‘American Idol’ auditions continued Thursday night in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Tyler were there to decide who would go on to the Hollywood round with a golden ticket. Here’s what happened:
Heejun (Hee-JOON) admitted to being a little overwhelmed by his fellow Idol hopefuls, and came off a little strange when he commented that Ryan Seacrest’s face was as small as a fist and good looking. He then said Jennifer looked unreal like a wax museum doll. Heejun actually did a good job on Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live With You,” showing off a soulful flair. Randy was impressed and shocked at his talent, and Jennifer loved his voice control and tone. Heejun is going to Hollywood.
Reed comes from a family of musicians and has performed with his family since childhood. He tried out singing the theme song to the ’90s sitcom “Family Matters,” but Reed really sold it with a bit of scatting worked in with the lyrics. Steven said he was crazy, and Randy thought it was genius. Jennifer liked his unpredictability, and Reed walked out with a golden ticket.
Samantha tried out singing the Faith Hill hit “Like We Never Loved at All” while her sister did the plank position on the floor in front of her. Apparently, Samantha’s sister Patricia “planks” all over Pittsburgh and Samantha sings better when her sister is planking. Beyond that weird display of sisterly support, Samantha actually sounded good on the song. Jennifer thought there were guts behind the song. Steven thought her voice sounded sweet and clever. Samantha’s going on to Hollywood, but we’re not sure if Patricia will be planking along with her.
Creighton tried out with a song he wrote while riding the bus from New York to Pittsburgh to audition. It turned out to be a song about the judges’ roles on the show. Jennifer said Creighton’s voice sounded like Jamiroquai and Justin Timberlake had a baby. Steven thought it was genius and creative. As a follow up, Creighton sang a really soulful version of The Jackson 5′s “Who’s Lovin’ You.” Randy loved his weird, crazy voice, and Creighton is going on to the next round.
Fifteen-year-old Eben took on Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and Jennifer said he was born to sing based on his audition. Randy loved his spot-on, God-given gift. Eben got the golden ticket.
Seventeen-year-old Travis tried out for Idol last year and came back on Thursday night’s show to try it again with Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.” Jennifer said his voice was stronger now, but she still felt Travis was holding back. Steven wanted him to show more passion. Travis admitted to the judges that he’d dropped out of high school and that his future was riding on making it on Idol. His mother abandoned the family, and Travis now lives in a shelter with his ailing father. The judges gave him the ticket to Hollywood but encouraged Travis to keep growing.
Erica works as a mobile DJ and wedding singer, and she’s hoping to take it to the next level with Idol. She tried out with Carole King’s “Will You Still Love Me,” and it was obvious from the first note that Erica was headed for Hollywood. Randy loved her low, alto voice, and Steven thought Erica was sexy and sure of herself.
Nineteen-year-old Shane works in a coal mine in West Virginia, but he is now chasing his dream to be a singer. Shane tried out with the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah,” but Steven didn’t think Shane was ready to leave the coal mines just yet. The judges encouraged Shane to try out again next year.
Hallie is a newlywed who’s now working as a waitress. She lived in New York City and sang in a girl group there as a teenager. Her life took a dark turn, and Hallie attempted suicide at one point. After meeting the man who became her husband, Hallie decided to give her singing dream one more shot. She tried out with “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor and sang the song with conviction. Jennifer said Hallie was amazing, and Steven said he liked watching Hallie while she sang. Hallie is going to Hollywood.
Thirty-eight hopefuls got a golden ticket in Pittsburgh. American Idol auditions continue in San Diego in a special Sunday night time slot at 9 p.m. ET.