Category Archives: Talent

The Voice, Oct. 7 – Finishing Up the Blinds

It’s the last of the blind auditions. None of the coaches have many spots left on their team, and they’re all being super-picky. Cee Lo Green, of course, has the most spots open still on his team, but that’s because no one is picking him … until tonight.

Auditioner: Matt Cermanski, 20, Phoenixville, PA. He auditioned for the show before and sang Teenage Dream. He likes to put his own twist on music and did, but realizes now it wasn’t the best song for an audition. This time he wants to play his guitar and control his nerves more. Adam had told him last year to find himself as an artist, and that’s what he’s been working on, playing gigs and taking some lessons.

Song: Have a Little Faith In Me
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: He’s really impressive from the first few notes, and Adam is the first to turn his chair, which must mean a lot to Matt after his words to him last year.
Adam: He recognizes him right away.
Cee Lo: He did a great job and sounded great.
Blake: Hearing him play with his falsetto was almost like watching a cat play with a mouse. He was just having fun, and that type of versatility in ninety seconds can win the show for you
Adam: He loves that he’s back again, and it shows resilience, especially to go from no chairs to three chairs.
Coach: Adam

Auditioner: Diego Roman Navaira, 22, San Antonio, TX. He calls his voice raw rock/punk and super energetic. He grew up in a family of musicians. His father his Emilio Navaira, a Tejano music singer. Emilio, a Grammy winner, and Selena have been credited with bringing that genre to the mainstream. He has a respect for the genre, but he’s a rocker at heart and is in a band with his brother.

Song: Rebel Yell
Chairs Turned: None

Me: He seems to be trying to be Billy Idol a little too much. It’s okay to move away from what he grew up with, but then he needs to cut his own path all the way around.
Adam: He’s honest with him, telling him he only has one spot left on his team and is being super-picky.
Cee Lo: Cee Lo agrees, saying he’s being super-picky as well with only a few spots left.
Blake: He doesn’t know what the hell he would have done with Diego, but he did think he sang really good.
Christina: With the energy coming through the speakers, they could tell someone was up there giving it everything they have.

Auditioner: Tamara Chauniece, 23, Wharton, TX. Her mom is a minister, and Tamara got into music through church. She started doing gigs when she was growing up and recorded her first album at 11. At 18 she felt like she hadn’t had her breakthrough and became a leasing agent, yet always knew in the back of her mind that music was what she was meant to do.

Song: 1 + 1
Chairs Turned: Christina, Cee Lo

Me: You can hear the gospel in her voice loud and clear.
Adam: She is beautiful and has a beautiful voice.
Cee Lo: Both of his parents were ministers as well, but he became a singer. She offers to save him and asks him to “come to Jesus,” pointing to herself, leading him to comment, “Jesus look good.”
Christina: Tamara touched her heart and says she started singing at 7 years old as well.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Brandon Chase, 20, Arlington, TX. He’s very driven, and music is his passion. He tested out of his junior and senior years of high school and graduated college at 17. He then took a trip down to Nashville to soak up some country music. He wants his music to show people there’s more to life. He was very sick as a newborn, and his mom feels God saved him and gave him music.

Song: Wanted
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo

Me: He has a great voice that can be country, but doesn’t have to be. It will give him many options.
Blake: Country music isn’t something you can fake, and he heard the real deal in Brandon.
Cee Lo: He doesn’t even look at that song as country. He sees it as soul, as it struck a chord with him.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: Lupe Carroll, 26, Bourbonnais, IL. He’s been delivering flowers for three years and compares it to being the ice cream man. He enjoys making people’s days and making them happy. He started singing when he was young and would get to perform at a small restaurant in town and at the Farmer’s Market. He and his wife met while playing music, became best friends, then got married.

Song: If I Were a Carpenter
Chairs Turned: Cee Lo

Me: He has a great sincerity when he sings, and I hope that’s coming out even to the coaches who have their backs to him.
Cee Lo: After confirming the audience loved him, he says he might be a little crazy, but he’s not stupid and that sounded damn good.
Adam: He has a compelling voice and does things other people don’t do.
Blake: He does’t know why he hesitated, but he damn sure did, and he damn sure screwed up.
Christina: She thinks it’s cool to make his living the way he does, yet come out and put himself out there on the show and impress Cee Lo the way he did.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Grey, 25, Jacksonville, FL. She’s been singing country since before she could talk. Out of high school, she went to Berkley College of Music and recently graduated. She’s in a wedding band right now, but it’s not what she wants to do the rest of her life. She also works in retail, as it pays the bills at the end of the day.

Song: Catch My Breath
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: She has a great voice but doesn’t project as much as she could. It’s hard to hear her … until the chorus, and that sounds amazing.
Blake: His chair gets turned back around, and he tells her he likes her a lot and actually did a 360 for her. He already believes she can win this thing.
Cee Lo: Her voice was plain and simple and polite and accommodating and warm and friendly.
Christina: She kept getting better as the song went on.
Adam: He thinks she’s extraordinary and felt she got bigger and better when the pressure was on.
Coach: Adam, taking the last spot on his team.

Auditioner: Dominic Scott Kay, 17, Malibu, CA. He started singing very young and knew he wanted to do music more than anything else. He has brought actor Neal McDonough with him. They starred in the movie Minority Report together 13 years ago. Dominic was Tom Cruise’s son in the same film and was also the voice of Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web and did Pirates of the Caribbean. He wants to end up in music, though, and that’s because of his other celebrity connection. His dad is the drummer for The Commodores, leading to his audition choice.

Song: Easy
Chairs Turned: None

Me: He’s super cute, which could hurt him with people painting him as a boy band wanna be or something. If it were earlier in the blinds, he probably would have turned a chair or two.
Adam: He has something real cool, and Ada knows they were all contemplating hitting their buttons. Lionel Ritchie made the notes longer to make it work in the song.
Blake: If Dominic wouldn’t sing in his head and would move it down and open up his voice, it wouldn’t be so nasally, which is odd coming from the country singer.

Auditioner: Michael Lynch, 27, Chicago. His style of music is pop, with a little bit of Latin infusion He studied Spanish in school and used music to learn the language. He’s singing Bailamos to show his respect for the Latin culture. He started performing more in college, then after he graduated he moved to Mexico City to go to a music school. Being an American, it was a tough industry to break into, so he moved back to Chicago and is now landscaping but singing on the weekends.

Song: Bailamos
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo

Me: He has some great power and does great Latin flavor despite not being Latin.
Blake: His pitch is so amazing when he gets on a note and just sits on it.
Cee Lo: He just knew he was gonna be Latin, but he’s not. He’s 100% Irish
Christina: As she questions him on his song choice, he tells her he wants to do what she and Enrique Iglesias have done with English and Spanish.
Adam: He figures Shakira is sitting at home, saying, “NO! What happened?”
Coach: Christina. He takes the last spot on her team, and she comes up and joins him, dancing and singing to Bailamos.

Auditioner: Deanna Johnson, 17, Hazelhurst, GA. Her town is really small, so there aren’t many places to sing other than church and rodeos. She doesn’t want to do country, though; she wants to sing R&B and pop. She’s never sang for this many people before but has been singing since her dad got her a karaoke machine.

Song: Stars
Chairs Turned: None

Me: She doesn’t want to sing country, but her phrasing of everything comes out country. Perhaps a little more time and maturity will have her figuring out what she really wants to do.
Adam: He calls it interesting and different, yet she’s young and there’s a lot to work on still.
Christina: They were all struck by the gentleness and interesting tone of her voice.
Cee Lo: Her voice sounds so different than the way she looks, so that would have been cool in his world.
Blake: He thinks she’s no more than eight months to a year away from being someone who could win the show.

Auditioner: Brian Pounds, 24, Austin, TX. He’s a full-time soul singer/songwriter and musician. His family was very athletic, with his brother playing baseball, his dad playing football, and his mom was an all-state basketball player. He himself wanted to be a pro baseball player. But before his senior year, he decided to concentrate on music. After college he started doing gigs wherever he could, despite it not being very lucrative. He’s giving up a lot to do this for a living.

Song: Wagon Wheel
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo

Me: He’s really good, but I like the original version of this song more.
Blake: He has a great, clear pitch and voice, good for country music. It’s about telling stories, and you have to be able to understand them.
Christina: She hears a good solid voice, but thinks while Blake is an obvious choice, Cee Lo has a great way of taking an artist and bringing them out, getting them to experiment.
Cee Lo: Blake doesn’t want him to be experimented with, but Cee Lo asks why he makes it sound so terrible, as people are cured from illnesses and diseases because of it.
Adam: He wants to hear it for artistic freedom.
Coach: Blake, taking the last spot on his team.

Auditioner: Shawn “Big Sexy” Smith, 32, Utica, NY. He’s like a singing bartender, doing a little of both. He was in the Army, and during a tour of Iraq ran over an I.E.D. It gave him a severe concussion and eighty percent hearing loss. It was hard to come home and transition to life back home again. The worlds and lyrics in his audition song speak to him.

Song: Chicken Fried
Chairs Turned: Cee Lo

Me: It’s probably not the best audition song. It doesn’t really show his voice as best as it could.
Cee Lo : He asked the people behind him to show him a sign if they liked Shawn, and they did. Shawn says his sign is the one on his belt – “Big Sexy.”
Adam: He thinks he did a great job and sounded great.
Coach: Cee Lo, taking the last spot on his team and the last of the blinds.

I still think more artists should have picked Cee Lo, especially the ones who were more unique. As they keep saying, no one is more unique than him. The judges all tried to pick something different for their teams this year, looking for that win, but that just means those artists will be among the first to go, as I’m not sure if the coaches that don’t do unique understand how to coach unique.

