The American Idol crew may look new to some of their aspiring teen contestants, but the team of judges knew what they were looking and listening for in Austin and San Francisco, and the quest for those golden tickets got harder. Saying hello to Hollywood meant saying some difficult goodbyes.
Jesse Roach has her good neighbor to thank for her future. That neighbor heard her singing from her garage, and signed her up for the Austin auditions, even paying for the hotel! It was a worthy investment, because the soulfully raspy singer dazzled the panel in a unanimous vote with her. K T Oslin rendition to open the proceedings. Steve Curd and Ryan Clark will be names seen over the next few weeks, too. Jamiah Malik and best friend, Quiandra Pearsall have come a long way together. She stuck up for him in school, befriending him against bullies. When the vote came, though, the panel felt Malik was not ready enough, while Pearsall was praised for being “as good as any artist out there” by Harry Connick, Jr. The simultaneous joy in disappointment, and celebration in pain was palpable. Harry started a lesson on the mechanics of singing again after hearing Megan Miller, but the panel pondered in her favor, giving her the ticket to Hollywood to power sing forward. Sometimes, those most trained in music have the most difficult time grasping it in the moment, and such was true for pianist, Grace Anne Field. She said she was busy enough to play every night, but she used her phone him to give her a pitch. Well, shame on the phone! Her voice was “out of control” in Jennifer Lopez’ terms, as she hardly stayed in any key. Eric Wood is in oilfield worker, but not for long, as his Hollywood dreams have begun. Spencer Lloyd had the right look for the Idol image, and Harry noted there wasn’t much difference between screams of delight or screams of terror. Marlen Lindsey’s dream was delayed by his years in the Army, but his moment came singing Sam Cooke’s “Change is Gonna Come,” and now his future is forever changed. Rick Rowling read no dress code for the auditions, showing up with knee-length shorts and red suspenders, no shirt. He blurted in with a “dramatic reading” of sorts, and Harry blasted him for his “disrespect of the whole process” and denying someone else a dream. TK Hash did a darn good . President Obama impression, but when he tore into “Light ‘Em Up,” (My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark) à la Fallout Boy, Keith couldn’t resist joining in, and Jennifer said he changed the whole “energy of the room.”
Keith Urban assumed the role of “decider” for the next few talents, and one was the son of Season 1’s Nikki McKibbin, Tristan Langley. It was history in the making, as two generations stood there, and Keith and Jennifer definitely thought there was something there, while Harry was dubbed “Dr. No” for his negative take. Still, the yeses were enough for a Hollywood chance. Taylor Stearns made it through, and LJ Hernandez was out to prove his ex-girlfriend wrong, in his cowboy getup and glow sticks no longer glowing. Jennifer told him she knew he “practiced,” but his package was pitiful, so this cowboy won’t be cowboying up for Hollywood. John Fox is a 20-year-old worship leader, and his moving rendition of Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love” left the panel in a heavenly place.
The auditions switch to San Francisco, and gold was given to Rachel Rolleri, pleasing the panel with her confidence in singing “Stay.” Athena Wolliford and Remi Wolf proved they were proud to sing, too, and it paid off. Emmanuel Zidor literally sang out of the door without any introduction, which was a little scary to Jennifer Lopez, but his talent took him from never a chance to Hollywood. Caitlyn Johnson had blond soul bring her to two votes to Hollywood, rare for the tall girl of 15. Ronald Reed had a beautiful spirit yearning to change the world, but a voice that said “Lord, no,” so he made a very tearful exit. David Luning defies categories with his bluesy voice, but he got his shot at going on, and don’t bet against his talents. Twins Selena and Sierra Moreno sang their hearts out, and Harry delivered the hard news that one would stay, and one would go. Selena was chosen, and Sierra will stay home, cheering her sister. Brianna Oakley really opened up and sang to three votes to Hollywood, and red haired Rico Perkins made it, too. Gaddy Basil Foster had utterly no feel for song, but “sound healer” Adam Roth did. The Chakra-channeling yoga master left Keith “baffled” but interested, and his vote and Jennifer’s put Adam on his way. Harry was the “No” vote again, maybe because he said Adam left him feeling the need confession!
That made 33 more for Hollywood, and next week Detroit will show what Motor City makes of talent. American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on FOX.
American Idol broadcast, January 16, 2014, FOX Networks.