‘American Idol’: Auditions Night #4 [Recap & Video]

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Auditions continued on American Idol tonight, as the search for talented singers took the three celeb judges to New York City. Two of them, anyway — Keith Urban was not in tonight’s episode, as he went to spend time with his wife, Nicole Kidman, as her father passed away. Taking Keith’s place was musical artist and past American Idol winner, Adam Lambert. He joined the other two regular judges, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr., as they checked out the competitors who auditioned.

American Idol returned to Jennifer’s old stomping grounds, the city where she grew up. Adam Lambert, who has been singing with Queen for a couple of years or so now, made a grand entrance in a blue suit. He will likely have a lot of good advice to give the competitors tonight.

Sal Valenetti began first. He sang Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra. Harry asked Sal if he could name the original title of the song. He said he would give him $100.00 if he could name the original title of the song. He did — In Other Words. He won the $100.00.

Sal sounded terrific, but Harry was not impressed. Harry said he “didn’t know if we could use him.” Harry voted “no,” — maybe he did not want the competition if Sal hit it big — but, both Jennifer and Adam voted “yes,” so he got to go on to Hollywood!

Back from a commercial break, J. None had his Teddy Bear, “Mr. Crispy,” with him for luck. He sang the Pharrell song, That’s My Prerogative. He did a pretty decent job. Harry in the bear’s voice said “I thought you did very well.” Jennifer agreed, as did Adam. He and Mr. Crispy will be going to Hollywood.

Up next on American Idol was Jax, 18. She was a featured person on the show, and we got to see where she lives and she related that her dad was injured during 9/11 and was not able to work any longer. She played the piano and sang a very cool, soulful version of I Wanna hold Your Hand, by The Beatles. It was AMAZING! She made it very touching and emotional.

“There isn’t anybody we’ve heard that sounds remotely like you,” Harry told her. “You’ve got a lot of talent.”

“It was really good. He’s right — there’s nobody who sounds exactly like you. You’re the real thing,” Jennifer said. They all gave her “yes” votes, and she will be moving on to Hollywood.

Then, a woman who played the guitar and was a busker in the subways took the stage on American Idol. Her name was Najah Lewis, 20, and she sang Payphone by Maroon 5. She sounded awesome! Najah was able to easily hit the falsetto notes in the song. Harry said “You didn’t move, but I was captivated.”

Adam said “You did things that were very inventive.”

Jennifer said “Najah, you’re going to Hollywood!”

Shana, aka Shi Scott, had a case of the nerves, but she ended up singing a pretty soulful song. However, Harry said she sounded like “an Amy Winehouse impersonator.” He still thought she sang fairly well, though. Adam said “I don’t know if you’re ready.” Before America got to hear if the judges voted “yes,” or “no,” American Idol went to another commercial break.

Coming back from the break, Adam said he thought Shi could “use a couple more years.” Jennifer voted “yes,” as did Harry, so Shi will be headed with the others to Hollywood. Adam did not think she was ready yet, but she will be Hollywood-bound.

Then, we saw several competitors in a row, who did not get the votes they needed. Next up was Eric Lopez, and he sang The Show Must Go On, by Queen. Well…it did not sound like Freddie Mercury’s version….

Harry said “yes,” but Jennifer voted “no.” Adam was unsure, but he voted “yes.” Adam said that he would have to find newer material, though. Harry said “He got you, man!” Adam was about to tell him “no,” but he got hustled into giving Eric a “yes,” vote.

The three competitors who sang after another commercial break were Courtney Zahn, Gwen Sebastion, and Maddie Walker. Maddie Walker, 16, sang Suitcase. She was great! Harry said “She almost sounds Autotuned when she’s singing. That’s a great gift to have.”

Courtney Zahn, a college student, sang Plastic and also sounded pretty amazing. She, Maddie and Gwen, who sang Born This Way, got Gold Tickets and will be going to Hollywood.

Brooklyn native, Qaasim Middleton, all dreaded-out, hit the American Idol stage. He played the guitar and sang a Stevie Wonder song, and NAILED it. Jennifer said “I’m gonna say, I loved it.”

Harry agreed, saying “I thought you did great!”

Adam said “I can’t wait to see what you’ll do when you have rehearsals and an arrangement.” He got three “Yes,” votes.

Travis Finlay, 20, auditioned next on American Idol. He sang a Rihanna song, Stay. Travis sounded terrific! He made the song his own. “You’re a star, you shine,” Jennifer Lopez said. “You have something real.”

Adam said “You’re the type of person this show is made for.” Travis received three “yes,” votes and will be movin’ on to Hollywood.

The last competitor to sing was Hollywood Anderson, a busker on the subway. He sang an original song, My Best Friend. He jammed out on the acoustic guitar as he sang. He had a really great voice, really impressed the judges.

“You felt it? I felt it! It was so good!” Jennifer said. “I want that song! I want to record it tomorrow!” she added.

“Unquestionably the best audition of the day, of the last two days, and possibly, of the run so far,” Harry said.

He has been homeless, and said “It’s because of the guitar that I’m here today.” He got all “yes” votes and will be going on to Hollywood. He started to cry tears of happiness, and got Jennifer all choked up, too.

American Idol will continue with the audition phase of season 14 next week. Though there were some singers who were more uneven than others, there were a few who really stood out tonight, like Najah Lewis, Jax, Qaasim Middleton, Travis Finlay and Hollywood Anderson. Watching them in the coming weeks and seeing who gets chosen as members of the 40 who move on after the Hollywood stage will be very interesting.

Written By Douglas Cobb

American Idol.com
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Photo by Pomegranate02 – Flickr License

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