American Idol recap: You get a yes! You get a yes! Everybody gets a yes!
What is in the judges’ Lipton Tea cups these days? It seems like they’re sending everyone and their mother on to Hollywood Week tonight. They give out so many yeses that a few people are even relegated to a montage — sorry Emma Kate, Marcus Tinsley, and Chase Jerico, we’ll have to get to know you another time!
Okay, not everyone goes through. Thankfully, the surfer guy who apparently couldn’t even find the time to look up who the judges are — I’m sorry but he thinks Lionel Richie is the host of Wheel of Fortune? This must be an act, no? — is not rewarded for having zero knowledge about music or the world around him. And although Tavia and her “girl-tarist” Teri put on a great show, they do not get to move forward. Still, other than that, Katy Perry (who got a sweet pregnancy congratulations from her fellow judges at the top of the show), Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan were taking chances and making dreams come true left and right. What a world! Let’s see who got a pass this week:
Danny La Rota, 24, Birmingham, Ala.
“Royals” by Lorde
And just like that, America loses another fine dentist. As soon as the judges hear Danny’s cool, gritty acoustic take on “Royals” they want to know why he’s wasting his time in dental school when he should be pursuing music. I mean, probably for the steady paycheck and healthcare, but, sure, we get it: passion! Katy calls Danny the “most original” artist they’ve seen thus far, and after comparisons to Eddie Vedder and Robert Plant, Lionel sits amazed at how much control Danny has over such a big vocal range. To hell with stability — Danny’s going to Hollywood!
Makayla Phillips, 17, Temecula, Calif.
“Who’s Loving You” by The Miracles
Young Makayla here tried to audition for Idol in 2017 but had missed the age cutoff by two weeks. Now she’s back, and she’s been preparing for this moment for what seems like her entire life. As happy as she is to be here, the judges are even happier to see her. She can belt, she can do some smooth runs, and she has range. Plus she’s a cute teenager. What more could you ask for? Katy gets chills and tells Makayla she’s “Top 10” material, which seems like the three thousandth time Katy has put someone in the Top 10 this season. That math doesn’t add up, but maybe Makayla can beat the odds?
Devon Alexander, 22, Sonora, Calif.
“Not in That Way” by Sam Smith
Growing up, Devon lived in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere, with a TV that only got one channel — one channel that happened to show American Idol. Is this story true? Who knows, but it sounds nice! And I love a dude who walks around being like “I’m so nervous!” and “Singing makes me self-conscious!” and then absolutely crushes his audition. Devon has a cool, soulful vibe and Mr. Luke Bryan is very into it. Lionel thinks Devon is definitely up for the challenge of Hollywood Week. Devon has zero reason to be self-conscious about his voice anymore.
Mosean Wilson, 23, Springfield, Ill.
“Slip Away” by Mosean Wilson
Mosean has had a tough life — he was raised by his grandmother and his father, who was bipolar schizophrenic, died of a drug overdose. He’s trying to make a better life for him and his young daughter. The judges are moved by him. I mean, Luke Bryan is still crying once Mosean leaves the audition room. Moved. Katy tells him they want to invest in him, and Lionel says they are all standing behind him. There’s a lot of natural talent and real emotion in his voice, but it’ll be interesting to hear him on some covers after he’s gone through the Hollywood boot camp.
Faith Becnel, 20, Destrehan, La.
“Lady Marmalade” by LaBelle
In case you were wondering why sometimes the judges put some true disasters through to Hollywood (and beyond!), American Idol has a montage for you! It’s because they spot some possible potential and they want to take a chance. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it is a dumpster fire. That montage ends on one wannabe singer who isn’t quite there yet but has something the judges just can’t let go of — real character. Faith has some soul and grit in her voice, but Luke wants her to take herself more seriously. Katy wants a more emotional song. Lionel wants her to stop rushing. It’s a split decision, with Lionel passing and Katy and Luke pushing her forward. Let’s see how she does the next time she pops up on Idol.
Alejandro “Space Cowboy” Garrido, 26, Pembroke Pines, Fla., & Kat Luna, 19, Miami, Fla.
“Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
I’m putting these two dinks together because 1) they audition together and 2) who am I to break up true love? They’re so good and so into each other that it brings Katy Perry to tears. “I believe in love again,” she yells after their A Star Is Born performance. The judges are just happy that both of them are talented enough that they don’t have to split them up. And also that Alejandro might drop the “Space Cowboy” stage name. I’m looking forward to hearing them sing separately — especially Kat’s soaring voice — but for now, let us just bask in gorgeous harmonies for a little.
