into an animated dance after singing a weak rendition of Paisleyâs âWhen I Get Where Iâm Going.â âYou could be a model, though,â offered Minaj as a consolation.
Isabel Gonzalez: Read about her audition here.
Taisha Bethea: The judges didnât know quite what to make of this self-proclaimed aspiring rock ânâ roll singer. Her audition included clips of Johnny Cashâs âFolsom Prison Bluesâ and Alanis Morissetteâs âYou Oughta Know.â âYouâre doing different songs and Iâm getting confusedâ¦are you really the rock girl?â asked Carey. The votes were tied, but it was Urbanâs decision that ultimately tipped the scales and sent her on to Hollywood.
Summer Cunningham: Afraid of getting trapped inside of the country box, she tried to emphasize her soulful side by singing âLean on Meâ by Bill Withers. Yet as Jackson pointed out, she couldnât escape her southern roots: âYour voice naturally lends itself to countryâ¦you have a yodel every single time you sing.â After much debate â and Minaj storming offstage following a heated dispute with Carey â the judges decided to keep her around.
Brandy Hamilton: Despite having no formal vocal training, she harbored a striking star quality and shined all the way through her performance of âAll I Can Do Is Cryâ by Etta James. âYou lit up the room. Thatâs what stars do â theyâre infectious,â remarked Jackson. âYou did a good job with feeling it and being true to you,â Minaj agreed.
Ashley Smith: Minaj was quick to name her âBlondieâ because of her platinum-blond âdo. Smith surprised the judges with a rich and moving interpretation of Carrie Underwoodâs âCowboy Casanova.â Carey said, âI enjoyed you â I really did. Thereâs something about you thatâs very effervescent.â Jackson then remarked, âI always say if you can sing, you can sing anythingâ¦ Blondie went on and killed it!â
Janelle Arthur: She sang one of Urbanâs songs, âWhere the Blacktop Ends,â and really made it her own. All of the judges were pleased by her delivery and were happy to keep her in the running. âI think youâre really, really special. You already seem like a star,â said Minaj.
Rodney Barber: A people person through and through, he sings on the streets of Charlotte everyday. He admitted to having been homeless four years ago; the experience made him stronger and inspired him to reach out and help others in need. He won the judges over with his story, along with his performance of âIâll Beâ by Edwin McCain. âYou have a big voice, manâ¦crazy big,â said Urban.
Candice Glover: Read about her audition here.
JaâBria Barber: This quirky 16-year-old with a penchant for killing frogs might not have made the best first impression on the judges â but they were soon able to see past her strange hobbies and focus on her voice. She sang Bonnie Raittâs version of âPride and Joy,â and Jackson was sure to comment on her attitude and swagger. âI like you; you are not scared. You definitely got some conviction going on,â he stated.
Brad Harris: He was the biggest disappointment of tonight’s ‘Idol’ auditions. The judges somehow got sidetracked by a discussion about bacon (which apparently used to be Harrisâ rapper name), but maybe it was for the best. His delivery of âA Whole New Worldâ from Disneyâs âAladdinâ left a lot to be desired. The panelists were at a loss for words, so on the count of three, they all said ânoâ in unison.
Seretha Guinn: After walking into the room with her adorable daughter in tow, she immediately won over the judgesâ hearts. Her boyfriend was in a terrible accident last year that he almost didnât survive, suffering a mess of injuries that required eight surgeries. Her performance of both âFresh Prince of Bel-Airâ and âHow Do I Liveâ proved her strong and passionate spirit. âYouâre a superstar,â gushed Minaj. âI was blown away, too,â agreed Jackson. She must be thrilled that she can tell her boyfriend the good news that sheâs moving on to Hollywood.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow night for another round of âAmerican Idolâ auditions!