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The Buzz with CCX - Season 18 Episode 1


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Wait, where'd the "spoiler forums" section go? I noticed that the whole place got redone but I'm not happy about this. Granted, I guess maybe this topic would go there as well but it's definitely tougher when all these "fan threads" are floating around for people who I don't know yet. Anyway, I'm back for another season of critiquing singers and giving free advertising to liquor companies. You'll have to wait a good few months to pick up tonight's drink of choice in the stores, though; Evan Williams made a seasonal Kentucky Cider and it was so popular in my household that we stocked up. On a sadder note, "my household" is one fewer than it was last year. My father unexpectedly passed away in June, so it's just me and Mom here now.


Douglas Kiker from Mobile, AL is our first contestant of the night. His only performance experience is singing on the back of the garbage truck where he works. Well, I suppose that's one way to make the job more pleasant. Lionel tells him to go warm up before he auditions properly. Ryan takes him out onto the street to sing in front of a random audience. 16-year-old Camryn Leigh Smith from Akron, GA is instead going to be the first audition, and she says she "grew up in the church, but mostly sings secular". Sounds like a certain judge's backstory. She's singing...I didn't catch what it was because I immediately dismissed it as worthwhile when I heard "Jessie J". But regardless of her song choice, she's damn good! They show a picture of a young Katy Perry, and the comparison is oddly apt. I was a bit shocked at a KP devoid of any sign of quirk. Which, uh, kind of ruins the Rule of Three, because the first auditions of the first two seasons of Idol on ABC were Catie Turner and Walker Burroughs, both of whom were definitely quirky (Catie more so).


Douglas is back. He's got a two-year-old daughter. He's also got a strong voice, though he has enunciation problems. I can definitely believe that he's had no professional experience, but the raw tools are there. He needs a lot of polish, though. He's going to become grating if he's put through, though, with this "clueless about music" hat. And they're showing him on his garbage truck, and with his daughter, so I'm guessing he is going far.


Cut to Sun River, OR, where we meet Francisco Martin from San Francisco, CA, a student at the College of San Mateo. Wait, does that mean that Sun River is the audition site? Luke is taking his heart rate, I guess he senses nerves. Francisco continues our tour of the Pacific Coast by singing "Alaska" by Maggie Rogers. Oh, wow, early favorite alert! This guy could've stepped right out of a Freeform show. He writes his own songs! Luke says he should save them, but Katy wanted to hear one. He sings one he wrote about a friend of his who visited over the summer, who's Australian. Luke asks if her name is Sandy. He sings it, and it's amazing, and they agree that he's Top 10. So are we finally going to break through and get a Latino winner?


We're back in Los Angeles. We're meeting "The Comeback", real name Hunter Gibson. He's very...interesting. Oh he's doing "Swing Swing" by All-American Rejects! Katy's getting into it, singing along. I'm into it, too. Oh, this brings me back. Mom isn't a fan. Well, we can't agree all the time. The judges encourage him to keep doing what he's doing, but it's not right for this show. Again, agree. Also, I got pulled over for doing 100 mph while listening to AAR, so, yeah. Big fan. (I was...17 at the time? Maybe 18?)


We get a returning contestant, who Katy called a "hunkasaurus" last time. Okay, yeah, I see it. Nick Merico, age 23, singing "You Say" by Lauren Daigle. Nice voice. Another possible favorite? Nah, that style of music doesn't really go over well on American Idol anymore. But he deserves a spot. Lionel doesn't seem impressed, though. We're going to commercial so we don't know if he's serious, but it sure sounds serious. He doesn't like Nick's attitude and doesn't think he'll go far in Hollywood.


...Ah, so the only part that was true was the attitude part. He wanted to try to humble Nick, who he thought was too cocky, to make him better. They put him through. Idol Bus time, with stops in Tuskegee, AL; Leesburg, GA; and Santa Barbara, CA--the hometowns of Lionel, Luke, and Katy, respectively. One of those has already produced an American Idol. Arthur Gunn is originally from Kathmandu, Nepal (born Dibesh Pokharel). He lives in Wichita, KS now, and he sings a Bob Dylan song. Okay, that's always a good start; Idol has trended towards older music in the ABC era. Katy asks for another song, and he does "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?". I like him. He's going to Hollywood.


