The audition rounds are almost over, with only one week left to see who else has a shot at winning American Idol. As I mentioned in my last One Singer to Watch article, the auditions have been great overall in season 14. But then Minneapolis came around and stopped that momentum in its tracks. With New Orleans, Harry Connick, Jr.’s hometown, as the next city the judges visited, will the talent show up?

The short answer is: sort-of, but not really. Harry really wanted his town to impress him and the other two judges, but that didn’t really happen. Having said that, the New Orleans stop was definitely an improvement over Minneapolis. Hopefully the final week of auditions brings the top-notch talent back out in full force.

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We did see a handful of good singers in New Orleans, even though some need to show improvements in the next round. Jelly Joseph sang Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and really showcased her powerful voice. And Greyson Turner performed an original song — his voice is interesting, and I’m curious to see if he steps up more in Hollywood.

Then there’s Sarah Quintana, who I assumed would receive a golden ticket, but alas, it was not meant to be. Still, I’m not sure why she didn’t go through when the judges have said yes to singers who aren’t as good as her. Maybe it’s because Sarah has more of an old-fashioned sounding voice and they didn’t think that fits with Idol. Considering Harry played on the piano during the song, I thought he’d already be on her side. She’s 28, so she can’t audition for Idol anymore. I guess there’s always The Voice and America’s Got Talent.

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Honorable Mentions

One of the singers who impressed me the most from New Orleans was Mikey Duran, who sang an original song called “My Demise,” which I liked. I was really drawn to his voice when he sang because I don’t think I’ve heard a male singer sound like him on American Idol before. It was really different and unique, and I definitely want to hear more from him.

Adam Lasher has a lot going on. Not only is he related to Carlos Santana, but he’s also diabetic and wears a robotic pancreas device, and he has a broken thumb — but that didn’t stop him from playing the guitar during his audition. I’m impressed just by that; if I could play the guitar, I don’t know if I would want to with a broken thumb.

Like Mikey, Adam sang an original song, “These Shoes,” and sounded really good. He has the kind of voice I could hear on an album, something that would be enjoyable to listen to, but also would sound good with a band.

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The Runner-Up

One of the standouts of the night was Quentin Alexander. Lorde’s “Royals” really fit with his overall style (the look and voice). His clothing choices are unique, and then he opened his voice and I loved it. The judges want him to push even further; when looking at his clothes, they’re probably expecting his performance to be just as quirky. I get that, and I believe he does have the ability to do so, and I can’t wait to see him do that in future rounds.

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The One Singer to Watch: Erica Washington

Depending on your personal preference, a handful of these singers could be the one singer to watch. It could be Quentin, maybe Adam or possibly Mikey if that’s your thing, and I almost chose Quentin for this spot.

But my one singer to watch from the New Orleans auditions is Erica Washington. She was featured at the very end of the episode, and they certainly saved one of the best for last. If you’ve got the pipes for it, taking on a Beyonce song could be really beneficial for you. (Then again, if you’re not as good as Erica, it could be underwhelming.) Plus, the song was a nice choice for the story she told.

Erica performed “Halo,” and she’s unbelievable. She can belt out those notes and pull you in while she’s singing. Fortunately, she didn’t let her big voice get out of control. And what I also appreciated was the fact that she knew how to hold back to deliver the softer notes. Sometimes singers with a voice like that don’t know how to control it and so they just go loud all the time, but Erica is better than that.

What did you think of the New Orleans auditions? Underwhelmed? Better than Minneapolis? Who are your favorites? Take our 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.