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The Buzz with CCX - Season 19 Episode 4


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Wait, it's episode 4 already? Feels like it just started. Then again, the first episode was during the Valentine's Day marathon and it feels like it's been forever since I've hung out with that community, so I guess it's been a while. No alcohol during the show; I had a kind of late dinner and it included two glasses of chardonnay.


They start off by showing Carrie Underwood's audition, then show Gabby and how she was inspired by Carrie and apparently we're already to the point where Gabby's the inspiration for people. We've got...oh, a 15-year-old. From upstate New York. Laila Mach of New Paltz, with an original song. Pretty good, though there's a bit of lyrical dissonance. And apparently the ex-boyfriend she wrote that song about really did crash his car a couple days later? Well, anyway, she gets through and it's well deserved. Next is R'Eh from Houston, Texas, a soldier in the U.S. National Guard. She's singing "Bad Girls" by Donna Summer and she leaves to...do a quick costume change before her performance! It's a good performance, though I'd kind of like to hear what she does with something more contemporary because performing a disco song tells me absolutely nothing about how she'd do as a performer in the 2020s. They salute her, which is not really proper protocol--civilians aren't ever supposed to salute. We go to commercial...did I just catch a Roll Tide in there? And from Katy of all people, who memorably showed up as the guest picker for College Gameday and correctly picked Ole Miss to upset Alabama? (It wasn't dumb luck, either; she did a lot more research than anyone expected.)


Oh. She's doing it to troll Luke, who's a huge Georgia Bulldogs fan. Right now, Luke's alone in the audition room because he's on a schedule. This was the day of the Georgia-Bama game. Michael Gerow, 16, of St. Louis, MO, is doing an original song. I don't think he's that good. Too affected, and he's scrunching his face up too much. The judges love him, though...Katy even uses her "top 10 material" cliche! He goes on. I don't agree. And next comes a high school cheerleader from Clanton, Alabama--Luke immediately asks if she's an Alabama fan or an Auburn fan and gets another "Roll Tide". I mean, neither answer is something a Dawgs fan likes, is it? Cameron McGhar was raised by her grandmother because her mother was a druggie. She was a pageant kid. She's singing "Girl Crush" by Little Big Town and she sells it much better than the last person to sing it, but she's still being too deliberate, enunciating too much. They've got her doing another song, and I like it more, but Katy keeps saying she's out of tune...oh, I recognize this song now! Katy says that "you only have one chance to show us what you've got, and that wasn't it; we had to pull it out of you". Lionel gives her a no. Cameron says she's ready. Katy says "you weren't ready", and we go to commercial. So...she goes through? If it goes to commercial when it's looking like a no, it's probably a yes.


Katy fakes her out! "I'm not gonna Roll Tide with you...but I'm gonna roll the dice with you." Luke seems to be leaning no, too. But he goes with Katy and lets her through! I hope she comes back next year if and when she gets cut in Hollywood. Beane is frim Boston, MA, and he's the grandson of a pastor. While grandpa did the sermons, grandma did the music. His real name is Brandon Heppler. Luke makes a dad joke about making him a jumping Beane. He's singing "Wait for the Moment" by Wolfpack, or at least I think that's what he said. He's a wedding singer, and this song sounds like something a wedding singer would sing, but there's nothing wrong with that; we've had some wedding singers go deep on this show before. I like it. Not sure if this style of music will resonate with the voters...actually, it probably won't matter; he's Hollywood material but not voting round material. Lionel says that he's not sure if it's right for American Idol. Luke seems to agree, but Katy says he's a walking pocket full of sunshine and it's not put on; he's literal stardust. She gives him a yes, Luke gives him a no. Lionel puts him through.


Anthony Key, 27, is from northwest Indiana and he's been performing all his life, asking for the mic at a wedding when he was 5. Yeah, I can tell he's theatrical. He has a "Pop Star" vanity plate and he's doing "Dynamite" by BTS...wait, this is a BTS song? He has always felt influenced by the boy bands; the clip of him at age 5 had him doing Backstreet Boys tunes. Katy feels she isn't quite sure if he knows who he is. There's too much performance in there, too much choreography, not enough lead vocal quality. He says he's not going to give up just because three celebrities told him to stick to choreography...I mean, dude, your choreography is really good. You could have a future in the biz regardless.


Ash Ruder of Turlock, CA, is 22, or will be the day after the audition, and she's a daddy's girl...except he was an addict and wasn't really there for her, and she had been angry at him for quite some time. She's trying to make up for lost time. Also, it's her father's birthday on the day of the audition. She's doing an original song that she wrote for him. Well, she's got talent as a songwriter. Not bad as a singer, either, but wow, this song. This is a professional level song. She goes through in an emotional display; Lionel couldn't hold back the tears.


We've got another Lionel fan here, and she gets to live her dream of dueting with him, and she's not bad. Cheryl K, 24, originally from Malaysia, and the foreign accent is evident in her speaking voice but not so much in her singing voice. I'm a fan. Lionel says she doesn't have enough control yet. Her dog's name is Jimmy Choo? She's a character. It's a no from the others, but they say that she just needs to hone it a bit more. Heather Russell, 20, of Toronto, ON, is also meeting her idol, Katy Perry, doing her new song "Harleys in Hawaii". Huh, not familiar with this one yet. ...Doesn't sound like any Katy Perry song I've ever heard. But I love it! She's playing the piano, too. Luke says to make sure to look at the judges and be careful of all the tricks, because her high end is great and she might be one of the best singers they've heard. Lionel says that he's not normally a fan of someone who relies on a lot of runs. Katy makes an odd metaphor with cake, but it actually works. The guys put her through, and then Katy makes like she's going to say no even though it wouldn't matter...Luke leaves her with the advice "be an artist, not a singer."


Caleb Kennedy is 16 and he's a singer-songwriter from Roebuck, SC. He says he used to play football but he quit because it's hard for a fat boy to breathe out there. His parents are divorced. He's singing an original called "Nowhere". He's got a bit more grit than previous country teens, though I'm not sure if I like it as much--after all, the opposite of gritty is smooth. Katy says that that song is going to take him somewhere. He goes through.


Judges being weird and being conscious of it. Abby LeBaron is 19 and from Springville, UT. She's doing Kodaline's "All I Want" and playing the piano, and she's the best of the night. Thing is, normally this late in the episode that'd be a much bigger compliment than it is right now. She's good, make no mistake, but nobody this episode has jumped out as a favorite for the season.


Phillip Murphy, often called by his last name, is a traveling musician. He's from Seattle Baltimore (maybe the audition's in Seattle?) and he's half-blind, and his mother died when he was young and his father became a drug addict after his mother died. He sings "Just the Two of Us" and it's not really that good, and Katy agrees. Lionel says he needs to peel back a couple of layers of mystique and show the real him, and wants to hear something else, so he sings an original called "The Painted Man". Much better; this song reminds me of some of the better Original Winners Songs. Luke says yes, and Katy says he's a bit too novelty and gives him a no. We cut to outside, and he walks out of the room with a golden ticket.


Alyssa Wray is from Perryville, KY, and she says that she's always stood out, being a 6'2" tall black girl in Kentucky. She's the last contestant of the day, which usually means "story", but she's not standing out aside from her size. Perryville's a small town, only 750 people...wow, that's only about half the size of my town! ...Oh. Yeah, occasionally they make up for a lack of backstory by just giving us someone that good. She's doing "I Am Changing". The judges are on their feet before she even finishes singing. They're ready to crown her a star.

Edited by ScarletDevilCCX
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