The AX Idol was a great show! It started with the winner of the 2004 AX Idol singing a song that she wrote original words for to a tune of Full Metal Ninja. Half of her amazing song was sung in English and the other half in Japanese. The next performance was the 2005 AX Idol. Her performance was awesome. She would talk to the crowd during the instrumentals of the song and engaged them into the performance. Her voice fit excellently to the song and she really captured the attention of the crowd, which was impatient for the contest to start. The judges of the contest were Chris Mayne, Bonnie Pietella (Producer for The Simpsons), Tony Oliver ( Who you may know as the voice of Rick Hunter from Robotech) and Kaiko Sakamoto and Eric Sherman (The vice president and president of BangZoom Entertainment).
The contest was narrowed down to 5 finalists in each of the categories, vocal and voice acting. The prizes for the winner of the Voice Acting would get a tour of the Bang Zoom Entertainment facility, get to audition for a Bang Zoom production, and have the opportunity to sit through a recording session for the popular TV show The Simpsons. The prizes for the winner of the Vocal segment would get a tour of the Bang Zoom studios and get to record a demo CD with Chris Mayne.
The first contestant was Jose Sanchez who sang “Shine” from Hellsing. He danced and engaged the crowd getting them to clap and participate along with the performance. The judges also saw how much he had enjoyed himself in the performance. They commented on how he gave a “great” performance and had “a lot of energy” and one went so far as to say he’s “got game”. They liked the engaging of the crowd and his hat. Lastly they said that for his performance the beginning was OK, but as it moved along it became more exciting.
The second contestant was Jessica White who was a voice actor and dubbed the voice for Hinaru from Karas. I found that her voice matched the character nicely. The judges loved her tactic and the energy she had when performing. They said that she was committed to the character and that her joy of the character came through in her performance. Overall they said that she did a “great job”.
Brianna Royce was the third contestant and performed “Brilliant Road to Tomorrow” from Stellvia. This was a very difficult song to sing as it switched octaves quickly. I found that she was able to rhythm the Japanese language of the song beautifully. She spoke no Japanese so it was impressive that she pronounced everything well. She did have some trouble switching from her chest voice to her head voice on the song and at times lost tune there. The judges said that she did a “good job on a hard song” and had a “nice pitch”. They commented that she needed to relax and believe in her self more. When she was on stage she needed to decide on her choreography and just step out there and give us the whole show. She was very articulate and spoke Japanese very well.
The next contestant for the voice acting was Bobby Thong. He dubbed the voice for Takeshi from IGPX. Bobby had a very strong and masculine voice that the judges thought he should control more. I felt that he had a great change in his tone when he needed to express different emotions. He matched the sync very well and the judges thought that he could defiantly play this character, but in the end he needed to relax more.
Next was Katherine St. Onge who sang the second opening song from Fate/Stay night. She had a fantastic voice and really got into the song. Even though the song was in Japanese she really conveyed what it was about well just with her voice and body language. The judges said she “nailed the song” and “had a great voice for this ‘pop’ genre”. They said that she was great in auditions the day before but in the performance “took it up to another notch”. One judge commented that she should have used the stage more while another disagreed that some people aren’t comfortable dancing around and emoted from where she was extremely well. The judges said she had a beautiful voice and that they could tell that she could speak Japanese and it made a difference in her performance of an entirely Japanese song.
Giselle Toures was next up with a dubbing of Guu from Haret Guu. I found her to have an amazing emotional transition in a very complex segment from the anime, which called for her to go from being sarcastic to being happy and cheery but all with very high energy. The only comment from the judges was that she defiantly had potential to be the “future voice of anime”.
Nicole Dixon then just blew the audience away with her performance of Pain from Xenosaga. Her voice was smooth, powerful, full and she was able to do the key changes in the song effortlessly. The judges said she had a “strong voice with great projection”. They “loved the way she handled the lyrics and made it look easy”. In the end hers was the “best performance so far”.
Up next was Jonathan Kunz who did the Village chief voice for Haret Guu. He had actually memorized his lines. This was very impressive. He was able to hit every cue but the judges said he needed to be “bigger”. Overall the judges said that the “whole scene was amazing” and he did “nice work”.
The last vocal performance for the night was Franchesca D’Tagne, performed Unyielding Wish from Magic Knight Rayearth. I found her performance to be OK. She didn’t transition well between her head and chest voices. I found that she did not do well on the higher notes and often lost her tune. Also during the Japanese portions of the song she would lose the rhythm of the words. The judges commented that she looked like she was having fun and that she had to “trust her voice more”. She needed to show more difference in emotion during the song, to display the range of the piece. One judge commented that this was probably not the “best song for [her] voice”. They did notice that she really enjoyed herself and the song.
The last performance was Drew D’rue, who dubbed Gene from the popular show Samurai Champloo. He had a strong smooth voice. The judges found him to need real feeling for the role, he spoke it well but didn’t “get into” the character. He needed to “come out” but he “got better and better each take”.
The brought all the performers out before announcing the winners. After a quick deliberation by the judges they came back and announced the winners. For the AX Idol Vocal competition Nicole Dixon was the winner and for the AX Idol Voice Acting competition Giselle Toures was the winner. Both winners defiantly deserved it and it was a great show to watch and fun to experience. I can’t wait to see what next year hold for the AX7 and AX Idol!! Congrats to both of the winners!