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The Buzz with CCX - Season 20 Episode 3


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We open on a single keyboardist somewhere out in the wild, she starts singing "Beggin'", and then when we look back to the wider angle there's an entire marching band. And then once the intro is over, we're...back in Nashville again? Have we been anywhere other than Nashville? Tristen Gresset from Pell City, AL, is 17, though he looks older--and the fact that the judge he keys in on as being overwhelmed to meet is Lionel also makes him seem older. And the fact that he picks a Billy Joel song--"Piano Man", although that's one instrument he isn't playing, as he accompanies himself not only on guitar but also on harmonica. He's...a character. I don't dislike him; the judges feel like he's doing too much. He asks if they'd like him to dial it down, and they give him a chance for a second song. "Colors" by the Black Keys. He's going to Hollywood, right? Luke seems confused. I'm rooting for this guy. They interrupt him to give more advice, but...it's three yeses! Well done.


Today's pull from the beer gacha is Golden Road Brewing Company's Hefe Weizen. I have no clue what was going on when we got back; I thought maybe we were in a "failure" montage but apparently the non-judge in the room was a staff member?. Cadence Baker, 18, from Muscle Shoals, AL, is the granddaughter of Gary Baker, who wrote "I Swear"; her father is a musician, too. She's singing Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight". It sounds good to me, and apparently this is a tough song because some overall highly rated finalists suffered some of their worst WNTS ratings on this song. Yeah, Katy confirms it, saying that a lot of contestants say they're going to sing that song and she's thinking "see yourself to the door". Luke breaks out the "potential Top 10 material", and I don't disagree with him; 


Dontrell Briggs, 26, is from Maxton, NC. He brings in a hand-knitted blanket depicting his godmother, Betty Morrisson, who died on April 25, 2021 of sarcoidosis. He's singing "For Your Glory" by Tasha Coe. ...Abstain. To me, it just sounds like yelling passionately, but volume is a big part of gospel and as someone who isn't terribly religious (and the religion that I'm not terribly observant of isn't Christianity), that genre really does nothing for me. Luckily, it turns out maybe it's not me; the reviews are quite mixed. Lionel gives him a yes, but Katy gives him a no, and Luke's conflicted. Dontrell sings another song; "Tennessee Whiskey"...and it sends him to Hollywood, when to me, I felt like it confirmed that he didn't deserve to head onwards. Ah well, he'll probably be an early cut.


"Unique talent" montage. Not worth talking about. 21-year-old Abigail Brooks of Castle Rock, CO, works at a coffee shop and when the customers are gone, she sings into the handle of the broom. She calls herself an old soul...and yeah, she mentions the first time she heard Barbra Streisand, she was hooked. The judges manage to get a broom for her. She's singing "Vincent" by Don McClean. It works. Luke predicts she wins Disney Night, but isn't sure if her style as a whole is going to win American Idol. Of course she goes through.


Dakota Hayden of Fordsville, KY is 17, and he's a huge country fan; Katy even says he looks like he could be Luke's son. He's way too unpolished though. Luke wants him to try his song again acapella, and it...doesn't really help, but they put his Twitter up on the screen so I guess he's going through. Lionel leads off his review with "we found someone". Katy calls him "raw and young", though, so maybe...nope, she said "Top 10 material". It's three yeses, which is three more than I expected from that performance. Then I zoned out, but it's fine because the next person isn't going to Hollywood.


We've got two people meeting in the lobby who work in the funeral business. 18-year-old Emily Faith from Kingfisher, OK is a country singer-songwriter, but also works as a cosmetologist at her family's funeral home, while 19-year-old from Donovan Diaz from Herford, TX is a funeral director. Emily's up first and she's good, if a little shouty. She goes through. Donovan takes me off guard with his singing voice; his speaking voice matches his appearance (a bit flamboyant), but his singing voice is classic country. Surprisingly, he doesn't go through. Also, the judges seem to be haunted.


Mark Osborne, 26, is from Bedford County, VA. He grew disillusioned with music for a time, but he couldn't stay away from it. Lionel notes that they have very similar mustaches. He goes to Hollywood, and well deserved.


More pimping of non-winners, though at least it's someone who came close, Season 16 third-place finisher Gabby Barrett. Ryleigh Madison, 16, is from Whiteville, NC, and her accent is thick enough that only Luke is able to properly parse that it's not "Whatville". She's singing Gabby's "The Good Ones", and she's amazing. This should be a deep run. She goes through.


It's 10 minutes to the end, so we're due for our sad/inspirational story. Today's is Sam Finelli, 28, of Peachtree Corners, GA, who has autism. He's singing "Rainbow" by Kacey Musgraves, and despite his nerves, he's very good.

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