The X Factor, Oct. 2 & 3 – “Take a Seat”

The X Factor is most assuredly trying to compete with The Voice. They have eliminated the round where contestants would visit the coaches’ homes and have replaced it with the Four Chair Challenge. Each category has two contestants, and each of them will perform. Their coach gets the option to have them take a seat or send them home. The four left in the chairs at the end will be that coach’s top four. They can have all four seats filled and still keep someone. It just means they have to make a switch and send someone home who is occupying one of the chairs. It leads to some great drama.

Category: The Over 25s. Coach: Kelly Rowland.

Contestant: Victoria Carriger, 41. She’s a mom to eight kids and separated from her husband. She has two part-time jobs and finds it nerve-wracking to not have any support. She calls this opportunity a breath of fresh air.

Song: Make You Feel My Love

Me: It’s hard to go wrong with this song if you can pour the emotion into it, and she does.
Demi: She heard fire behind it and loved the rasp and passion, although the energy was a little low.
Paulina: The raspy voice is what has captivated her since the beginning.
Simon: Simon wouldn’t put her through based on this performance.
Kelly: She silenced the room. It got boring, then she picked it up again. Kelly tells Victoria to take a seat.

Contestant: Kristine Mirelle, 27, Los Angeles, sells chips and salsa in a grocery store. She doesn’t think you can let pride get in your way of following your dream, as everyone starts at the bottom. She is asking for this one performance to be the one where she can do it the best she possibly can.

Song: Oops!I Did It Again

Me: She does a slowed down ballad-sounding version of this song, and her voice sounds good, but the version doesn’t necessarily work.
Demi: She loves her presence when she walks onstage, but she found it very pitchy.
Paulina: She feels the same way and doesn’t know if Kristine is ready for this.
Simon: The arrangement was kind of confusing and the vocal strange, but he disagrees with the others. He would keep her in because of the potential.
Kelly: She instructs Kristine to take a seat.

Contestant: Jeff Gutt, 37, Detroit, a single dad and musician. Last year when he got cut from the competition, he lost a part of himself, but feels he’s getting it back now. He wants his son to see him pursuing his dreams and not giving up.

Song: Amazing Grace

Me: This is done very well and is very smart. How can you cut someone after they sing Amazing Grace?
Paulina: She feels his power is beyond his voice and about his will, and that captivates her
Demi: She thinks he’s come very far since last season.
Simon: This is why he’d never do another talent show with an age limit. It’s by far the best performance of the night so far.
Kelly: She calls him “so talented” and says he brings up the stakes in the competition. Obviously he takes a seat.

Contestant: Rachel Potter, 29, a bartender, Nashville. She’s trying to support herself with bartending while she follows her dream. She feels she knows a lot more at 29 than she did when she was younger, making her grateful to have the opportunity at this point in her life.

Song: Irreplaceable

Me: She needs a little help with her phrasing, as the fast-paced lyrics in the song have her out of breath and you can hear it. She does have a great glory note, only to get pitchy afterwards.
Demi: Rachel admits she’s been sick and knows it wasn’t her best, and Demi thinks she can do a lot better than that.
Simon: He thinks this song in a country version is a brave choice, leading to a difficult decision.
Kelly: She expected Rachel to be ready today and to blow everyone away. She knows this girl has pipes, but she was shocked her highs weren’t that high. Regardless, she has her take a seat.

Contestant: Lorie Moore, 34, retired professional football player, Chicago. She knew she reached the highlight of her career when they won a championship and figures it’s time for her to become a champion in music. She’s now putting all her eggs in that one basket

Song: I’ll Make Love to You

Me: She’s been one of my favorites since the auditions. She has so much passion in her performance.
Demi: She really felt the passion as well, like she was fighting for the chair, but doesn’t know if she’s looking at a superstar.
Paulina: She agrees and doesn’t know where Lorie would fit in the industry.
Simon: He doesn’t think that rule applies anymore, thinking you make yourself fit. He didn’t like the version of the song, but she can really sing.
Kelly: She loves Lorie’s voice but doesn’t know if she’s ready for the industry. Lori pleads her case promising that she’s not a stranger to hard work. Kelly has her take a seat and sends Kristine Mirelle home.

Contestant: Allison Davis, 26, San Fernando Valley, a waitress. She serves celebrities all the time and wishes she could do what they’re doing. She got negative feedback from her first audition which was rough. She got through despite Simon saying no.

Song: Tik Tok

Me: This really isn’t the type of song for this type of audition. Additionally, the song does nothing but expose all the weaknesses in her voice.
Demi: She thinks Allison has the look but feels like she can’t take it seriously.
Simon: He knows she isn’t going to like his opinion, as the word that comes to mind is wannabe. The choice of song was obviously, lazy, predictable, and annoying.
Kelly: We have to know who we are as a performer to be authentic. Allison begs for a chance, but Kelly sends her home.

Contestant: Jeff Brinkman, 36, Longmont, CO, dog walker. He just had a daughter and the money is just enough, but he doesn’t have the ability to be the dad and musician he wants to be. This is his big shot.

Song: Without You

Me: I appreciate him trying to be more modern, but the Joe Cocker song he did at his audition is so much more him than this.
Demi: She doesn’t think he chose the right song, and she was so bored she was arranging things on her desk.
Simon: He doesn’t know how you can go from Joe Cocker to this monstrous version of this song. Yet he’s torn because Jeff has a great voice.
Kelly: She wants the judges to remember the first time they heard Jeff. Kelly decides to have him take a seat and sends Victoria Carriger home.

Contestant: Denny Smith, 68, Carson, CA, a retired pastor. People ask if he doesn’t get tired of people telling him he looks like Santa Claus. He doesn’t though, otherwise he’d be shaving his beard and cutting his hair. He’s been pursuing the singing dream for more than fifty-five years.

Song: In the Midnight Hour

Me: It’s not as good as his audition, but it’s still really good. He’s someone I would hear in the bars or on street corners in New Orleans.
Paulina: She once again believes in Santa Claus.
Simon: He thinks Kelly has a really difficult situation, as Santa just rocked the house.
Kelly: Denny promises to work the hardest. Kelly sends him home anyway, much to the dismay of Simon and the entire audience. Mario Lopez tells her not to expect any presents under her tree this year.

Contestant: James Kenney, 36, Portland, an apartment manager. Winning the recording contract could change his entire life. His family is 110% supportive, making him very grateful. His wife and daughters are very proud of him.

Song: Lean

Me: This is a great rendition of this song. To do a song that is so well-known, you have to do it differently and really well. He does. And in the process, updates the sound.
Demi: He killed it.
Paulina: It was so solid. They were into him, and she loves it.
Simon: He’s heard the song a million times, but never like that, and he doesn’t think he could have given it any more effort in terms of commitment.
Kelly: She thinks it’s beautiful how we can either look over the edge or we can leap, and he tok a big leap and made them believe he has something truly special. He begs, saying he works 24 hours a day and does it for his wife and babies. At the end of the day, he will take all that and give it to her. He takes a seat, obviously, replacing Jeff Brinkman.

Contestant: Lillie McCloud, 54, Orlando. She has three children and seven grandchildren. She’s always had this dream but has just never been lucky to have it happen to her. She put it to the side to focus on her family, but now that they’re all on their own, she’s going to chase that dream with everything she has.

Song: A House Is Not a Home

Me: Even from the first two lines of the song, I’m realizing there is no way Kelly can send her home. And at her age and her place in life, she truly understands what makes a house a home. She gets a standing O from the judges, and it’s well-deserved.
Demi: Without even singing, Demi thinks Lillie looks like a superstar, and she’s honored to be on a panel in front of her.
Paulina: She thanks her for giving them so much. She left her speechless and is a goddess.
Simon: He just loves her, and if Kelly puts her through he thinks the competition could become really exciting, as competitions need big voices and big stars, and she has the X Factor.
Kelly: Lillie needs to know how special she is with every fiber of her being. She has waited her whole life to hear those words. Obviously taking a seat, Lillie replaces Lorie Moore, even though the audience clearly wanted Kelly to lose Rachel Potter.

The Voice, Oct. 1 – Why the Cee Lo Disrespect?

I brought this up after last night’s show, and I’m going to keep bringing it up. Why the Cee Lo Green disrespect? Even when he is clearly the most suited for a contestant, they push him aside to go with another coach. It seems they’re more concerned about winning than developing as an artist.

Auditioner: Will Champlin, 30, Reseda, CA. Carson Daly checks in on him while he’s jamming with his dad. That’s not just any dad; it’s Bill Champlin, former singer and guitarist for the band Chicago. That inspired Will to begin a life as a musician as well. The senior Champlin sees visibility as being integral to a music career. Will wants to provide for his wife and daughter in a bigger way and wants to make it on his own without his dad.

Song: Not Over You
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: You can hear a little bit of the Chicago influence in Will, and actually his voice would fit in well as a lead in the group.
Adam: He can’t think of anything that wasn’t spectacular about the performance.
Cee Lo: He admires an artist with a plan of their own.
Blake: It was powerful singing with a lot of passion, great pocket, great pitch, and a cool look.
Christina: She decided to let the guys duke it out.
Coach: Adam

Auditioner: Macey Estes, 18, Greenwood, IN. She had music around her her whole life, but was always shy, so she’d only sing and dance in her room. Her sister was in show choir, so Macey joined that as well, but always loved hip-hop, pop, and rapping. It’s another side that’s dying to come out of her. Her parents are supportive in her decision to not go to college yet.

Song: The Way
Chairs Turned: None

Me: I disagree that the hip-hop and rap is who she is. I think she’s still so young that she still needs to find out who she really is. She needs to grow a little bit more.
Adam: He knew she was young, but also feels she has potential, leaving him not comfortable enough to move forward.
Christina: There was one note she wanted Macey to hit, and she didn’t. Frankly, I don’t think anyone other than Christina could hit it.
Cee Lo: He asks to hear her rap, and the other judges say it was good, but they can now, as they’ve already rejected her.
Blake: He agrees that the one thing he wanted to hear her do was what Christina did moments before.

