The second week of auditions have kicked off on American Idol and this time the well-behaved gang has landed in Detroit. Judges, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and class clown Harry Connick Jr. are ready to listen to more singing and hand out some more golden tickets. You can tell they’re in gritty Motown because JLo is sporting some casually tousled tresses and her best flannel shirt. This woman truly has the perfect outfit for every occasion.
Keri Lynn is a quirky waitress with a nose ring and what looks like a fresh tattoo on her shoulder. She sings Imagine Dragons‘ “Radioactive.” Keith stops her and asks for a song without her guitar and she croons Etta James‘ “I’d Rather Go Blind.” The fresh-faced dead ringer for Amy Winehouse then learns she is headed to Hollywood.
Julian Miller gets the OK from the judges. From there, we segue into several energetic young women. Two out of three of them get golden tickets. Poor Samantha’s family has to hide her “Congratulations” sign quickly when she emerges with tears streaming down her face as the lone reject.
Malaya Watson is a goofy high schooler with glasses and braces who plays tuba in the marching band. She slays Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way” with emotion that belies her teenage years. She is adorable and I love that her transition prescription lenses were still tinted from being in the sun. All the judges unanimously love her as well.
Handsome homegrown Georgia boy Bryan Watt sings Carrie Underwood‘s “So Small” while strumming his guitar. He and his perfectly chiseled jaw are going to Hollywood.
Things get super awkward when Khristian D’Avis shows up in some strange white and black polka dot shoes. Inexplicably, she has a strange accent no one can place, which later disappears. After Keith calls her performance inconsistent, Khristian is ready to burst into tears. Unsurprisingly, we learn that she used to be in beauty pageants. The fact that she nearly has a conniption fit makes her the perfect cautionary tale for Toddlers And Tiaras. Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be trainwrecks. JLo says yes and so does HCJ, which I think he only did out of a sick curiosity. This nut is going to Hollywood. After she leaves, Keith gets a little feisty about how he feels when contestants don’t listen. I wish this would transition into him belting out Beyonce’s “Listen.” Alas, that is a performance we’ll get to later in the episode.
Raven-haired 17-year-old Jena Asciutto belts “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele. Harry then points out that she does something weird with her tongue when she sings, which comes off a little creepy. Keith really likes her, Jennifer liked Jena’s take on the ditty and all three judges give her a yes. From there, we get to see a quick montage of kooky singers in costume. All nos, of course.
Melanie Porras, raised by her dad, has a wild mane of curls and a smoky voice. Her version of “Fever” is nice. Jennifer calls it “safe.” To follow up, Melanie offers up Bon Jovi‘s “Wanted Dead Or Alive,” which results in a golden ticket to Hollywood.
Harry Connick Jr. gives his best impression of a nervous contestant when JLo steps away for a quick break. He is totally that uncle of yours who thinks he should have been a stand up comedian, but instead has to satisfy himself by cornering you at Thanksgiving to tell you bad jokes for about an hour or two.
Liam Newberry cites Harry Connick Jr. as a serious influence. Keith giggles, “So he’s the one.” Zing! After Liam’s song, Keith tells him he’s not sexy enough. I would slit my throat if I were on the receiving end of that critique. It’s all nos.
Jade Lathan has fake flowers in her hair and sings Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good.” Her adorable personality wins her a ticket. Sydney Arterbridge pulls out her own version of “Loving You” made famous by the late, great Minnie Riperton and pretty much nails that last high note. This earns her another round in the competition. Maurice Townsend is a 26-year-old music minister with four kids. He sings John Legend‘s “So High.” To seal the deal, he parades his cute family in front of the judges and lets Jennifer hold his baby. Genius move on his part. Daddy’s won himself a golden ticket!
On the second day of Detroit, the boys jokingly complain about Jennifer’s tardiness. To be fair, she looks flawless when she arrives.
David Oliver Willis is back to audition and is recognized by Keith. He sings an earthy version of “Too Close” by Alex Clare. Keith is so into it, he’s doing his sexy chicken dance. The three judges happily give David a ticket.
Carlita and Rakita Gulledge are kooky 19-year-old identical twins. They are gently told by the judges that their disturbing rendition of “Listen” by Beyonce was too screamy. Despite their wacky makeup, they take the rejection with panache. Honestly, these two are a decent makeover away from looking fabulous. That said, there’s nothing to be done with those voices.
Another familiar face, Brandy Neelly sings “Wanted” by Hunter Hayes. Keith applauds, praises her voice and song choice. Jennifer does, too, as well as Harry. Brandy’s headed to Hollywood.
Ethan Harris is a thin troubadour with a guitar strapped across his chest. A self-confessed Keith Urban fan, he gets an autograph from the country singer before he sings. The sweet-faced Osmond lookalike then does his version of Keith’s song, “You’ll Think of Me.” Harry, Jennifer and Keith “dig” him and just like that, he’s moving onto the next round of auditions.
Another crop of younguns come through and they all get yeses. Detroit-native, Ayla Stackhouse, beams as she sings “Wings” by Little Mix. All the judges think she’s a potential star. The 17-year-old is going to Hollywood, where she already lives with her aunt, coincidentally.
Eric Gordon traveled from Kansas to sing. His pompadour has Keith making dirty jokes. “Perfectly Lonely” by John Mayer is his selection and he better pack enough hair gel for his trip to Tinsel Town because he’s made it through.
A guy with a beard howls some Creedence and gets turned down, despite his pleas for another chance. He is followed by an intense performance by another goofball. This precedes a teary montage of losers.
Ryan Nisbett is the most hipstery hipster you will ever meet in your life and all three judges reveal that they have never stepped foot in Silverlake by declaring they’ve never seen his look before. Ryan used to be heavy and is now very excited to be skinny. Bless his dairy-free heart, he busts out with “Angel” by Sarah MacLachlan. Meanwhile, I pause to make a donation to the ASPCA, tears streaming down my cheeks. JLo is entranced by his “unique” look. I could honestly throw a rock out my window and hit about ten guys dressed like that right now, but the kid gets his golden ticket.
Marrialle Sellars is super cute and sings “Grenade.” She gets her golden ticket and screams down the hall to her family.
So, to wrap up, 40 golden tickets were handed out during these most recent auditions, bringing up the grand total to 119. Tomorrow night, Idol heads down south to Atlanta the hometown of host, Ryan Seacrest and The Real Housewives Of (you guessed it) Atlanta. See y’all then!