Day two of the 13th season premiere of American Idol continued with our new panel of judges, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. and pocket-sized host with the most, Ryan Seacrest. The show arried on with its theme of peace, love and happiness, taking every opportunity to assure viewers that this season, all the judges really, really like each other (though that may not exactly be the best thing for ratings).
The judges hit up Austin, Texas, where JLo shows off a bare midriff that I can scarcely believe once housed twins. Jesse Roach, the first contestant of the day, looks like a rough-around-the-edges Katy Perry, covered in tattoos and sporting tight black leather pants. She strums a matte black guitar, while singing a smoky version of “Do Ya” by K.T. Olsin. It’s a unanimous yes.
The expert trio are in a good mood as a series of contestants get the green light to head to Hollywood. Cutie pie BFFs, Jamiah Malik and Quiandra Boston-Pearsall audition separately and we are taunted with the commercial break to find out which one made it through. When we return, we see that Jamiah is upbeat despite the fact that it’s Quiandra who received the coveted golden ticket.
Megan Miller is pageant-pretty and sings Carrie Underwood‘s “Last Night.” She vibes immediately with Harry, another Louisiana native. Despite concerns about her ability to sustain her “powerhouse voice,” she gets pushed through to Hollywood.
Bubbly blonde Grace Field is a professional piano player. She gets her pitch from her phone before she starts wailing painfully. They are all being very nice, but she really can’t sing and is politely dismissed.
Spencer Lloyd is stunning and from Jennifer’s gushing, it looks like he could be in the running to be her next boyfriend. He sings the Colton Dixon song “Never Gone.” He’s crazy handsome and can sing so, yeah, he’s getting a golden ticket, even though Harry is totally making him work for it.
Marlon Lindsay waited to get out of the army to audition. His selection is “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke. He gets votes of approval from all judges. This is followed by complete nut job Rick Rowling, who is shirtless and sporting red suspenders and jean short cutoffs. After a series of bad jokes, he launches into “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. He is cut off by Harry, who has no patience for his shenanigans.
After him, T.K. Hash, a handsome dead ringer for Barack Obama gives a brief impersonation of our president before launching into his version of “I Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Boy. Keith immediately announces, “I loved it.” In fact, all judges say yes to the man with the million-watt smile.
And now, please enjoy a montage of goofy private moments of contestants in #TheChamber.
Tristen Langley shows up to audition with his mother Nikki McKibbin. It takes a moment, but Jennifer is the first to recognize her as as former Idol finalist from season one. Dang, Nik, has been doing some hard livin’. I want there to be a spinoff show, where we get to watch the show moms lip-synching off stage. He brings his guitar to sing “Santeria” by Sublime. Harry thinks the story isn’t enough and says no, but Jennifer and Keith says yes. And just like that, a promo is born.
L.J. Hernandez likes camo, cowboy hats and singing. Things he dislikes include his ex-fiancee, who told him he had no talent. The fast-talking cowboy immediately starts doling out the compliments a mile a minute. He declares himself a diehard fan of each member of the panel. Despite his theatrics, tossing off his jacket and wielding some glow sticks during his very brief performance of “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain, L.J. is not going to Hollywood.
Small town Texas boy John Fo, is a worship leader with a penchant for music. He sings “To Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan. His is the cool church, y’all. They are all converts, pun intended, and John gets a golden ticket.
The judges sit down for a quick chat with Ryan to convince America how much they all love each other. Get a room, already!
Next up, the American Idol train pulls into San Francisco and the first audition we see is Rachel Rolleri, who sings “Stay” by Sugarland. She seems to win over all the judges, including her heartthrob, Keith. But, will her goofy faces be her undoing? Nope, she gets all yeses!
Some ladies with big voices (and some with big hair) make it through. Next, a man comes crawling into the room as he wails his intro. He is Emmanuel Zidor, who sings “I Believe In You And Me.” He starts to cry, which is genius, because he then earns three votes of yes.
There’s a montage of Harry being cute with Jennifer’s kids. More quips from Harry and then a contestant’s failed attempt at being “jazzy.” Fifteen-year-old Caitlyn Johnson shows up looking way older than her teenage years and sings Christina Aguilera‘s version of Etta James‘ “Something’s Gotta Hold On Me.” She gets a no from Harry, a yes from Keith and after a tense moment, a yes from JLo.
Ronald James Reed is wacky and has a lot of energy. As soon as he steps into the room, he nearly dies at meeting Jennifer. He takes forever to start singing a weird song complete with wacky faces. Jennifer cuts it short and poor Ronald appears to completely lose it.
David Luning is a 26-year-old hipster with a guitar, who sings an original song. Before he’s even done, Jennifer announces, “I love it.” After brief deliberation, Jennifer says yes, as well as the other two.
After that, two gorgeous twin girls, Selena and Sierra Moreno come in to audition together. Selena goes first with Janis Joplin‘s “Try.” Then Sierra sings Beyonce‘s “One Plus One.” Keith and Jennifer are both pretty diplomatic, but Harry breaks the news that “clearly one of you is the better singer.” After an agonizing commercial break, Selena gets all yeses.
Repeat Idol auditioner Briana Oakley is back and giving serious Jordin Sparks. She gets her golden ticket.
Some more randos get a ticket to Hollywood before the appearance of Gaddy Basil Foster. He inspires the immediate body envy of Harry who asks him, “What do you do? Swing the kettle bells?” It’s just weird and Jennifer hides behind her papers to keep from crying from laughter when Gaddy starts singing in a low, monotone voice. What have we learned here? ‘Tis best not to audition with your nipples exposed unless you sound like the reincarnation of the late Whitney Houston.
Next up is Adam Roth, who calls himself a “sound healer.” He sings the Leonard Cohen song, “Halleluah” and despite being totally goofy, he actually sings better than I expected. Harry says no, Jennifer says yes and Keith, feigning being mesmerized, hands him his pass to Hollywood.
Tonight’s golden ticket tally comes in at 33, giving us a grand total of 79 innocent souls headed to Hollywood. Next week, the whistle stop continues to Detroit, Michigan. Till then, we have the weekend to recuperate, so TGIF, y’all!
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