'American Idol' Recap: Three Guys from Alabama Shine in Salt Lake City
'American Idol' Recap: Three Guys from Alabama Shine in Salt Lake City
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
It's the final week of auditions on American Idol season 13, and this episode finds the judges in Salt Lake City, Utah. So, naturally, it includes three talented guys from Alabama.

Seriously, we could be witnessing the start of Alabama's global domination as the three men all bring something different to the table. Between C.J. Harris, Dexter Roberts and Casey Thrasher, I was chanting "Roll Tide!" by the end of these two hours.

There are also plenty of great names in SLC, from a girl named Tiquila to a guy named after a Star Wars princess. And since American Idol is focusing more on talent and less on trainwrecks this season, I'm, not even wasting my time recapping the bad auditions. All 26 of these people are going to Hollywood.

Austin Wolfe: She's 16 with a cool name, piercing eyes and the right amount of confidence. She starts off OK, but then she really kicks it into high gear with "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons, which seems to be the default go-to song this year.

Kylee Adamson
: She's an 18-year-old lumberjack, which is impressive. She has a pretty, but not particularly memorable, voice.

Keith Sanders, Michael Simeon and Tessa Norman: The two guys play guitars while Tessa brings a ton of sass. They're all going to Hollywood because the trend this season is to show us five talented singers in the first 10 minutes of every episode. If this was last season, we'd still be watching Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey battle for the hair and make-up room.

Alex Preston: He loves playing the guitar and is taking a year off from college, which his parents are clearly not thrilled about although they try very hard to be polite. He sings an original (BOO!), but he has a nice, sensitive tone and Harry Connick, Jr. is impressed with his technical skills.

Samantha Calmes: She has a fanny pack which prompts Harry to act like Monty Hall on Let's Make a Deal (a reference I'm sure kids today don't understand). She starts with an original (BOO! again) and then Harry demands an actual song. She picks the theme from The Jeffersons, which the judges think is something no one has ever done before. Obviously they didn't see Top 5 finalist Cole Vosbury audition on the most recent season of The Voice.

LeBryant Crew: He's a charismatic and flirtatious minister who seems a little too slick for my taste. It's like he's a character in R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet."

Laurel Wright: She's a sweet country girl who sings an original (BOO! for a third time).

D.J. Bradley: The judges compare his look to Ed Sheeran. I think he looks like he should be smoking weed at a skate park. Jennifer Lopez likes his "quirky vibe," but Keith Urban thought he was disinterested.

Kenzie Hall: She's a pretty blonde 16-year-old girl whose voice has some unexpected power, rasp and range. J. Lo thinks she has "everything going on," and Harry loved that she played a diminished chord.

Paisley Van Patten: She had a record deal, but alcoholism took everything away. Now she's sober and trying to do it again, although her fiance left her over her pursuit of American Idol. She's good, but not great, just like her Cher impression.

Jocelyn Baker and Blake Branscom: They're both teens who play the guitar and are glossed over at the end of a montage of bad singers.

C.J. Harris: His dad died a year ago from a sudden heart attack. Between him and Marrialle Sellars, I guess dead dads are this year's big tragic trend. He's the first of the Alabamans and as soon as he starts to sing, I love him. His voice is big and authentic. The judges are right that he isn't a particularly great singer or guitarist, but he has something special that makes you want to watch him and listen to him.

Tiquila Wilson: She's a big black woman with a voice to match. She's a church singer and she works in a funeral home, but she has a personality and a scream that are even bigger than her waistline. It's a little wild, but that's not a bad thing with her.

Emily Rottler: She's only 17, but she sings like she knows who she is and she has a bright smile that lights up the room.

Dexter Roberts: He's a farm hand who also trains dogs and he's the second of the three Alabama men. He looks and sounds like the kind of guy who would proudly call himself a redneck. It's a very bluesy country style that works for him.

Briston Mareony: He's 15, but music runs in his family and his guitar once belonged to his great-grandfather, a Nashville recording artist. I expected him to be country, but his voice has some weird punk elements that are surprising given his innocent appearance. He's also very polite, saying "Thank you, sir" every time Keith or Harry speak.

Sabrina Lentini and Leia "Fish" Lotulelei: Sabrina is 15 and gets a "No" from Harry, but she still moves on. Leia (he's a guy, which is just a cruel joke by his parents and probably why he goes by "Fish") brought about 50 people to celebrate his win.

Johnny Newcomb: He sings Pearl Jam, but he's 16 and the judges find it too derivative. It's almost a "No," but he sings again and J. Lo changes her mind because, even if his voice isn't fully formed or original, he's too good at being derivative to pass on. And J. Lo convinces Keith to change his mind too.

Carmen Delgina: Her dad is Wonder Mike from pioneering rap group the Sugarhill Gang. Her voice is just OK, so the judges aren't sure what to do. Basically, she has a fine voice, but she's not going to win. They all say "Yes," and I suspect it's just because they wanted to meet her dad and it would've been awkward if they rejected her first.

Kassandra Castaneda: She begins by giving J. Lo her uncle's phone number which is hilariously awkward. She has a decent smooth voice, but Harry hates all of her runs. He gets out-voted. I feel like this will happen a lot this season, with Harry hating on runs and J. Lo defending them.

Kenneth "Woodie" Gaddie: He's a big black man who sings "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot." It's not great, but the judges say "Yes" anyway.

Casey Thrasher: Like C.J. Harris and Dexter Roberts, he's from Alabama. He's 22 and has two kids, both of whom are insanely adorable. He has a beautiful country voice, and I immediately see him going very, very far in this competition.


Tomorrow night it's the end of the American Idol auditions, which is good because I don't think my brain can process any more good singers.




(Image courtesy of FOX)