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The Buzz with CCX - Season 20 Episode 7


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A two-hour episode without any chance to use commercial breaks to catch up on my inability to type as quickly as I think? Sign me up! Vodka and cranberry today, the old standby. Two hours means...multiple rounds, maybe? Probably. Yep...nope. According to Ryan, there are only two rounds of Hollywood Week--the genre challenge and the duets. And we've already got our alums here--Ruben, Jordin, Cookie, Haley, Lauren--and here's another reminder that there are three contestants watching the genre challenge with a free pass to the duets round, one of who I don't think belongs in Hollywood at all. The Country singers are up first, mentored by Lauren Alaina. There were six genres, so I probably missed an ex-contestant. Country, Soul, R&B, Indie, Rock, and Pop. Okay, I think Ruben's probably Soul, and obviously Cookie's the rocker and Haley's Indie. So that leaves Jordin as either R&B or Pop, I think the former. First up is Mike Parker, 27, singing "Burning House" by Cam. He does quite adequately, but I'm distracted on multiple counts, one of which is actually Idol-related. Kaylin Roberson's up next, I seem to remember really liking her audition. This is...fine but not outstanding. Olivia Faye from Murray, KY is up next and she's the best one I've heard so far but I don't remember that name from auditions. Sarahbeth Tate, 24, from Fort Collins, CO is up next, singing "To Love Somebody", and it's angelic. They've been showing Kelsie Dolin this whole time, and show her audition. She lacks confidence, which is sad because she's got a beautiful voice. Lauren's a fan, though, and is trying to encourage her (by the way, despite being a Season 10 contestant, Lauren's still younger than the oldest contestants here). Oh dear, the mic's shaking in her hands before she even starts. We go to our first break.


Ah yes, that's right, these episodes tend to replay the same thing just before and just after the commercial to pad it out. She starts singing and suddenly, she's back to the beautiful singer I remember from auditions. Luke points out that she's never had a mic before. All of the people who we saw sing were called forward and continue on. And Ruben's the R&B singer...and he looks good! I think he's thinner than his competition days. Up first is Zaréh, who already has an Idol alum mentor at home, singing Adele's "One and Only". She thinks she missed a cue, but did well enough. Now we see someone who doesn't sound good in practice--Tobias, singing "Back at One" by Brian McKnight. It's better than the practice, but not good enough imo. Katyrah Love. who gets a little more backstory shown so she's probably a Top 24 member. Well, she sings well enough to get past this round, that's for sure--she even gets her fellow contestants to applaud her. "Saving All My Love For You". Katyrah and Tobias move forward and Zaréh goes home. I'm confused, because I didn't like him and I thought neither did Mom, but then she's clapping and when I tell her that the one we didn't like went through, she said that she liked him; she thought the judges didn't.


Up next is the Indie/Folk group...ah, mentored by Lee DeWyze. That means Haley's the Soul singer (also appropriate) and Jordin's the Pop singer. One of these days, I need to go on YouTube and watch Season 9. Up first is Leah Marlene, the "weirdo from Normal (IL)", singing "Sk8r Boi" by Avril Lavigne. That's...not folk. Well,it is the way she's doing it. Quirky. I like it. And yes, a Third Epoch winner like Lee can certainly appreciate the creativity. We get four more singers' snippers without names on screen, and then someone who's getting to address the camera; he only got yeses from Katy and Lionel at auditions, rather than all three. Fritz Hager, 22, of Tyler TX. I know this song, and I love this rendition. "Unsteady". They show Leah again in the audience looking like she might be in love. Leah and Fritz both get their names called and go through.


And yes, Haley's our Soul representative. Beautiful as always. We get two contestants talking. Danielle Finn, 17, of Los Angeles, CA, auditioned because of her grandfather; they always watched the show together, but now he has Alzheimer's. She's singing "Easy On Me" by Adele. And you wonder why I was a little uncertain about the line between Soul and R&B. Danielle is amazing. Christian Guardino has nerves...he's got Lieber's congenital amylosis, a condition that inevitably leads to blindness, but at age 13, he had an experimental gene therapy that gave him a lot of his sight back. He's singing "My Future" (or more likely, "my future") by Billie Eilish. He's almost certainly going through to the next round. Both of them do indeed go through.


And now it's Rock time, mentored by David Cook. Cole Hallman, 22, of Manasquan, NJ, is performing Billy Joel's "Vienna". Not exactly the first thing I'd think of for our Rock session. But he's going through--we don't even see anyone else. This bodes ill for our rockers.


