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The Buzz with CCX - Season 21 Episode 1


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The theme of the open is "Idol's 21st birthday", so it's only appropriate that I always have a drink. Today is King St. Hops hard cider from Melick's Town Farm. Yes, you read that right--Melick's is a local farm, not a brewery, and up until my sister and brother-in-law gave us a six-pack of this last week I only knew them for their non-alcholic cider.


Haven Madison is up first. Her dad's the lead singer of a Christian band and he's going to be her accompaniment on guitar. Remember when contestants couldn't even play instruments themselves? She's 16, which is one more than the name of the original song she's performing. She's got an amazing voice and it's clear that she's getting a golden ticket from the judges' reaction--though from a meta standpoint, her being the first audition of the first episode kind of already guaranteed that. Also, that was a New Orleans audition, and now we're at Vegas auditions. Yeah, I'm surprised that we didn't go to commercial after the first auditioner of the first episode. Lucy Love from Holly Grove, AR is 28, and she's singing "I Heard It Through the Grapevine", and not only is she good, but before we officially get the yes, we cut to her in her hometown, where we learn she grew up without a father. So she's probably going to make it to the voting stages. We get a second song, "A Song For You" by Donny Hathaway--no, wait, now we get the first commercial break. So we've gotten a pimp piece, a second song, and a commercial break in the middle. I don't want to look up spoilers, but I'd be very surprised if she isn't in the Top 24 or however many we get to vote on this year.


She certainly deserves a golden ticket. I'll be up front, she's not the type of artist I'd be likely to vote for, but that's just musical preferences. She's clearly a very good artist in a genre that I don't really care about. Luke admits that he'd written her off, and he has more respect for his fellow judges for seeing her potential; Lionel actually thanks him after he gives his yes verdict. We've got a montage...of people who share a name with the judges. Lionel's namesake is a rapper who goes by "L-Rich", and Katy's is actually "Katey Parry", but Luke's is an exact match in spelling. None of them go through, though Luke gives other-Luke a yes. Then he jokes that he's quitting if a Ryan Seacrest walks through the door...and we cut to outside where Ryan does indeed meet a Ryan Secrest, who even shows her driver's license to him to prove it (middle name Elizabeth).


Colin Stough, 18, is from Amory, MS, and we see Amory long before we actually see the audition site. But that isn't surprising, because even without hearing his singing voice, I've got a good feeling just from his speaking voice that he's got a chance at being this year's potential country star as long as he avoids the pitfalls that befell a few last year. Actually, he's from Gattman, but apparently that's too small a town to even register on a map; they again just say "Amory" when showing his info. He's singing "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Given how obscure Amory is, how tiny must Gattman be? Of course, he goes through. His mother Nara was the one who signed him up, and they have him bring her in; she's a big fan of Luke's. He's so stunned, he's in tears. We go back to commercial.


Our next contestant, 21-year-old Lyric Medeiros, is from Honolulu, and her father was a singer, best known for "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You". She's singing "Love Me Like You Mean It" by Kelsi Ballerini. She sounds good, but Katy gets on her case for flying 10 hours to be "cute and safe" and says that right now she's going to be flying 10 hours back. She tries "Before He Cheats", and I don't think it's good. They're trying to bring out a "rough" side of her, and I don't think it's there. Lionel says it's a yes, but Luke says she's not ready. Katy says she wants Lyric to come up there and slap her across the face, but then says she's joking. Katy said she'd been a no the whole time, but something's just telling her to give her a shot. She goes through. And we're back in Amory, MS, where Colin is eating at a local burger joint, Bill's Hamburger's, and he shows off his Golden Ticket. Zachariah Smith, 19, is the grill cook and he mentions that he's going to Nashville to audition. It's a family-owned joint, apparently what Amory is best known for. He's singing John Mellencamp's "Hurts So Good", and Luke says he can burn his apron because he doesn't have to flip burgers any more; he's going to Hollywood! ...Wait, even if that incident in the burger joint happened, how do they have footage of it? Was Idol's camera crew just following Colin around at that point, or did they have them recreate it for the cameras? Because I find it hard to believe that someone would just happen to be recording him at that point. ...Does Idol send a camera crew to follow everyone who gets a Golden Ticket and only show us the footage corresponding to the ones who actually go deep, or do they already know who they're sending deep from auditions? ...I doubt it; it'd be too spoilery if they only sent camera crews after the Top 24, not to mention it'd destroy any illusion of fairness. So I guess they do prepare "pimp pieces" for everyone, even the ones they have no intention of ever showing, just to preserve the illusion of fairness.


