The final Hollywood auditions for this season’s “American Idol” were high-strung to say the least, and some of the youngest talents shone bright by bringing life to classic words and melodies. Some near shoe-ins couldn’t cut it under the pressure, while some never seen rose to their moment!
Haley Reinhart started the night off like a soulful siren with her “God Bless the Child”, and Ashton Jones was true to her song, “I Am Not Going”, because she’s sure to be staying awhile more. !5-year old Thia Megia vocal control continued to defy her years as she soared with “What a Wonderful World” The dream was done for Frances Contz and Caleb Johnson, and Clint Jun Gamboa was the first of many to bring Georgia to our minds by performing “Georgia on My Mind”, but judges felt he didn’t quite have it this time. Kendra Chantelle knew her way to Georgia, though, and Chris Medina and Carson Higgins took on “My Prerogative” in completely different styles. A series of shiners came next, Julie Zorilla, Caleb Hawley, Colton Dixon, Robie Rosen, and Brent Loewenstern. The most surprising offerings of the night came as Casey Abrams took to an upright bass fiddle to do a wowing wonderful version of “Georgia” himself.
Shocking news came as Jacqueline Dunford fell ill, and was forced to leave the competition, much to dismay of friend Chelsee Oaks, who admirably delivered “Because of You”. Lauren Alaina stuck to her audition ticket with “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” in tribute to Steven Tyler, and still nailed it! Jacob Lusk was one getting his true first moment before America, and his “God Bless the Child” brought luster to the stage, with the first-ever true scat to the Idol stage, and his emotion afterward was a moving testament to the power of music. John Wayne Scultz went a tad pop but stayed true to his roots with “Changes” Emotional mess but good singer Ashley Sullivan messed up singing her song to her boyfriend, but judges seemed to still believe. Stefano Lagone offered a lively “Sir Duke”, and Jovany Boretto was powerful, too. Young Jacee Badeax has really had the time of his life, in terrible and wonderful ways already this season, so it’s no wonder he chose “The Time of My Life” as his song, and again moved Jennifer Lopez to praise! A wrong word roundabout struck as Scott McCreery and Tatynisa Wilson couldn’t hang with “I Hope You Dance”
As the herded hopefuls gathered in their waiting rooms, judges practiced parting speeches. Rooms 1 and 4 were swept in cheers, and 2 and 3 shed the tears, but Jennifer Lopez left them knowing that while they didn’t make this audition, “They made us fans”.
Next week, the talents take on the Beatles, and the cuts keep on coming, as the Top 24 arise.
“American Idol” telecast, February 17, 2011 FOX TV.