We come back to Katy Perry performing "Teenage Dream", and apparently splitting her pants. And now it's a line of under-18 Pop singers. First up is Emyrson Flora, 16, whose audition we see again and she was incredible. First to be allowed to speak, that is. Morgan Gruber, 17, is doing "Anyone" by Demi Lovato and she's good. And now it's Emyrson's turn, she's back at the piano. Truly amazing. With each talented female singer we see, I get more and more angry that Kenedi Anderson is still in the competition--and to bring it home, they bring up the Platinum Ticket winners again. Ryan asks Huntergirl her opinions of the Genre Challenge so far.


Back to the Country crew. "They've got no beef here!" Oh, wait, we've got another alum here, reigning champion Chayce Beckham! Who's doing a performance of his winner single. Ryleigh Madison, 16, is overwhelmed to meet Lauren--who understands perfectly because she was the same age when she was on the show and reacted the same way to meeting Carrie. She thanks Ryleigh for making her feel like Carrie. She's singing "Crazy" and she's amazing. Next is Noah Thompson, whose audition at the Austin auditions is shown--ah, yes, he's the one whose friend signed him up. He has a seven-month-old son. He, too, is singing "Burning House". I think it's better than Mike's was. The contestants with Platinum Tickets seem to be looking nervous. We just hear "all of you are going forward", and it does look like that includes the people who we didn't see because there are a lot of happy-looking people.


Oh, no, wait, Jordin is a mentor for the R&B singers, too. Did Pop have a mentor? We're reintroduced to Sir Blayke, who was homeless for a time. He's singing Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors", and he deserves to go through; he's amazing. A bunch of people being shown...are we back to Pop genre? Ava Maybee...is the daughter of Chad Smith, drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers?! And this was someone buried on the after-Oscar bonus episode? She's singing "Roxanne" by the Police, and it's a more soulful performance than the original. I have no clue what genre we're in any more. Yeah, we're in Pop after all. I guess Sir classified himself as Pop for some reason, too. Last in this Pop line is autistic Sam Finelli singing "Say Something", and WHOA! This is a powerful performance. All three of the ones we saw are going through...no, wait, Sam isn't! Oh, and a montage of others who are going home--Delaney Renee, Luke Taylor, Mark Osborne, and one other but they're going faster than I can process names. We rewind to catch the other name that was mentioned as going through, and it's someone named "Jenna". Our designated fodder for Top 24, maybe?


Soul up next; Kevin Gullage is a bit tired and having trouble with his piano playing...or maybe it was a bit, because "I'm So Tired" are the first three words of his song. Katy responds that she's "Wide Awake". Cadence Baker, 18, from Muscle Shoals, AL, is nervous being away from home. Despite still being obviously teary-eyed, she sounds good; I'm unfamiliar with the song so I don't know if she's on pitch or not. Next is Tristen Gresset, 17, from Pell City, AL. who was thought to be too over-the-top. I do remember liking him. And he does dial it back. Lionel notices that he took their criticism into consideration, though Luke's still unsure. All six of the people on the stage are still alive.


Last segment. Taylor Fagins and Lady K are still in it, as are Betty Maxwell and Elli Rowe, and Sam Moss and Haley Slaton, and Allegra Myles and Dakota Hayden. They must not have licenses for those contestants' song choices. Pop Genre again. Jacob Moran, 28, of Dansville, MI has been to the Hollywood Round before. Also we have Danielle Clavell, 21, of Queens, NY--she was from the previous show of bonus auditioners, right? And now it's Douglas Mills Jr., who I seem to remember thinking was an early favorite and I still do. Luke thinks he wasn't as good as his audition and Katy agrees he's scared. Oh, no wait, Nicolina was the one who I was afraid wouldn't survive the voters! Maybe. Nah, I think it was Kelsie. No, it was definitely Nicolina, because her being Canadian was another thing I thought might not play well with American Idol voters. Well, the crowd loves her. Katy seems in awe. We only see the four of them on stage. Jacob steps forward and so does Douglas. Front row goes through. So does back row. And now the three Platinum Ticket winners come out to perform "Don't Stop Believin'", and...Kenedi's actually the best of the three of them? Didn't see that coming. Though none of them come anywhere near a certain 25-rated performance from Season 16 (seriously, I don't know why everyone else hated that). But Katy says they've got some curveballs...oh. The judges get to pick the duets...with three exceptions. The Platinum Ticket winners get to pick their own partners, and then the judges pair everyone else up.

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