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The Buzz with CCX - Season 20 Episode 5


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Here we are again, presumably the last of the audition episodes since the Oscars are next week giving us, theoretically, a week off. I'm sad that there even is a fifth episode, but I guess it's obvious since we're only at 2/3 Platinum Tickets awarded. Tonight's beer pick is Big Wave Golden Ale from Kona Brewing Company. Tobias Hill, 26, from Como, NC, is a church music director and high school music teacher and chorus director. Katy thinks he raided the male judges' wardrobe. He's doing "Knocks Me Off My Feet" by Stevie Wonder, and it's obvious the moment he starts singing that he goes through because he introduced himself to the judges using his last name but it was missing from the on-screen graphic, which means that he decides to go the mononym route between the audition and Hollywood. That said, it doesn't take more than a few notes for me to agree with them. Then we get him dancing to "Uptown Funk" (but not singing it), and Luke asks him if he knows the lyrics. He doesn't. Luke attempts to sing it, but he apparently doesn't really know them, either. Luke says it's not 100%, but he deserves to be thrown into the mix. Lionel thinks he's already at 125. He goes through. As we go to break, we get a montage of things I'm not looking forward to seeing in full.


Morgan Gruber, 17, from Fombell, PA, is singing "Can't Be Love" by...hell if I know; I'm not familiar with it and I don't think I knew the artist so my mind didn't parse it, like when you're hearing a foreign language. She says she's not the type to worry about getting dirty--in fact, based on her description of herself, I initially thought the town name might have been "Farmville". She's very soulful. She finally decided to audition because her grandmother, who was the one who always encouraged her, recently passed away of ovarian cancer. Katy and Luke both wrote down "Top 20". Oh, we have a Top 20 this year. That...feels like a step backwards...and yet, as we go to commercial, it also seems kind of obvious, because it's Season 20. Only question is, how will the eliminations progress from there?


Another Luke fan here. Or a few, really. Wait, this person's under the age limit? She looks like she's in her early forties at least, by which I mean she was in her early forties when she stopped allowing herself to age. Her time frame suggests that she is young enough, though, barely. Kimmie Carafa, 25, from Ohio. She's singing "How Do I Live", from Con Air, and she misses the high note but otherwise it's pretty good. Katy doesn't seem to think she can compete at the level needed. It's a no from Lionel, a no from Katy, a no from Luke.


Oh, we've got another couple coming in, both with guitars. "Fast Forever," their original song. Kaylin Robinson of Philadelphia, PA and Matt Gorman of Raleigh, NC, both 23. Is Kaylin even playing her guitar? It's basically a prop for her, and she's probably the weaker singer, at least on the solo, though she sounds good when they're both singing. Matt might be able to go through, but I think they're better as a duo than either is as a solo act. The judges seem to think Kaylin stood out more...oh wow, they're comparing her to the Nashville Platinum Ticket recipient! Katy and Luke give Matt his noes, and then Lionel starts Kaylin's judging and she gets three yeses. I don't agree with this; I think they belong on AGT where they can actually compete as a duet.


I don't get back from the bathroom in time for the start of the next contestant, but it doesn't sound like I'm missing much. But she's got a sob story; her father abandoned her and her mother when she was young. But her Twitter handle's on the screen so I guess she's going through. Saylor Woodmansee. Oh yeah, there's nothing but positivity here. She gets three yeses. We go back to break,


Schyler Dixon, 27, from Nashville, TN, is singing Maryn Morris's "My Church", and it's not very good, but the bigger story is a stage hand that keeps f***ing things up...but it turns out the entire thing's a prank; the contestant was fake and the stagehand is Luke's wife. Katy was in on it; Lionel wasn't. Next up we have Cameron Kantloops from Whitcomb, BC...or was it Cameron Whitcomb from Kantloops, BC? Is "Kantloops" even correct? It is Cameron Whitcomb, 18. He's singing Waylon Jennings's "Rock Salt and Nails", and it's good. They think he's very unpolished, and are not surprised to learn that he's never sung in public before. Lionel says it's a no for now, but Katy thinks he has potential, and Luke likes him. It's two yeses and a golden ticket.


Emyrson Flora, 16, of Cleveland, OH...I think she's unpolished. I think her voice is strong, but it doesn't sound good. The judges applaud. They do seem to feel a little uncertain, but again, her Twitter handle's on the screen so it's no surprise that they "roll on the raw". We get another contestant before the break, and he was homeless out in Atlanta but now he lives in LA and he has a home. Sir Blayke, 28, from Chicago, IL, singing "Die" by Ed Sheeran. Yeah, he's a yes. Make that a big yes! Consider him one of my early favorites. They make him sing a second song, acapella, and more subdued. I don't like this one as much. Luke seems unsure he belongs, but once again, the editing team has failed at building suspense yet again. Oh, the second song was an original! Lionel also seems uncertain, and Katy says she wanted to connect more with him. It sounds like a no. From Luke, it is a no. Sir says he's a quick story, begging Lionel. He gets the yes from Lionel, putting it all on Katy. Man, I'm glad the editing team sucks so much. Katy says "bring it". It's a yes.


We've got someone who brought their dog in...did the human even audition? Jessarae, 26, from Santa Monica, CA sings James Morrison's "Wonderful World"; Kira Rizavi, 20, from New York, NY sings...something; and Marlene Mendoza, 28, from the Bronx, does a death metal version of Imagine Dragons' "Believer". All three are rightfully going home. And now we've got a dog groomer from Simi Valley, CA; Carly Mickeal, 23. Her dad's a musician, who will be playing piano for her. She's singing "Your Song" by Elton John. She definitely deserves a golden ticket. Yep, there's the Twitter handle on screen as she finishes singing. We get dog breeds assigned to the judges, and then she gets her three yeses.


Jay Copeland, 23, from Salsbury, MD, was a music major, going to grad school for acting, but was told he had to choose one or the other so he dropped out to go for Idol. He's singing "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" by Stevie Wonder. There's no suspense, even without the Twitter handle (though it probably was there and I missed it). The judges love him. Oh, wait, there's still a surprise--he's the last Platinum Ticket recipient! Ah, so he didn't get the Twitter handle on screen before, because here it is now with #PlatinumTicket. This is the one from the Austin auditions.


And...the final audition! So says Luke, and the clock says he's right. Skyler Maxey-Wert, 25, is from Lancaster, PA, but he lives in Dresden, Germany, due to his job as a ballet dancer. He posted some videos on his social media and Brandon Boyd from Incubus reached out to him and suggested he audition. Well okay then. His parents are entertainers too; his dad's a mime. He's singing "For All We Know" by Donny Hathaway. Huh, a final audition without an emotional story. Just as good, though. Very good; another potential early favorite. The judges almost forget to give him his judgment. And then Ryan says next week is Hollywood Week...and there will be shows Sunday and Monday? But Sunday's the Oscars!

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