'American Idol' Recap: Tons of Talent and an 'Idol' Alumna's Son
'American Idol' Recap: Tons of Talent and an 'Idol' Alumna's Son
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
The tone of American Idol season 13 is very different from past years. It's optimistic and positive, cheery and fun. There are no sob stories, no emphasis on the trainwrecks, just pleasant judges and tons of talent. The ratio of singers who move on to singers who get rejected is startling.

American Idol Season 13 Premiere Recap: Boston and Austin>>

The first hour of this episode concludes the Austin auditions, and we hear 15 different singers who get tickets to Hollywood, compared to only four who get rejected. That's definitely not the way things used to work. Then in San Francisco, we hear 12 more good auditions and only four rejected singers. That's a 77 percent success rate.

Watch the Best Auditions from Boston and Austin>>

Among the winners are the son of a former American Idol contestant, a hot guy, a crying guy, a worship leader, a rocker chick whose neighbor/BFF might be a stalker, one half of a set of twins and a sound healer.

The Good from Austin

Jesse Roach: She's a tatted rocker chick with a nice raspy, smoky tone to her voice. But I'm far more interested in her friend, a crazy neighbor lady who randomly wandered into Jesse's garage and became her biggest fan. The neighbor lady then signed Jesse up for American Idol and booked their hotel. That's kind of terrifying.

Steven Curd, Anna Melvin and Ryan Clark: These three move on to Hollywood. Steven is an 18-year-old cutey and Anna is one of those typical young divas who doesn't impress me much.

Quiandra Boston-Pearsall and Jamiah Malik: These two good friends audition together, but the show cuts it so we see one get a ticket and the other gets rejected. They're both kind of good, except for the fact that typing their names is a Herculean task. Quiandra gets the ticket and Jamiah is cut, but he's upbeat about it.

Megan Miller: She's a Louisiana girl with a powerful, raspy tone, but Harry thinks she might blow out her voice with too much power. She's good, but I find her as forgettable as her name.

Austin Alvarez and Eric Wood: This is a tale of polar opposites. Austin is an Adam Lambert wannabe and Eric works in the oil fields. They both move on, though I thought Austin's brief snippet was pretty bad.

Spencer Lloyd: He's a great-looking guy who Jennifer loves and Harry is jealous of. Sorry, Harry, but he also has a really nice voice. It's not great, but Harry is OK with that because he thinks being hot can compensate for that. It's nice to see Harry be such an honest judge, admitting that this show needs super hot dudes with modest talent.

Marlon Lindsey: He wears a bowtie and sings "A Change Is Gonna Come," which is on my list of overused songs. But he's good.
    
T.K. Hash: He does a President Obama impression. That makes me hate him, but his cool take on Fallout Boy makes me like him, because I did not see that coming.

McKenna Dennis: This season adds the bit where a singer is shown before a commercial break so viewers can tweet whether they think the person will get a ticket. In this case, she does, though I think she puts in too many runs.
    
Tristan Langley: For the first time ever, we have an American Idol baby! Tristan is the 15-year-old son of Nikki McKibbin, who finished third way back in season 1. Jennifer and Keith are won over, but Harry thinks he isn't good enough and the only appealing aspect is his story.

Taylor Stearns: She has a pretty voice and her audition is heard over a montage of other people, some of whom get tickets to Hollywood and some of whom get rejected, but we don't hear any of them.

John Fox: The Austin auditions end with the guy who was briefly seen at the start of the episode, a nice Christian boy who dropped out of college and moved back in with his parents to pursue his musical dream. He plays the guitar and has some nice soul in his voice. He's the kind of guy you want your daughter to marry.

The Bad from Austin

Grace Anne Field: She's a pianist who gets a pitch from her phone, but it doesn't help. I fear Randy Jackson might show up, because it's pitchy and sounds like she's summoning dogs.

Rick Rowling: This d-bag is shirtless with suspenders. He admits to Ryan Seacrest that his plan is to sing badly just for the exposure. Harsh Harry wants none of this crap, and neither do I.

L.J. Hernandez: He's a talkative cowboy whose ex-fiancee told him he doesn't have what it takes. It turns out his ex is the smartest women in Texas, because he's terrible, but polite.

The Good from San Francisco

Rachel Rolleri: She's a sweet 17-year-old girl with a crush on Keith Urban (something she shares with her mom). Her voice is very confident and mature. But she has a bad habit of making a weird eye roll when she messes up.

Athena Willford, Remi Wolf  and M.K. Nobilette: Athena sings Whitney, Remi is a former ski racer who reminds me of Maeby Funke from Arrested Development and M.K. is...a girl? I'm pretty sure she's a girl, but the androgynous hair, initialed first name and bulky sweatshirt make it impossible for me to say for sure.

Emmanuel Zidor: He enters the room singing, which scares Jennifer a bit. He oversings everything and has a very theatrical voice and personality. I don't like it at all and he's way too emotional. The judges inexplicably love him.

Caitlin Johnson: She's 15-years-old but looks 32. Her voice, however, isn't that old and lacks maturity. Harry says "No" and Keith says "Yes." Jennifer, of course, caves and says "Yes" too.

David Luning: He's a hipster with a hipster hat, hipster vest and hipster goatee. He sings an original, so I don't like him, but he's got blues and soul. It's a very un-Idol kind of voice, but great for what it is. The judges are curious if he'll be able to adapt to what the show demands.

Selena and Sierra Moreno: They're twins! And they're both pretty girls, but the judges are split and Harry, master of blunt honesty, says that one girl is better than the other and it might cause some sisterly problems. Selena gets a ticket to Hollywood, but Sierra is rejected. Ouch, that's rough.

Briana Oakley: She made it to Hollywood last season and is back for more. She's so good, and auditions like this should end after two or three notes with a "Yes." Harry likes that she opens her mouth, which is more a compliment than it sounds.

Wonka Singers: There's a brief montage of two good singers who both performed songs from Willy Wonka about golden tickets and pure imagination.

Adam Roth: He's a sound healer who believes in chakras and all that other kind of stuff. But the thing that I like least about him is that he sings "Hallelujah," a song that needs to be retired from singing competitions. Keith calls his voice "schizophrenic," because it sounds kind of good, but it's all over the place and it makes it almost impossible to tell if he's good or not. Harry correctly says "No," but the others say "Yes" and give him a ticket.

The Bad from San Francisco

Samuel Ramsey: After a series of bad puns (like Keith saying you'd shoot sheep on a ranch with a "shorn-off shotgun"), this guy claims his voice is jazzy. Harry, who knows a thing or two about jazz, doesn't like when people incorrectly use this term because there's nothing jazzy about it.
    
Ronald Reed: He's a disturbingly upbeat guy who believes that one day he will play a role in ending all war and famine. He has a full-on freak out over seeing J. Lo, but his freak out is different after the judges tell him that his voice is objectively not good. When he leaves the room he literally collapses on the floor in tears. Ugh, he's a product of a generation where talentless kiss get nothing but positive reinforcement. Sorry to get on my pedestal, but I'm guessing he was the kind of kind who genuinely believed teachers when they said he can be anything he wanted and he could change the world, even though that's not actually true for the vast majority of the population.

Gaddy Basil Foster: He's an extremely fit giant man who wears one of those muscle tank tops that basically covers nothing. And he's terrible.


In the end we're told there were 14 more golden tickets from Austin (which doesn't make sense since we saw at least 15) and 19 from San Francisco. There's some fuzzy math going on with this show, but as long as they keep showing a ton of successful auditions, I'm OK with it.


 (Image courtesy of FOX)

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