CB’s Open Mic: American Idol Recap of Season 11, Episode 2 (Pittsburgh Auditions)

Welcome to another edition of CB’s Open Mic. I had so much fun yesterday that I figured I’d give this whole American Idol recap thing another whirl.

Please note: I’ll be commenting mostly on the good auditions only, since I feel there is no need to belabor the point on the bad ones:

Pittsburgh, the City of Champions? Not this year! (Go Giants!)

Heejun Han, 25, How Am I Supposed to Live Without You — This is the first don’t judge a book by its cover / future makeover candidate contestant of Season 11, with a conversationally awkward Heejun stunning the judges when he sang because he sounded more like Michael Bolton than William Hung. I’ll admit it, he surprised me too. Heejun Han is handed a ticket to Hollywood.

Reed Grimm, 26, Family Matters Theme (and I am marking out!) — I don’t even think I clearly heard all of Reed’s performance because I was so enamored with his choice of song (and I know somewhere, Reginald VelJohnson is smiling). Looking back on it now, Reed could have also gone the Tossed Salad and Scambled Eggs (Frasier theme song) route, too. Either way… Reed is anything but grim as he makes it through.

Patricia Bell, 23 — You know why Patricia needed her sister to “plank” during her performance? Because she’s as generic as they come, and to me Patricia is the least memorable contestant so far. The judges say yes, but I have my reservations.

Programming Note: If you like reading what I have to say here,  perhaps you’ll also like hearing all of my Idol Thoughts as well. Check out the S’mores American Idol Radio Show, available right here, right now on the web at http://www.smoresradioshow.com and also  through iTunes. New episodes are posted weekly all Idol season long, and we’d love to have you join in on the fun along with our thousands of listeners!

Creighton Fraker, 28 — Creighton sang an original song, then a second song, and then he he either finished the second song or sang something new again. I think we get it, you can sing, though I am NOT as impressed as the judges were with his voice (I thought it was a very poor man’s Adam Levine, if that). Besides, when J-Lo says you sound like Jamiroquai, that’s all well and good, you know, for 1997. Creighton collects a ticket.

Eben Franckewitz, 15, Ain’t No Sunshine — Great, a Bieber clone/knockoff, which is exactly what the music world does not need since there is already one of him and that is more than enough. Undoubtedly, the judges say yes.

Travis Orlando, 17, Isn’t She Lovely — Travis auditioned last year, his mom walked out on him and he was forced to drop out of high school. He’s now been living in and out of shelters with his dad (who is on dialysis) and his brother (who is in college). Ouch, not cool mom. Travis can sing well enough to get another shot in Hollywood, and he surely has my sentimental vote. I still don’t think that will take him all the way to the semifinals, but I hope it does as long as he shines vocally in Hollywood. Travis gets a second chance.

Day 2 begins, and J-Lo’s late? I wonder if they dock her paycheck a few grand for that, which is what she makes per minute these days.

Erika Van Pelt, 25, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow — FINALLY, a contestant engages me with her VOICE. I had to actually stop writing as soon as I heard Erika’s first few notes, and she rewarded me with an EXCELLENT rendition of this Carole King classic that sounded smooth as silk. The judges are an ALL CAPS YES, and I feel like Season 11 has finally begun.

A Tale of Two Tylers? Last year, I loved Steven Tyler’s contributions to the pre-taped rounds. However, he really lost his way during the live shows (due to the lack of editing, no doubt), and I wonder if that will happen again this year.

Shane Bruce, 19, Hallelujah — Does Shane really only know this Jeff Buckley ballad (and Idol staple) as the song from Shrek?! WOW. To my surprise, we see an actual unanimous NO for the coal-miner. 

Hallie Day, 24, I Will Survive — I liked, but didn’t love, this rendition. Something about the way Hallie enunciated the words of the song kind of grated against my ears here, so I definitely need to see more from her before offering up even a mild endorsement.

I won’t be here on Sunday for a live recap of audition episode 3, due to more pressing matters (NFC Championship Game!). I will be back next week on Wednesday for Audition episode 4.

That’s it from me — CB.

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