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The Buzz with CCX - Season 19 Episodes 6 and 7


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Mom had a Zoom meeting with friends last night so she gave me her blessing to continue watching March Madness and we'd catch it off the DVR. Normally I'd take advantage of actually being able to watch an episode without her talking over it, but I'm from NJ so I decided to watch the Rutgers game. (It didn't go well; they blew a double-digit second half lead. Then the women's team did the same thing this afternoon.) Tonight's drink is Cherry Dr. Pepper with Malibu Rum. We've got the Genre Challenge, which is a good returning thing, and Bobby Bones, which isn't. Up first is Pop, and we're starting with the Olayan siblings. Liahona looks nervous, and then suddenly she doesn't. I'm still not a fan, though that might have to do with the bare-bones arrangement. Ammon is up next, and he's just turned 18, and he's better, doing "Can't Get You Off My Mind". He's off-key, though. Liv Grace Blue is up. Oh, they actually put the genre on the screen. Wait, that's "Ain't No Sunshine"? I didn't even recognize it! She's incredible. We've got young contestants bonding. Oh, I remember her! Laila Mach. She's another quality contestant, and should be going through. She says she was nervous going through, but it didn't show. Ava August is up next, and she sounds better than she did in her audition. The three girls go through and Ammon goes home.

 

Montage of American Idol contestants forming lifelong favorites. It's country time. Drake McCain is back; they didn't show his audition this time around but he was returning from Season 17. Caleb Kennedy is here and continuing the tradition of young country guys who sound older than they look. Mignon is...a contestant they pulled from somewhere? Same for Mason Picks. I like the latter, and maybe the former, but I don't remember their auditions so they're probably fodder. And we've got our first romance! Cameron McGhar and Alex Miller. They're both good and I'd advance them both. Alex definitely has the same stage presence as Caleb Lee Hutchinson. Cecil Ray is up next...oh, yes, he's the one with a newborn daughter. I guess Hollywood Week wasn't that long after auditions? His little girl's still only 2 months old. Oh, no, he missed his cue! And commercial.

 

He doesn't miss the cue this time, but it's just "not bad". Not good enough to pass on to the next round after that mistake imo. And the only one sent home was Cameron? I'm surprised. Even the ones whose auditions weren't shown made it, but one of my favorites from this group went home. Soul time. Up first is Re'h, a 27-year-old National Guardswoman. She's also friends with another one, Celeste Butler. Katy called her "cruise ship" in her audition, and still seems unimpressed. I liked it enough. Xavier Washington, who I seem to remember...he's got a textbook. He's studying for his level one Chinese exam...at Yale. An Ivy Leaguer! And he can sing, too--really well. It's funny, soul seems to be the genre I'm least fond of the female singers in, but I often love the male soul singers even though overall I tend to favor the ladies. Up next are Grace Kinstler and DJ Johnson. I remember Grace being pretty amazing...oh, yeah, she was the one who made Luke cry just with her singing! She mentions some issues with body image, but I think she wears it well. DJ...oh. Oh, right, she was the one whose mother abandoned the family! She's singing Andra Day's "Rise Up" and I think she messed up the lyrics but she sounds nice so I'll give her a pass. DJ and Celeste step forward, and...back row goes through. Understandable.

 

Indie genre up next. A bunch of people with various day jobs. Christina Daugherty is a high school teacher, and her students basically told her that they wouldn't do their summer homework if she didn't audition. Hunter Metts was a software coder, but he quit to portray this dream. I seem to remember liking him but this is just kind of meh. Oh, this guy! Graham DeFranco. He's a pilot. I definitely liked him in auditions and I still do. Oh, and now we get a flashback to auditions even before seeing the performance. They're hyping Cassandra Coleman up big-time. Her voice justifies it, though. The judges love to declare people "Top Ten", and I would support that but we don't hear critiques in this stage. Lionel says that they shouldn't get psyched out if they don't go through. The four people they showed all do go through, though.

