"American Idol" kicked off the third week of auditions Wednesday night with tryouts in Portland, Ore.
It was their first time looking for talent in that city, and judges Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler were there to decide who was good enough to advance to Hollywood. Here's what they found:
Brittany had a dream she was onstage with Sara Bareilles singing a duet on the song "Gravity." That dream actually came true when Brittany went to see Sara in concert, and that's the moment Brittany decided to try out for Idol. She actually tripped coming into the audition room, and Steven joked with her saying, "Did you fall for me?" Brittany, also known as "Tripster the Hipster," impressed the judges singing "The Story" by Brandi Carlile. Jennifer said Brittany had one of the prettiest voices they'd heard. Brittany is going to Hollywood.
Jermaine Jones began singing in church with his family when he was young. He stands 6' 8? and currently works as a music teacher. Jermaine tried out with Luther Vandross's version of "Superstar," and Randy was impressed with his ability to sing with a wide, dynamic range. Jennifer said that's a gift you don't hear every day. Steven said Jermaine's spiritual sounding voice really took him away. Jennifer wants Jermaine to loosen up a bit, but he is going on to Hollywood.
Mother of two Britnee Kellogg felt she'd been held back from pursuing her dreams by her cheating, basketball playing former man. She chose the very appropriate "You're No Good" by Linda Ronstadt for her audition song. The judges liked her sense of humor about her situation, and Jennifer sang along with Britnee's audition. Randy loved her vibe and attitude, and Jennifer loved the rasp and tone of her voice. Britnee's chasing her dreams to Hollywood.
Romeo is a refugee from Liberia who came to the U.S. as a kid hoping for a better life. He auditioned singing Bob Marley's "Is This Love," and Steven loved that Romeo sang from his heart. Jennifer loved his vibe and flavor, but she wasn't sure how he'd do in the competition. Jennifer gave him a "little, tiny yes," and Romeo is going on to the next round.
Naomi asked Steven's permission to try out with Aerosmith's hit "Cryin'," and Steven loved how she belted it out. Jennifer was impressed from the moment Naomi opened her mouth. It was a quick yes from all three judges, and Naomi left the room with a golden ticket.
Jessica's boyfriend D'Angelo had a massive stroke last year, and he didn't know who she was when he woke up from a coma. Jessica is now a caretaker for D'Angelo and prays for strength to continue. She poured her experience into a rendition of "Again" by Faith Evans. Jennifer said she did it really well, and Jessica made it through to Hollywood.
Motivational dancer Sam led her fellow contestants in a line dance before entering the judges room. Steven seemed to adore her form-fitting top, but her manic performance of the Peggy Lee hit and show tune "I'm a Woman" had the judges in stitches. Steven asked, "Could you have been any more perky?" He thought it was a little too Broadway, and Jennifer didn't think she was right for Idol. It was a no.
Fast food worker David Weed looked a bit dorky in his argyle sweater vest and glasses. Steven joked that his parents should have named him "Smoky Weed," but David shot back saying, "They weren't thinking ahead." He said he died a little inside every time he asked someone, "Do you want fries with that?" David tried out singing "Tom Sawyer" by Rush, and it didn't go so well. Randy asked David if he had any other ambitions, and David said he might try stand-up comedy. The joke he delivered wasn't that funny either. It was a no for David.
Are You Kidding?
Eighteen-year-old cable salesman Ben was battling a cold, but he auditioned with Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" anyway. Ben's oddball vocals actually caused Steven to curse, and he stopped singing in mid-song. For his second attempt at singing, Ben delivered his rendition of Nicki Minaj's "Superbass." He had a few dance moves that made the judges laugh, but the singing was still terrible. When it came time to judge, Steven actually played a recording of someone saying "You gotta be kidding me!" on a device he had at the desk. Jennifer thought he was cute, but the judges turned Ben down.
Twenty-eight year old Ben described himself as "adorable," but he came off as a little off his rocker. Ben auditioned with Queen's "Somebody to Love," and it quickly became clear why he'd been fired from several rock bands in his hometown. The judges all had puzzled looks on their faces before rejecting Ben.
Forty-five contestants in Portland got golden tickets to Hollywood. "American Idol" wraps up the audition round Thursday night in St. Louis. A sneak preview of Madonna's new video, "Give Me All Your Luvin'," will also air during Thursday's Idol.