American Idol continued with the auditions phase of the competition tonight from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Keith Urban is back, after having been gone last week due to the death of his father-in-law. There were some amazing performers, and some who were…not so amazing, but gave it a try, at least. The best of the competitors earned gold tickets and will continue on to the next phase of the competition, in Hollywood!
American Idol began with a scene of the three judges pulling up in a car, surrounded by a cheering crowd of people. The first person to try out was Shannon Berthiaume, 17. She sang House of the Rising Sun, and did a pretty good job with it. The judges all gave her “yes” votes, and the first competitor of the night moved on to Hollywood!
The second person looked kind of nerdy, but he had some great dance moves. His name was Kemil, and he used a gold mic. He sang Human Nature by Michael Jackson. Urban was impressed, saying “wow!” under his breath. The guy has a terrific voice. Harry Connick Jr. said he “was oddly entertaining.” Urban and the other judges did not gave him any “yes” votes , but he was really not half-bad, at all.
After a commercial break, Morgan Ovans, 24, played the guitar and sang, followed by Gabrielle and Courtney Guns, who sang. All three got gold tickets and will be moving on to the next phase of the competition in Hollywood.
Vanessa Andrea tried out next on American Idol. She is married, but she considers Urban to be “hot.” She told him she had gone to one of his concerts, “and cried the whole time.” She also told the judges that she is married to a serviceman. She sang Some Kind of Wonderful, and played the guitar. She sounded awesome! Urban said, “That song fits you to a tee!”
Jennifer Lopez told her she had a whole lot of confidence. The judges gave her three “yes” votes. Andrea will be joining the others who already received their gold tickets and are headed to Hollywood.
Then it was 20-year-old Zach Johnson’s turn. He sang Don’t Close Your Eyes by Keith Whitley. He was spot-on, and sounded a lot like Garth Brooks. Connick said, “I like you a lot! There needs to be more people in the world like you. But, if you don’t talk with a country accent, don’t sing with a country accent.”
Lopez liked him, and Connick asked him, “What’s country music to you?” Johnson said, “Telling a story.” Urban voted “yes,” and Lopez asked him to sing it without the accent, like he would in his own voice. He still sounded pretty good, and with three “yes,” votes, he will be going to Hollywood!
Urban told him that if he goes to his show, he would call Johnson up onto the stage to sing with him. Connick did not think Urban would do it, but two weeks later, Urban proved he was a man of his word and called up Johnson to sing Friends in Low Places, by Brooks, with him.
Aaron Bissell, 17, sang and sounded fantastic. Connick asked him if he had ever sang in a coffee shop before, because Connick said that he had, and he heard people sometimes saying “Shut up!” He then handed Bissell a gold ticket to go to Hollywood.
Next on American Idol was a lover of hunting and the outdoors, Cindy Jo Scholler, 26. She is pre-K teacher. Connick asked her if how she was dressed was really how she is, and she told him yes, she’s really like that. She sang Crazy, but Lopez said she thought Scholler was trying to hold notes too long. Urban said “You actually have a lot of talent.”
Connick said “You sang with the pedal to the metal.” Urban gave her a “yes,” while Lopez voted “no.” Connick voted “yes,” and she got a gold Tticket to Hollywood. Connick said “She killed a BEAR last week! You think I’m going to vote ‘no’ for her? I’ll wake up with her standing over me with a gun, saying ‘Why didn’t you give me a ticket to Hollywood?'”
Then, Matt sang a few lines, and Ryan Seacrest asked viewers to decide if the judges voted him on or not. The guy has a good voice, but seemed to be a bit breathy, pausing too much. He was voted on!
Then, a guy who plays Jerry Lee Lewis as the understudy in a musical auditioned for American Idol. His name was Jacob Tolliver. He sang Whole Lotta Shakin’, and NAILED it! He even stood up on the piano seat and played.
“You are a talented guy, but the mimicry of Jerry Lee Lewis is not going to get you very far on American Idol,” Connick said. Urban asked him to sing a different song, as himself, not copying anyone. He sang Stay, the Sam Smith song. He KILLED it! He received three “yes” votes from the judges, and he is Hollywood-bound!
Hannah Mrozak, 16, sang the Etta James song Something’s Got a Hold on Me. She rocked it out! Lopez said “Hannah — that was so good, so amazing!” Mrozak got three “yes” votes and Lopez told her “Hannah, you’re going to Hollywood!”
The final person who auditioned for American Idol tonight was Mark Andrew. He said he would sing Soul Shine. Lopez had a smile on her face as Andrew sang. Urban asked him to try another song, to see what his voice would sound singing something different. Andres obliged, and sang I Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book. He sang it without the guitar, and KILLED it.
“It’s that voice, that tone, that will set you apart,” Lopez said.
Connick told him, “I’d like to hear you on a record.” All of the judges said that they liked him after he let with his gold ticket.
Tomorrow, on American Idol, the judges will head to Connick’s hometown of New Orleans to hear more competitors audition for their shot at fame. It should be another terrific episode of American Idol. Tonight, some of the singers who excelled were Andrew, Tolliver, Berthiaume, and Mrozak. Be sure to watch American Idol tomorrow night, and come back again to read the recap/review!
Commentary by Douglas Cobb