 

Back to pop. Anthony Guzman was the one who came into auditions dressed as a Viking, and now he's in a kilt, singing "Fever". Montage of "colorful" contestants, like "She Nova" and Yurisbel. Yurisbel still isn't that good; She Nova is interesting. Andrea Valles, 23, is from Houston, TX, and I don't remember her audition but she's amazing. Oh, I remember this one! She was a piece of work and I hated her before she even started singing but Katy managed to bring out the best in her. Erika Perry, 26. Not great to start, and then she forgets a line and lets it get to her, cursing and asking for a restart. I think she needs to go...wait, hold on, I didn't even recognize that; she's singing Phil Collins' "In the Air". Andrea and Anthony are the only two going forward, and Katy explicitly says "you two" so we know there aren't any fodders that they edited over.

 

They show the "you two" clip again after the commercial. Oh, no, we're about to get a meltdown... She's intentionally channeling the "Karen"...At least she's self-aware about it. James Perdue starts our second batch of country singers, and Luke seems to think he's not ready. Oh, Christian McGuckian, I remember her! She's the one who doesn't look old enough to audition but she's actually in her early twenties. She's singing Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead" and it's clear she's nervous. They slow her down and provide a beat for her, and she still slips up...remembering the audition too, it feels like the judges are really pulling for her. And next is Chayce Beckham, who lost loved ones...yes, right, they contrasted him with a country singer who sounded good but wasn't "authentic" enough. He makes a perfect song choice and absolutely nails it. Chayce moves on and James and Christian go home. Christian's in tears, but she says she's not going to quit so maybe we'll see her again next year.

 

Mary Jo Young, 19, from Cleveland, was the one who had never performed for anyone live before but she was amazing. She still is. Also we're back in Pop. I'm calling "potential winner". Colin Jamieson, yeah, I remember he was in a boy band with another auditioner who didn't go through? He's good, and gets an ovation from the audience. And...oh, right, I almost forgot about Claudia Conway! She's dyed her hair brown. And now we've got stage mom problems, except the mom in question is already infamous for her connection with the 45th President. Well, putting aside all the noise, she deserves her spot in the next round. No one steps forward because everyone's going through. Embarrassing mother shenanigans. R&B time. Vahhley, the homeless woman with a young son and her father is also homeless. I loved her in auditions and I still do. She sings "Love on the Brain" by Rihanna. She feels she was nervous. We go right to her going home, and we also say goodbye to Tristan Grubbs and Brianna Collechio. I seem to remember liking both of them in auditions so the fact that they go home without even getting shown is disappointing. Briana says she's not giving up, though, and she's 15 so plenty of time for her.

 

Wyatt Pike is in the "Indie" genre even though I thought he was country. He's doing his own take on "Stay". Emisunshine is doing Hozier's "Take Me To Church" (I hate the performance but I love that she's already using a stage name), and Trinity Rose is doing "Wouldn't It Be Nice" (also not great, but I love the flower crown and bright pink hair). Lizzy O'Very comes out on the stage with an accordion and does a...very bad rendition of Elle Goulding's "Lights". Disappointing; I love that song. Murphy is up next, and I remember him; he was a very memorable person, from his appearance to the way he speaks. I also remember that my mother decided she hated him before he even started singing...oh, right, he's half-blind, and  since she's been blind in one eye for most of her life too, she felt he was using that as an excuse for why his life was so tough when I didn't get that from him at all (also, hate the producers for story exploitation, not the contestants.) He sings well and deserves to move on. The judges seem unimpressed. Wyatt and Murphy both step forward, but so do Emisunshine and Lizzy. They remain in the competition.

 

Rock time, finally. They saved it for the end because apparently there are only 9 rockers in Hollywood this year. Beane from Beantown is doing "Bennie and the Jets" and I like his performance. And now we've got our token "singing into a hairbrush in the mirror" teenager, 15-year-old Casey Bishop. Oh, right, the one whose influences were 90s bands and made us all feel old when we realized those were probably her parents' music. She goes older still and does "House of the Rising Sun" and it was amazing. Christian...something or another sings, and then Althea Grace, whose infant daughter had to be hospitalized last year. Her performance wasn't the best but it was good enough. Christian is the only one going home.

 

We get another montage of people going through. They don't mention names but the one who's dating Catie Turner is one of them. Then we get a name on screen, 18-year-old Amanda Mena, who gets through and deservedly so, and we get to our last contestant, Willie Spence, but first, it's panic time because the clock on our TV box says 8:01 and so does the one on my computer, but the DVR hasn't started up yet and when I press the guide, it still says 7:58. The light starts up though, so hopefully we'll still be able to catch it from the start. He's doing John Legend's "All of Me", and he sounds wonderful. Technically he blew the lyrics but he didn't pause so he's good. He moves on. Duets are up next, but the contestants who made it through are brought back into the theater for some "game-changing news", according to Ryan. But it really is game-changing: the contestants don't get to choose their partner! The judges are pairing the contestants up.