Auditioner: Stephanie Anne Johnson, 29, Tacoma, WA. She was always singing in the house. Her grandmother played blues on weekdays and gospel on Sunday, and in high school and college she studied classical voice. What she loves about it is the freedom it gives her. She worked in a daycare initially out of college, then moved to singing on a cruise ship out of Alaska. She loves that The Voice is about her voice more than about her looks.

Song: Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
Chairs Turned: Christina, Cee Lo

Me: She definitely has some of her grandmother’s blues/soul in her.
Adam: He could feel the attitude all the way through the chairs; it slapped him in the face.
Cee Lo: He heard soul and conviction, “and it’s like church, if you will.” He saw Vicki Martinez in her, and she coincidentally went to school with her.
Christina She was taken by the energy and it just moved her.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Sam Cerniglia, 25, Chicago. Currently he works for Groupon, but he also has his own band. His family is amazing and supports him. Both of his sisters have serious diseases. His family is in Michigan, and he’s far away from them in Chicago. His dad and one sister are there at the auditions with him, and his mom and other sister are back in Michigan, but send a videotaped message.

Song: It’s a Beautiful Day
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo

Me: It starts out a little rough, but he gets over those nerves and nails it at the end.
Blake: He loves Sam’s sound and hears a lot of range but really loves his style. It took him to a Michael Bublé concert.
Cee Lo: It was very mature and sophisticated, like he was singing with his hand in his pocket.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: Jennifer Newberry, 32, Seattle, but originally from Sweden. Her dad was an exchange student from the U.S. who fell in love with her mom when overseas in Sweden. After a divorce, she stayed with her mom in Sweden but connected to America through music so moved here at 21. She is doing this for her family that has been there for her her whole life. The Swedish side of her family sends a videotaped message.

Song: Locked Out of Heaven
Chairs Turned: None

Me: This seems like the wrong song for her. There’s something that just doesn’t match up right.
Cee Lo: He loves the breathiness in her voice.
Adam: He heard some things pitch-wise, but knows there isn’t anyone in the room who wouldn’t agree that she has a good voice.
Blake: He wants to pick people with a good grasp of what they’re good at and thinks she might be more suited to a different genre of music.
Christina: She loves what Bruno Mars does and thinks Jennifer stuck too much to his version of the song.

Auditioner: James Irwin, 31, St. Louis. He tried out last year but didn’t get any chairs to turn. He didn’t feel he gave them the best version of himself. Shakira mentioned having second and third chances, and that stuck with him. His twin babies had died shortly after being born the year before. Now he and his wife have another healthy baby, and they’re here to support him.

Song: Losing My Religion
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: His determination is evident in his audition. He took his past failure and seems to be using it as the impetus for this.
Adam: He was so drawn in right away but still thinks there are a few things that need some work.
Christina: She doesn’t agree completely, as it’s all in the delivery, and he had a very soft opening that captivated them.
Cee Lo: What he likes about bands like R.E.M. is the constant quality, and he gives James kudos for seeing that as well and choosing that song.
Blake: Whatever he did in the past year, whether in his heart, head or voice, he’s ready to win this thing now.
Coach: Adam

Auditioner: Olivia Henken, 25, Louisville, KY. The first time she sang for a crowd she was just 4 years old, and she’s been trying to get recognized in the business as far as she can remember. She’s entered over one hundred contests in that time. Her family is very supportive, with her mom as her “momager” and her dad her roadie, and her grandparents in the audience.

Song: Two Black Cadillacs
Chairs Turned: Christina, Cee Lo

Me: She’s not only gorgeous, she has a great voice as well. She’d be a terrific recording artist.
Christina: She was struck by her voice; something in it totally connected with her. She’s glad Blake the country artist didn’t hit his button
Cee Lo: He doesn’t want her to be complacent being country and wants to put her in other positions … professional positions.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Jason Kertson, 16, Seattle. When he was 7 he got in trouble at school and was grounded for three weeks. He used that time to have his dad teach him to play guitar and realized through that he loved to sing as well. He experimented when he was bored, playing two guitars at once, and put it up on YouTube and got a lot of interest through that.

Song: Lips of an Angel
Chairs Turned: None

Me: This is one where a blind audition is going to hurt him. If they would see how he looked, they’d be choosing him. But they can’t see how cute he is and can’t see how young he is either.
Adam: He started off out of control vocally, but at 16 he’s still working on it. He thinks he just needs to go back to the drawing board and keep working on it.
Blake: It was powerful singing at the beginning, but he didn’t give them a good enough reason to go beyond that.
Cee Lo: He thinks all of the judges are looking for something to blow them away.
Christina: She knew he was a cutie pie the way the girls in the audience were acting. She can’t believe he’s that great with maturity and tone at just 16.

Auditioner: R. Anthony, 33, Tampa. He has two brothers and three sisters, and he was the quiet kid of all of them. He didn’t feel he fit in. He moved to Tampa to go to college and moved in with his brother, and when his friend moved down as well, they became a gospel trio. Then he got married and his wife got pregnant, and he knew he had to close down shop and focus on his family. He works in customer service, but now feels it’s time to get back out there.

Song: Hall of Fame
Chairs Turned: Christina, Cee Lo

Me: His chorus hits it completely. And after he hits the stride there, he holds it throughout.
Cee Lo: His gospel upbringing must be the compelling quality in his voice. He waited until the end to hit his button because he wanted to experience it.
Christina: She believes in him and loves his soul and runs.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Justin Chain, 23, Fort Payne, AL. He grew up with his parents singing all the time, and it rubbed off on him. He’d sing at talent shows and had a little band. Recording a demo was too much money for him, so he stuck to sports. He was in a bad motorcycle accident head-on and it ended his football career, breaking his back, pelvis, and hip. He decided while he was laid up to do music to inspire people

Song: She’s Country
Chairs Turned: Blake

Me: This guy is one-hundred percent country, just like the woman he’s singing about.
Blake: His pitch is amazing
Christina: She indicates she and the other two didn’t turn their chairs because they knew they couldn’t compete with Blake.
Adam: He jokes that Justin is even more country than Blake is, and actually they have the same shirt on.
Cee Lo: He asks if Justin would have picked Blake no matter who turned their chairs, and he figures he would have unless someone blew him away.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: Ashley Dubose, 23, St. Paul, MN. Music is her childhood dream, and her mom was always making her sing for other people, as she was so proud of her. Ashley works full time now as a programmer analyst and spends the majority of her day on a computer. She’s also a single parent like her mother was. She got pregnant while she was in college and wasn’t able to work on her music, but now wants to focus her time on music and parenting. She feels spread too thin doing that now and working full time as well.

Song: Diamonds
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: She hits the notes well and sounds like she’s already a recording artist.
Adam: Her voice cut like a razor through the whole place, and those are the voices that last long on the show.
Cee Lo: He says Rihanna is accomplished and a great singer, and he feels she met her bar with it. He also admits he has kept in contact with the artists who have been on his team, so being in his team is also becoming a part of his life. He wants to be rooting for her in the front row of the Grammys.
Christina: She was waiting for something to happen, but nothing went wrong. She wants to find someone who has the same goal and passions she has.
Blake: He may seem like an unlikely choice, but winning the show is like a partnership and making somebody the best they can be.
Coach: Adam

I still don’t get why some of these auditioners don’t choose Cee Lo Green. The others all talk about winning the show far too much. But for him, it’s about finding an artist. And he said as much to Ashley. He still keeps in touch with almost all of the people who were on his team. That’s not because he wants to win. That’s because he cares about them and wants them to do well. I do not see why these singers don’t see that.

The Voice, Sept. 30 – Stingy Judges

You can tell we’re starting to wind down closer to the end of the auditions. The judges are starting to get stingier and stingier with turning around their chairs. Nobody tonight can prompt all four judges to turn their chairs, but it’s not for lack of talent. The judges are most likely noticing that they only have a few spots left on their teams and are trying to leave spots open for the truly deserving.

Auditioner: Ray Boudreaux, 25, Lafayette, LA. He grew up in a small town and started doing music gigs at 20, then had a baby girl at the age of 22. He stopped playing as many shows to be more of a family man, but eventually broke up with his daughter’s mom. He cuts grass to make a living now and is very grateful for his daughter and the time he spends with her. He thinks the judges will be shocked to hear the soul side coming out of him.

Song: Use Me
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo

Me: He’s correct that the soul doesn’t look right coming out of him, but it’s good!
Adam: It’s an incredible genetic feat, as he looks like Blake but sounds like Cee Lo.
Christina: She’s not sure if the gaps she heard were from him trying to also play the guitar or from his excitement over turning some chairs.
Cee Lo: Bill Withers is like a father to him, so he feels like they’re cut from the same cloth, yet he didn’t realize it was blue-eyed soul he was listening to.
Blake: It was so powerful, electric, and swampy. He’d buy a ticket to Ray’s concert.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: Lina Gaudenzi, 23, Miami. Her mom was a professional model, and she got into it as well at the age of 13. After an awkward stage in high school and a weight gain, she stopped modeling and started soul searching in Paris. She decided to start singing after studying classical music. She moved back to Miami and started writing and gigging.

Song: Landslide
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina

Me: She sounds good, but this song needs a little more emotion.
Blake: He was already sold on her but gives her a “Damn, Girl!” for the falsetto at the end.
Christina: She announces that she had an opera singer on her team once to speak to Lina’s classical training.
Adam: If he were a young aspiring female singer, he’d be swayed by one of the most iconic singers of our time, Christina.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Juhi, 16, Franklin, TN. Her GPA is above 4.0. Her dad has a P.h.D. in electrical engineering, and she gets her musical talent from her mom who sings classical Indian music. She’s not sure what she wants to major in but is thinking aerospace engineering or computer science. Her parents are okay with her putting scholastics on hold if she makes it on The Voice.

