If the Audition Round is your favorite part of American Idol, oh boy, you are living your best life at the moment. We’ve got two more hours of hot and fresh auditions just for you. It’s pretty much more of the same, including some solid singers who have the chance to go far in this thing, some who just sneak on by, and some very hard passes. Lionel’s still crying (never change Papa Lionel), Luke’s still tuning everyone’s guitars, and Katy’s teeth are falling out of her mouth. Okay, that last one is new and also wild and maybe I am here for these antics? That’s what happens in the fourth round of auditions, people. Okay, let’s learn about those hopefuls who earn a golden ticket tonight.
Jacob Moran, 24, Dansville, Mich.
“Into You” by Ariana Grande
Jacob has a nice, safe job that he loves at a nursing home and singing has just been his hobby. A hobby no more, says Katy Perry! His voice demands that he take singing seriously. Lionel can’t believe he’s just been humming away in the old folks home and at local karaoke. It’s time to make Jacob a star, baby. I haven’t seen A Star is Born but I imagine this is what the basic plot is.
Laine Hardy isn’t the only returning singer auditioning for season 17. There’s a whole gaggle of them, including a few who manage to nab a trip to Hollywood for the second time around like Kay Kay (18, Nashua, N.H.), Tippy Balady (17, Dallas, Tex.), Isaac Streetman (18, Rockmart, Ga.), and Payton Taylor (22, Nashville, Tenn.). Only one manages to get more than a montage. Hey, remember….
Alyssa Raghu, 16, Orlando, Fla.
“Shark in the Water” by VV Brown
The Sauce is back! Or, I’m sorry, Katy’s sauce. Pop singer Alyssa made it all the way to the Top 24 last season, only to be cut for lack of stage presence. Well, ya girl is back with personality to boot. Over the past year, she worked on all the critiques the judges gave her, and it has paid off. Papa Lionel is so proud of her growth (he cries, naturally). Luke Bryan gets his first goosebumps of the day. After they hand Alyssa her golden ticket, Katy whispers, “Win it this time,” in Alyssa’s ear. They like her! They really like her!
Colby Swift, 19, Midfield, Tex.
“Cast No Stones” by Cody Jinks
Luke has never seen someone who reminds him so much of him at 19 than Colby Swift. But because Colby is so inconsistent with his singing (he definitely sounds better once Luke tells him to stop and sing the chorus without the guitar), Luke is torn. Our country hunk is conflicted. He lets Katy and Lionel talk it out: Both agree Colby has something but needs a lot of work, and yet still, Luke is so torn. Have we ever seen him in such anguish? Will he write a country song about it? Eventually, they take a chance on Colby.
Evelyn Cormier, 19, Claremont, N.H.
“Wicked Games” by Chris Isaak
At first, I wanted to come on here and rage over the fact that Evelyn got married at 18. I mean, everyone should live their life but also, 18?! But you guys, I can’t rage! Evelyn’s voice is insane. I’m not the only one who thinks so! Before giving Evelyn an obvious ‘yes’ vote, Katy warns her to pick the right songs (so much of Evelyn’s success will surely come down to choosing songs that show off every shade of that voice) while also telling her that she might have Katy’s favorite voice she’s ever heard. Married at 18, Idol by 19? Sure why not?
Ashley Hess, 27, Fremont, Calif.
“Don’t Know Why” by Norah Jones
Um, so, can I just buy Ashley’s album now? She seems way too cool, calm, and all around polished to be on this show. She comes in and tells a story about how she got into music “a little late” because on American Idol anything over 25 is geriatric—and how she isn’t quite sure this is for her. But then she hops on the piano and plays “Don’t Know Why” as if she wrote it. The judges come hang out around the piano because this is way better than an audition. This is my kind of Idol contestant.
Elizabeth Gaba, 19, Los Angeles, Calif.
“All I Ask” by Adele
This is the first time I’m getting chills watching American Idol but not from singing. Gaba (she goes by her last name) was born via anonymous egg donor, but her parents encouraged her to find that egg donor if she wanted. Um, Gaba ended up at the same college, singing in the same a capella group that her egg donor once did. What a freaking miracle, you guys. Gaba’s voice seems a little too Broadway to really win this thing, but she’s very controlled and, I mean, who can beat Gaba and her egg donor (who comes along with Gaba’s mom) singing a little duet on the piano for the judges? How are you not in after that?
Peach Martine, 16, Miami Beach, Fla.
“Zombie” by The Cranberries
I’ve never agreed with Katy about a contestant so much as this right here. Sure, she makes jokes about Peach maybe being a robot because her answers to any questions the judges have are so rehearsed and precise, but she isn’t wrong. I mean, she sings “Zombie” with a smile and no emotion. Zombie! They ask her to try something else that might show off her own personality and she sings an original that is an improvement, but still, Katy doesn’t think she’s ready. It doesn’t matter much since the boys want to see what else Peach can do. Hey, maybe she’ll surprise us. Or maybe there will be a robot uprising. Either way, what fun!
Dalton Elliott, 26, Chincoteague Island, Va.
“Boy” by Lee Brice
And then comes along a singer like Dalton to really hit home the thing that Peach was lacking. He may not be the best singer technically speaking—Katy points out some inconsistencies and thinks he strains to hit some notes—but man, he feels this song. He put his music career on hold once he became a dad and the song is a father singing to his son and you guys, it is quiet and nothing about it is showy, but it is moving. So moving that Dalton easily gets three go-aheads from the judges. Move us people! Is that so much to ask?!
Katie Belle, 19, Atlanta, Ga.
“Golden Slumbers” by The Beatles
Where are those big red chairs from that other singing competition when you need them? Katie’s sweet, ethereal vocals aren’t bad necessarily, but they don’t seem to be ready to take the Idol stage by storm. Still, she gets through because she’s gorgeous. I mean, Luke can’t even look at her when she’s singing. He pretends to faint when she heads out the door with her golden ticket. Katy softly sings “I kissed a girl and I liked it” as the contestant heads out (maybe I’m becoming soft, reader, but I laughed so hard). It’ll be interesting to see how she fares in the Hollywood Rounds.
Lauren Engle, 27, Redlands, Calif.
“Compass” by Lauren Engle
Well, Idol is leaving us on a teary note. Lauren tells a heart-wrenching story about how just a year ago she lost her husband in a car accident. The two of them performed together, so in his place, she’s brought her brother-in-law along to accompany her on guitar for her audition. And she’s singing an original song she wrote about him. I mean, everyone’s crying before the thing even gets started. She’s definitely not the strongest country singer we’ve seen in these audition rounds, but I’m glad the judges push her along to Hollywood. It’s a nice note to end the evening.
Friends! One more round of auditions to go! WE CAN DO THIS.
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