American Idol returns with promising talent
Published: Monday, January 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 21, 2013 23:01
American Idol is back for its 12th season on Fox, and its two-hour, two-night premiere definitely kept this viewer entertained.
Idol now has a panel of four judges, as opposed to the three they have had in the previous 11 seasons, with Randy Jackson as the only original judge left. Added to the panel is best-selling female artist of all time Mariah Carey, four-time Grammy award winner Keith Urban and Billboard’s 2011 Rising Star Nicki Minaj. This panel of judges is diverse and adds to the variety of the competition.
Wednesday was the first night of the premiere and showed auditions in New York City. Only 41 people received the coveted Hollywood golden ticket.
One memorable audition was Ashlee Feliciano, a 21 year old with a low-register and large family. Her parents have three biological children and have since adopted four children with medical complexities. Ashlee’s family got to sit in on her audition, hearing all four judges say “yes” and sending her to Hollywood.
Shira Gavrielov, 23-year-old singer/songwriter and Israel native, wowed the judges with her performance of “Valerie” and left the audition with a ticket to Hollywood.
Thursday was the second night of the premiere. A few singers had the judges in tears. Kez Ban, an amateur fire performer, stole the show with her genuine qualities and soulful voice. Curtis Finch Jr., a 24-year-old tutor, had Nicki Minaj really enjoying his song, as she kept her eyes shut and felt his performance. Arguably, the most memorable audition was that of 21-year-old Cuba native Lazaro Arbos. He introduced himself slowly due to a stutter he has had since age six. When Mariah Carey asked if it was “something he was working on,” he responded with, “It’s a rollercoaster.” For his audition, Arbos sang Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” a favorite of all four judges. While singing, his stutter was gone, and his voice was absolutely stunning. Unanimously, he was sent to Hollywood, along with Kez, Curtis, and 44 others to round out Chicago auditions.
Both Wednesday and Thursday’s shows did have one thing in common – Minaj hitting on just about every man who walked through the door and the undeniable tension between Mariah and Nicki. There have been reports of the two disagreeing on set, and the sarcasm and fake smiles towards one another did not go unnoticed. During one singer’s audition, Mariah made the comment, “You and I are Cinderella and Nicki is the evil stepsister.” Nicki later suggested to one singer that their range was “Better than Mariah’s, and she has the best range in the world!”
If you’re not watching for the talent or the feuding celebrity divas, you are more than likely watching for Keith Urban and his sexy accent. He has a spirited presence and balances the judges panel. Randy Jackson is, of course, full of “yo”s and “dawg”s this season as well. If you missed the premiere, don’t worry; you can go back and view all of Ryan Seacrest’s tweets. They are pretty much a play-by-play of both episodes. You could also watch the recap on AmericanIdol.com. Tune in every Wednesday and Thursday night to keep up with those competing to be the next American Idol.