Song: Mercy
Chairs Turned: Christina, Cee Lo

Me: It’s a different type of sound for this song, not bluesy as it usually is heard.
Cee Lo: She had a wonderfully unique version of the song.
Christina: As a female, she thinks she’d understand her more, yet Juhi is interested in being a cross between Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain, and that speaks more to Cee Lo.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Malford Milligan, 54, Austin, TX. His family was poor when he was growing up, yet his biggest struggle is he’s a black albino and legally blind. Growing up in the 60s was tough. The pain drove him to singing and to his time as a part of the BB King tour.

Song: Let’s Stay Together
Chairs Turned: None

Me: He has a great sound, and it’s clear he’s been doing it awhile. I’m shocked no one turns around. I would download this guy’s album.
Adam “You can sing, Dude.”
Cee Lo: He closed his eyes and reminisced about Al Green’s perfromance of that on Soul Train.
Christina: She was waiting for something else, but his voice is undeniable.
Blake: He begs Malford to go make a record so that he can buy it. Me too!

Auditioner: Justin Blake, 20, Savannah, TN. He’s an escort driver for 18-wheelers and mobile homes. It’ not great-paying, and that’s difficult with a baby on the way. At $8 an hour, it’s not enough. He’s taking a risk by singing one of Blake’s songs.

Song: Sure Be Cool If You Did
Chairs Turned: Adam

Me: He has some great grit that he adds into his country singing.
Adam: He thinks Justin is a great contry singer.
Blake: It takes nerve to come out and sing one of his songs. Surprisingly, Adam didn’t even know it was Blake’s song.
Coach: Adam

Auditioner: Timyra-Joi, 15, San Diego. She’s ben singing since before she could talk. Her mom is very supportive and keeps her going. Her vocal coach has been working with her since she was 5 years old. Her dad lost his job when she was 9, and the family ended up moving in with the coach for about six months.

Song: Girl on Fire
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo

Me: She has a few pitchy moments, but hits the big notes when she needs to.
Christina: She nailed the run at the end.
Adam: She seems like an unpolished diamond, and Christina is the person who could maker her into something.
Cee Lo: He wants to be a part of her journey.
Blake: He brings up again that he won the show last year with a 16-year-old.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Monika Leigh, 28, Boulder, CO. She would perform for her neighbors when she was a kid and has been gigging since she was 13. At 22 she decided she wasn’t meant to do music. She’s an administrative assistant for a hotel and eventually returned to doing gigs, but wishes she could just gig and nothing else.

Song: The Thrill is Gone
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: Once she hits the chorus, she rips it up.
Christina: She thinks Monika is gorgeous and knows the three guys will get into a bloodbath over her.
Adam: Her voice seemed really pure, and it’s hard to sing that way.
Cee Lo: He loves the way she sang so womanly, and she seemed so cool with the story in the song.
Blake: All the elements of being a technically good singer were there, then he fell in love with her voice.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: Zach Hinson, 21, Yakima, WA. He’s been working with fire services for about six years now. He fell in love with the job when he was a junior in high school. His oldest brother is a firefighter as well, and he had a cousin who was as well, but she passed away fighting a fire. It’s a happy life for him, but music will give him more than firefighting.

Song: Drunk on You
Chairs Turned: None

Me: Once again I’m shocked that no one turned around, as I thought he was good.
Christina: She calls him a cutie pie and is sorry they didn’t turn around.
Blake: He believes he should hone in on the growl. He was drifting off the pitch a little too much.
Adam: Some of the riffs didn’t pan out, but if he polishes that up he could come back and get really far.

Auditioner: Briana Cuoco, 24, Los Angeles. She is a personal assistant to her sister Kaley Cuoco who is on The Big Bang Theory. Briana knows her sister understands that there are other things she wants to do. Kaley has been waiting for this for Briana for a long time. She’s been singing since she was 7 or 8 and hopes to someday be as successful as her sister.

Song: You and I
Chairs Turned: Christina, Cee Lo

Me: She has a unique voice, but it’s not really right for this song until the end when she really kicks it into gear.
Christina: She was moved by her power and raw talent. Briana held out the notes really strong.
Cee Lo: He felt the same power in her voice and wants to be closer to it, as being with a powerful woman is one of his favorite places to be.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: George Horga Jr., 19, Portland. His parents are from Romania originally and have built businesses from absolutely nothing. The hardest thing he ever did was move away from the Romanian community to pursue a career in Hollywood. He wants to show his dad that his son can live this life because of him moving to America.

Song: Treasure
Chairs Turned: Cee Lo

Me: He has a great tone and is cute, too, so would do great with the young women out there.
Cee Lo: He likes that he has so much charm and personality that it just bled through.
Adam: Cee Lo is a great person to help shepherd along his talent.
Christina: She saw the girls jumping around in the audience so figured he had to be cute.
Blake: He has high hopes for George.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Anthony Paul

Song: With You

Cee Lo: With some guidance, he thinks Anthony stands a chance.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Cilla Chan

Song: Come & Get It

Blake: He mentions the way she points at the notes while she sings.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Jacob Poole

Song: Marry Me

Cee Lo: She loved his voice from the moment he started singing.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Preston Pohl, 26, Hallettsville, TX. His dad played the drums at church, and his mom sang at church, with music always being in him. He had the opportunity to play guitar for a Christian rock band, and they did well. His music mentor in the group passed away suddenly after a few years, and it was never the same for Preston again. He knows his mentor would want him to keep singing.

Song: Electric Feel
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: He’s so smooth, yet powerful at the same time. It just makes you move slightly in your seat watching him.
Cee Lo: He did one of Cee Lo’s favorite songs of all time.
Adam: Preston turned it into “kind of a Marvin song.” He made him believe in him.
Blake: He starts to talk about there not being many hip hop artists from Texas, and Cee Lo points them all out, making Blake realize he just screwed himself from the hopes of landing Preston.
Coach: Adam

I don’t know why the contestants don’t choose Cee Lo more often. They seem to always want the big name of Christina Aguilera or the winning Blake Shelton. Cee Lo always connects to them so well, and there are times where I am sure that they would do really well under his mentoring. These contestants choosing Blake and Christina will be sorry in the long run when they don’t stay as long with them as they would have Cee Lo, because there is no true connection.

The X Factor, Sept. 26 – The Top 40

We’re still flogging through the auditions, yet by the end of this episode, not only will we be done with the auditions, but only forty contestants will remain, and the judges will know which categories they re mentoring.

Auditioner: Neal Macomber, 45, San Luis Obispo, CA. He’s a general contractor and wants to share his positivity with others. He’s asked why he’s starting now, and he thinks today is the day. This is seeming like a “bad audition” so far. He’s single because he hasn’t found the right girl yet. Simon knows how he feels, but a caption edit tells us the show was pre-precorded, a reference to him recently becoming engaged.

Song: Everybody Talks

Me: The song choice alone said bad audition. The performance doesn’t disappoint. Neal sings right in Demi’s face, completely freaking her out … understandably. He even tries patting her on the head.
Simon: It was like something out of a lunatic asylum. If it were a movie, it would be Nightmare on Elm Street.
Demi: In reference to the slasher film, she cautions if they’re not swinging a knife, they’re patting your head.

Auditioner: Glamour, 12-13 years old, Atlanta

Song: Star-Spangled Banner

Me: These three young girls have fantastic harmony.
Kelly: She feels like she’s looking at a “baby Destiny’s Child.”

Auditioner: Girls United – 23-24 years old, Los Angeles.

Song: Price Tag

Me: It’s more good harmony
Demi: You’re so pretty it’s just stupid.

Auditioner: Zach Beeken, 17, Pittsburgh, PA. Kelly recognizes his deep voice.

Song: Gettin’ You Home

Me: He reminds me of American Idol’s Scotty McCreery.
Paulina: She didn’t expect him to sing that well.

Auditioner: Wild Thingz – 22 -30 years old, Los Angeles

Song: An original composition

Me: They aren’t the best singers, but they’re a lot of fun.
Paulina: They did it great.

Auditioner: Denny “Santa Claus” Smith, 69, of Carson, CA. While he looks like Santa and is dressed in a red suit and hat, his official occupation is as a pastor.

Song: Stormy Monday Blues

Me: Santa sings the blues.
Demi: She is impressed. “You just took us there.”
Simon: Christmas has come early.

Auditioner: Victoria Carriger, 41, Waynesville, MO. She has 8 kids, very surprisingly. Her youngest is 4 and oldest is 20. Wow. She gave up everything to become a mom, and they’re everything to her. She’s separated from her husband so is a single mom for the most part. She’s looking for a new start and some stability for herself and her kids.

Song: Because of You

Me: It’s a very poignant song for her situation, and she brings it out in her performance. She brings tears to my eyes when she sings, “Because of you, I am afraid.”
Simon: He genuinely had written her off before she started singing, but he was not expecting that. He thinks he is beginning to understand her story now.
Paulina: When she started singing with that raspy voice, Paulina felt her pain and loss for her family.
Demi: It was very unique. She feels the pain in Victoria’s voice, and she’s rooting for her.

Auditioner: Keith Beukelaer, 29, Long Island. Ten years ago he auditioned for American Idol, singing Like a Virgin. His audition was made fun of by the show. Simon had told him he could be the worst singer in the world. Now he’s here at The X Factor as a rapper.

