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On the last night of auditions ever, American Idol remembers the past and celebrates the present

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January 22, 2016 at 04:05 AM EST

Here we are: the end of the road. Well, not the very end of the road…just the end of audition road. The final episode opens with a Lewis Carroll quote, which is kind of unexpected, but Lewis Carroll is pretty inspirational, so it works. As far as we know, there will never be another audition for American Idol, and that’s a pretty tough note to swallow. But with a big night must come big talent, right? As Idol bounces around the country for one last time, it makes you wonder: Have we already found the 15th and farewell (not final, because ambiguity is the name of the Idol game) idol, or will the victor surface tonight? And at the end of tonight’s recap, we’ll look at who made the most of audition week.

Jessica Cabral, 21, is from Massachusetts. She’s the first up tonight and chooses Alicia Keys’ “Brand New Me,” and you know that little note about big talent surfacing on the final night? Yeah, Jessica Cabral has the makings of big talent. For once, Jennifer and I are in sync — she calls Jessica’s voice lush and beautiful and even compares her to Kelly Clarkson. I didn’t catch that at first, but yeah, it makes sense. She gets three yeses and moves forward. She was so excited that she injured a nice young man waiting outside for her. Following Jessica is Cody Ostrenga, 23, who is my favorite person who has shown up to the audition in a vest. Okay, in reality, I just have a big crush on him, even if his name is Cody. He shoots balloons on a bull AND he’s a belly dancer. Too bad he can’t sing. He chooses “Proud Mary,” and goes full-on: dance and song. The dance is good, but again, the singing isn’t. I would like to reiterate that I appreciate how brazen you have to be to wear a vest, and honestly, he’s still adorable. Sorry, Cody.

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All the way from Bakersfield, Calif. comes Brian Dale Brown, 27, who has auditioned TEN TIMES, y’all. Can you imagine being that dedicated to anything? He decides to do impressions for the judges, which is beyond me because if you’ve tried out ten times and just made it on the final season, I’d focus up. Then again, I’m in sweatpants on my couch and he’s on TV, so there’s that. He chooses “Unchained Melody,” and it’s all over the place, but I can’t say it’s bad per se. It was growly and yelly but also dramatic and in tune. The judges put him through to Hollywood, and the impressions worked out to his advantage. The gimmicks continue with Gina Naomi Baez and Tinkerbell. Tinkerbell is just a puppy, but Gina is ready for audition time. She’s crushing it in a starry dress, and in some circles, you could say she crushed her song, Meghan Trainor’s “Lips Are Movin.” She sings it too aggressively, which is a shame because she’s not an awful singer. Gina just doesn’t have what it takes for the farewell season. She does not take it well, but Tinkerbell is way chill about it. That’s when we go into a long string of rejections, and I don’t understand how in the world people can watch other people cry and not cry themselves. I can judge from my couch all day long, but if someone starts crying, I’m devastated. That’s why it’s exciting to meet Melany.

NEXT: Bring Your Family to Audition Day!

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Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.
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