By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Compared to last Wednesday's awful waste of an hour, tonight's episode was packed with talent. In fact, five of the spoiler top 24 were heard tonight. That means we have three more to go for tomorrow.
Instead of citing specific cities tonight, they grabbed a potpourri from all over the country. And they threw in a hilarious Clay Aiken rant for kicks.
My favorites today were Amelia, Joy, Mackenzie, Adam and Emily.
Miranda "Poh" Scott, 17, Baltimore, student ("Fairytale" Sara Barreilles). Her sister Shi made the top 24 last year. She comes across a bit affected, as Michael Slezak (TV Line's "Reality Check") has complained about too many of the teens this year. She does have an interesting voice. HCJ: "Don't ever tell people what to think. You were being negative." JLo: "There was an abandon to the way you performed. You're a dancer who feels comfortable the way you move. The movement matched the voice." Keith: "I love the rasp in your voice." Three yesses.
We come back to see Clay Aiken just rip into this ridiculous, frenzied performance artist who would have gone through as a joke in the early years. "This is a show that I like. This is a show that put me where I am today. This show gave me every opportunity in the world All these people came to audition and came seriously. You brought that and deserved to go through? Seriously?" (Did the editors purposely insert that in after he went after the show week one on Twitter?)
Amelia Eisenhauer, 15, Nashville, student ("Many Rivers to Cross" Annie Lennox). She's the first person I recall in recent memory to bring a violin. She brings all sorts of colorizations to her voice. It's a multi-layered audition. Very sophisticated for a 15 year old. JLo: "I like the sound of your voice." HCJ: "There's a mysterious quality to you." Three yesses. Duh.
Joy Dove, 21, Natchitoches La, youth development specialist ("Jumbalaya") - "Idol" always needs a big voice and she has one. I like her. "Put me in the game coach!" she said. HCJ: "Your energy and spirit is awesome. You are beautiful and full of life. You sing loud and I love that." Three yesses.
Mackenzie Bourg, 23, from Lafayette, La., performs a medley of judges' songs. Despite the gimmick, he pulls it off. He brings a unique style vocally to each song in the medley. JLo applauds. HCJ: "You're a smart son of a gun. It was charming. It was really sweet. You have a quiet thing about you that was very interesting to watch." Three easy yesses.
"Idol" brings out some historical combo deals: siblings, friends, couples and yes, twins. Ahh... twins. And we even get a moment with the Brittenum twins from Atlanta. Those dudes created quite the ruckus during Hollywood week season 5. Twin nerds Andrew and Aaron Birdwell, both 23 from Cadillac, Mich., perform a duet. The gimmick in this case? A disharmonious wreck. HJC: "A Gregoiran CANT."
Jenna Renae, 23, Williamson, NY, musician (Eric Paslay "She Don't Love You') - She is a classic singer songwriter. Very pretty voice but kind of boring. HCJ: "You're a very soulful young woman. JLo said she felt like the full package. Three yesses. (She was on "America's Got Talent" this past season.)
Mario Bonds, 27, Washington D.C., assistant website consultant (Natalie Cole "Inseparable") A blind guy like Scott McIntyre! He overuses vibratto but brings a decent amount of soul. JLo: "I kept going back and forth. I love everything about you. Parts of it I really love and parts of it took me out of the performance." HCJ: "You're a powerful presence. I think you have talent but not what I'm specifically looking for." Keith: "It didn't connect me in the way I hoped it would." Three no's.
For the final two auditions, they show two past winners who tried out multiple times: season 12's Candace Glover and season 13's Caleb Johnson. This leads to Adam Lasher of Danville, Calif. from season 14. He returns for one last shot at age 28 and does a cool quick twist on "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." JLo: "You have a really nice sound to your voice." HCJ: "I see why you went to Hollywood last time." Redemption? Of course! Three yesses.
Then they show another returnee: Emily Brooke, 16, Wellington, FL, student ("Careless" Raelynn) - She has improved from a year ago. I still like her. HCJ: "This was a training ground for you last season. unquestionably the best audition of hte day. I like you better than last year. This makes me proud of 'American Idol.' It fosters talent like you." Keith: "There's no substitute for the work." Three yesses.