Song: Baby Got Back

Me: Part of the problem is he has no rhythm. However, he’s not bad as a rapper. It’s better than ten years ago. The female judges and audience are dancing and trying to get Simon to join in.
Kelly: She had so much fun. It’s a yes.
Simon: He also likes big butts, so he’s going to say yes.

That was a great place to end the season three auditions, but it’s not the end of this episode. Before we wrap for the night, the judges will find out which groups they are mentoring, and they’ll cut down the group of 218 contestants to just 40. I’m probably not going out on a limb to suggest that Keith won’t make it after all that fun. There will be no boot camp like there was in past years. They will instead compete in the four-chair challenge, something new and different.

The judges pour through all the tape of the 218 contestants and fight for who they really want. They are looking for talent, as well as star value. The next job in front of them is to deliver the news to all the contestants who have gathered together in Los Angeles.

In the Girls category, the ten acts moving on are Khaya Cohen, Bree Randall, Jamie Pineda, Simone Torres, Rion Paige, Danielle Geimer, Rylie Brown, Primrose Martin, Ellona Santiago, and Ashly Williams.

In the Boys category, the ten acts moving on are Carlito Olivero, Chase Goehring, Timmy Thames, Isaiah Alston, Tim Olstad, Alberto Calderon, Josh Levi, Isaac Tauaefa, Carlos Guevara, and Stone Martin.

In the Groups category, the seven acts moving on are Glamour, Good News, Yellow House Canyon, Alex & Sierra, Roxy Montana, Wild Thingz, and Girls United.

In the Over 25 category, the ten acts moving on are Lillie McCloud, Jeffrey Brinkman, Rachel Potter, Kristine Mirelle, Victoria Carriger, James Kenney, Allison Davis, Denny “Santa Claus” Smith, Lorie Moore, and Jeff Gutt.

The judges ask some previously dismissed singers back onstage.This is the part where they make three more groups out of some of the single contestants. There’s a girls group, a boys group, and a country guys’ group.

Instead of hearing via phone call which category they will be mentoring, this year the judges walk down a designated aisle that leads them to a room holding the group they will be mentoring.

Kelly Rowland – The Over 25s.
Demi Lovato – The Girls
Paulina Rubio – The Boys
Simon Cowell – The Groups

What exactly this four-chair challenge is isn’t clear. From the previews it seems they are only sending four contestants through from each group. The contestants either sit in one of four chairs for their group, or they leave. But, once they sit, they could be uprooted by someone else. It seems really cut throat …. and what Reality TV is all about.

The X Factor, Sept. 25 – The Right Yes

What the auditioners on The X Factor are looking for are yeses. They want the judges to be so pleased with their performance that they agree to let them continue on in the show. One auditioner tonight gets only two yeses, but they’re perhaps the most important yeses he’ll ever get.

Auditioner: Melanie Wright, 49, Crofton, Maryland. She’s been a paralegal for twenty-six years but is ready to do what her heart has always wanted to do. She wants to be the equivalent of Carrie Underwood. Once they compare themselves to someone like that, it usually means it won’t be a good audition.

Song: Titanium

Me: As expected, she’s not very good, but sadly, she really believes she is.
Simon: It was like finding out Cinderella works at thePlayboy mansion, as she’s not what you see.
Paulina: She enjoyed seeing how happy Melanie is.
Kelly: Her shoes are cute.

Auditioner: Oksana Mamchur, 36, Queens, but originally from the Ukraine. She’s a dental assistant.

Song: I am Your Lady

Me: She’s not one hundred percent terrible, but she’s a far cry from Celine Dion.
Paulina: She doesn’t understand why Oksana chose music.
Simon: In dentistry, she understands all about delivering pain, and that was like being in the chair for three hours without anesthetic.

Auditioner: Rob Zarro, 55, San Gabriel, CA. He is a computer operator and is wearing a really bad, oddly-placed toupe.

Song: Born to Be Wild

Me: It’s hard to decide whether his dancing or singing is worse.
Simon: He found it to be like watching something out of an Austin Powers movie.

Auditioner: Maya Lehmann, 6, NYC. She works as a substitute teacher.

Song: The Final Countdown

Me: The song is completely unrecognizable.
Simon: If Close Encounters of the Third Kind ever happened and they sang, it would probably sound like Maya’s audition.

Auditioner: Ruben Gloria, 26, NYC. He’s a mailroom clerk, and his favorite type of music is pop music.

Song: Like a Virgin

Me: His falsetto is just high-pitched noises.
Simon: Ruben totally reinvented that song.
Kelly: She gives a high-pitched “No!”

Auditioner: Emory Kelly, 15, Holbrook, Long Island. He lives with his mom, a drug and alcohol counselor, and his dad, a retired fireman, and his sister, a NYU college student. He was excited to find out The X Factor was coming to his town.

Song: I Won’t Give Up

Me: He has raw talent that could use a really good coach.
Demi: She thinks he’s cute and has a great voice.
Paulina: She likes his voice, charisma, and appearance.
Simon: He didn’t like the song, but sees Emory as an unpolished diamond.

Auditioner: Khaya Cohen, 15, NYC. Her mom is a midwife, and her dad is in education. She just wants to be a singer for the rest of her life. She’s nervous seeing all the other talented girls there.

Song: Love You I Do/I Put a Spell on You

Me: She has some training to the point where she is confident she is good, but it’s not coming off. Simon interrupts and asks for another song, and she launches into I Put a Spell on You. It’s a world of difference and much better. She’s better with this genre than pop.
Simon: He loves everything about her, and she reminds him of Amy Winehouse and Adele together.
Demi: She is excited to hear a voice like Khaya’s and can’t believe it was coming from a 15-year-old.
Paulina: That tiny little body, voice, and presence were superb.
Kelly: She blew the roof off the place.

Auditioner: Joseph Tolve, 19, Mahopac, NY. Kelly asks if he is hoarse, and he says a little bit. Simon offers him some water. It sounds like his speaking voice is falsetto. It just doesn’t seem natural. He’s singing one of Demi’s songs.

Song: Skyscraper

Me: Joseph’s singing voice isn’t any different than his speaking voice, and on top of it, he’s a little tone deaf.
Demi: While they are looking for unique, this isn’t the right kind of unique.
Kelly: Her idea is that Joseph would be good on a Sesame Street type of show.
Simon: He agrees. The voice is so distinct, he should do something with it. Voiceovers are just one suggestion. He promises that he’ll get calls after this. Joseph believes if he did voiceover work, he’d be an anteater.

Auditioner: James Kenney, 35, Portland. He started making music at the age of 11, but works as an apartment manager to take care of his family. His wife and two little girls are here with him at the audition. Simon remembers him from the first season.

Song: Summertime

Me: I’m used to Fantasia’s version of this song, and this one is definitely different than that, but has a great bluesy/jazzy feel nonetheless.
Demi: His riffs were crazy, and it was a pretty sexy song.
Paulina: She was delighted with his talent.
Simon: The song choice was brilliant.
Kelly: Hell yeah!

Auditioner: Isaac Tauaefa, 23, Corinth, TX, a bouncer. He played college football and wants to prove to himself he can perform on a stage and not just a football field.

Song: Better Man

Me: I can see this audition going either way.
Demi: Maybe football wasn’t his calling, but music is.

Auditioner: Chase Goehring, 17, Nolensville, TN

Song: An original composition

Me: This is another I can see going either way.
Kelly: Finding out he wrote the song, she notes he’s not only a good singer, but a writer too.

Auditioner: Allison Davis, 26, Granada Hills, CA, a waitress.

Song: I’m Goin’ Down

Me: She needs to put some pants on. I think she has shorts on, but they’re really short and worn under an over-sized t-shirt. It’s a bit strange.
Kelly: She’s going to give her a chance and say yes.

Auditioner: Isabel Requena, 24, Los Angeles

Song: I’m Goin’ Down

Me: She and Allison are making it sound like they are singing separate songs instead of the same one.
Simon: She’s going up … with three yeses.

Auditioner: Isaiah Alston, 15, Hamilton, NJ

Song: I’m Goin’ Down

Me: And yet another version of this song. He’s the one to put the most soul into it.
Kelly: She thinks he has potential to be a little Michael Jackson.

Auditioner: David Grey, 31, Baton Rouge. He’ a mechanical engineer and has played baseball his whole life. He’s auditioning for his girlfriend, which the judges tell him is the wrong answer. He knew when he met her that she was the one. Earlier he asked her dad for a pep talk, and it turns out he’s going to ask her to marry him today. He has his first yes of the day.

Song: Nice and Slow

Me: I wish he was good, but he’s not. It appears he really is here supporting his girlfriend.
Simon: He asks if David is auditioning because his girlfriend asked him to, and the answer is about how great she is.

Auditioner: Lauren “Wag” Waguespack, 25, Baton Rouge. She’s a secretary and David’s girlfriend. According to her they both auditioned because they love competing against each other. Kelly wants a tip from her on finding a guy like that.

Song: Teenage Dream

Me: She’s good. Definitely better than her boyfriend. After the music stops, David makes his way onstage and surprises both her and the judges. He gets down on one knee and says he’ll support her in whatever she does, then pulls out the ring. It’s his second yes of the day. Paulina tells them they’re going to have beautiful babies.
Simon: He gives her a no, but it doesn’t really seem to matter at this point.

Auditioner: Tim Olstad, 23, Winona, MN. He’ a restaurant server and is having a hard time controlling his nerves, even when being interviewed backstage. He hopes he has the confidence in front of the judges. While he doubts himself, music is what he wants to do the rest of his life. He’s asked by Demi to tell them something crazy about himself and says his mom was his music teacher and she kicked him out of the classroom a few times.

Song: A Thousand Years

Me: Once he gets into the song, it helps him kick the nerves just a little bit.
Kelly: She feels like his voice came over her like a blanket of love.
Demi: She has the chills and says she gets it. She’s changed her mind and doesn’t want him to do anything bad now.
Paulina: He’s like a little teddy bear, and she wants to hug him forever.

