The American Idol auditions are about to end for good. I wasn’t all that impressed with the overall talent featured in week two. And considering the promos for the final week were teasing lots of craziness, I was worried things would go downhill. Fortunately, episode five was one of the best audition episodes this season, on par with what we saw during premiere week.

Out of all the contestants featured in the episode, seven received golden tickets to Hollywood. And of that group, there were three singers that really stood out to me.

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One of them is Amelia Eisenhauer, who played the fiddle briefly during her audition. She has such raw talent that oozed out as she sang. I wasn’t really expecting that kind of a voice to come out of her, but I loved what I was hearing.

Jenna Renae also stands out from this episode. The tone of her voice is really interesting, with some vibrato mixed in. I found myself drawn in with the feeling of the song, as she sang at the piano.

And then there’s Emily Brooke. At the end of the night, Idol put the spotlight on two returning contestants, Adam Lasher and Emily Brooke.

When it comes to Idol auditions, Emily has a special place in my heart because she delivered one of the best auditions of season 14, when she was featured at the very end of the premiere. She performed Carrie Underwood‘s “Blown Away” — the song title alone was perfect because she did blow us all away with her talent. While she performed, I had flashbacks in my mind to Carrie Underwood‘s many fantastic performances back in season 4.

After that audition was over and the judges talked to each other after the fact, Harry Connick, Jr. noted that Emily showed the most potential out of everyone they saw that day. I of course agreed with that sentiment. I even put her at #3 in my list of the best auditions from season 14, and you can revisit that performance below:

But does she still show that potential today? How does that audition compare to her latest audition? Has she improved, or is she just as good? Or (gasp!) is she worse? Let’s break it down…

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This time around, Emily performed RaeLynn’s “Careless.” While it’s not as well known of a song as “Blown Away,” it still very much fits into Emily’s musical style. Her country twang came through strongly throughout.

While I’m not yet sure how I feel about the song itself, that didn’t deter me from taking note of how talented she continues to be. When I watched the performance a second time, I did so back-to-back with her season 14 audition so I could compare the two. And what I noticed is that vocally, she sounds stronger than last time. (Watch the video below to see if you agree.) Even though she blew us away with “Blown Away,” her voice was a little softer, I think, than now.

As far as the overall performance/audition and being memorable, I would side with her season 14 audition, mainly because of the song choice and getting flashbacks to Carrie herself and just the overall vibe I got that has me remembering it even a year later.

But again, as far as her talent is concerned, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for her. Considering that many Idol fans were disappointed when she was eliminated during the Showcase, I wouldn’t be surprised if the judges make sure she’s in the Top 24 — as long as she doesn’t stumble big time before then, of course. This would be a great comeback story, for sure. She already has fans who loved her last season, so she might be going in with a bit of an advantage, in a way.

What do you think of Emily Brooke? Was she your favorite singer of the night? Has she improved from last season? And which audition of hers do you prefer? Vote in 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.