The last stop of the audition cycle for Season 13 of “American Idol” was in Omaha, where the talent was a little harder to find.
- Quaid Edwards, 21, had a personal connection to Keith Urban, since his mom was in a band that used to tour with him. He had a bluesy delivery, but Jennifer said that he doesn’t hit all the notes all the time. Keith also criticized him for overusing runs. Harry told him, “If you want to be a great singer who changes the game, you’re going in the wrong direction.” Quaid admitted that he’s green, saying he’d be willing to work. Three yeses. Quaid’s mom came in to give Keith a hug.
- Simon Hauck, 17, was a country boy who sang “Sold,” a love song that used an extended metaphor about an auction, but he just didn’t have the chops. Keith said, “I wasn’t sold.” Three nos.
- A montage of rejected contestants included one who announced it was her birthday and declared that the judges should sing happy birthday. Harry declined.
- Madison Walker, 15, sang a country song, “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood, wearing a multicolored short sundress. Keith called it a “perfect karaoke version” of the song but said that’s all it was. Jennifer said she’d take a chance on her and say yes. So did Keith. She was going to Hollywood. Harry said he wouldn’t have voted her through, because the heartbreak she was destined to experience would overwhelm the small moment of joy she’d just had.
- Alyssa Siebken, 20, sang a very odd song with a ton of lyrics — oh, it was a rap song that she sang as a folk-pop song, “No Hands” by Waka Flocka Flame. Jennifer said she’d seen this sort of thing done before but liked her breath control. She voted yes. Harry voted no, because he didn’t think her voice was strong enough. But Keith wanted to see where she’d go and voted yes. She was through. She was very happy to have taken several selfies with Ryan in the lobby, including the one with the Golden Ticket!
- Tyler Gurwicz, 25, had a lot of power and control in his vocals as he sang Adele’s “Fire to the Rain.” Harry, though, said, “I don’t know where I would place you in ‘American Idol.'” Keith thought he had great range, but he looked angry when he sang. Jennifer said yes, but Keith and Harry voted no. Harry asked him to sing something different to prove he had another side to his voice. He had trouble deciding what to sing and eventually came up with another tune, which was a bit lighter. Harry declared it “cool.” He changed his mind, but after Tyler left wondered aloud if he’d made his first slip in judgment.
- This was followed by a montage of rejections, with some interview segments from the judges. A lot of them begged for a second chance when they were told no. One of the most entertaining was a guy who specializes in presidential impressions, who probably just wanted the chance to show them off. The segment ended with Tyler Marshall, 23, who sang a soulful, heartfelt version of Ike and Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.” Harry told him it was great, so they wouldn’t make him grovel and bed. He got a Golden Ticket.
- C.J. Jones, 20, wore a white blazer jacket with black piping on the lapels, pairing it with a black T-shirt, for a sort of retro ’80s look. He sang a crooner version of “Stand By Me.” During the audition, Harry got up and stood next to him, dancing just a little bit. Cute. Despite the distraction of Harry being a ham, C.J. stayed in control and got three yeses.
- We saw snippets of two more yeses: Dajontae Lenear, 16, who is a big J. Lo fan and whom Jennifer found “adorable”; and Dylan Becker, 17, who accompanied himself on guitar.
- Paula Hunt, 20, sings in the Air Force band at troop morale events. She had a very gospel inflection to her version of the Etta James song, “All I Could Do Was Cry,” taking her time and making every note count. She said she’d been influenced by her mother, who’d had record deals lined up until M.S. decimated her vocal chords. Harry said that listening to her sing would make him very proud to be in the military. He liked that she knows when to put runs into a song and “you have an elegance about you.” Three yeses. In the lobby, her mom, who is currently in a wheelchair, was clearly moved by her daughter’s success.
- Andrina Brogden, 18, had an auburn afro and wore a floor-length floral dress with a black cardigan. She sang a very mellow version of her audition piece, “Halo” by Beyonce. Jennifer thought she was a little hesitant. Harry disagreed, calling her a “better than average” singer but not strong enough for “Idol.” Keith thought she was scared today, and raw, but she’d rise to the occasion. He voted yes. So did Jennifer. She was through.
- Christian School, 20, who is a square dance caller, was wearing a black cowboy hat and striped shirt. We were treated to very obviously staged video of him calling a square dance and showing off his square dancing in the lobby. He sang a tuneless version of “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson and was soon on the road himself.
- Casey McQuillen, 21, had a lovely vibrato on her sustained notes as she sang “Skyscraper.” A pretty brunette, she wore an off-white lace dress with knee-high boots. Keith praised her restraint. Harry called her smart for her song choice. Three yeses.
- Tessa Kate, 25, wore a brightly-colored floor-length sundress, with her brunette hair piled on top of her head. She sang the Johnny Cash song “Folsom Prison,” and while her voice was lovely, her out-of-tune guitar was a bit distracting. Jennifer thought that the fast vibrato and high notes almost took her audition into Chipmunk territory, although she liked it. No worries: the judges loved Tessa. Three yeses. NOTE: Two performances of this song were apparently spliced together, as evidenced by her playing two different guitars, if you pay close attention.
- From Omaha, 21 total Golden Tickets were given out, making 212 contenders to face off in the Hollywood rounds. This week, a shocking twist is promised, to take place in an airport hangar!
“American Idol” airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays on FOX.