Washington, DC time. Luke and Lionel get a Presidential entrance. They all get presidential portraits. Katy's doesn't look so good. We get Alisa Ermolaev, 28, from Queens, New York--and boy, does it show--though she was actually born in Moscow, Russia. She's here with her musical partner/mentor, "Luigi Babe". She's an actress, but one of those background types, not one who gets real roles. And yet despite all the crazy make-up and the outsize personality, she's...pretty good! Katy asks if they cover any Heart. I understand why she asked; I got a little bit of a Heart vibe. But they don't, so instead they do a...comedy bit? I haven't gotten this much of a "bat-shit, but not actually a bad singer" from a contestant since Tatiana Del Toro. Sadly, Alisa's not moving on. And we get our first reject blow-up of the ABC era! I love it! Next up, we get Louis (pronounced Louie) Knight, originally from London, England, but lived in Philly for the last 8.5 years. Singing an original called "Change", written about...he and his brother Max losing their friend Russell Peck to suicide. Forget the Latino; we've got the next Sam Smith right here, or I guess Ed Sheeran because of the accent. Yeah, they're playing an Ed Sheeran song in the background of his post-ticket reaction. "Castle on the Hill". Good choice.


Milwaukee now, where we meet 22-year-old Saveria (no last name given), originally from London, ON. As a kid, she was part of the Canadian equivalent of Kidz Bop. Her name's Italian in origin and means "new home"; it was her great-grandmother's. She's singing "Tell Me This Is Real", an original. Sweet! This episode seemed awfully male-centric. Lionel says there were moments of greatness, but she wasn't holding his attention. Luke seems to get what Lionel's saying. Katy's a yes. Lionel says it's a "no for now", aka "come back next year". Luke says that his gut tells him that-- And commercial break. Damn it ABC!


Luke says no, and Katy flips out on the guys. Well, at least Saveria's taking it well. Well, she's crying, but she's not angry. Bobby Bones is here now, doing his Bobby Bones things. Meghan Fitton is up next, and Katy calls her "Meghan Fitness". It turns out she is actually a fitness instructor. She says that she has watched American Idol since she was little, but she's really obsessed with The Bachelor, even hosting a podcast which she says "maybe 5 people" listen to. Hey, you don't have to be big on a grand scale to be a "THE". She's singing "Love Where You're At" by Allen Stone. Katy says "alright" and Luke goes off on her because that's an understatement; he says she's a rock star. Katy does seem to have doubts, but she's a diamond in the rough so it's a yes from her, too. And then Katy gets out her tablet and video calls Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor, to give her her ticket.


They're talking about the stars of the show so far...and sure enough, it's Louis and Francisco. Next we have Harlem's Samantha "Just Sam" Diaz, age 20. She lives with her grandmother in an apartment in the Frederick Douglass Projects. Ah, grandma adopted Sam and her sister when they were little because their mom wasn't there for them. She's also singing "You Say" by Lauren Daigle. Luke has her restart because of nerves...oh, but she still can't get through. She's crying. They say they can tell she's going to be amazing. Oh, she's going to go into her routine from when she sings on the trains back in NYC. And she switched over to Andra Day's "Rise Up". And holy hell! She's got it going on now! Not a hint of the nerves she was showing before. Lionel asks her when in her life she's felt safe. I think he realizes that her biggest problem is that she's had things too tough. Yeah, this is going to be a gospel singer. She's even leading them in prayer right there. Oh, she was the episode-ender. Makes sense.

Edited by ScarletDevilCCX
Continuing the post.
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Upon further review...yeah, The Comeback did suck, plain and simple. I heard "Swing Swing" on the radio on ther way to work this morning and it was less screamy than I remembered. I think I was giving it a pass because that's what I would've sounded like singing along to it back when it was first out. (My singing has gotten more passable over the years, but only to the degree that I'd now be cut before ever seeing the judges instead of potentially being paraded out for the "hopeless auditioners" that were so common in the Simon Cowell era. Not that it matters because even if I wanted to be a singer, I've aged out.)


As for when I actually got to work, the song playing when I walked in was "Going Going Gone".😀👸

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