Part deux of American Idol 2013 premiere week took place in The Windy City, and the heavy breezes apparently brought out the good, the bad, and the just plain bizarre for the Chicago auditions. As for the judges, we’re starting to wonder if the pre-season feuding hype was “much ado about nothing.” Divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj certainly spar verbally, but aren’t you catching some underlying mutual respect there? As Ryan Seacrest so eloquently put it, “Another dysfunctional family is born.” They sure do put the “fun” in dysfunctional though, don’t they?
On top of being the resident rapper and outspoken judge, Nicki seemed to take on a new persona — one of an Extreme. Male. Admirer (read: predator). Girlfriend was ogling everything that walked, and she wasn’t afraid to let these guys know it, either. The “Starships” singer definitely dominated the commentary, but it was Mariah who drew the admiration of all the hopefuls. Just don’t step in front of her beauty lighting, k guys? B T Dubs, is anyone else finding Keith Urban to be super dreamy? We could listen to that accent until the cows come home.
On to the good...
Luckily for viewers, there were a lot of folks who fell into this category, but one who really seemed to bowl over the judges with the whole package was Kiara Lanier. She took on the beast, Celine Dion’s “The Prayer” — always a risky move, but the judges think she’s destined for stardom.
Isabelle Parell looked like a young Nicole Kidman, which was appropriate since the young beauty said she’s one of her fave actresses. She pulled an unusual move by choosing a Christmas song and, not only that, she enlisted the help of Keith Urban for her rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Usually, gimmicks go over like a lead balloon, but this girl had the judges flying high.
And the bad...
Oh, Melissa Bush —- she of the tight, pink leisure suit. It’s kind of sad when you see one of these soft spoken people really go for it and not have any clue how bad they stink. Despite getting a unanimous “no,” she did give us one of the best one-liners of the night when Nicki said, “You’ll always be my bush, but no...”
Some guy named Kevin took on the Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week,” singing it so fast, it sounded like it was in rewind. I wonder if backwards, the song says “All hail Mariah.” Hey, it’s possible.
And the bizarre...
Kez Ban actually doesn’t fit into a category, as she definitely was a bit odd, but she was also so unique, and her music was even more authentic. A “fire performer” who also does balloon animals by day, this gal captured the judges’ complete attention with “I’ve Got No Strings.” The judges were so intrigued, they had her pick up her guitar to sing one of her originals and, as Mariah said, you could “feel the realness.” Keith’s groaner of a joke bears mentioning, as he asked Kez if she had any “old flames.” Oh, no he didn’t. But yes — yes, he did.
Oh, and let’s not forget our spoilers...
We saw three people from this year’s spoiler list — Josh Holiday, who wowed with his falsetto; Curtis Finch, Jr., who stunned the judges with a gospel song that had more runs than a major league baseball game; and Johnny Keyser, who may just be the future Mr. Nicki Minaj. Johnny, who was back for more after making it to Hollywood last season, garnered the question all the ladies were wondering via Nicki: Does he have a girlfriend? No, he does not, which should take him far when it comes time for the ladies to vote. The judges really liked his rendition of “Try A Little Tenderness,” but the guy could stand to smile a bit more, no?
There were feel-good moments o’plenty, with Mariah Pulice, who battled anorexia and won, and Brandy Neelly, who was adopted by her aunt when she was six months old. No one could deny, however, that Lazaro Arbos, who closed out the night, stole the hearts of viewers everywhere. Having suffered from a debilitating stutter since he was six years old, Lazaro opened his mouth and sang with not a stammer to be heard. And he was more than good, with each of the judges praising his beautiful voice. Chills.
What did you think of round two? Who was your favorite?