First a quick explanation for the lateness of this recap. It was a busy week for a writer with deadlines up the wazoo, followed by a weekend college visit trip for my son. Everything is now behind me, save for “Snowlapalooza,” so while snowed in, it’s a great time to get this caught up, just in time for a new week of shows to start tomorrow night.
From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we start our night’s auditions, that is after a very entertaining bit with Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson dueting on Sweet Emotion. Also on hand is alumni Danny Gokey, Milwaukee native.
First up is Scotty McCreery, 16, from Garner, NC, talking about other high school kids who can’t wait to get out of Garner, but that’s where he grew up. He figures people see him as an All-American kid playing baseball. Jennifer Lopez thinks he has a deep voice for a 16-year-old. He explains he’s been singing country since he was born, and goes into the Bye Baby Bunting song at Randy’s insistence.
Scotty sings Your Man, and has a definite Randy Travis feel to him with that deep country sound. J-Lo tells him he makes her smile, and Steven asks for something that stands the test of time a little, so Scotty does a little Travis Tritt, remembering that Randy has produced some of his music. After hearing this, Steven proclaims, “Well hellfire, save matches. [bleep] a duck and see what hatches.” He tells Scotty he sings beautifully, and the other two judges agrees as well. Randy calls him a throwback. He’s in.
Joe Repka, 19, of Swanton, OH, is quite excited, and finding out he’s a communications student, allowing for some bonding with Radio DJ Ryan Seacrest. Ryan puts him through his paces. Joe has a good radio voice, but I don’t think he’ll be doing well on his audition. It just seems to be setting up that way. He’s excited to see Jennifer. Randy admires his sandals. As he and the judges talk radio, he admits he doesn’t listen to Ryan too much.
Singing The Longest Time, Joe should definitely stick to radio. The judges mock him a little dancing along at the table, as Steven howls, then pronounces he’ll be brutally honest. He advises Joe to not quit his day job, and that he should talk into the microphone, not sing into it. J-Lo agrees, as does Randy. This has Joe breaking out into Can’t Help Falling in Love. Steven joins him in duet for a few bars, as Randy thinks they could form a different band. Steven jokes it would be a rubber band. It’s still three nos.
Emma Henry, 15, of Littleton, CO, drove across the country to the auditions with her whole family, as soon as the age limit was dropped to 15. She just got her permit, so she drove most of the way. Emma has been watching since Kelly Clarkson won. Singing True Colors, Emma seems to struggle, but it’s hard to figure out whether it’s song choice, nerves, or lack of talent. Steven tells her she has something he can’t put his finger on, but she has a lot of character. J-Lo thinks she has something to build on and that she should keep working on that. Randy isn’t sure she’s ready.
As the judges vote, Steven says yes, J-Lo says no, and it’s up to Randy. Emma starts crying and begging, and Randy tells her it’s just the beginning. He tells her he believes she’d get swallowed up in the whole thing. She has talent and skill, but needs to work on it a little bit. Steven stares him down, asking the Dawg to turn into a pussycat. Randy gives her the shot she was looking for. Steven gives her some advice, telling her to belt it out a little on the way home. J-Lo still thinks Randy’s first instinct was right. So do I.
It’s bad audition montage time. Us seasoned viewers can just tell. New rules and new judges don’t change that too much. Kody Jalewski, 18, of Colgate, WI, sings Bad Romance, the tragically-dressed Janita Borges, 29, a homemaker from Milwaukee, sings something unidentifiable, Kamil Anthony, 18, of Iowa City, IA, sings Paparazzi, and Kanisha Miller, 26, Unemployed in Milwaukee, sings something else unidentifiable. The judges let them down easy, other than Randy who believes if Lady Gaga were there, she’d run out of the room screaming. Kamil asks for a hug, then a sip of Randy’s Coke. He grants the first request, not the second.
Naima Adedapo, 25, of Milwaukee, is an artist, but works janitorial services for Milwaukee’s Summerfest. When she looks at the stage, she knows it should be her. She decided to audition this year, because she feels like it will change her life. If she could provide for her family and give to her daughters what she didn’t have, it would be a great thing. People ask why she’s crying, but it’s because it means a lot, and she just prays that it goes well.
Singing For All We Know, Naima should definitely be singing and not cleaning toilets. She gets nods from Steven and J-Lo, with the latter saying she likes Naima a lot, as she has the whole package and is one of the best they’ve seen. Randy and Steven agree, as Steven tells her he thinks she’s all that. She tells him he is too. She gets three yeses.
One of the cameramen tries to get the shot of the day of one of the contestants doing continuous backflips, but he lands right on the cameraman who is lying on the ground face up to catch the action. It looks like the camera was broken in the process.