Idol Recap: Minne(apolis) Pooper

True confession: I may be the only person in the United States who dramatically slid down a wall and let out a tortured “NOOOOOOO!!!!” after learning that American Idol will eventually cut back to one night a week midway through Season 14.

After three consecutive hump days of middling vocals, “heard it all before” backstories and not nearly enough scenes of Ryan Seacrest getting bear-hugged by jubilant families, however, I’m reconsidering my stance.

Perhaps, in a world where orange is the new black and Idris Elba could/should be the next 007, less is destined to be the new more inside The House That Candice Glover Shook.

All that is my convoluted way of saying that Wednesday’s one-hour Minneapolis audition episode was almost as fast-forwardable as a Randy Jackson mentoring session (emphasis on almost). I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that two weeks from now, even the most rabid Idoloonie will be hard-pressed to name a single Golden Ticket recipient from Season 14’s northernmost audition pitstop.

Ah well, at least we’ll always have Harry Connick Jr.’s rump-shaking antics — complete with “#HarryIdolDance” hashtag and another synergistic shoutout to J.Lo’s “Booty” video. It’s almost enough to make a recapper long for a patented Nicki Minaj side-eye.

But before I fall headlong into that rabbit hole, let’s rank tonight’s 12 Hollywood-bound singers in order from least- to most-promising:

12. Matt [no last name given], “Hold On, I’m Comin'” |
seriously thought this shaggy haired “#IdolHome” vs “#IdolHollywood” pre-commercial audition was a

11. Courtney Guns, “Independence Day” | I, too, was a little creeped out by the way she closed in on the judges during her performance — where are Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott when you need ’em? — but even more alarming was the way she landed a Golden Ticket despite a sense of pitch that was wobblier than a octogenarian on a balance beam.

10. Zach Johnson, “Don’t Close Your Eyes” | I was stoked Harry called him out for singing with a completely manufactured southern twang, but my mood immediately shifted to flummoxed after he got three “yes” votes for a second number that still had moments of faux-accent and several bum notes, to boot.

9. Cindy Jo Scholer, “Crazy” | Don’t judge this pre-K teacher for killing a bear with a bow and arrow, judge her for shouting Patsy Cline’s aching ballad with a gale force shout better suited to jolting a bunch of four-year-olds to come back to class after recess.

8. Shannon Berthiaume, “House of the Rising Son” | There was an appealingly raw ferocity to Shannon’s vocal — but the way she veered off pitch in her upper register, combined with her inability to show even the slightest hint of restraint — that left me thinking she needs at least another year or two of training before she’ll be ready for the big Idol stage.

7. Aaron Bissell, acoustic slow jam — title unknown | We only heard a few seconds of this acoustic-playing fella, but there was an odd, tight-throated quality to his tone that I can’t say I particularly loved.

6. Gabrielle Noe’l, “Love Song” | Twentysomething leasing manager got J.Lo to cop to her one-time job as a legal assistant — uh-oh, is that the sound of hundreds of appeals being filed? — and sounded pretty good trying to copy Candice Glover’s take on The Cure’s romantic ditty. There were a few places, though, where her voice seemed to give out a little — which made me wonder if Gabrielle has the tools to choose the right songs for her range.

5. Hannah Mrozak, “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” | Teenager with a big, belty voice nailed damn near every note of Etta James’ barn-burner — but her rendition lacked came up short on grit and maturity. I’m not a doctor, but I feel comfortable diagnosing Hannah with an acute case of Thia Megia Syndrome.

4. Jacob Tolliver, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On”/”Stay With Me” | OK, so his opening number was a straight-up Jerry Lee Lewis imitation — but his piano playing was remarkable, no? Like J.Lo, I kinda dug his Sam Smith followup – and felt it diverged enough from the original to stand on its own. Possible Hollywood Week dark horse — if he can keep the shameless mid-performance mugging to a minimum.

3. Vanessa Andrea, “Some Kind of Wonderful” | There was something seriously, surprisingly dark about this military wife and mother of three’s “Keith Urban is my Hall Pass” monologue — especially that detail about how she’d legitimately hoped to bump into him at her hotel. But — future Nashville or SVU story-arc inspiration aside — Vanessa showcased a solid sense of rhythm and some interesting nooks and crannies in her voice during her acoustic rendition of an old soul number.

