‘American Idol’ Salt Lake City Auditions: Name That Tune!
Watching "American Idol's" Salt Lake City episode Wednesday night, I noticed two trends: Season 13 has contestants with the best stage names since Sundance Head and Normund Gentle, and it has enough guitars to make Season 9 look like that a cappella competition, "The Sing-Off."
First, the name game: In the course of Wednesday's two hours, we met singers with awesome surnames like Wolfe and Thrasher (and one whose last name was pronounced "Awful"); girls with awesome-er first names like Tiquila, Kassandra, Kylee, and Paisley; and one guy who just called himself "Fish." (No, he wasn't the lead singer of Marillion, though that would've been cool, too.) Come on, who wouldn't want to buy an album by someone named Paisley Van Patten or Austin Wolfe? Or even Julie Offill?
Second: many of these contestants, by various names, played guitars, proving that the "G" in "WGWG" can now stand for "Girl" as well. There were guitar players of all sizes, shapes, and colors in the SLC audition room this week. While this is the first "Idol" season that has allowed contestants to try out with guitars, it almost seems like guitar-playing is a requirement now. What a difference a season makes.
Not that I'm complaining, of course. Thirty golden tickets were doled out in Salt Lake, mostly to six-string-strummers, and many of those contestants, by any name, were real ones to watch. These were the episode's standout auditions:
Austin Wolfe, 16 – First of all, this above-mentioned girl had the best name of the night. Maybe the Best. Name. Ever. "Why can't I have that name? That's just a showbiz name," said judge Harry Connick Jr. And Austin had a showbiz voice to match. Her performance of Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" was sexy, earthy, and intense without being over-the-top, and the judges were impressed. Jennifer Lopez called Austin "the whole package," and Harry compared her to Paramore's Hayley Williams. To paraphrase Paramore's latest hit, they were into her.
Kylee Adamson, 18 – A real-life lumberjack, Kylee came in swinging with the Alison Krauss version of "When You Say Nothing at All," and the judges had plenty of positive things to say about her sweet country twang and spunky personality. "You had me immediately," proclaimed Keith Urban. Let's see now if this lumberjack can avoid getting the ax in Hollywood. (Sorry. Couldn't resist.)