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Emmys 2017
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American Idol recap: New York City auditions

The judges go to Jenny’s old “block” to find some NYC performers.

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American Idol Recap
Michael Becker/Fox

American Idol

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

Where are we tonight? We’re in New York! So it’s sure to be weird, and god willing, less snoozy than last night’s episode. We’re already off to a good start, because we kick off in front of J.Lo’s old home! And the man who lives there now has no idea who she is.

Keith is out tonight, and Adam Lambert joins us in his place, apparently the first Idol to ever appear at the table. I’m not an active Adam Lambert fan, but as he’s introducing himself to the crowd, I’m immediately reminded of how much I enjoyed his personality during season 8. (And, like his style or not, you can’t deny that the man is wildly gifted.)

The first to welcome us to New York is a gentleman named Sal, possibly the most “New York”-y man who’s ever appeared on television. He’s in a suit, he’s got that old time-y Frank Sinatra accent, and I’m wondering if he’s an actor because his performance is presented as such a caricature. That said, Sal appears to be a real contestant, and he’s going to serenade us with “Fly Me to the Moon,” which is actually called “In Other Words,” a fact that Harry bets Sal doesn’t know. But he does know it, so Harry owes Sal $100. Somebody put Sal man in a remake of Guys and Dolls quick, please. He’d be quite the Nathan Detroit.

Sal Valentinetti, who I am shocked to learn is only 19 years old, has a beautiful voice! It’s not mind-blowing with power or range, but my dad would buy his album right now. J.Lo and Adam like him, but Harry says he shouldn’t go through because he “couldn’t win American Idol,” which is ridiculous because Harry puts through all the people who will never win this show. Oh, well. Sal is fun, and I’m looking forward to watching him be on TV. #IdolLovesNY

Here’s a gentleman who is holding a teddy bear. He’s a sharply dressed fellow, but I’m confused by the presence of the bear, whose name is Mr. Crispy. You know, security blanket, etc. That’s fine, but I don’t know why the bear is in the audition. You gotta get a gimmick, I suppose.

Anyhow, our new gentleman friend, J. None, sings “My Prerogative,” which just makes me want to listen to the Britney version. J. None is grooving away though, and he’s got a solid voice. Bear and all, he’s through. Sidenote: Harry is acting as a ventriloquist with the bear and says in a squeaky voice that Adam Lambert is “so handsome.” To which Adam said, “I’m really not into bears.” So the winner of tonight’s episode is Adam Lambert.

Jax from Long Island is next. Her father is a retired firefighter, injured during 9/11. We get an emotional segment on the family, how much this girl loves her father, and it of course makes us cross our fingers that this girl can sing. When Jax starts singing behind the piano, she surprises me more than anyone else we’ve seen this season. I get the chills a little, honestly. A heartfelt, quiet version of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” is something I would like to listen to on my way to work tomorrow. Her crystal-clear voice is so lovely, it distracts me completely from her sequined sweatshirt and camo hat. It’s also worth noting that Jax is 18, beautiful, and humble. She is American Idol gold.

NEXT: Violins and cockroaches, the enemies of New York.