 

DVR came through! We hit "play next episode" and go right to the "Time and Temperature by TD Bank", just before the start. We get a "Previously on". Katy's apparently in a wig, and we get a shot of a fire truck with sirens and flashing lights so as per usual, something's going to happen. They've got cards on a board, and the face of their partner is on the other side. Laila Mach and Liahona Olayan are working together, and they play up the "Liahona came to Hollywood with her brother but he's been eliminated" angle again. Oh, and the judges are able to come in on the contestants' rehearsals and give advice. The girls are doing "Stay", and they sound good but they're a bit unenthusiastic. Katy tries to cheer her up. We cut to the actual performance and it's good. The judges still feel like Liahona's sadness is dragging her down. Katy asks if she really wants to be here, and her responses are "yeah" and "uh-huh". Katy's not buying it. She says Liahona's dragging the whole ship down and that she's sabotaging herself.

 

Laila's going through, and so's Liahona but with a "don't ever do that again." She's still insistent that she does want to be here. Cameron Allen and Graham DeFranco are doing "Watermelon Sugar", and they're only briefly on screen. Luke says to beware song choice. Graham's still alive but Cameron goes home. Beane and Kari Erickson are also doing "Watermelon Sugar" but they make it more of a jazzy piece and it's really good. The judges don't like what they did with it but they put Beane through. Then Luke bans any further performances of that song. Anthony Guzman and Adriel Carrera are practicing an interesting rendition of Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and they get some advice from Lionel. Bobby says their version is boring and he initially mistook it for their warm-up. I don't remember Adriel but Anthony is the interesting Viking man...oh, no, it's more Watermelon Sugar. This is...interesting. Adriel's dancing is bad but the singing is good and the judges seem pleased. Both go through to the next round.

 

Madison Watkins and Deshawn Goncalves, who we saw in auditions but not last night, are a pair. I definitely remembered loving Deshawn; don't remember what I thought of Madison. "Stay" again; I feel like there was a limited list of songs for this round which means that the jokey ban of "Watermelon Sugar" definitely can't hold up. But this is an amazing performance. They both go forward, unsurprisingly. Oh, my, this is going to be a trip. Hannah Everhart is paired up with Claudia Conway, and this is our "missing partner" for the year.

 

...Oh, it wasn't even that it was Claudia in particular that freaked Hannah out. Should've figured that out when she said "Claudia's TikTok famous but I didn't know that", but apparently Hannah was hoping to be paired up with an older contestant because she's an old soul and doesn't relate well to people her own age. As usual, Claudia's fashion choices are on point. It takes a while before there's anything for me to even tell if "one" of them is good, because they're singing together all the way too. The judges agree that they did too much harmony and neither was able to shine, and they said they'd seen Hannah do better. Hannah moves on, but Claudia goes home. Well, at least we don't have to deal with all the media circus. And Hannah seems to have come to appreciate Claudia. Also she's going to FedEx her a chicken. Alex Miller is paired up with Emisunshine this time, and they initially choose Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" but Luke seems to kill that idea. Except not; they're still doing "I Walk the Line" but it's a very different arrangement. Emisunshine is yodeling. Luke said they got pushback on that because American Idol needs to push them to become good. He thinks that was too safe a choice for Alex and he needs to try to make a pop song his own instead of just doing the country songs he grew up on, and that Emisunshine carried it and that she could've gotten overshadowed but she didn't. They both go through, and since I'm finally live, I'll be able to flip into March Madness on commercials if need be.

 

Murphy gets paired up with Lizzy O'Very. Oh, Lizzy also does the whole "barefoot" thing. Murphy goes barefoot with her. They do "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac, and it's interesting; they both sing very high. I like it. They both go through. Cassandra Coleman is paired with Wyatt Pike, and they're still focusing on Cassandra's nerves. She thinks that having Wyatt beside her will help for this round. They absolutely nail Alex Clare's "Too Close". The judges loved how the two of them worked together and they both go through.

