January 18, 2013 12:50 AM by Melissa Stavarski
American Idol, also known as the Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj show, continues. After handing out forty-one golden tickets in New York City,
Mariah and Nicki the American Idol judges sharpen their claws check out the talent in Chicago. Cat fights ensue.
Mackenzie Wasner, whose father travels with Vince Gill’s touring band, sings Gill’s “Whenever You Come Around.” She’s very country. Nicki says, “Someone like you walks into a room once every few years. You are a star.” Keith Urban compliments her blend of strength and vulnerability. Personally, I didn’t care for Mackenzie’s voice, but the judges adore her and give her four yeses.
When Kiara Lanier attempts to make small talk with the judges, Nicki quickly puts her in her place, saying she’ll be asking the questions, thankyouverymuch. Kiara ignores Nicki to gush over Mariah. Kiara wows the judges with Celine Dion’s “The Prayer.” Keith compares her to Aaron Neville. She’s going to Hollywood.
Stephanie Schimel sings “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” and divides the drama queens. Mariah likes her, Nicki isn’t impressed. Stephanie advances to Hollywood thanks to Keith, Mariah, and Randy Jackson and says to Nicki, “That’s okay. I don’t like you anyway.”
Nicki goes on to tell Stephanie that she only voted against her because they’re wearing the same color eye shadow (bright pink) and that apparently makes them rivals. Mariah shakes her head, saying, “This is what I deal with.” This leads to the first of many Nicki / Mariah cat fights in Chicago. Keith and Randy beg Stephanie to leave the room. Run, Stephanie, Run! Keith, with his unfortunate placement between the drama queens, says, “I feel like a scratching post.”
Melissa Bush shows up in a pink bedazzled spandex jumpsuit. Enough said. Gabe Brown brings the judges cookies, and Keith jests, “I like your chances!” Gabe shouts “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones. Mariah asks, “Can you do something a little bit softer?” He gives Steel Dragon’s “We All Die Young” a whirl but ends up screaming that one too. Nevertheless, Gabe gets four yeses and a ticket to Hollywood.
Isabelle Parell is adorable despite some style issues. Her version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” wins over Keith, Mariah, and Nicki. She’s going to Hollywood. Griffin Peterson sings “Washed By the Water” by NEEDTOBREATHE. Nicki is putty in his hands, saying, “You look and feel to me like a star.” Randy isn’t impressed. Mariah sides with Nicki, adding, “I see what the fuss is about because you have a very handsome face. There’s PO-tential.” The ladies send Griffin to Hollywood.
Kevin Nabity‘s musical/life inspiration comes from Vanilla Ice and Ninja Turtles. So, yeah, do I need to go on? First, he murders “One Week” by the Barenaked Ladies, and then fails miserably with Styx’s “Come Sail Away.” The lyrics are a jumbled mess, leading Randy to joke, “Sold! I feel like I’m at a bad auction, and Kevin just tried to sell me an old motorbike I didn’t want.” Nicki says, “I like you, Kevin.” A dumbfounded Randy asks, “You like his singing?” Nicki is like, No. No. Nooo. Randy tells Kevin to never sing again and sends him home.
Curtis Finch, Jr. mentions Smokie Norful and Randy is like, Dude, I just called him last night! Note to Randy: nobody cares. Curtis takes on the gospel singer’s “God Is Able” and impresses the judges. While Mariah and Randy applaud, Nicki cheers, “OMG! Let’s hear it for the boy!” He easily advances to Hollywood.
Brandy Neelly is back for (I believe) the third time. I love her style – her clothes, hair, and makeup looks nice and fresh. She auditions with Hank Williams’ “Your Cheating Heart” and all four judges love it. Brandy is going to Hollywood. Again.
After Clifton Duffin sings “Superstar” by Luther Vandross, Keith compliments his raw talent. He gets four yeses and a ticket to Hollywood. Ieisha Cotton‘s idol is Mariah Carey. When Ieisha proves herself to be a bad singer, Mariah rambles, “I was going to delicately suggest that you might want to stay more with the dancing thing.” Randy simply says, “You’re tone deaf.”
Mariah Pulice and Mariah Carey bond over their shared name. A bothered Nicki is like, Would you like to tell us anything about yourself that doesn’t revolve around Princess Mariah over there? She reveals that she’s recovering from anorexia and goes on to move the judges with her emotional performance of “Let It Be.” Things get very confusing when the judges tell Mariah she’s going to Hollywood. Her family rushes into the room. Confetti falls from the sky. Everyone is crying. It’s so very melodramatic, I find myself wondering – did she just win? Is she the next American Idol? Is the season over?
Johnny Keyser is also a repeat contestant. I’m distracted by the fact that he appears to be wearing eye shadow, but I think he sings Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness.” Mariah loves him: “You have a gift, and I think you have star quality.” He’s going to Hollywood. Again.
For reasons unknown, another cat fight begins. Nicki: “You’re dismissed.” Mariah: “Such a sweet girl.” Keith: “Welcome to the family, Johnny.”
Lazaro Arbos suffers from a discernible stutter. His story is definitely a tearjerker. When Mariah asks about his speech, he says it’s “like a roller coaster.” Lazaro wows the judges with “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” All four of them compliment his beautiful voice. Nicki adds, “You brought a really great vibe into the room.” The positive praise brings Lazaro to tears. He easily advances to Hollywood.
Kez Ban is from North Carolina, Planet Earth, where she makes balloon animals and plays with fire for a living. Kez is odd… but, by golly, she can actually carry a tune! The judges are so impressed by her rendition of “I’ve Got No Strings” from Pinocchio, they ask her to sing an original song with her guitar. I thoroughly enjoy the original song. Nicki says, “You’re very captivating. I want to pay to come to the show.” Kez gets four yeses and a ticket to Hollywood.
Ashley Curry, a musical theater student, is often told that she has a voice like no other. That’s never good. “You sing in the theater?” Randy asks. “Is the sound off?” Despite the negative feedback, Ashley continues to sing. Security shows her the door.
The highlights for me: Keith’s sense of humor, Lazaro Arbos, and Kez Ban.
Forty-six golden tickets were handed out in Chicago. Who caught your eye? Are the judges working for you? Next week: American Idol goes to Charlotte!
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Photo Credit: FOX