Auditions 2023: Round 1

So let’s talk about Idol auditions. In the past, I’ve alternated between saying a lot about the audition rounds and saying only a little. Right now I’m leaning towards saying only a little this season because we don’t learn very much about the Idolists from their auditions. We certainly learn much less than the judges because Idolists quite often sing several songs in their auditions rather than the one shot we see in the TV edit.

(A great example of this was Adam Lambert’s televised audition of him singing Bohemian Rhapsody. But his first unaired song was Michael Jackson’s Rock With You. And some of the conversations in the televised song occurred before he sang Rock With You rather than before Bohemian Rhapsody. Ah, the magic of editing.)

Rock With You

Bohemian Rhapsody

Still, I realize I will occasionally fall into a self-created trap of taking every opportunity to wax poetically explaining why some five-second snippet of a performance impressed these sensitive and very wise ears. So, we’ll see what happens as I slog through these early rounds. For this season’s auditions, I’ll (attempt to) only cite Idolists who fall into two categories (I love categories): Really Interested and Interested. As always, these evaluations are not my predictions of future results and are constantly subject to re-evaluation under the light of my withering musings. Kieran, dim the lights![1]

Really Interested

Haven Madison – If Katy can hyperbolically compare some guy to Shawn Mendes(!) and Harry Styles(!), then I’m fine when I wrote in my notes “Ellie Goulding meets Taylor Swift.” She sang an original song Fifteen, and in so doing did what I long for every teenage girl to do on Idol – sing songs about being a teenage girl!!!!


Colin Stough – I’m not a Lynyrd Skynyrd guy but I liked the Chris Stapleton quality of Colin’s voice on Skynyrd’s Simple Man.

Tyson Venegas – Whoa. This 17-year-old kid is TAL-EN-TED and as long as I’m living in the land of hyperbole, I was getting those Billy Joel (and Elton John) piano man vibes on Tyson’s rendition of Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind. I had written “Platinum Ticket” even before the judges gave it to him. I question/fear where he’ll find a place in today’s pop music but I’m intrigued and want to see more.

That’s it. That’s the list. Three people are enough for one round. We have a lot more auditions to see.

See you next week. I hope you get to listen to some good music. I know I will.

[1] Lighting designer Kieran Healy actually ended his 15-year run when Idol went on hiatus in 2016. And in reality, it was lighting programmer Harry Sangmeister who dimmed the lights.

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