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The Buzz with CCX - Season 18 Episode 6


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Sam Adams New England Pale Ale, because it's not like I need them for baseball season any time soon. So I read the other topics here. Yea Idols, nay fans? Good enough for me. Also, I heard that there's a contestant with more followers than a lot of last year's finalists do even now, with a large following on TikTok (and posted to YouTube), whose audition wasn't even shown. The article speculates that they're either saving her for Hollywood because she's that amazing, or that she's going to get cut so they're hiding her to minimize backlash. Given that the ABC era has offered fewer contestants to vote on than ever, it seems unlikely that anyone we haven't seen nearly every step of the way will make it to our votes, so I suspect that, yeah, she's a nobody as far as Idol is concerned, just one with a bigger internet following. (Yes, I know there are spoiler lists for who makes it through. I'm ignoring them.) Also, there are some new rounds in Hollywood Week? Also the typical "someone needs to go to the hospital" teaser.


Ah, here we go. The Genre Challenge. Contestants have to pick their genre so they know who they are. Hey, remember when Idol's theme weeks forced contestants to be adept at every genre? Except "singer-songwriter" is considered a genre now. Ah, Julia Gargano is the first to get spotlighted again. I loved her audition. She's damn good here, too. Also in the singer-songwriter group is wheelchair-bound Marna Michele. She's doing "Can't Help Falling In Love With You" and it's good but not amazing. Arthur Gunn, from Nepal by way of Wichita, is here, too, singing Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle". I like his version, but so far Julia's still the best. Lionel says Arthur reminds him of Bob Marley. Arthur and Julia go through.


The Pop genre is up next. It's the biggest group, they say. Ah, we get Louis and Francisco! I loved both of them. Katy says that Louis's appearance is like when Harry Styles appeared on X Factor UK. Louis's doing a stripped down version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". I love it! Rearranging songs is a classic Idol technique, mastered in the third epoch. Oh, and we get our returners, Margie Mays and Genavieve Linkowski. Not sure if I liked that big note from Genavieve, but it can be excused. Robert Taylor III is up next, representing "the outcasts, the misfits and the misunderstood." Wow. I try to just listen to the music, but I'm liking him even before he sings! He's singing "A Natural Woman", written by Carole King and made famous by Aretha Franklin. That falsetto! Wow! To borrow a phrase from Idol's longest-running judge, Robert is in it to win it! All three of them make it through, along with two other people whose performances they didn't show.


Kay Genyse is wearing roughly half a flower garden right now. She seems confident, which is good because she had some nerve problems in the studio. She's singing "Ain't Nobody", and it's a little shaky. And she's not as confident as she appeared, apparently. Next is Bilaal Avaz. I don't remember his audition. He's the son of two Pakistani immigrants and was raised in a strict Muslim household, so he couldn't listen to music when he was younger. Shannon Gibbons is up next, and she's still amazing. Luke agrees; he lets out a "Wow" while she's still singing. Lauren Spencer-Smith is up next, and she's also a Canadian Internet sensation, just like the person who I read the article about. And she survives one of the cardinal sins of Idol, trying to cover the original Idol ("Because of You"). Bilaal, Lauren, and Shannon are all still here and Kay's going home. Good choices, I think.


There are two gifts a parent can give their children: roots and wings. That's apparently some sort of saying, according to Ryan. Cyniah Elise and her 30-person entourage are here for the R&B genre line, and she's got the voice to belt out R&B. Makayla Phillips is doing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going", and I'm fairly certain she isn't. We're gonna love her, indeed. Luke calls her "the next Ariana dadgum Grande". Oh, and here's Just Sam, with her lucky donation box from singing on the train. This was the first time she's ever been on a plane, and she's getting emotional about how grateful she is for this opportunity, coming from the projects of Harlem. For a second I thought she was going to get broken up again on stage, but she recovered quickly and gave a stunning performance. The judges put money in her box. Travis, Sam, Elijah, Jordan, Makayla, and Cyniah all go through to the next round. Two rounds to go, Cyniah says.


