Sunday, November 13, 2011

#85 Casey Abrams

Next on my American Idol finalist countdown is Casey Abrams. He landed in sixth place on American Idol season 10, five weeks after being saved by the judges. I think Pia Toscano was more worthy of the judges' save than he was. His musical influences are Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Oscar Peterson, and James Taylor as well as Marshall Hawkins, the head of the jazz department at Idyllwild Arts Academy.

Casey Abrams was born to Pam Pierce and Ira Abrams on February 12, 1991, the day before season 7 semifinalist AlexandrĂ©a Lushington was born, in Austin, Texas. He spent his childhood in Chicago, Illinois, first and then in Wilmette, Illinois, where he attended McKenzie Elementary School.

Abrams later relocated to Idyllwild, California, and attended middle school and high school there. He was a student at Idyllwild Arts Academy in Idyllwild, California, where his father teaches film production. At Idyllwild Arts, he studied classical bass instruction and improvisation, and participted in the jazz ensembles, gaining a foundation in music history, piano, and jazz piano, and learning to compose film scores.

After graduating from Idyllwild Arts Academy in 2009, Abrams attended University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, majoring in music. He worked as a film camp counselor at Idyllwild Arts Summer Camp prior to his appearance on American Idol.

Abrams suffers from ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory disease which causes ulceration and inflammation of the colon, and that occasionally requires blood transfusions, which resulted in his having been hospitalized while on American Idol.

Abrams auditioned for American Idol season 10 in Austin, Texas, with the song "I Don't Need No Doctor" by Ray Charles. During Hollywood Round Part 1, he performed "Lullaby of Birdland" by Ella Fitzgerald. During Hollywood Round Part 2, his group performed "Get Ready" by The Temptations. During Hollywood Round Part 3, Abrams performed "Georgia on My Mind" by Hoagy Carmichael. During Las Vegas Round, his group performed "A Hard Day's Night" by The Beatles. Abrams was selected as one of the top 24 semifinalists, but two days before he was due to perform for the semifinal round, he suffered severe stomach pains and was rushed to the hospital.  He was well enough to perform on performance night, when he performed "I Put a Spell on You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and he was one of the five male vote receivers to advance to the top 13. However, after performing "With a Little Help from My Friends" by The Beatles, he missed the top 13 results show due to his illness. During top 12 week, he performed "Smells Like a Teen Spirit" by Nirvana. During top 11a week, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" by The Miracles. He was the lowest vote receiver on the top 11a result show, but was saved by the judges; they chose to save him immediately, stopping his supposedly last performance on the show, an encore of "I Don't Need No Doctor", halfway through it. He is the third finalist to be saved by the judges in three seasons. During top 11b week, he performed "Your Song" by Elton John. During top 9 week, he performed "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" by Creedence Clearwater Revival. During top 8 week, he performed "Nature Boy" by Nat King Cole, featured in the 1948 film The Boy with Green Hair. During top 7 week, he performed "Harder to Breathe" by Maroon 5. During top 6 week, he performed a duet "I Feel the Earth Move" (by Carole King) with Haley Reinhart and a solo "Hi-De-Ho" by The City. Abrams was eliminated from the competition on April 28, 2011, finishing in sixth place. During his exit performance, he performed the same song he performed in the semifinal round.  During the performance he kissed audience members, rolled onto the stage, thanked the judges, and sang the last two words ("you're mine") to fellow contestant to fellow finalist Haley Reinhart.

After his stint on American Idol, Abrams  appeared and performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on April 29, 2011, and Live with Regis and Kelly on May 2, 2011. He also appeared on MTV's The Seven on May 2, 2011. He appeared and performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on May 5, 2011. During the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2011, he performed "Smooth" by Rob Thomas and Santana, "Moanin" with Haley Reinhart, and "Harder to Breathe" by Maroon 5. Earlier, he performed "Animal" by Neon Trees with the other male members of the top 11. In August 2011, Abrams became a spokesman in a national campaign called IBD Icons to raise awareness of inflammatory bowel disease. He is managed by 19 Entertainment. He will be releasing a cover of "Baby It's Cold Outside" with Haley Reinhart.

Next up on my American Idol finalist countdown is my number 84 American Idol finalist. She was born in Makati City, Phillippines. Her family relocated to Haiku, Maui, located in Hawaii. Before her stint on American Idol, she was a struggling songwriter/composer who worked at her parents' IHOP Restaurant in Kahului.

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