Iam Tongi, 18, from Kahuku, HI, is singing "Monsters" by James Blunt. I think he's good, but it doesn't look like the judges agree. I could be misreading them though. ...I am. They're just caught up in the emotion of the song, which Iam dedicated to his recently deceased father. Luke's in tears, Lionel nearly was too.


Back in Las Vegas, where Katy enters the room dressed as a showgirl and accompanied by four real ones. Luke saw the shenanigan coming. These judges know each other by now. Michael Williams, 21, is from Mason, OH, and he's singing "Talking to the Moon" by Bruno Mars. Well, he's got the look to be the next American Idol; I have my doubts about his vocal prowess but it should get him through to Hollywood so hopefully he'll get cut before Top 24. He does go through, and Katy feels the need to reaffirm her love for her husband after Michael leaves the room--though I suppose he does look a bit like Katy's husband.


We're in Douglasville, GA, where Megan Danielle, 20, works as a waitress along with her mother. Her grandpa died last year and he was the most important person to her and was the one who convinced her to switch to Christian music. She's singing Lauren Daigle's "You Say", and it turns out Lauren was doing a show in Las Vegas the previous day and is going to surprise Megan after her audition. We're reminded once again that Lauren was on Idol in 2012. Ryan gets her to go in earlier and join Megan in singing. The judges were just as surprised as Megan was. Katy says that Grandpa Chuck would be proud, and Lauren's surprised because that was her grandpa's name too, and she says they're enjoying it up there together leading to Katy making a bad pun. We go to break...wait, what?


...We're going to be seeing an auditioner who was close friends with Season 19 runner-up Willie Spence, and he was supposed to be there to support her at her audition. Based on what she's told, to sing like Willie's still here...is Willie dead? ...Yeah, he is. October 11, 2022, in a car accident.


Tyson Venegas, 17, from Vancouver, BC, has a learning disability; he didn't even speak until he was 3. He's singing "New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel. My mom says she might like him more than Billy Joel on this song, which is high praise. It goes on longer than I'm used to us getting for an audition, but I'm not complaining; he is indeed good. ...Make that incredible. Lionel asks for validation that he's really only 17, because he's singing like a 45-year-old. His mother says that one of his first concerts was Lionel Richie and that he inspired him, and Lionel says that he's flipped the script and he's inspired them. My mother asks if he's getting the Platinum Ticket, and I tell her that I'm pretty sure that was specific to Season 20...but I was wrong, because he is indeed receiving a Platinum Ticket!


Our next contestant is Jack Nicora, 19, from Pittsburgh, and he's here with his parakeet Mango. They're both fans of doo-wop; Mango dances to doo-wop, his favorite song being "Rockin' Robin".  He's singing "In The Still of the Night (I'll Remember)" by The Five Satins. And for some reason there's another bird in the audition room? And Jack's not going through. Katy's chasing the bird around the room.


Ah, here we go. Kaya Monee' made it to Hollywood in Season 19 and was paired with Willie in the Duets Round. Three days before he passed, he told her that she needed to go back and that he'd go with her to the auditions. She'll be singing "I'm Here" from The Color Purple, which was the song they sang together in Season 19. Of course she returns to Hollywood...oh, and that's the end of the episode.

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