January 17, 2013 12:45 AM by Melissa Stavarski
Season 12 of American Idol is finally here. Host Ryan Seacrest reminds us that we turned pawn-shop worker Phillip Phillips into a mega star and tells us it’s time to do it again. So, um, pay attention. This season’s judges, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, and Randy Jackson, kick off the auditions in New York City. Keep reading for all the details on the good, the bad, and the blueberry farmer who busts a rap.
Tenna Torres, a Camp Mariah (really? this existed?) graduate, sings Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend.” Mariah loves her little protege, adding, “If we could have somebody like this come out of this moment of Idol 12, I would be personally proud.” All four judges make a fuss over Tenna. She’s going to Hollywood.
James Bae, a cross between Justin Bieber and Psy, attempts to impress the judges with “One Less Lonely Girl” by Justin Bieber. He fails. Mariah suggests he look into being a DJ instead of a singer. It’s a no for James, but Nicki takes the time to give him a few words of encouragement and a hug before he leaves.
Christina “Isabelle” opens up about her on-going struggle with her weight and sings ”Summertime.” Nicki compliments Christina’s amazing skill and beautiful tone. Keith’s yummy voice says she’s a natural. Christina easily advances to Hollywood.
Evan Ruggiero, a singer/dancer who lost a leg to bone cancer, begins his audition with “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. The judges aren’t feeling it, so Randy asks him to pick up his guitar and try another song. WGWG, for the win, right? Not so much. Jason’s version of Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive” doesn’t win them over either. Randy tells Evan to find his niche and sends him home.
Frankie Ford, a starving artist who busks on the subway, takes on “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics. It’s not good. We know it, the judges know it, and Frankie knows it. Thankfully, Frankie stops, regains his composure, and starts again. Much better… Keith compliments the musicality in Frankie’s tone. Mariah says, “What I think you have is an inner glow, which is always beautiful to see because you can’t manufacture that.” He’s going to Hollywood.
Jessica Kartalis was nominated to audition for American Idol by her mother because she wouldn’t do it on her own. Jessica chokes. The moral of this story: Jessica’s mother should have minded her own business.
Shira Gavrielov, an accomplished singer from Israel, wants a bite out of the Big Apple’s American dream. Cute. Shira sings “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, and the judges love it. She gets a golden ticket to Hollywood.
Benjamin Gaisey is a train wreck. Keith hides under the judges’ table until it’s over. I don’t blame him. Rozanna Shindelman’s parents say her voice gives them goosebumps, but Randy says, “Dude, it was bad. I mean… that was bad.” Albert Chang brings out Nicki’s British accent. Mariah tells Nicki to knock it off. Albert is terrible. Brett Holt, a self-proclaimed American Idol expert, murders a song from Phantom of the Opera.
Sarah Restuccio is a 17-year-old student and blueberry farmer. She starts her audition with “Mama’s Song” by Carrie Underwood. While she sounds good and has a nice tone, Randy asks Sarah to try a second song. The country girl blows them away with Minaj’s “Super Bass.” The judges are in awe… confused… entertained… confused… Nicki says, “It was two different moments – two perfected moments. Nobody does that.” Sarah gets four yeses and a ticket to Hollywood.
Angela Miller sings ”Mamma Knows Best” by Jessie J. She’s great. Nicki says she felt it in her soul, Mariah goes on and on about texture and tone, and Randy tells Angela she’s the best they’ve seen all day. Angela easily advances to Hollywood.
Gurpreet Singh Sarin also answers to Turbanator. He sings Maroon 5′s “Sunday Morning” and splits the judges. While Mariah likes the Turbanator, Nicki and Keith don’t think his voice is all that special. Is he Hollywood material? Randy votes yes; Mariah votes yes; Keith votes no; Nicki hesitates. In the end, Nicki says, “Turb! You’re going to Hollywood!”
Ashlee Feliciano‘s sob story – her parents foster medically complex children – closes the show. Ashlee impresses the judges with Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On.” Keith tells Ashlee that her lower register is beautiful. Randy asks to meet her family – they are a beautiful family. Ashlee gets four yeses and a golden ticket to Hollywood.
Highlights for me: Keith’s accent, Angela Miller, and the horrified look on Mariah’s face every time someone wanted to touch her. #priceless
Forty-one golden tickets to Hollywood were given out in New York City. Who caught your eye? What did you think about the judges?
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Photo Credit: FOX