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The Buzz with CCX - Season 21 Episode 6


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Montage of contestants from the previous episodes. Kaeyra, 21, from Algonquin, IL, is singing Chris Stapleton's "Cold". Luke says she doesn't sound like anyone else, which is categorically untrue because she sounds very much like Miley Cyrus. That's a good thing. They put her through. Lionel's tripping over his words trying to agree with Katy. Montage of "too much talent", so we already know the next few contestants will all get yeses. Elise Christine, 18, from Issaquah, WA is singing "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"; Mom is disappointed that it's being attributed to Aretha instead of to Carole King. Sarah Macaroni, 24 from Carrollton, GA, is singing Demi Lovato's "Stone Cold"...kind of oversinging it. Jayna Elise, 22, from Washington, DC, is singing Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever". Tough song, and she nails it. All three go through.


Angry Orchard Crisp Apple. We learn that they have a guitarist on hand who has been in both Katy's backing band and Lionel's backing band. Nate Peck, 21, is a fan of eighties' music; he names his three favorite bands and I've never heard of any of them. He's got a mullet and he fronts a band called "Wanted". He's singing "Lightning Strikes Again" by one of those bands I'd never heard of. It's...not great. Luke wants to sing Whitesnake with him, and Nate's better on "Here I Go Again" than he was on the first song. Katy's gotten up on the piano, and she's not sure how she's going to get back out of that position. They ask him what type of singer he'd cover if he were to do some new stuff, and he admits he doesn't listen to much current rock. He's getting his shot. Montage of what to expect as we go into the break.


Mikenley Brown from New Castle, IN, is 17 and she's here with her father. She says she's "been through a lot" and breaks into tears. She was a victim of bullying in middle school because she was too "different" and ended up developing anorexia. She's singing Rihanna's "Love On the Brain", and of course it's beautiful because we got an extended story. She goes through.


Isaac Brown busks on Hollywood Boulevard. He's singing "golden hour" by...it sounded like he said "Jake", so maybe it's Drake? He follows it up with "Essence " by Wizkid ft. Tems. I like him. He knows what he's doing as an artist. He goes through, of course.


Montage of people inspired by contestants from the previous five seasons. Cam Amen was originally from Indianapolis, IN, but he moved to Omaha, NE, with his girlfriend. He's 27 and he grew up in foster care. He and his siblings were taken away from their mother; Cam left the program at age 18 and took care of his siblings (now ages 21 and 20). He's singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". He's nervous; his breath control is poor and he's actually pronouncing the word "you" properly even though it ruins the rhyming scheme because it has to rhyme with Hallelujah. They have him bring his girlfriend Erica in, which means they're definitely going to say yes. ...Oh. He's our final Platinum Ticket winner! Didn't see that coming.


Eccentrics montage. They all seem entertaining, but rightly all fail to go through. Sierra Harris, 20, from Lexington, MA, has a microphone shaped like a cooking spoon and is singing Heart's "Barracuda". Katy says that's a song to be sung "after six shots" and asks Sierra to sing "Firework". Yes, Katy's own song. She was trying to challenge Sierra. The judges think she's being too karaoke and she needs to take this seriously. Katy says "those songs are great, by great artists" and Luke interrupts her to call her out on praising herself. She says that it "was a big old cheesy no, but now it's a yes", and the other two judges also give her a yes.


Montage of people who need to find themselves. Phil Kane, 18, from Oklahoma is studying songwriting at Belmont University. He says he didn't know Ryan Seacrest was a real person because he only ever saw him on TV. He's singing one of his originals, "Osage County". He's definitely got something. Luke calls him a "country Jackson Brown". Katy loved his choices on the piano and the storytelling, and his authenticity. He wrote that song at age 16. Katy says that if he goes to that shiny place called Hollywood, he shouldn't try to compete with everyone else, he should just showcase himself. Up allegedly next, or possibly in half an hour when it's time for the finale unless that ends up being last week's finale part two, Oliver Steele, 25, from Mount Juliet, TN, the son of a professional guitarist.


Brooklyn from Brooklyn is in the audition when we come back, singing "I'm Still Standing" by Elton John. They love her piano playing, but the singing needs work. And now Fire's back, confirming that we're still about 20 minutes away from Oliver. Katy says she hardly even recognizes Fire. She's singing Adele's "Love in the Dark". Her voice is cracking a little, but it's still good. Lionel says he's still not sure, but he likes what she did, coming back stronger. Luke says she has to go through to become stronger. Lionel sees promise too, and gives her the yes. Luke does too, and of course, Katy was the lone yes last time so she makes it three.


Kaya Stewart, 22, is here, accompanied by her father Dave on guitar. Yes, Dave Stewart of the Eurhythmics. She's singing an original called "This Tattoo" that she and her father wrote together. Dave says that this is much more difficult than being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame--the Eurhythmics went into the Hall the same year Lionel did. Kaya's going through.


And now it's time for Oliver Steele. I wrote that even before the commercial ended, because I can read a clock and more importantly I can read the producers. Yep, we're coming down to the end. Luke asks if there's only two more, and an off-screen production assistant says there's only one more. Oliver mentions that Mount Juliet was the home of Charlie Daniels, and said that he wanted to play violin (or more accurately, fiddle) because of Charlie. Oliver's father Toby had a stroke that affected the left side of his body. Oliver's singing the Beatles' "In My Life", and of course it's beautiful and soulful, though I feel it was a waste of the pimp slot. Well, I guess the only other option in this episode was Cam Amen, but he was the Platinum Ticket recipient so they couldn't stick him at the end. Oliver wishes his dad could be the one playing for him. Katy asks what one of Toby's favorite songs was. Unfortunately given the natural inclination to compare contestants to those from previous seasons, the answer was Eric Clapton's "Change the World" and Oliver can't measure up to Dillon James. Normally I'd say that it's unfair to compare an audition to a rated performance, but Season 18 was a unique season, one where the contestants were singing not on the Hollywood soundstage with professional accompaniment, but in their own households. It's absolutely fair to compare an audition to a Season 18 performance. Oliver gets the ticket, as expected, and the announcement is given that next week we've got Sunday and Monday shows. Also, our alumni mentors are Clay Aiken, Justin Guarini, Jordin Sparks, Catie Turner, Phil Phillips, and David Archuleta.

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