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The Buzz with CCX - Season 18 Episode 3


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Our first contestant is 17-year-old Kimi Gabriela of Lakeland, FL. She's of Dominican and Venezuelan descent, but has never been to either country. She's...raw. I think I'd give her a ticket, but I sincerely hope that they don't put her all the way through to America's votes this year because she's not ready yet. Katy asks if she speaks Spanish, and she says she does. The judges aren't hearing what I'm hearing, though; Luke even comes right out and says "you don't miss notes", and Katy gives the "top ten material" line.


We're back from commercial right away. I couldn't even pour my drink. We're in Los Angeles. Amelia, no last name, is 23 and from Phoenix, and she's singing "Yesterday". She goes through. Erin Kirby from Jasper, GA is 16 and has pink hair and is also going through. Jordan James is 26 and from Scottsdale, AZ, and he goes through too even though I'm not sure he deserves to, but he proposes to his girlfriend right there in the audition room after being told he's going through so whatever. Cut over to the Savannah auditions and Luke recognizes someone who's going to be playing guitar for the next auditioner. At first I thought the guy looked older, which would be backed up by him apparently being established, but the auditioner calls him her fiancé so maybe he's...no, this Shawn Camp guy definitely looks older. Anyway, Lauren Mascitti is a 27-year-old registered nurse from Nashville, TN, and she's singing an original song. And she's...very Nashville. Given how the ABC era has tended to skew old, she might do well, because this isn't modern country. This is classic country.


Okay, got my drink. Pineapple-orange-coconut juice with Malibu Rum, for a twist on a Piña Colada. And now we're back with Bobby Bones and Ryan Harmon, 24, of Russelville, AR. He's a character. Katy is befuddled by the Southernisms. He, too, recognizes Shawn Camp. He's singing an original called "I Knew This Would Happen". Possibly the best of the night so far? We got a "yes" montage, I can't help but think those are supposed to be fodder but Amelia seemed good. But yeah, this guy's better than either of our previous featured auditioners. Luke thinks he should've followed his dream and moved to Nashville. But he's not quite sure if Ryan's Idol material. This sounds like a no! It is. I'm not feeling the judges tonight.


22-year-old Courtney Timmons, a security guard from Harris Neck, GA missed the deadline for sign-ups, but Ryan brought her directly through. She's singing "Rise Up" by Andra Day. I think Ryan did well here. She's good. The judges agree. She's going to Hollywood.


Lauren Spencer-Smith is 16 and from Vancouver Island, BC. So is this show just open to Canadians now? We had one in the first episode, too. She's singing "What About Us" by Pink and it's amazing and the judges are amazed. The next auditioner is 23-year-old worship leader Dewayne Crocker Jr., from Pensacola, FL, and he's bringing along his 78-year-old great-grandmother to meet Lionel Richie. Yep, the math adds up; that's a Floridian. He's singing Bobby Darin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy", but rearranged into a soul number. He brings it. He's got some good falsetto, too. I love it. We need contestants like that. I still don't know the schedule for this season; I'm assuming it's the same overabbreviated one we've had the first two years on ABC, but this is exactly the type of contestant that would've fit right in in Season 8 or 9. Great-grandma says that she walked down the aisle to Lionel's "Lady", and she saw him at the California Club. That goes way back, he says.


We come back to a guy with some killer piano skills on the Billy Joel, but his vocals are lacking. The next contestant is Dillon James, age 26, with a full-chest tattoo of Jesus Christ, which is partially showing through an open shirt. Oh, he went through some rough times with drugs and alcohol. At one point, he went to bed on the edge of a parking structure with the idea that "if I fall off, I fall off, at least I won't have to think about it because I'll be asleep." He's singing "To Make You Feel My Love". Oh dear. Wrong season to be auditioning with that one. He's certainly not bad, but you never want to be inviting comparisons to the highest-rated performance of the previous season. Luke says he's got a Chris Isaak sound to him. Katy says she finds him "mysterious" and compares him to "a country Post Malone". He goes through. Good choice.


Geena (no last name), 27, is from Los Angeles. I'm not sure what I think of her. She's not traditional. Is this an original? I think it is. I was in the other room when she was introducing herself. She won't make it far if we still have the current quick-dying format; she's too quirky. Yeah, it is an original. She goes through. The next contestant is Jarred Lettow. He's originally from Des Moines, though he's now living in California. He yodels, and yes, his name is pronounced exactly like the actor Jared Leto. Unfortunately, he's not a good singer.


And now we've got the failure montage. Katy gets out a megaphone and tells the contestants still waiting that it's a talent emergency. Shannon Gibbons, 20, from Bellport, NY, fronts a band. She's been watching Idol her whole life. She's also had mental health issues for most of her life--she says she had suicidal thoughts as early as age four. Music helped her get her mind off of it. She's singing "I'd Rather Go Blind" by Etta James. Yes. Absolutely yes. Sign me up.


This next guy is a model and an influencer. I think he said he was 29 already? That was too old to be at the audition last time I checked, but then again he doesn't look 29 so maybe I misheard him. His name is Isaiah Grass and he was born in North Carolina, raised in South Carolina, and has been living in Chicago for 7 years. He's doing an acoustic version of a-ha's "Take On Me". Nope, he really is 29. He's good! I like him! Katy thinks he's too musical theater. He interjects and asks to do another song. "House of the Rising Sun". I'm not a fan of that one. Lionel even says that the second song absolutely kiboshed it. Okay, so I guess it all worked out. Lionel's no has a "for now" attached to it, though, which is strange.


Grabbing a second drink. Green tea with apple and honey, by Wild Leaf. Nice and relaxing. Wait, is that who I think it is? Genavieve Linkowski! ...Wait, she was S16? I thought she was last year! ...Oh, now she's got a sob story, too. Her sister Corinne died in a car accident last March. She's singing "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You?" It is, of course, amazing. Second chance contestants are frequently early favorites, and she deserves it. I seem to remember liking her when she first auditioned. A worthy episode-ender.

Edited by ScarletDevilCCX
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