 

Monica Leah and Miguela are doing "Titanium" and I think they're good but I don't remember seeing either of them before so they're probably gone. They are, because Lionel says they were "dueling" in their duet. Ronda (looked away when they showed the names) and Funke Lagoke are up next, and I don't remember either of them. Ronda seems to be the one getting the edit, but apparently they've both had some struggles? I think this is a very good performance. Not the type of performance I like, personally, but I recognize that it's a quality performance in a genre I just don't care for. Judges are in disagreement; Katy wants to send someone home but Luke wants to keep her, so it's on Lionel to break the tie. He critiques Ronda and says she crashed and burned, but before we can get Funke's criticism, she just faints on stage, goes down hard. They say she busted her chin. Wow, didn't see that one coming.

 

As Funke is carried off, the judges deliver the verdict to Ronda--both girls were, in fact, good enough to go through. Funke receives some stitches and is treated for dehydration. Kya Monee and Willie Spence are also doing "Stay", and I think they're editing through it because it just skipped ahead in the song absolutely seamlessly. Well, I guess they have to edit through because we saw the opening notes and the closing notes. The judges feel like they made a good choice pairing those two up and say they're both going through "with flying colors". Apparently they're not the only "perfect pairings", according to the next edit. Ben Dobson and Henry...I got hung up with a missed keystroke and forgot Henry's last name. Jazzy Rose and Re'h are also a pair, and both of these pairs are going through. Zach D'Onofrio is a bit nervous about being paired with cheerleader Sloane, because he's a timid person and it's too much of a contrast with her peppiness. Sloane's happy to be paired with Zach, though, because he's talented. They sing "You Make My Dreams Come True". Both go home. Zach's thinking of maybe coming back again, and Katy seems optimistic that he'll show them next time that the underdog always wins. And to think, this was actually prerecorded. The underdogs have been doing plenty of winning in the tournament these past four days!

 

Christina Daugherty and Chayce Beckham are trying to find a negative headspace to get into for their duet, because the song they're singing is a breakup song. I love this performance; they've both got a lot of power in their voices, rasp and strength. Chayce is moving onwards, but they feel the song didn't give Christina the proper chance and send her home. As they leave, Luke asks if they're in love, and Katy says they're in love and don't even know it. Sadie Leigh and ...oh crap they're doing this to me. It wasn't even a long name, but they're showing me more names already and my attention span is just that short. If I was watching alone I'd rewind, but I'm not. Well, what little we saw of them, they both should be going home. Samantha Sharpe and Alana are a pair and one of them, I think it's Alana, is crashing and asks for a restart. Althea Grace is paired with Camille Lamb, who I don't think is someone we've seen before. But just as they start clicking, Althea gets a call from her father; Lennon's feeding tube came out and they had to take her to the ER.  We go to commercial...I get the feeling that Althea's going to go through with this performance so as not to let Camille down, but if she gets through, she'll withdraw.

 

Coming out of break, I think maybe I'm wrong. They're doing Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me" and they're both deserving of moving on. I think. Althea's the better of the two. Katy says that Camille is pepper and Althea is salt, and they're two different things and need to come together to reap the benefits of being "seasoned". They both go through, and as they leave the stage, Katy tells them that's what queens do and wonders what would happen if she and Taylor teamed up. Hunter Metts and Ava August are teamed up. Someone tells Hunter that he looks like Ryan Phillipe, and he's never heard of him. He's a little put-off when he realizes that the actor he was just compared to is in his forties, but Ava sees the resemblance. They do Calum Scott's "Dancing On My Own", and I think it's good. The judges think they played it safe, and this is the last round they can do that in, but they'll both have more rounds to not play safe.

 

Our last featured duet of the night is Alyssa Wray and Grace Kinstler. Alyssa talks again about how she felt like an outcast because she was one of the only black kids in her school and she's super tall. Grace also had some self-confidence issues; she's 100 lbs. lighter than she was in high school. They sing "Grenade" by Bruno Mars and it's fire. Wow. They build to some huge notes. This is incredible and they'd better both be going through. Okay, yeah, they definitely are; the judges say that they stopped the show. Katy takes off her gloves and wig, and as we leave, Luke's now wearing the wig.

Edited by ScarletDevilCCX
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