Sofia Schuster, 15, is impressing in the genre of...country? No, it seems to be "singer-songwriter" again. We get a brief snippet of someone else, and then we're on to Francisco Martin, who'll be singing "Hold Back the River". We get a snippet of Bobby telling him that he has to just not let the nerves get to him, because he's got to live with them. It's pretty good, though not the smash hit that he was at his audition. Next up is Jonny West...after the break.


Yeah, we are still in singer-songwriter. Jonny's nervous, but it doesn't show. Dillon James is up next, and he certainly looks like he could be country. He did some made-for-TV movies when he was younger, but he also fell into drugs. He's two years sober and he's doing "Vienna". Wow. I hardly even recognized it, but it was good. The judges do a fake-out with the "step forward" bit, because the entire line is still standing. Pop is up again after the break, and with it, Margie's chance to join her boyfriend in the next round.


All signs of the performer so quirky that they put her in a "one moves on, one goes home" not against a fellow woman, but against Eddie Island, are gone. Margie's playing it completely straight and it's wonderful. Nick Merico is also a previous Hollywood...ticket recipient. Yeah, right, he won a golden ticket, but didn't feel like he was ready and didn't go through. Lionel tore him down at auditions this year, said he needed an attitude adjustment. Message received. Next up is Kimmy Gabriela. Her father won a similar competition when he was her age, back in his native Puerto Rico. She's singing "Say Something", but it's a very different arrangement. It's incredible. Katy's audition proclamation of "Top Ten" might've been right on the money. (Of course, given the wild card format, if the judges want you in the top ten badly enough, there's nothing America can do to stop them. All three spotlighted contestants are still alive, along with maybe a couple others who didn't even get the courtesy of their names not getting edited out.


Now it's Country time. Lauren Mascitti's here, sans sugar daddy fiancé. She's good. Hannah Prestridge is here, too. She was the recovering addict who auditioned with her husband, who she performed with under the name "Treble Soul". She's got a really strong voice; if I just had to pick one of those two, it'd be Hannah easily. But next is Grace Leer, doing "Unchained Melody", and, um, wow. Luke seems to be getting a bit loopy, but everyone's still alive, including the ones we didn't get to see.


The Soul line is up. Amber Fiedler had her baby; the adoptive parents named her Nora Rose. Amber's tearing up in the interview. She's singing "Rise Up" by Andra Day. It's by the book, but that's just fine. Sophia Wackerman isn't quite ready to take on her mother's last name, "Starr", but she's singing "Let It Be", an Idol standard but apparently Paul McCartney wrote it in memory of his mother so I guess she's got a good excuse for going to that well. Katy's impressed. Jovin Webb is also in this group and he's better than he was at his audition, performing "Make It Rain". Oh, and Doug Kiker, the garbage man! I almost forgot about him. Oh, I see someone else familiar backstage. The campy guy who Katy made wax his chest. We're going to break before we see his results...oh hell, we're nearly at the end of the episode. He got a pimp spot in a Hollywood episode. Didn't he get one in his audition episode, too? *checks* Ah, no, he was the first contestant of the first audition show. The lead-off slot may be the doom spot in the live episodes, or at least it was back when voting was done in a sensible manner, but in the audition episodes it's basically a second pimp spot, especially in the first audition show.


He's doing "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", too. He starts by going into a completely different song. That song sounded like it might've actually been good, but this one is...absolutely atrocious!  Sophia, Jovin, and Amber all go through, but Douglas is going home. Good. I was worried for a moment that he was going to be this year's Eddie Island. Among those going home whose names we already knew is Megan Fitton and Gilberto--ah, yes, that's the campy one. Well, he was always going to be a novelty act. And we get a preview of next week. We're not sure what's next, but it ain't group rounds!

Edited by ScarletDevilCCX
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