Feb 6, 2012


Finally St. Louis, the gateway to the west and the last top on the never ending American Idol audition tour.  The city of St. Louis is famous for the “Gateway Arch”, and Season 4 American Idol winner, Carrie Underwood. While we might not find another Carrie Underwood here today, there were a couple of good singers that might be worth watching as American Idol moves to Hollywood.

By now, you know the drill! Listed below is a recap of my favorite auditions.

Johnny Keyser is a good looking 22 year old waiter and student from Pompano Beach, Florida. Johnny’s parents were divorced when he was three years old. Raised by his father, Johnny and his father are more than just father and son, they are more like brothers and best friends. Johnny sings a smoking version of Sam Cooke’s “Change Is Gonna Come”, and the judges absolutely love him. Every time he tries to stop the judges tell him to keep singing. JLo tells him, “You know you’re gonna be a star, right?” Without a formal vote, Jennifer declares “You’re off to Hollywood”, and he was.

Rachelle Lamb is a 26 year old Country singer from Mountain View, Missouri who is currently going through a divorce. She has a beautiful daughter named Madison who she brought along for the audition. In a familiar, but moving story, Rachelle tells the judges that her husband “held me back and kept her from pursuing her dream”. She sings a good version of “Find Somebody New,” from Faith Hill. She has a good voice and personality and easily won over the hearts of the judges and got her “Golden Ticket”.

Reis Kloeckener is a 20 year old from St Louis, Missouri who was bullied during his first three years of high school. It got so bad he considered dropping out of school. In his senior year, Reis joined the school choir and that move changed his life. Singing is the choir, he made new friends and found his lost confidence. He sang a touching version of “Lean on Me”, that Steven Tyler said “Was so beautiful you made me cry.” Tyler appeared to be genuinely touched by the performance. With his cute ‘boy band’ looks and voice he will definitely be a favorite of the young girls. If he can hold up to the intense pressure of “Hollywood Week” he could surprise.

Ethan Jones is a handsome 22 year old high school dropout from Pontoon Beach, Illinois. He quit school to become a full-time musician with his Dad. Unfortunately, Ethan’s dad turned to drugs and alcohol and is now in rehab. Ethan’s story seemed to touch a chord with Steven Tyler, who has suffered with his own substance abuse problems. Ethan sings a terrific version of Edwin Mccain’s, “I’ll Be”, and his performance wow’s the judges. He has a great voice and could be another one worth watching. In a unanimous vote, Ethan is off to Hollywood. Tyler even tells Ethan, he’d like to meet his Dad when he gets out and recovers.

Lauren Gray is a 22 year old waitress from Hardy, Arkansas. Her family runs their own “One Stop Wedding Shop”, and she also performs in her Dad’s southern rock band. She sings a good version of Adele’s, “One and Only.” Less than half way through the song the judges are raving about her performance. In a unanimous vote, she is off to Hollywood. I really liked her. While her voice wasn’t perfect it was definitely enjoyable. She has a real good vibe and was my favorite audition of the night. At the end of the St Louis auditions, JLo says two words to describe those auditions and those two words were “Lauren Gray.”

Thank God American Idol Season 11 auditions are now over. While I was happy when the season kicked off, after four long audition shows, put a fork in me, I’m done!

Unfortunately, we still have three more shows to go. Now it is on to Hollywood week. With a record 300 plus “Golden Ticket”, winners it is going to be crazy. Seeing less than 50 of those “Golden Ticket”, performances on the 7 audition shows it is impossible to pick a favorite, but here is a list of people that I will be watching closely during Hollywood Week: Shannon Magrane (Savannah), Phil Phillips (Savannah),  Gabi Carrubba (Savannah),  Kyle Crews (San Diego), Jairon Jackson (Aspen), Eben Franckewitz (Pittsburgh), Baylie Brown (Galveston), Cortez Shaw (Galveston),  Britnee Kellogg (Portland),  Johnny Keyser (St. Louis),  Reis Kloeckener (St. Louis),  Lauren Gray (St. Louis).

It’s off to Hollywood!!!