Auditioner: Wesley Mountain, 19, Capitol Heights, Maryland. He’s a parts counter person at a car dealership. Being in front of Kelly is going to be a dream in itself. He wants to tell her she’s beautiful and has grace and talent. He admits to the judges he likes Kelly … a lot. He comes down and kisses her hand, and Simon notes that he was actually panting.

Song: Wanted

Me: He’s actually quite good. This wasn’t just a ruse to meet Kelly.
Simon: He once had a dog who liked steak, and the way he looked at the steak reminds him of how Wesley looks at Kelly.
Demi: At first she thought he was creepy, but he actually has a really good voice.
Paulina: If he really wants this, he needs to keep his feelings apart from everything else.
Kelly: He has a great, beautiful voice.

Auditioner: Celine Polenghi, 16, Miami. The female judges like her outfit.

Song: When You Believe/i>

Me: It’s hard to believe this powerful voice is coming rom a 16-year-old.
Simon: Was it perfect? No. Does she have massive appeal? Yes. He sees a future pop star.

Auditioner: Bree Randall, 20, Corona, CA. Kelly thinks she has gorgeous hair.

Song: Treasure

Me: The voice is okay, but she has a really cute personality.
Demi: There’s something about her that is going to go far in this competition.

Auditioner: Primrose Martin, 20, Las Vegas.

Song: Nobody’s Perfect/i>

Me: I’m not a fan of this, but others seem to like it to the point of a standing O by some of the judges.
Kelly: Absolutely freakin’ yes. She thinks Primrose is phenomenal.

Auditioner: Summer Reign, 17, Apple Valley, CA. Simon thinks she looks great, like a little pop star.

Song: Impossible

Me: She looks so much like a pop star and has the sound to back it up.
Demi: She’s a little diva.
Simon: She’s a little pop star.
Kelly: She wants to watch Summer grow and be there while she grows.

Auditioner: Rickey Clark Jr., 19, Providence, RI. He’s dressed in a suit and sunglasses. Kelly notes the resemblance to Usher, and he launches into some of his moves. He’s another one who has the hots for Kelly. The worst thing he’s gotten in trouble for is breaking some of his mom’s knick knacks.

Song: Superstition

Me: I’m so tired of this song in reality TV, but he has some moves that make it less boring.
Simon: He likes him, but not his voice.
Kelly: She thinks we’re always going to grow and learn something about our voices. She explains it took her six years to get a record deal and this is just one step. After he is dismissed with noes, Kelly goes and finds him backstage and gives him a hug and pep talk.

Auditioner: Lori Moore, 34, originally from Chicago, but living in Hollywood. She’s wearing a football jersey to remind herself that she’s a champion. She plays women’s professional football and won the 2012 championship. It’s first and goal for her right now.

Song: I Have Nothing

Me: She’s very good, and a little unexpectedly, especially as she hits the high notes in the song.
Kelly: She started to open up her mouth not to sing, but S-A-N-G. She’s been on the football field too long.
Simon: It was more than an audition, as it was a performance, and it’s why there is no age limit on the show, to find people like her.

Auditioner: Second Hand High – Briana Thomas, 22 and Allan Guinn, 26, West Covina, CA. She feels like their original song is going to be a huge hit and just can’t wait to see Simon’s smirk when he’ll ask where they’ve been because he’s looking at talent. They were engaged but aren’t any longer. When asked if he cheated on her, her reply is to look at her, as who would cheat on that.

Song: An original composition.

Me: It’s a rap song with one of the lines actually, “Why buy the cow when you can get the leche for free?” Kelly stands up and starts dancing.
Simon: He thinks they should change the name of the group to “Deluded.” The song was terrible.
Kelly: It’s very, very weird, but she kind of liked the song, just wants someone else singing.
Demi: She liked watching the people in the back dance. The song was definitely very catchy.

From the previews of the next show, we can see that this is not the same show we’ve seen the past few years. It doesn’t appear that the contestants will go to the judges’ houses. It seems instead that they are having a “four-chair challenge.” It could be interesting.

The Voice, Sept. 24 – Leading Up to An Exciting Battle Round

One thing that sets The Voice apart that I really love is that they don’t play bad auditions. They don’t set anyone up to be made fun of. Everyone who appears in the auditions has a legitimate chance to be on the show, even if they don’t always make it. In many ways that makes it a more enjoyable show to watch.

Auditioner: Jacquie Lee, 16, Colts Neck, NJ. She’s not from a musical family, but they do eat a lot. She started singing at 11 years old and now sings for charities at children’s hospitals and also plays sports.

Song: Back to Black
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina

Me: She is one-hundred percent fantabulous. I can’t believe all four didn’t turn around.
Cee Lo: He likes her boots and wonders if they make them for dudes.
Adam: He points out that New Jersey is closer to where Christina is from than Blake.
Blake: He specializes in 16-year-old girls winning the show.
Christina: She gets that Jacquie looks up to Blake, but she herself was a 16-year-old coming up in the business.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Barry Black, 27, Las Vegas, but originally from American Samoa. His parents moved to the States when he was young. He initially worked with his dad in he family’s hotel business, but left to do what he loved – music. He taught himself to play the guitar and now has a band.

Song: What You Won’t Do for Love
Chairs Turned: Blake, Adam

Me: He does a unique mouth horn as well as sing.
Adam: He is looking for the horn, and thought the bow tie must have been a horn or something. He turned around to see the source of the horn.
Blake: He turned around because Barry was a great artist, not because he was curious about his horn noise.
Christina: She loves both coaches, but is cheering for Blake to become Barry’s coach.
Cee Lo: He asks if Blake isn’t from the Southern part of Samoa.
Coach: Adam

Auditioner: Mike Unser, 19, Pleasant Hill, OH. He’s alternative rock and pop-punk. His childhood was rough as the child of divorced parents. He didn’t get along with his stepdad. As time has gone by, he’s grown close with him. Mike works with a youth group at the church, playing music for them.

Song: Dirty Little Secret
Chairs Turned: None

Me: He has a great look for this, but his voice is lacking just slightly.
Adam: After Mike compliments him on his beard, Adam says it makes none of them turning around even more awkward.
Cee Lo: He compares Mike to a young Willem Dafoe and the lead singer of Blink 182.
Christina: Christina thinks he would have been great for Cee Lo’s team.
Coach: None.

Auditioner: Destinee Quinn, 20, Surprise, AZ. Her style is county, and she plays where ever she can, including a biker bar. It’s a lot of work to pull out different genres of songs to keep them interested. She won Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding Contest and got to perform with him.

Song: Cowboy Take Me Away
Chairs Turned: Christina, Cee Lo

Me: I’m not convinced she’s a country singer. I think her days with Alice Cooper and the biker bar have stuck with her.
Christina: She tells “Angel of God” that it was Destiny for her to push her button first.
Adam: She should take it as a compliment that Christina and Cee Lo didn’t show emotion when they turned their chairs, as they didn’t want to tip off the other two.
Cee Lo: She is a pleasant surprise, and of course there’s a voice, as that’s what made him feel something in the first place.
Blake: Hearing she is 20, it makes more sense to him, and he wishes he had hit his button.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Cole Vosbury, 22, Shreveport, LA. His dad played professionally and tried to keep his son out of the music business but saw there was no way to keep him out. His grandmother is also a musician and toured with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash. Her claim to fame is as the only girl who turned down Elvis Presley.

Song: Movin’ On Up (Jeffersons Theme)
Chairs Turned: Cee Lo

Me: This song is so unexpected, especially from this guy. He shows promise just in that choice.
Adam: He likes his beard.
Cee Lo: Cole has a great balance of country and soul, and Cee Lo figures Cole has to be a badass for picking that song.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Holly Henry, 19, Minneapolis. She lives at home with her mom who is an art teacher and her father who is a musician. She went to college but couldn’t afford it, so now works as a waitress in a pancake house. She pays several instruments and writes a lot of music.

Song: The Scientist
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: She has a very unique sound, very soft.
Adam: A lot of voices stay small and never have that range or dynamic, but when she hit the high notes, he realized she could sing
Cee Lo: Her voice deserves to be acknowledged by all four coaches up there.
Christina: She knew she had to get in there and “save this girl,” meaning from the other coaches.
Blake: He nearly broke his hand hitting the button for her.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: Sammy C., 16, Newport Beach CA. This hip hop artist started singing in 5th grade and never realized then it would be what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. When he was 2, he was diagnosed with alopecia. Music helps save him from the other kids bullying him.

Song: Where Is the Love?
Chairs Turned: None

Me: I’m surprised no one turns, as Sammy is a lot of fun.
Cee Lo: He was confused as he thought it was a duo singing, hearing the emcee and the singer.
Blake: He kind of regrets not hitting his button.
Christina: Sammy is still molding his craft and getting to know who he is as an artist.
Adam: If he can dedicate himself as passionately to the craft of singing, as much as he did when he was rapping, then they’d have something.
Coach: None

Auditioner: Austin Jenckes, 25, Duvall, WA. He started playing guitar when he was 9, playing along with his dad. He does’t make enough money playing music, so he has a side job being a scooter tour guide. His dad took his own life when Austin was 16, not knowing how much his family loved him. Austin’s purpose in music is to share those feelings he has after he passed away. His dad taught him to play guitar with the one he’s using today and also taught him to play his audition song.