2. Mark Andrew, “Soulshine”/”Be Like You” | I actually enjoyed the wooly-capped 29-year-old (and onetime Voice contestant) better on “Soulshine” than on his followup Jungle Book cover — despite the fact that the judges seemed to see it differently. Dude’s got a gruff authenticity about him, but I’m not sure if his understated performance style will really inspire a nation of speed-dialers should he survive Hollywood Week.

1. Morgan Ovens, “Hand in My Pocket” | She got the dreaded montage treatment, but Morgan’s crisp, clear Alanis cover was hands down the episode’s best vocal — from both the technical and emotional sides of the coin — even if I only had 15 or so seconds of footage on which to judge it.

On that note, I turn it over to you. Where you disappointed in the Minneapolis tryouts? Who were your favorites? Were there any Golden Tickets you’d revoke? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjTQVZySZRc

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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59 Comments
  1. Andres says:

    Yay! Mark is back. And he sounds better than ever.

    • Other than Mark Andrew and Vanessa Andrea, tonight was the night of people who are close but not there yet. So many of these contestants that got through had a lot of issues, whether it be they were copying the original too closely (Jacob and Cindy Jo), or they had weird voice issues (Shannon, and Zach). I liked Gabrielle and Hannah Mzorak(in which Slezak slighted), but they probably would be middle of the pack with some of the other golden ticket recipients thus far this season.

      • Andres says:

        I agree with shannon and Zach. I was not that fond of Hannah to be honest.

        • S. says:

          She may’ve said Etta James, but Hannah was full on ripping off the Christina Aguilera version of that song. Etta and her ilk are not this girl’s inspiration. If they were and she sang it with her own unique take, I might respect her more, but if you’re gonna try to sing like Christina (or copy Etta either for that matter), all it does is point out that you’re not her.

          • deedee says:

            I caught that, too. She was doing a complete Christina Aguilera impression, much like Shubha Vedula did two years ago:

  2. Angel says:

    I can’t even vote being as no one stuck with me.

    • MAB says:

      I feel the same way. I couldn’t pick even one. To be honest I’ve never liked the audition shows on Idol. I don’t really get excited until the live shows.

    • Stormy says:

      ITA Tonight was a field of “also rans”. I kept switching to an alternate show as soon as the contender began shrieking or showed how weak their voice was.

  3. Jeff Marley says:

    My favorites were gabrielle, mark, and morgan. But I did love Shannon though. 😃

  4. Other than (the two standouts for me) Mark Andrew and Vanessa Andrea, tonight was the night of people who are close but not there yet. So many of these contestants that got through had a lot of issues, whether it be they were copying the original too closely (Jacob and Cindy Jo), or they had weird voice issues (Shannon, and Zach). I liked Gabrielle and Hannah Mzorak(in which Slezak (accidentally?) slighted), but they probably would be middle of the pack with some of the other golden ticket recipients this year thus far. Not a great audition episode, but not the worst this season.

  5. Michael, you want us to vote for our favourite above? SERSIOUSLY? Let’s run down the high(low)lights of tonight: Judges locked in car (premonition or warning?); golden microphone; kettle corn; girl told to sit on Harry. Tuneless yelling from gun-toting bear-killing (hello! Where is PETA when we need them?) blondie channelling Olivia Newton John circa Xanadu/Let’s Get Physical, is no match for the worst of last week’s NYC rejects, let alone the number, variety and quality of the Big Apple’s golden tickets. And yet the huge Idol watching, tone-deaf masses will probably vote for these good’ol boys & girls en masse, if the mid-westerners are allowed to get past Hollywood week. SERIOUSLY, let Ms Doolittle have her veto NOW!

    If this is the future of American Idol, then one night a week will be too much.

    • Jeane says:

      You spoke for me! Frankly, there was not one singer I would have sent to Hollywood. I cringed for a solid hour. And I’m from Mpls. :)) I couldn’t fathom what the “judges” were thinking.

      • Mary says:

        The judges had to give some golden tickets, so they chose at random? Its the only explanation for 80% of them last night. JMHO

  6. Michael H. says:

    Apparently, I didn’t miss much tonight. Good thing I check this recap lol

  7. Jobless says:

    Shannon could be a dark horse in my opinion. She’s got raw talent but was a little shouty verging on losing control. I’m over “House of the Rising Son” on this show so I can’t wait to hear her sing something else.

