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American Idol: NOLA Has Talent!

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American Idol headed to New Orleans for the next batch of auditions, and to my delight there was talent to be found! Now, we’re not talking like an overabundance of talent, but there were a few good voices that left me overall feeling pretty good.

My personal favorites from the auditions in New Orleans were Brett Loewenstern, Jacee Badeaux, and Sarah Sellers.

Sixteen-year-old Brett Loewenstern from Boca Raton, FL sang Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” His voice is fantastic. The kid has got some pipes. Plus,Brett Loewenstern he has this crazy awesome curly red hair. His look and his voice don’t seem like they would match up, but that’s what we all said about Clay Aiken back in season two. I like contestants like Loewenstern, because just when we are ready to judge a book by it’s cover, they just go ahead and surprise the heck out of you.

Another one of the contestant’s that I really enjoyed was 15-year-old Jacee Badeaux from Lafayette, LA. He sang Otis Redding’s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.” His voice is incredible for his age. That said, Badeaux being all of 15-years-old makes me wonder what happens if he goes far in the competition and his voice starts changing? I don’t know how well that would work in his favor.

I am concerned about Badeaux’s age. I’m not sure if lowering the age limit for Idol auditions was the best decision. I see the show’s motive behind it. They’re definitely looking for the Idol this year to be the next big thing. Badeaux just seems like a sweet kid, and I truly fear that he’s going to buckle under the pressure and stress of “Hollywood Week.” I know there have been younger contestants on the show before, including season six’s winner Jordin Sparks, who won when she was 17-years-old, but somehow they seemed a little more mentally prepared and ready to be thrust into the Idol machine.

My favorite of the night was 28-year-old Sarah Sellers from Richardson, TX. Sellers sang Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love.” This girl can sing. She had a subtle rock flare to her voice that I absolutely loved. She seems to have a pretty good personality and was able to joke around a bit with the judges, which I think is a good thing. I know we’ve just started the auditions, but definitely want to see Sarah Sellers in at least the semi-finals.

There were two contestants, 24-year-old Jacquelyn Dupree and 23-year-old Paris Tassin, who have the potential to do well as soon as they stop trying to be Carrie Underwood. They are both definitely country singers. Both ladies, especially Tassin seemed to try and project more twang into their voices to sound more like the former Idol winner. I think both ladies should come into “Hollywood Week” with their natural voices and just be themselves. It’s obvious that can sing well, they just need to embrace their own identities and not Underwood’s.

I love that Jennifer Lopez let her “Jenny from the Block” side of her out when she told contestants they weren’t going to be moving on in the competition. She finally has added the word “no” to her vocabulary. Way to go, J-Lo! I can see her judging style kind of coming together. She has the sweet and nurturing side to her, plus I think she’s going to be able to keep it real with the contestants, yet know when to filter her words as to not completely crush contestant’s spirits.

I definitely think this hour-long episode of auditions was so much better than the two-hour season premiere, and has left me actually excited for next week’s auditions.

What did you think about the New Orleans auditions Idol fans? Which contestants stood out to you? And do you think that Idol made a good decision by lowering the age limit to try out?

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About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is an Entertainment Writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has interviewed a variety of people from across the entertainment spectrum, including singer-songwriter/Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas, Andrew Dost from the Grammy Award-winning band fun., singer-songwriter Christina Perri, and acclaimed writer-director Derek Cianfrance.
  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jeromewetzeltv/ Jerome Wetzel

    I agree. I worry about the kids competing, too. I find it funny that New Orleans showed more talent in one hour than New Jersey could show in two. You think it was an editing trick? Or were there just more great singers? Plus, 51 golden tickets in New Jersey, 30+ in New Orleans. Is it just me, or are the judges going way too easy on them?