So far this season, over 160 contestants have received Golden Tickets from Idol’s new judging panel: Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj.
Tonight, the panel along with host Ryan Seacrest headed to both San Antonio and Los Angeles to seek out the best in undiscovered talent. Was their search successful? Read on to find out….
Up first to face the judges was returning contestant Vincent Powell. The Mariah worshipper made it to the end of Hollywood Week but was eliminated before he could join everyone in Vegas. He took the judges to church with his stunning cover of “Rock Me Baby” that received a unanimous “Yes” from the group and his ticket to Hollywood Week.
24-year-old single mom Savannah Votion auditioned for American Idol because she thought that it would be her best bet to support her five-year-old daughter. Savannah’s spot-on cover of Etta James’ “At Last” was like listening to a quality recording. Randy stated that she was a natural performer while Keith added that she had a lot of life in her voice. Savannah received her Golden Ticket to Hollywood and is one step closer to realizing her dream.
Over the San Antonio hour, there were many spouses that supported their significant others. 29-year-old worship leader Cristabel Clap brought her husband and kids to her audition. Before she faced the judges, Cristabel stated that her husband was her number one fan and her biggest supporter. Her cover of “If I Ain’t Got You” had Mariah proclaim that she was a real singer and was voted unanimously to the Hollywood Week.
Day one of San Antonio ended with 23-year-old University of Arkansas graduate student Ann Difani was nominated by her husband to sing in front of the judges. Ann performed an intriguing cover of Faith Hill’s “Stronger” that had the Australian country singer praising her tone while Mariah stated that she admired her courage and bravery. Ann received her Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
Day two brought out some very interesting characters including Mariachi singer Victoria Acosta and Papa Peachez, who will be bringing their magic to Hollywood. The last San Antonio audition belonged to 19-year-old Adam Sanders. Adam sang an outstanding cover of Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind” that showcased a lot of soul and received a standing ovation from Keith, Randy and his idol: Mariah. Adam received the final Golden Ticket from Texas and could be a potential frontrunner going into Hollywood Week.
The crew traveled to Long Beach, California, where the Idol crew boarded the Queen Mary. While Mariah was stuck in traffic, Randy and Keith had to hold the court until they arrived. The first girl that performed in front of the duo was Shubha Vedula, who performed Christina Aguilera’s “Something’s Got A Hold on Me” that was outstanding and received two yeses from the Dawg and the Grammy-winning country singer.
Mariah was just in time to join Randy and Keith when they met 26-year-old Matt Farmer and his three-year-old daughter Candice. Matt is a veteran and hoped to make his wife and daughter proud. He sang a rock-infused cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” that impressed all four judges. Matt received three yeses from the trio and headed to Hollywood.
For the first time in American Idol history, an audition was interrupted by a fire alarm. After Idol’s head honchos saw that there was no immediate danger, the auditions continued as Jesaiah Paer delivered an intriguing jazzy cover of Kimbra’s “Settle Down” that received praise from all of the judges and a Golden Ticket.
Day one of Long Beach concluded with Micah Johnson. The U.S. Navy officer overcame a huge obstacle that left him with a speech impediment to perform in front of the judges. When he performed a cover of Zac Brown’s “Chicken Fried,” it did not seem like he had a speech-impediment and impressed all of the judges, who were moved by his performance. He received his Golden Ticket and gained the respect of all four judges.
Rachel Hale started the second day of auditions on a high note as she sang a cover of “People Get Ready” that had shades of Jennifer Nettles. The “Starships” singer loved Rachel’s energy while Mariah was impressed that Rachel knew her identity as an artist. Randy also added that she was one of their happiest contestants ever and handed her a Golden Ticket.
The final two auditions of the evening belonged to two powerful singers, who overcame bullying and battles of doubt. 16-year-old Briana Oakley was the final girl of the evening. Her cover of “Up to the Mountain” gave everyone chills and left Nicki Minaj speechless. 21-year-old Matheus Ferandes gave one of the best performances of the season with his superb cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” that made Mariah cry. Both of these talented contestants will head to Hollywood to test themselves.
Tomorrow night, the Idol crew heads to the home of Carrie Underwood to find more potential candidates to become the “American Idol.”