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The Buzz with CCX - Season 20 Episode 2


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Vodka and Cranberry and Lime tonight. We lead off with Miss America 2016, Betty Maxwell, 27, from Warner Robins, GA. She did operatic singing as her talent in the Miss America pageant, and she does impressions from Disney/Pixar movies. She's singing "A Moment Like This", and it's...not as good as the opera. They ask her if she does country, and she covers the other most successful Idol, Carrie Underwood, with "Jesus, Take the Wheel". Luke says that pageant girls sing like pageant girls, but she sings like a real singer. Betty says that she can sing any genre, and Lionel says that they need to change that, that she needs to figure out her genre. They put her through.


We've got another "raised on Idol" kid, Leah Marlene from Normal, IL, though as Katy quickly recognizes, she's anything but. She says she used to play hockey but she had to stop because she got hit in the head too many times. She's singing "Steal My Girl" by One Direction. I think she's worth sending to Hollywood, but if she makes it to the Top 24, she'd be fodder. Katy says she wants to hear another and asks if Leah writes music. She says she does; she wrote "Wish Her to the Well" right here in Nashville, where until recently she was a student at Belmont University. Katy Perry compares Leah to Catie Turner, and I'm not surprised. And kind of agree. They put her through.


Montage time, people from music families. Mike Parker from Warrenton, VA, is 27, and his whole family is musical, but his mom is going through...something. They think maybe it's leukemia? He says he feels guilty being at the audition instead of by her side, but he knows that's what she'd want, and he's singing "Strawberry Wine", and he's definitely going to get the ticket and I don't say that because we heard his sob story--I say it because I'm listening to him sing.


Kelsie Dolin, 18, is from the boondocks, in her own words (Boone County, WV, though she's living in Raleigh), and she was raised by her grandparents because they felt that if they didn't take her and her sister away, the state would; her younger sister was born with an opiate addiction. Her grandmother died last year, of COVID. She's singing "Piece by Piece" by Kelly Clarkson. I'd send her through. Her follow-up is Adele's "When We Were Young". Yeah, she's going through. I hate that it's almost notable now when we only hear one song from an auditioner; the auditions already go on too long and they're padding it out by showing more footage for every one of them. Though I guess it's better than showing the bad singers that they showed in the Cowell era.


We come back from commercial to Katy improvising a song about her snack with accompaniment from Luke on piano. Another montage, this time of long-time fans--oh, hey, is that a Season 10 tour T-shirt? Skylie Thompson, 17, is from Cyril, OK. A montage of the big names to come out of American Idol, including, as always, Lauren Daigle. Goddamnit, Idol, stop trying to take credit for someone who never made it before America's votes! Skylie's singing an original song she and her father (who is playing guitar for her) wrote called "Buckle Bunny", which is apparently someone who chases after rodeo riders. Luke asks if she has a cover, and she goes with "Oklahoma City" by Zac Brown Band.  Oh, hey, she's good (her father also sings backup on this one). They think she's not ready yet; Lionel says it's an "optimistic no", and Luke, even though he agrees she's not ready yet, gives her a yes "because [she doesn't] deserve three noes."


We get a dramatic narration...oh, it's because this guy's voice is deeeeeeeeep. 20-year-old Luke Taylor from Westchester, PA, went from 4'11" and alto to 6'1" and below bass in a few months. He's a sophomore at Liberty University, and he'll be singing "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash, and of course it's perfect for his voice. I agree with the judges that he could have a career in voiceovers. Luke Bryan wants Luke Taylor to sing "Frosty the Snowman", saying he could be a great Burl Ives. He doesn't know it off the top of his head, but when given the lyrics, he does it perfectly. Katy's worried that it'll be too much of a novelty act. Luke says yes. Lionel says he's not sure if it's a winner, but Hollywood Week can be an interesting week. Katy's not sure about it...but he's going through! And...we're finally going to get two singers without a commercial break between them no wait never mind, we're getting a trailer for Kenedi Anderson coming up "after the break".


Katy is getting on Luke's case for having his shirt too far open. Kenedi is 17, from Crozet, VA. She's been moving around all her life because of her dad's job in the football industry; she's the second of six children and the "musical one" in an athletic family. She's singing "Applause" by Lady Gaga, and I don't even need to hear the judges' reactions to know that we've got our crowning overhyped contestant of the year, because apparently she was teased before the start of the show too so I've already been told how good she is (remember, I don't watch these alone) and she isn't. The judges give her a standing ovation, Katy comes up with a fanbase name for her, and Luke says she might be the biggest star they've ever found...I was about to say "please let us still be in Nashville; we've been there for most of the episode and we already saw Nashville's given out last episode", but we're clearly not because there it goes, a Platinum Ticket. It's not that I find her bad; rather, I find her wholly unremarkable.


Kaitlyn from CA, 17, is an aspiring entertainment mogul; Kurtis Bell, 22, from Dallas TX, is a musician, and there was a duo before them. All are noes. Katy wants someone to make her believe again, so 20-year-old Aaron Westberry from Greenville, SC, will obviously be that person. He stocks produce. He's singing "2016" by Sammy Hunt(?). I wasn't impressed before he started singing and I'm still not impressed. Katy looks "horrified", and Luke looks confused. Okay, never mind, this isn't the one. Except, again, the writing on this show isn't good enough for that, so of course he's going through. "Fireflies" by Owl City in the background as they give him his yeses, which seems fitting because that's a very airy song. Aaron is very chill coming out of the room, and Ryan convinces him to react more.


Allegra Miles, 18, is from St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. They intersperse the judges' commentary with her audition, but she's an obvious yes. Wait, are we still in Nashville? Christian Guardino, 21, is from Long Island, the son of a Sicilian immigrant. He's singing Donny Hathaway's "A Song For You". It's good. I'm not sure if he's "current" enough to get the vote--think Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon a few years ago (not that he's as talented as JLH)--but he deserves a golden ticket. And he gets it.


Luke evidently doesn't know the lyrics to "Firework", leading to another Katy-Luke spat. Our final contestant of the day has envelopes for the judges as a token of their appreciation, to be opened when she's sent "to Hollywood or to Hollyhood". "Lady K", 25, from Montgomery, AL, now living in Tuskegee. Daughter of a young single mom, and she's the oldest of five siblings. Her brother committed suicide, and they needed to decide what took precedence, paying rent or paying for a funeral. She's singing Katy Perry's "Wide Awake". Since it's the last audition of the episode and has a sob story, naturally she's good. Katy says she reinvented the song. Fireworks display, leading to Katy singing her song.

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