  8. Jaszy says:

    Man, to your first sentence….YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE…I too was deeply saddened by the impending cuts. I love this show to death. I love watching it for 3 hours. iI wish it was on for longer, in all honesty. This is the best show ever! Seriously.

    • Idol Fan says:

      I’m still heartbroken about it haha I keep hoping they will reconsider and do a half hour results show.

      • Jaszy says:

        Yeah, Idol Fan, I agree with you. It sucks. Tsk, tsk, tsk….but as long as the show’s not gone completely, I’m a happy camper.

        • Montavilla says:

          If they cut the results show completely, does that mean the contestants aren’t paid at all? In prior years, they had to get SAG minimum for the performance shows.

    • Jaszy says:

      …..but then I didn’t see your next sentence…
      I disagree with that one.

  9. kcostell says:

    It’s frustrating. When Harry and Keith actually bother to judge and critique, they do a really good job at it (e.g. calling out Zack on his imitation issues). They just don’t do enough of it.

  10. Jaszy says:

    Shannon Berthiaume…- Doing too much…tone it down…You can tell she has a pretty voice, she’s just oversinging…But yeah, she’s really good. I don’t believe the “I’ve never sang in front of people…” schtick…

  11. Jaszy says:

    Vanessa Andrea – She’s gorgeous! She’s funny, too. I was so hoping that she could sing…and she KILLED IT! That was great. Yeah! She has an amazing personality…but she does talk a tad too much.

  12. Jaszy says:

    Is it just me or does J-Lo seem like she has an attitude sometimes, like she’s not in the mood or something? She seems to get annoyed by Harry alot but she tries to mask it as much as possible because she has to. And SPEAKING of Harry, God, he’s so annoying sometimes….just shut-up every once in a while, huh, Harry? Your shenanigans are too much.

    • Michael H. says:

      Harry is really starting to get on my nerves. He needs to stop like now before the show loses another million viewers because of Harry. And, idk about you, but I almost like that J-Lo gets aggravated by Harry because frankly, he’s getting annoying and she needs to put him in his place.

  13. Jim D. says:

    Sorry Michael. Might need to listen closer a second time. Not up to your uses all strong analyses. Better version of “hold on me” in X-Factor Kids – Holland.

  14. Jaszy says:

    Zach – He doesn’t seem or look like a country singer, but with that tone, he’s definitely a country artist. It was good, BUT…I wanted to hear more singing in order to determine….and now that I’m hearing Harry say what he just said…I understand a little bit more (sometimes I’m thinking exactly what Harry is thinking, he just expresses it more eloquently than I ever could)….the second song Zach sang still had those country tendencies…so Harry was half-right. To be honest, though, I don’t see him making it past the Hollywood rounds…his voice is just not strong enough to me… but Keith’s awesome for keeping his promise….unlike some UK artist who promised Angie Miller the dream of a lifetime 2 seasons ago, but she failed to deliver…I’m looking at you Jessie J! But you’re still awesome!

  15. Guitar Man says:

    Hmmm … wishing Rebecca Black and Ce Ce Frey were trying-out this year.

  16. Puchinsmom says:

    I actually agree with Michael’s top 3 tonight. I thought they were good. I especially liked Vanessa Andrea. Didn’t care for Shannon at all. And Gabrielle, while she was a beautiful girl and had a decent voice, her song reminded me too much of Candice Glover, and no one can sing as well as Candice in my opinion. EXCEPT Melinda of course! So that put me off. Jacob plays an incredible piano, but his voice wasn’t anything. Not a bad show though. I loved that Kieth really let Zach (?) play on stage with him. Very cool story.

  17. Mytake says:

    Shannon tried to exactly copy Haley Rhinehearts HOTRS. Unfortunately, it was terrible in comparison. So many contestants try to compensate for middling vocal ability with volume. I’m tired of it and the judges need to start pointing it out to spare the rest of us our ears.

  18. Jaszy says:

    Jacob – Elvis/JerryLeeLewis/Little Richie impersonator…now I think that was a gimmick. He’s awesome as a piano player, though. I was so dead-on, from the moment he started singing. The second song, he has some sort of accent that he needs to get rid of, it sounded a tad weird…As awesome as his piano-playing is…I didn’t really like it.