Sophia Wackerman, 20, Long Beach, Calif.
“Water” by Bishop Briggs
Bless this show. Sophia comes from a musical family — her dad is a drummer who plays for the likes of James Taylor, and her late mother used to be a backup singer for Belinda Carlisle. What does American Idol do? They play a Belinda Carlisle song after Sophia earns her golden ticket. They love to twist the Knife of Sadness, don’t they? More than just a sad story, Sophia is an almost-full package. The judges love her bubbly personality, they love seeing her over on the piano, and they absolutely love her voice. There are some technical kinks to work out, but they are wowed by her warm, identifiable tone and the emotion that comes through. It’s such a good audition, that Katy takes her out into the waiting room to show contestants exactly what they’re looking for.
Jimmy Levy, 21, Miami, Fla.
“Nobody Love” by Tori Kelly
Jimmy comes from a family of mediums, because sure. He sees ghosts, but his mom is a clairvoyant, so she comes in to give the judges a quick reading. Once Jimmy starts singing, it’s clear he is extremely nervous, so Katy stops him during his rendition of “Wicked Game” and has him sing something different, a capella. There are a lot of issues here, but the judges are intrigued. Katy tells him he has a lot of work to do, but there’s also a lot of potential. Lionel is drawn to Jimmy’s authenticity and Luke tells him that when he gets to the growl in his voice, things sound great. I mean, his mom saw him getting through to Hollywood seven years ago, so there’s no real suspense here. Mom’s right. Jimmy makes it to the next round.
Olivia Ximines, 17, Menifee, Calif.
“Language” by Tori Kelly
Olivia is just 17 years old and already comes equipped with her own backup dancers. Her high school dance team puts on a little show for the judges before Olivia auditions, and then wait on the side as she sings — have you ever seen a group of teens looking so nervous? They are all pulling for Olivia. But there’s no reason to be nervous. Olivia wails. And, like, in the good way. With a little coaching — the judges tell her she sounds young and definitely has some things to learn — she could probably go far in this competition. She has a ton of personality and Katy calls it pure and simple: Olivia is “a delight.”
Marna Michele, 27, Costa Mesa, Calif.
“Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga
Marna was born with arthrogryposis, a condition that makes her muscles so weak that she can’t walk or lift her arms over her head. That hasn’t stopped her though. She lives a full life but now wants to pursue her musical dreams. She has a great voice, but the judges want her to emotionally connect with the song a little more. So, right on the spot, Katy gives Marna a little vocal lesson and it works — they get Marna to toss out some of the polish and get more emotional. She’ll have to work hard, but since she was able to take direction that quickly, all three of the judges are confident enough to send Marna to Hollywood.
Zack Dobbins, 18, Clay, W.V.
“Misuse” by Zack Dobbins
Wow wow wow, we’ve seen contestants come from small towns before, but Zack, like, really comes from a small town. And he promises that he’s never going to let Hollywood change him. I believe him because a) he only came to the audition because he promised a girl he would, but he doesn’t even like that girl anymore and b) he rolls up into these auditions with the muddiest boots I have ever seen. After a quick guitar tuning session by Luke Bryan, Zack does his thing and the judges are amazed that they have found a true “diamond in the rough.” He needs a lot of practice and you know, maybe some basic music history lessons, but he has the authenticity they’re looking for. It’ll be interesting to see him up against much more polished performers in Hollywood.
Ren Patrick, 26, Cypress, Tex.
“Dancing on My Own” by Robyn
Thanks to her mom, Ren is here, picking up the pieces of her life and following her dreams after eight and a half years in an extremely toxic relationship. This is her revenge tour. And apparently, she has Katy Perry to thank a little: Once she and her boyfriend were fighting at a party and Katy was there — and under her breath, Katy said, “Ew, girl, dump him.” And now her life has come full circle. Ren has a voice I would listen to all day. There’s a cool rasp and she has some great control. Plus, there is just emotion radiating from her. The judges are also into this. “I believe in you, we believe in you,” Katy tells her before they invite Ren’s mom in to give her the ticket. Anyway, everyone is crying.
Next Sunday is our final night of auditions before we head to the re-vamped Hollywood Week on Monday. Anyone else counting down to that bloodbath? Let’s! Make! Some! Cuts!
Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.