Song: Simple Man
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo

Me: Austin and this song fit together really well. He’d fit in well with Adam or Cee Lo.
Adam: That last note when he went way up is when the coaches said, “Okey dokey!”
Blake Adam’s right, because there are many that have a raspy sound, limiting their range, but the power was even stronger when he went up for that note.
Cee Lo: He sounded really comfortable and confident.
Christina: She loves his story.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: E.G. Daly, 51, Hollywood. She’s a voiceover actor and is the voice of Tommy on Rugrats and also acted in Valley Girls and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. She always kept doing her music, even when acting, but left music to become a mom. Now she wants to show her kids you’re never too old to chase your dreams.

Song: Breathe
Chairs Turned: Blake, Cee Lo

Me: I can remember her singing in Better Off Dead and always thought she was great. She also did a great guest stint as Phoebe’s ex singing partner on Friends.
Blake: It’s not that often a singer comes along with that much rasp and can still hit all the notes.
Cee Lo: There’s a quality in her voice that reminded him of Rod Stewart.
Christina: She knows E.G. looks familiar and is excited to hear she’s Dottie and Tommy.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: Jonny Gray, 29, Austin, TX. He’s a full-time musician, but he’d love to be a musician on a bigger scale. He’s the child of a single parent, and it was his uncle who taught him to play at 10 years old. He got a lot better when he joined the service at 18.He was deployed into the Middle East right away and was security forces. He’d like to work with Adam, as his music took his mind off being away at war.

Song: All These Things That I Have Done
Chairs Turned: Cee Lo, Adam

Me: He has a very interesting Bob Dylan feel to him.
Cee Lo: He can hear Stevie Nicks and Eddie Vedder and can really appreciate that quality of his voice.
Adam: He heard something really different, but Jonny had a look he didn’t expect.
Blake: What he was hearing was so energetic, he was sure he was doing high kicks.
Christina: He’s so versatile, and she’s looking to gain him in a steal in the Battle Round.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Tessanne Chin, 28, Kingston, Jamaica. She thinks people think of the beach when they hear about Jamaica and reggae, but there are amazing soul singers there. She grew up in a multiracial home with a father who is of Chinese and Cherokee descent, and a mom who is of English and black descent. She moved to England as a pre-teen, and rock music had an effect on her, an escape. She got to sing backup for Jimmy Cliff.

Song: Try
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: She has a voice that deserves to not just be a backup singer.
Cee Lo: “You sung that song like a grown woman.”
Blake: She is so far ahead of the game already.
Adam: It would have been the mistake of a lifetime to not turn around for her.
Christina: What she gets from her is so much passion and so much heart.
Coach: Adam

The vocalists are very good this season. I hear each auditioner and think there is no way they’re going to be voted off in the next round. But obviously some of them will be. I can’t wait for the battle round.

The Voice, Sept. 23 – We’re Gettin’ the Gang Back Together

The gang is back together on The Voice After just one season with Shakira and Usher, they’re out and Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green are back in. I have to adit, I missed Cee Lo, but didn’t really miss Christina. I liked Usher, but didn’t really care too much for Shakira. Is it too much to ask to keep Usher and replace Shakira with Cee Lo?

Judges Performance: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo, and Adam. I Love Rock ‘n Roll

Auditioner: Kat Robichaud, 29, Raleigh, NC. She loves 70s Glam Rock like Queen and David Bowie, but grew up listening to musicals. Her dad recently passed way, and he loved TheVoice. She wants to make him proud and misses the stage from her days with her band.

Song: I’ve Got the Music in Me
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo

Me: She has a great rocker sound and some Beetlejuice pants.
Adam: He refers to her as “Raspy McRasperson” and notes she was not what he was expecting.
Cee Lo: She reminds him of the greats and set him on fire.
Christina: She doesn’t even have to look at Kat to know she was having an amazing time up there.
Blake: He knows he may seem like an unlikely coach for her.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Caroline Pennell, 17, Saddle River, NJ. She’s always been a little shy and anxious, so singing has always been private and special to her. She realized she could sing at camp during a rock star weekend.

Song: Anything Could Happen
Chairs Turned: Blake and Cee Lo

Me: Her shyness matches her unique sound.
Adam: He thinks she has an engaging voice.
Cee Lo: He believes he and Caroline are cut from the same cloth.
Christina: She liked the little giggle Caroline leet out when the chairs turned.
Blake: Caroline needs to start believing she is a badass vocalist.
Coach: Cee Lo

Auditioner: Donna Allen, 54. She is a trailblazer being the the oldest in the competition, the first black homecoming queen in Key West, and the first black Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleader. She was also a background singer for Gloria Estefan, but stopped touring to spend time with her son.

Song: You are So Beautiful
Chairs Turned: Adam, Christina

Me: A gorgeous seasoned voice with lots of emotion.
Christina: Donna is so beautiful to her. She connected with the richness in the tone right away.
Blake: He didn’t hit his button because he thinks Donna belongs on Christina’s team.
Cee Lo: He really enjoyed it, but it’s not what he’s looking for at the moment.
Adam: He is surprised all four chairs didn’t turn around and felt like they were at the end of the season.
Coach: Adam

Auditioner: Jake Worthington, 17, LaPorte, TX. He likes to go four-wheeling and fishing. If not that, they’re swimming and chilling out. His buddies talked him into trying out. He’s never performed for this many people.

Song: Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Chairs Turned: None

Me: I am definitely surprised that no chairs turned, especially Blake.
Blake: There were a couple times where it seemed like Jake was running out of wind. Yet he thinks he “screwed the pooch” to not hit hit button.
Christina: She thought it was fun but wasn’t sure if it was her thing for her team.
Adam: It might be one of the hardest to execute melodies ever.
Coach: None

Auditioner: Matthew Schuler, 20, Yardley, PA. He’s a college sophomore, plays rugby, and works in a bagel shop. Both of his parents are pastors, and they hold church services in their basement after losing their church. His dad works three jobs just to provide a comfortable life or them.

Song: Cough Syrup
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: While it sounds trite, this guy has the whole package.
Blake: He watches the auditions with his wife, and he knows she’ll love Matthew. It would be helping him out if Matthew picked him.
Cee Lo: Matthew’s voice is beautiful. Cee Lo wants to know if he wants to be a member of a team or an owner of himself.
Adam: The best part was seeing the joy and passion with which he sings. Adam knows they can win this thing together.
Christina: She understands the guys want a male coach, but she wants to be the first female coach to win this thing.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Nick Hawk, 26, Dallas, TX. He thinks he’s a male version of a mixture between Amy Winehouse and Jessie J. Music is a way for him to express himself. He’s done twenty-five musicals in the past seven years. He moved back home to help the family after his stepdad left the family, partly because his brother has epilepsy. He bartends and instructs dance to make money to help out.

Song: Hit ’em Up Style
Chairs Turned: Cee Lo, Adam

Me: His voice is a little nasally for me, but he has some great energy.
Adam: Adam thinks Nick is a phenomenal singer and wasn’t out of breath and hit the timing of the song. Nick calls him “handsome” and ends up hitting on him.
Cee Lo: Beyoncé mastered that style of song, and it takes a lot of breath control, charisma and calculation. Nick’s name has a ring to it.
Coach: Adam

Auditioner: Matthew Brea, 15, Atlanta, GA. His parents moved here from Haiti to provide a better life for their family. Matthew’s dad used to be part of an a cappella group. Singing helped him heal when his little brother passed away at the age of 2, and he sang How Great Thou Art at his funeral. He knows his little brother is with him during every performance.

Song: I Want You Back
Chairs Turned: None

Me: I am shocked no one turned around.
Cee Lo: He’s shocked to find Matthew is 15, as he thought it was someone 40 years old. He tells him not to give up and even goes to find him backstage afterwards and tells him about singing at his mom’s funeral. It’s all for some greater purpose.
Christina: It took guts to get up there, and she asks him for a hug.
Blake: He knows Matthew wanted this to be the moment.
Adam: He wants a promise from Matthew that he will come back.

Auditioner: Shelbie Z, 21, Jasper, AL. She’s a full-time stylist and part-time pageant coach. She participated in over one-hundred and won forty-five of them. She stopped doing pageants at 10 years old because kids were making fun of her for being a big girl. Music means more to her than anything else.

Song: Here for the Party
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo

Me: She’s terrific and belongs with Blake.
Blake: He wants to be the first to welcome Shelbie to Team Blake.
Cee Lo: She’s adorable in her little cowboy boots. Adam sees them as a sign of death, knowing where they’re going.
Christina: She’s a powerhouse. Christina pushed her button even though she knew she’d be out if Blake pushed his button.
Coach: Blake

Auditioner: Josh Logan, 33. He started getting into music around 8 years old when his mom started doing DJ and karaoke stuff, and she’d let him get up onstage. When he was 16, he got his girlfriend pregnant and didn’t handle it well at first. He started working to support his son and his son’s mother. He isn’t with his son’s mother anymore, but recognizes her as a good mom.

Song: Too Close
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Adam

Me: He has a very clear voice, but you wouldn’t expect him to.
Adam: Josh sounded a lot like the “dude” who sings the song.
Christina: She happens to love the song. It was like he was yearning for the need in the song.
Blake: Josh’s runs reminded him of Christina, and he has a man crush on him.
Coach: Christina

Auditioner: Delvin Choice, 24, Greenville, SC. He doesn’t think the show has had anything like him – a tall, sexy glass of water. He wants to share the joy and laughter in everything he does. He’s been working at Starbucks for about a year. They call him the singing barista.

Song: Closer
Chairs Turned: None

Me: He has too much vibrato.
Cee Lo: He did notice Delvin has a strong voice. He thinks he has a badass hairstyle.
Adam: He wants him to come back.
Coach: None

Auditioner: James Wolpert, 22, Lancaster County, PA. He loves tech and gadgetry and stuff. He uses computers to do both music and art. He pursued Art at Carnegie Melon. He wanted that degree but fell in love with singing, so put college on hold.He can’t picture doing anything else but currently works at the Apple Store.

