After criss-crossing the country, The American Idol audition train finally grinds to a halt. But before it arrives in Hollywood, we’ve got one last stop in San Francisco. And it’s one final chance to wash the sour taste of Minneapolis and New Orleans from our mouths.

After a strong start, those two locales proved less than stellar, turning one bad night into a trend that I’m hopeful one of my favorite cities can buck. I’m also optimistic because outside of New York City, nearly every featured destination so far has leaned country.

It’s not my cup of tea, even if it has been the genre of some of the most successful Idols to date. So hopefully we can mix it up a bit on the left coast.

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They Left Their Hearts in San Francisco

San Fran is hipster heaven, and so 15-year-old Katherine Skinner is up first. She is auditioning because her 19-year-old psychic kitty cat told her to. She’s rocking a pimp coat and claims to have partied with Bowie in the ’70s, and she’s itching to be a rock star. She’s decent, but despite my love of rock, her Florence + the Machine doesn’t really do it for me. But “Shake It Out” is good enough for the judges, who dub her bold and fearless. That cat knows what he’s talking about.

Erika David has some rough spots, and the runs during her Alicia Keys song are all over the place. Chandler Leighton is the sweet to Erika’s sassy, but her “New York State of Mind” is smooth if not boring. Ryan Pinkston is equally mediocre, but Harry calls his performance “pinpoint perfection.” I’d have sent them all home, but they’re all going to Hollywood.

Seventeen-year-old Andrew Bloom is friends with silver medal-winning Olympic sprinter Ryan Bailey, and that’s more interesting to me than what he does with his guitar and voice. His rendition of Alex Clare’s “Too Close” is fine, but there’s nothing about him that hints at stardom. Harry then challenges Bailey to a race across the audition room, and I guess that’s worth the price of a golden ticket.

Kellyeann Rogers, with her shiny red pants and black heels, is the revelation of the night so far, and the judges say yes immediately without offering any other words of wisdom. Then Kellyeann struggles to find the door while happily rushing from the audition room, which kicks off a compilation of #IdolExitFails. On the bright side, at least one of the lost is super hot and carrying a ticket.

Reno Anoa’I is the youngest in a giant family, rolling like 60 deep, that he claims is extremely musical. His grandmother taught him how to play the ukulele, which he makes use of to cover a Rod Stewart song. He sounds like he’s about to greet Sarah Marshall, and it’s pleasant in the way a hotel performer in Hawaii is enjoyable. But I have no idea how he’ll hold up when taking on other types of music, because he can’t succeed while putting this type of spin on everything. The judges have their concerns, but they love him enough to give him a shot.

Rayvon Owen’s biggest advocate is his mother, and they hit some rough patches while he was growing up. He and his sister never knew they were poor, happily thinking everyone enjoys Spam and cheese. He’s got a ton of potential, but he lacks polish and control, and I’m not a huge fan of his Katy Perry arrangement. J-Lo squeals something about goosies, and let’s get this kid some training.

Sixteen-year-old Maddy Hudson has her mother, a Megan Fox movie star smile and the final audition. She sings with a lot of facial emotion, and she gives J-Lo more goosies. Her voice is up there with Kellyeanne’s and her potential matches Rayvon’s, so that means she’s one to keep an eye on. The judges declare her a front runner, provided she “doesn’t go down in flames.” 

They’re Just Staying in San Francisco

Samuel Prince is Puerto Rican and full of jazz hands, and he dubs Jennifer Lopez the Queen of the 51st state. Before he performs, he wants to act out an in-Spanish improv soap opera seen with the judges. J-Lo, in character, slaps him, and then it’s time to sing. He rushes through it and it’s overly theatrical, and the judges send him home.

Indecipherable Matthew Sequeira, scream-rocker Luke Randall and soulful Shade Shine also lack what it takes. The first two are terrible, but Shade isn’t half bad and even gets a yes from Keith. She probably deserves better than to be grouped with Matthew and Luke, and this concludes the rejection montage portion of the evening.

Zack Dyer is our “Hollywood or home” contestant, and it’s a no. 

Identical twins Ezekiel and Jeremiah Cardenas perform as a duet, and it’s pretty terrible. I’m not even sure an in-tune guitar could have saved them.

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Give Me Just One More Night

I think this is the most bad singers we’ve seen featured this season, especially when you count half the people who went through to Hollywood. At least there were no country auditions. 

Kellyeann Rogers and Maddy Hudson are the only ones I’m interested in seeing and hearing again, but I guess there is room for some of these folks to grow. Is there anyone you think has a shot to make a deep run? Were you blown away by an audition that I didn’t love? Or are you as disappointed as I am with the downward spiral that is the second half of the audition round? I don’t know, maybe I’m just really mean. Billy Downer over here. 

Not that any of it really matters. At this point, American Idol basically exists as a giant promo for Empire and its fantastical list of guest stars, at least for one more night. Now let’s get that out of the way so season 14 can really begin!

American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.

(Image and video courtesy of FOX)

Bill King

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order