“American Idol” auditions touched down in Texas Thursday with a greeting from the International Space Station kicking off the show.
Judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler sat behind the judges’ table hoping to find some out of this world talent. Here’s what they found:
Seventeen-year-old Skylar loves hunting deer and riding her four-wheeler in her hometown of Brandon, Texas. Her family’s store has been going through tough economic times, so Skylar is hoping a trip to Idol will help her keep the store open. She tried out singing the saucy song “Hell on Heels” by Pistol Annies, Miranda Lambert’s all-girl group. Jennifer loved that Skylar’s identity was fully formed, and the judges could tell she really connected with that song. Skylar is going to Hollywood, and her 19-year-old female friend came in the judges’ room just to get a hug from Steven.
Baylie auditioned five years ago and made it to Hollywood back then. Now she’s 21-years-old and hoping for another shot at the Idol crown. She auditioned with Bon Jovi’s “Bed of Roses” and had the judges smiling with her performance. They gave Baylie a quick pass through to the next round.
Twenty-eight-year-old Kristine put her music dreams on hold to raise her three children. Now she’s going through a divorce and used the money she borrowed to pay her lawyer to buy a plane ticket for the Idol audition instead. Jennifer actually looked up and said, “Thank you, God,” when Kristine started singing Adele’s “One and Only.” Steven loved her tender vocals, and Kristine is headed to Hollywood.
Linda was one of the singers that pitted Jennifer against Randy and Steven on who should go to Hollywood and who should get the boot. She sang “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys, and then said “I feel like I’m about to pee myself.” Steven replied, “Go right ahead, ’cause you were that good.” Jennifer wasn’t a fan of Linda and told Randy, “I feel like I’m in the twilight zone.” Jennifer couldn’t connect with it, but Randy and Steven put her through. After Linda left the room, Jennifer actually exclaimed, “That was awful!”
Cortez is currently in college, but he grew up homeless at certain points of his life. He hoped to show that hard work and passion can help people overcome their hardships. Cortez applied his passion for singing in his audition, performing Adele’s “Someone Like You.” He gave the song a bit of a swing feel, and Jennifer actually slapped Randy’s hand down when he tried to cut the audition short. Jennifer said a lot of people had tried out with that song, but Cortez was the one that got it right. Randy wanted to hear something else, but Cortez sweet talked him into a yes. Cortez is going to Hollywood.
Ramiro is a worship leader in Houston. He was born with deformed ears and couldn’t hear or speak in the early part of his life. Doctors performed surgeries to create an ear canal and discovered he had an ear drum and could possibly hear. Over time, Ramiro developed the ability to hear and sing, and he tried out with the hymn “Amazing Grace.” Steven liked what he heard and thought Ramiro set a great example. Randy connected with Ramiro’s sense of hope. Jennifer said, “I guess we’re taking a leap of faith with you today,” and they sent him out the door with a golden ticket.
Phong was born-and-raised in Houston and teared up at the thought of being the next “American Idol.” He said winning that title would be “so phenomenon.” Phong told the judges he loved them each individually and expressed his love for singing songs from female pop stars like Jennifer. He tried out with a really off rendition of Toni Braxton’s ballad “Unbreak My Heart.” We’re talking major pitch problems and botched lyrics here. Phong even ran out of breath halfway through the audition, but he looked really into the performance. He said he could feel Toni’s emotion and pain coming through him when he performed. Steven said Phong has the passion, but his voice wasn’t interpreting the song.
Julie absolutely butchered Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and finished it off with some spastic dance moves. Jennifer was dumbfounded, but Steven said, “I bet you are crazy in…on the dance floor.” Randy said, “I didn’t like any of it.”
Are You Kidding?
Alejandro was actually picking his teeth when the camera first found him in the audition. He told Ryan Seacrest he was ready to blow the judges’ minds and declared this was the first day of the “revolution.” Alejandro asked Randy, Steven and Jennifer to “grant him the power to bring revolution to the world” where the underdog can actually win. He then compared himself to Lady Gaga and President Obama, and told them a lot of people were rooting against his Idol dreams.
Alejandro then sang Paramore’s “Looking Up,” and it became pretty clear why people were trying to convince him not to sing. Randy said, “No, no, no,” and Jennifer told Alejandro, “Your voice is not good enough for American Idol.” Alejandro then gave a speech about how Steven wrote “Dream On” before Aerosmith was formed, but Steven shut him down saying, “I wrote ‘Dream On’ back when the Dead Sea was still sick.” Randy told Alejandro he would never be vocally ready for Idol.
Fifty-four other hopefuls got the golden ticket in Texas. American Idol returns Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox with auditions from Portland, Ore.