It’s week two of American Idol season 14, and Wednesday night’s episode saw the judges continuing auditions in Kansas City, with contestants coming from all over the country via the Idol Bus Tour Auditions.

How was the talent? With only an hour to showcase singers, it’s easier to pick out the ones I want to hear from again. But before we get to my one singer to watch, let’s take a look at some honorable mentions and other auditioners who stood out.

American Idol Recap: Kansas City Hits a Home Run >>>

Honorable Mentions

Alexis Gomez sang Little Big Town’s “Little White Church,” which was a great choice for her and allowed her country voice to shine through. She might not stand out as much as a couple of the others, who I’ll mention later on, but there’s something about her I really like.

I’m sure many viewers will love Anton Bushner; he’s a farmhand who came in with a cowboy hat on and sang a Keith Urban song with a nice country twang. Our recapper Bill King made a comparison to Scotty McCreery, and I agree. Sure, Scotty ended up winning the whole thing back in season 10, but he sounded the same every week. Could the same happen to Anton in terms of his voice? I’m a little unsure about how talented he truly is, but he’s good and did stand out.

I also want to mention Kohlton Pascal. I don’t know if I would even put him in the Honorable Mentions category because he’s so hard to pin down. He’s a “traveling man” as the caption said on the screen (his story is quite remarkable), and he performed an original song. It’s interesting and his voice has a sort of gravelly tone to it. I really wonder if he’ll always sound like this or if he can morph a little from performance to performance to make each one stand out. I’m curious to see how he does because he could either get cut early (maybe even during Hollywood Week) or he could make it to the live shows (or close to it) by showcasing his talent in a deeper way than he did during his audition.

[Video] American Idol One Singer to Watch: Savion Wright Returns Better Than Ever >>>

The Runner-Up

Joey Cook was featured in the first half of the episode, and she was the first singer I took notice of. She’s very quirky, both in her style and her voice. Not only does she have blue hair, but she came in with an accordion. People are going to remember her just based on that. I do want to put an asterisk by her name as the runner-up of the night, though, because playing the accordion during her audition was a little bit distracting. It was loud and overtook her voice at times, which is why I didn’t consider her for the top spot.

I wish the judges had asked her to sing something else, but without the instrument, because that way we could get an even better sense of her talent — I say that knowing that she’s really good and I do want to hear more from her; I just don’t want her to hide behind any gimmicks. And when she’s given the chance to do so in future rounds, I hope I’m not disappointed.

[Video] American Idol One Singer to Watch: Emily Brooke Blows Us Away with a Carrie Underwood Song >>>

The One Singer to Watch: Ellen Petersen

The best of the night, by far, was Ellen Petersen. She came in with a a banjo. We see a million guitars going in and out of the audition room, but rarely a banjo. With that kind of an instrument, of course she’s going to be a country singer, and that alone gave the audition a different feel right from the start. She was fantastic on Patsy Montana’s “I Want to Be a Cowboy Sweetheart.” I don’t think anyone came close to matching her overall. The tone of her voice on certain notes sounded quite beautiful — I’m drawing a blank of who she’s reminding me of — and seemed like a throwback to another era of country music. Then she threw in some yodeling at the end, which I also loved. I can’t wait to hear from her again.

(Plus, how can you not love the Beverly Hillbillies theme song afterwards, with her on banjo and Harry and Keith singing? And how does Jennifer Lopez not know about this song?)

What did you think of Wednesday’s auditions? Who were you favorites? Do you agree that Joey Cook is great but the accordion was distracting? And what do you make of Kohlton Pascal? Take the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments section.

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

(Image and videos courtesy of FOX)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.