Song: Love Interruption
Chairs Turned: Blake, Christina, Cee Lo, Adam

Me: In a way he sounds like the last auditioner, but has a little more grit to him.
Blake: To have that much character in his voice is amazing. He’s the complete vocalist, yet he was surprised to not see a long-haired guy.
Christina: She’s excited to hear he’s from Pittsburgh, as she grew up there.
Cee Lo: No one loves James more than Cee Lo. He likes that he was confident and didn’t need them to turn around.
Adam: He predicts he can win he show.
Coach: Adam

By the end o the two hours, I don’t mind that Christina is back. She’s not bothering me. However, I’m still just as glad to have Cee Lo back. I don’t get the tattoo on his head though. It reminds me of the one Mike Tyson has on his face.

The X Factor, Sept. 19 – Surprises

Tonight’s X Factor is filled with surprises. Contestants you think will be an automatic yes have to fight for it. Contestants who think they themselves are everything and a bag of chips need to do a little more self discovery. And contestants who come off very unassuming are packing a big wallop inside.

Auditioner: Andrew Scholz, 18, from Summerville,SC. He’s a pole vaulter and gymnast and knows people see an athlete when they look at him, but his dream is “to sing some songs, man, and just have a good time.” Kelly refers to him as a handsome corn-fed country boy.

Song: Too Close/A Little More You

Me: This guy truly has the X Factor, with the countrified good looks and a great vocal.
Kelly: She feels Andrew was a little glued to the microphone which made it a little karaoke.
Demi: She knows he appeals to a female audience but feels he needs more than that and didn’t feel he was comfortable onstage.
Paulina: She thinks he’s really cute but is surprised about the song he chose.
Simon: He disagrees with the female judges. He’s not saying it was perfct, but Andrew has charisma and is charming. Maybe it wasn’t the right song. He thinks they’d be crazy to let him go and pleads with Demi to give him a chance.
Demi: She has to disagree with Mr. Cowell and the audience.
Simon: He asks for another song, perhaps something more “old school,” and Andrew launches into A Little More You as the audience goes nuts.
Demi: That totally changed everything. The other female judges agree.
Simon: He definitely feels Andrew should go more in a country direction, especially with his All-American looks.

Auditioner: Blake Shankle, 19, Sucier, MS. Even though he’s not a performer yet, he says people are already looking for autographs, but it’s really him just offering it to people. People say he looks like Robin Thicke, Justin Bieber, David Beckham, and Adam Levine. He wants to be a household name. Kelly thinks he’s hot.

Song: Jar of Hearts

Me: He sounds too affected with too much vibrato. I’m not sure if there’s something there to work with or not.
Demi: He has a look that the girls love, but it was very theatrical.
Paulina: He posed a lot and studied every single movement so much that it was predictable.
Simon: He asks what kind of singer Blake wants to be and hears R&B, yet Simon heard theatrical.

Auditioner: Christina Harris, New Orleans. She refers to herself as “if Beyoncé and Rihanna had a baby.”

Song: Diamonds

Me: This cuts like diamonds, that’s for sure.
Demi: She doesn’t think Christina will want to hear herself.
Simon: It was painful.
Kelly: Keep workin’ at it Mama.

Auditioner: Brandy Chivers. She’s going to sing in Pig Latin.

Me: She doesn’t even sing the whole song in Pig Latin.
Simon: This is such a weird day.

Auditioner: Ellona Santiago, 16, San Lorenzo, CA. Only her sister is with her as her family couldn’t make it, and it’s really spontaneous.

Song: Wings

Me: She has a lot of energy for such a little thing, and it’s totally unexpected.
Kelly: She thinks it’s cute how she came out all shy, then really brought it when she sang. “Whoever that girl was, she came out and she meant business.”
Simon: He thinks they’ll remember the name, and she’s the girl he wants to work with the most. She asks if he remembers her from the first season, and he doesn’t. She was in Paula Abdul’s group, Intensity. Now he remembers.
Demi: Had she been there the first season, Ellona would have gotten through. She doesn’t think Simon will ever forget her again.

Auditioner: Stone Martin, 14, Hartsville, SC. He’ really nervous. The most people he’s sung in front of is six.

Song: Little Things

Me: He’s really quiet. It’s hard to hear him, but he has some good moments.
Kelly: She thinks he’s still getting to know his voice but has only scratched the surface.
Demi: He’s so cute and charming, and the little girls in the audience are dying.
Paulina: She thinks his life is about to change forever
Simon: There’s an incredible likability about him, and there’s also a star glow.

Auditioner: Ashly Williams, 24, Los Angeles, Sales Associate. Her dream is to sing and do what she was put on this earth to do. She was just 14 when her mom was murdered. Her birthday would have been the Sunday after Ashly’s audition.

Song: I Will Always Love You

Me: She is much better than expected, amazingly good. She gets a standing O from all four judges. She just needs a stylist now.
Kelly: She thanks Ashly for spilling her heart out in that vocal.
Paulina: She was captivated by her talent.
Demi: She’s speechless and had chills all over her arms and legs. She could feel her heart.
Simon: This is why they brought the show to America – to find someone like Ashly. He thinks they’ve just scratched the surface with her.

Andrew had to fight to be there. He seemed like he had it all, but those female judges just weren’t so easily sold. Blake, on the other hand, thought he had it all. The thing is, he was just going on his looks and didn’t really put much thought or effort into his vocal. Ellona came off very shy and quiet, then stormed the stage and took everyone by surprise. And Ashley, with her sweater with the bow on it topping off her outdated style, she surprised everyone with just being more incredible than seemingly possible. Simon thinks she’s just scratching the surface, and if that’s the case, it’s going to be an incredible season.

Interview with Cami Bradley of America’s Got Talent

imageSeason eight of America’s Got Talent has to be one of the better seasons for the show, if not the best season so far. This has to do with many factors including a judging team that gelled very well and of course some phenomenal talent. This talent was so supreme that it was hard to predict how it would turn out. I had a chance to talk about how the season went with finalist Cami Bradley who surprisingly went out in sixth place.

Cami couldn’t have guessed the final order of the six finalists either. After the performances Tuesday night, she was trying to go over in her head what the final lineup would be, but it was even hard for her and the other finalists to determine how it would all end up. She knew how she did personally and got to see the other performers as well, but she recognized all six acts as being really strong.

The singer could have been standing next to any of the other acts in the final six and been eliminated at any time and not been surprised. Noting that she received really good remarks from all the judges after her final performances, Cami may have been eliminated, “but I feel like I went out really strong,” and that was her ultimate intention.

Cami was the last female singer standing, and she chalks that up to her originality. She doesn’t feel it has anything to do with the caliber of talent, just her amount of originality. This is well-noted by all the judges as well. She continued to get high praises for her uniqueness and creativity in the way she took songs and changed them to suit her individual style. She’s not done either; she figures she has plenty more of that in her still. Cami is a songwriter and loves to arrange music as well, and she knows she’s not done yet.

This calls into question judge Howie Mandel’s comments the last few weeks concerning the talent level of the final acts. He felt that the non-singing acts had a larger degree of difficulty in performing, since they were writing, creating, and inventing characters, while the singers were only singing each week. But for Cami, she was “honing my craft of writing and arranging,” as well as singing each week. It all takes a lot of training and work. She finds it to be just a “different type of honing your craft.”

Once again this year America’s Got Talent had a change at the judges’ table. Sharon Osbourne was out, and Heidi Klum and Mel B. were in. Every year there always seemed to be at least two judges who didn’t get along, or one who didn’t seem to be enjoying the time spent at the table. But this year there seemed to be a greater camaraderie between Howie, Heidi, Mel B., and Howard Stern. Cami saw that as well and noted that when watching some reality shows it seems like what you see between the judges is just an act, but this seemed genuine and real. “I thought the chemistry between the four of them was amazing.”

Speaking of those other shows, with so many to choose from when you’re displaying singing talent – American Idol, The Voice, The X Factor – I wondered why Cami chose to audition for this show, one that isn’t dedicated to just singing. It turns out she didn’t choose America’s Got Talent; it chose her. Some unknown person sent in a video of her singing, and the show asked her to audition. She needed to decide whether or not to grab the opportunity. Luckily for her fans, she did.

Now that Cami has the success of one talent show behind her, would she consider auditioning for one of those other shows? She doesn’t think so, but did note that she’s only two days out from the experience of America’s Got Talent. It was “a lot of work and a lot of time and an amazing experience for me,” and while she has no regrets, she isn’t looking to go through that again anytime soon.

Much of the reason Cami doesn’t regret her time on America’s Got Talent is because of what she has gained in terms of exposure and confidence and even relationships. She feels she has grown as well. “It’s been amazing for me as an artist and as a person.” She has learned a lot about herself. Before the show, she didn’t even know if she enjoyed performing. She found out she adored it and learned that “maybe I was made for this more than I thought I was.”

Believe it or not, this is Cami’s first serious attempt at a singing career. It was always just a hobby for her before. Just before appearing on the show, Cami recorded a self-funded and self-released album, and just decided to “give it a go,” never predicting it could turn into something this big. Despite doing so well on the show, throughout every single round, Cami admits that she was sure would be eliminated.

Cami’s plan is to keep riding this out to see where she can take it. The hope, of course, is to see if she can get signed to a recording contract. She’s going to look to see what is in her best interests and what is right for her. Before she can do any of that, though, she’ll be going on the America’s Got Talent Live Tour. You can catch the tour in a city near you throughout October and November. See below for a schedule.

If you’re looking to have the same success as Cami Bradley this season, don’t wait for an anonymous person to send in a video tape of you performing. You can audition live in one of seven cities across the US – Miami, Atlanta, New York, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, and Los Angeles – or you can also audition online. Find out more information on the America’s Got Talent website.

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