    • Jaszy says:

      I meant I was so dead-on about what the judges were going to say…
      Also, I meant I didn’t really like his second performance.
      His piano skills are fantastic!

  19. Jaszy says:

    I’m kind of ready for these auditions to be over with. On to the Hollywood rounds, I say! On with it, American Idol! I want to hear more Jess Lamb, Ellen Peterson, Jax, Kohlton and Najah…some of my favorite auditioners.

  20. Brandon says:

    1) I also let out a big “NO” at the news of one episode per week.
    2) I still LOL at any mention of Thia Megia.
    3) Can we talk about the crazy girl dissing J.Lo’s behind? Amazing.

  21. Jill Moy says:

    Fool as last year! Crazy Harry is the same fool as last year. Not a great night for talent. Several went.
    through that were awful! Jacob wan’t good vocally….period! JLO is getting a little better as a judge, not saying yes to everything. Her comments have been ok!

  22. Runner says:

    I find it hard to believe any of these people were the best of the best. All of these people either didn’t sing well, had no “it” factor, had no idea what their songs were about and/or confused shouting with singing.

    Forgettable. All of them.

    Any yes, I do need Harry to take some ritalin and JLo to stop talking about her “goosies” WHILE people are singing. How old are these people? Can they not shut up for a minute while someone sings? It’s just ridiculous.

  23. libby says:

    totally thought this group of contestants were just “fodder” for Hollywood,,,won’t remember one of them…Can’t figure out why they deserved to be put through,,,it has to be just for fillers. People who will be quickly dropped in Hollywood.

  24. christopher bee says:

    that was a throwback lackluster hour. And the Pianoskills of Jakob are not very good, just good, many rythmproblems imo.

  25. Mary says:

    One word: boring. I have enjoyed all of the other nights and have even watched (fast forward through the talking) a couple of them twice. There are several contestants that I think will be interesting to watch and hope they make it through to the live shows. But last night, sub-par and not good enough to even remember their names. Sorry Minneapolis!

  26. jim says:

    I’m not even tuning in anymore. :(

  27. Harry is a riot and a plus for the Judges. He is very smart and knows talent and I think people should leave him alone.

    • Jill Moy says:

      Oh Please, he’s a JLO worshipper with a school boy like crush! He needs to have attention and he’s an idiot who needs to go! He said no to good artists and puts through average talent!

  28. R.A. Olson says:

    To top it off, the background photo of Minneapolis behind the stars highlighted those massive electric power lines as a skyline shot of Minneapolis. C’mon! There are far more better shots of the Minneapolis beautiful skyline. Where you’d take that photo from a raft going down the Mississippi River?

  29. Chris G says:

    Who is Candice Glover?

  30. trimaran12 says:

    Such a dreay, disappointing show after the delight that was last Thursday’s episode. Not sure what exactly made the difference but it had a whole different vibe about it. No contestant stood out as someone I would want to see again.

  31. Veronica says:

    What station in Canada can we see American Idol. My digital cable will not allow me to see it on Fox Detroit. I have missed too much already. Help!

  32. sara vander fliet says:

    why don’t you leave a good show and great judges alone. this show is one of the best shows ever done anytime, anywhere. Especially to the absolute crap that’s on many other networks.
    They finally got the judge panel correct and now, you have to pick something else apart. Stop it please. Your critiques are more boring than the far too many commercials they air while the program is on.

  33. Blinged Up says:

    Well, I was sliding down my own wall and letting out a tortured NOOOOOO myself about cutting back to one night. Sads.
    I’m the biggest Idol loonie of all, and I found this episode just meh. I liked the Soulshine guy though — he’s the only one from the whole hour that I’ll be watching for during Hollywood week.

  34. Mel says:

    The ratings went up from last Thurs’s show to this Wed’s show. Glamberts are now claiming it is due to him. In reality, it’s more like the the low ratings for last Thurs was due to viewers tuning Lambert out.

  35. kate'shomesick says:

    House of the rising SUN SUN SUN ;-)

  36. Evan says:

    Get ready, Slezak. Idol is going to cut down to zero nights a week for Season 15.