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American Idol recap: Salt Lake City auditions, No. 5

Auditions continue in Salt Lake City, where Wonder Mike’s daughter shows up and J. Lo ushers most hopefuls through to Hollywood

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American Idol Recap

American Idol

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest
Reality TV

The season 13 auditions continue! We’re in Salt Lake City tonight, and eff it, J. Lo is just saying yes to everyone. Now can she meet Wonder Mike?

We saw a lot of footage tonight — nearly all of the “yeses” they put through. But this is really odd: A shy-seeming brunette with braces named Jessica Bassett is not going to Hollywood, yet the audio of her soft and sweet-voiced tryout (lyrics included “Russian girl”) played alongside footage of the judges speaking for nearly 30 seconds. I assumed it was some pretty single from a solo artist I’d never heard before. The song really worked for what it accompanied, I thought. And then she was denied! STRANGE. If you’re gonna use her as background music, at least put her through to the California dream, man.

Here we go with the featured golden ticketeers:

Wait — do I like that song “Radioactive” now? Austin Wolfe, 16,  makes a great case for this is it, the apocalypse, as she includes one of those “ungh” sounds (where it sounds and looks like the singer’s mouth is just involuntarily hanging open all of a sudden, but it’s intentional, and the judges LOVE it) and shows off her great pitch. Harry compares her to Hayley Williams from Paramore. (“She’s great.”) J. Lo faked Austin out at first, but whew, then she started in with the head-bop. Nice start to the episode.

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This is the happiest Meredith Grey has looked in years.

Some quick hits: Kylee Adamson, 18, is a lumberjack?! Michael Simeon, 19, could win this thing with those blue eyes open and his mouth shut. I want to hear much more from 26-year-old bartender/Ben Harper soundalike Keith Sanders, but the judges cut him off. And the latest “Mamma Knows Best” sass monster with believability, Tessa Norman, 19, is “a star, okay? I said it.” J. Lo said it.

Then a broken chord of desperadoes are all terrible. Question: Do you spend tons of money on a rainbow stand-up keyboard and then learn on TV that you can’t sing, or is that amazing wonder of the world just already lying around in your house so you can’t help but inflate your own self-worth? Because if I had that thing, I might think I was a great musician, too. It looks so happy and pillowy. I hope it gives another child lots of self-esteem very soon.

“Even if the songs suck, I love to write ’em, still,” says Alex Preston, 29, setting us up for disappointment but also beginning to make us love him. The former high school jazz band geek, 20, is taking a year off from college to make “this” happen. I always shudder when I hear that, because as we see again and again in these auditions, sometimes a talented teen would be so much better with a few more years of musicianship under their belts, and it’s so obvious. But it’s not that way with Alex, who’s lost in his own word as he sings a risky original and levitates onto his tiptoes. He’s got a firm grip on who he is as an artist — and similarly, he will not use a pick, just his fingers. Harry recognizes some difficult guitar harmonies, and J. Lo appreciates the personal eye contact Alex gives her.

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Yeah, she was really loving it!

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NEXT: She’s wearing a fanny pack? Into The Chamber with her!