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The Buzz with CCX - Season 20 Episode 1


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We're starting with a montage, using the lyrics to "A Moment Like This" as the theming. Valid. Season 1 may not have been the deepest season, but it produced a very strong winner, and the song is what the show is all about. Up first is 19-year-old Noah Thompson from Louisa, KY, auditioning via the Idol Across America Virtual Audition. One of his co-workers signed him up, saying "He's not meant to be working for us." He's singing "Givin' You Up" by Cameron...something; I prioritized fixing the contestant's name over putting down the original artist's name, and I have a short attention span, because obviously he's making it to Hollywood, because a.) he's the first contestant of the first episode, b.) we've already seen some backstory for him, and c.) he deserves it! They bring his friend Arthur, the one who signed him up, in, and get that Noah would've never signed himself up because he doesn't have the confidence. I can relate (not specifically on singing; I'm no good at that, but at other things). Up next is 29-year-old Normandy from Baltimore, MD, whose speaking voice sounds like a 4-year-old. She identifies as a gamer, and refers to her fans as "Kitten Nuggets"...there is like zero chance that this girl isn't already a Vtuber. I was wondering how long it'd be before I started referring to a different kind of idol, but this girl has forced the issue. She gets three notes into "Proud Mary" before Katy says something that gets bleeped and walks out of the room, because the difference between her speaking voice and her singing voice is absurd. We go to commercial.


Okay, we're back, with tonight's drink--Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout from Elysian Brewing Company. I've got a 24-pack of assorted beers that I refer to as "the beer gacha". Normandy's not quite as good as she seemed before the break, but still passable. They have her follow up with Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain", and it's even better than Proud Mary. Luke asks if she can speak in a lower voice, and she says she can do accents in a lower voice, and then does a pretty good Russian accent. Somewhere out there, a VTuber community is in shock that their oshi is stepping out from behind their avatar--she doesn't remind me of any VTubers I've seen, but I'm still certain of this. Also, there's something called the "Platinum Ticket", which there are only three of all season; if the judges unanimously vote that someone is worthy of the Platinum Ticket, they get a free pass to the second round of Hollywood. 18-year-old Torontonian Nicolina is singing "She Used to be Mine" by Sara Bareilles. She's got a lot of power in her voice; she could easily make the Top 24. Sadly, I don't think she's a contender to win it all because she's got too many other things working against her--including, of course, that this is still primarily a US show so a Canadian is probably at a disadvantage. As we go to break, we get a teaser of upcoming contestants, including Aretha Franklin's granddaughter.


Montage of people talking to their baby children, starting of course with judge Katy. 24-year-old Tyler Allen from Mobile, AL is dedicating this to his nephew, Noah, who died just after his 1st birthday when an 18-wheeler took out the car that his mother (who also died; I'm guessing by the fact that Tyler referred to her as "his mother" rather than "my sister" that Noah's father is Tyler's brother, but that's not confirmed). Tyler used to sing Whitney Houston's "I Believe in You" to Noah when rocking him to sleep, and he sings it for his audition. Katy's in tears. It's good, but not amazing. He gets the golden ticket.


Ryan makes his own introduction, and he's 46, which doesn't seem odd until you remember that he's been there from the start. Maddie Belle Glidewell from Kentucky is as country as they come, sparkling all over. I like her already. Her mom is a huge Luke Bryan fan, so they bring her in even before the audition starts. And then she says "He's Mama's idol; you're mine", pointing at Katy, and launches into the chorus of "Firework". It's not great, but that's not her real audition; Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman" is. It's better, but I'm still not sure. The judges agree that the voice isn't there yet, but the personality is. It's a no. 


Camryn Champion, 16, from Lumberton, NJ, and Danielle Finn, 17, from Los Angeles, CA, get their auditions interspersed. Katy and Luke disagree about the latter; she's a yes, he's a no. Katy does manage to convince him, not that it matters because Lionel was also a yes. Both make it through. Grace Franklin, 15, is from Detroit, MI--ah, there we go, this is Aretha's granddaughter. She says that it still seems weird to her that her grandmother was world-famous, because to her, she was just Granny. She's singing Lauryn Hill's version of "Killing Me Softly", and yes, talent is hereditary. She deserves to go through. Katy says she's got the DNA and asks if she has any other songs, and we go to commercial break because of course we do.


Grace responds by singing one of her grandmother's songs, and it works. Lionel relays something that Aretha told him. Luke's up first, and he says that for right now, it's a no. Katy seems to be leaning towards yes, and she does say yes, which means that it's Lionel's decision, and he says that he thinks the best thing for her is to take a step back and get a running start. Katy insists that she's got stardust. Lionel stands firm. Katy walks out, saying she's going to the bar. Luke says Lionel's lucky that Luke went first (because it means that Lionel gets the brunt of Katy's outburst). Katy's chasing Lionel with a folding chair. Okay, fine, I guess the commercial break was warranted, because we're in another one.


Apparently there's a bromance brewing between Luke and Orlando. Huntergirl (real name Hunter Walkinowski), 23, is from Tennessee, and she helps veterans deal with their PTSD. She's doing a Rascal Flatts song, and I think she's got the voice. It looks like the judges do, too. She'll benefit from the professionals behind the scenes, because she's got way too much makeup on. Luke thinks she didn't even choose the right key and has her do it again a half step up.


We get a reminder again that there's one Platinum Ticket per city, so we might get to see it soon. Cole Hallman is from Manasquan, NJ. His younger sister Katie is a huge fan of the show, and she has a chromosomal deletion; Cole calls her "his biggest fan and his biggest critic." He's 22. I've kind of zoned out because we're back from the next commercial break and that's all I've written, but he's a deserved golden ticket.


Delaney Renee, 18, from Berkley, MA, is another one who didn't know her own talent; the family whose children she babysits encouraged her to put her singing out there, and eventually resorted to recording her secretly and posting it to TikTok. It went viral, and Idol was right on top of it. She's singing "Opportunity" by Sia, and she's good.


Luke's still thinking about Huntergirl and wants her to perform at his bar in Nashville. She's going to get Nashville's Platinum Ticket. They surprise her at the bar. And now Luke's doing one of his songs, with modifications to the lyrics. Taylor Fagins, 28, from NYC, writes music--and plays, and is working on a TV show. As he begins (at the piano), he whispers, "This is for you." Yeah, I figured we were ready for our sob story. Ooh, I think this is a Black Lives Matter song. Yeah, now we get the names of victims. I kind of feel bad that I used the dismissive "time for the sob story"; this was anything but. This is powerful, a powerful voice and an even more powerful songwriter.

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