American Idol is in New Orleans tonight for the sixth episode of the Auditions phase of the season. New Orleans is the hometown of Idol judge, Harry Connick, Jr., and he enjoyed showing the Big Easy off to the other two judges, and the viewers of America.
American Idol began by Harry saying he was “nervous,” and saying that he hoped his city would have a lot of talented singers come out and do their city proud. In this hour-long episode, the first few performers failed to impress Harry and the other judges, but things got better as the show progressed.
The first competitor said his second cousin used to baby sit Harry. Drew Plaisance sang a Beyonce song — well, he attempted to sing it, but he was not that great at doing it. He was followed by a few others who did not shine with their performances, to put it mildly. Harry was feeling let down, saying it “breaks my heart.”
Finally, a lady tried out who started to make Harry feel a little bit better about his home town. Jelly Joseph sang the Adele song, Rolling In the Deep. Keith and Jennifer applauded her. Harry said he had “been hoping someone like you would come in.” The judges all gave Jelly “yes,” votes, and she was the first competitor of the evening to be moving on to Hollywood!
The next person to perform was Tiffany Stringer, 16, from Texas. Jennifer asked her to do a cartwheel, which she did. “As cute as you are, it felt really drill team to me,” Harry told her after she sang. Keith voted “yes,” but Harry voted “no,” and Jennifer gave her a “yes,” vote, so she will be headed to Hollywood.
Grayson Turner, 16, took the American Idol stage to audition, and played his guitar as he sang. He sang an original song he wrote, Chasing Shadows. He demonstrated that he has a very good voice, and Jennifer told him “You’re a talented, talented person – it’s just crazy!”
Harry said he liked him, and Keith echoed that. All of the judges gave him “yes,” votes, and Grayson will be headed to Tinsletown along with the others who have gotten Gold Tickets so far.
Then, a contestant sang the St. James Infirmary Blues. Harry played the piano as she sang. She really was great, but Harry voted “no,” and Jennifer also voted “no.” Keith said he would have voted “yes,” but one vote was not enough to send her onward to the next phase of the season.
Harry helped take part in the Habitat for Humanity program that built houses in the 9th Ward of New Orleans after Katrina destroyed them. It was re-named “The Musicians’ Village.”
The guy who performed on American Idol after Harry showed off the efforts of himself and others at helping the people of New Orleans by building new houses for them was from the 9th Ward. His name was Quentin Alexander, 20, and he sang Royals by Lorde. “Two people came to mind — Sly and Terrence Trent Darby,” Harry said. But, he and Jennifer wanted him to push even further into being quirky. They all gave him “yes,” votes, so he will also be making a road trip to Hollywood!
Mikey Durant sang next. He went to the same high school as Harry did. He sang My Demise, an original song, and played the guitar. “Wow!” Jenifer said. The guy was pretty amazing, and sang in a higher voice range than most men usually might, but he was great. Jennifer said “You surprised me with your voice! It was so unique!” Three “yes” votes later, and Mikey is going to Hollywood.
Next on American Idol was a young lady from Hot Springs, Arkansas. Nalani Quintella. Tori Martin also sang, as well as Hope Windle. None of the performances were heard in full. Just snippets of what each of them sang were shown. Keith and Jennifer gave Hope “yes” votes while Harry gave her a “no.” All of the three will be Hollywood bound.
Rickey Dale Hendricks, 17, then tried out his singing skills on American Idol. He sang The Thunder Rolls, by Garth Brooks, and he played the guitar as he sang. He did a terrific job of it. Keith said “Excellent — you have a lot of natural talent.”
Jennifer said she liked the way he “moved his body.” Harry said that time and “putting him in an arena with the Big Dogs,” would help him grow as a singer. He received three “yes,” votes fro the judges.
Dakota Suarez, 18, a drag queen, sang next on American Idol. He said his stage name was “Bianaca Jade.” Harry said he “had a nice voice but not an incredible voice.” Harry voted “no,” while Jennifer voted “yes.” Keith added his “yes” vote, so Dakota will be headed to Hollywood. “You better watch out, because Dakota’s in the house, and I’m going to be steppin’ on people!” he said, right before another commercial break.
When American Idol returned after the break, Adam Lasher sang These Shoes, an original song. He said that his uncle was Carlos Quintana. He picked the guitar with his broken thumb in a cast. Jennifer told him he looked like Jimmy Fallon. His voice was amazing! Keith said “I loved your voice, your artistry!” Harry told him “You’re a cool guy, bro!” The judges all gave him “yes,” votes, and he will be going to Hollywood.
Single mom Erica Washington sang next on American Idol. She sang Halo by Beyonce. Jennifer looked like she was really loving listening to Erica sing. Harry said he really enjoyed hearing the “thick” part of her voice. He added “I didn’t think about Beyonce once.” She got three “yes,” votes, and the wonderful singer, Erica, will be moving on to Hollywood.
Harry then had a surprise for the other judges — a huge bowl of delicious crayfish for them to share. Next week, San Francisco will be the final stop where people will audition. That show will air on Fox next Wednesday.
While the auditions held in New Orleans got off to a rocky start, and Harry was a bit embarrassed, at first, for his town, there were some great performances that followed, and Harry’s hometown redeemed itself, as it often has done throughout history, by rising to the occasion. A few of the highlights of tonight’s episode of American Idol, Auditions, Night #6, included the performances by Jelly Joseph, Erica Washington, Adam Lasher, Rickey Dale Hendricks, Quentin Alexander, and Mikey Durant. The Auditions phase of season 14 will conclude next week, and then the competitors will be entering into the Hollywood part of the competition!
Written By Douglas Cobb