Finally, we may have just found a 2015 winner! What a relief to hear the unique voice owned by flame-haired Jelly Joseph in New Orleans. Now, here’s a breakdown of the rest of the best and the jaw-droppingly worst of the night’s offerings.
American Idol brought us to New Orleans on Jan. 22, and thankfully, after Minneapolis’s lackluster contestants, tonight’s episode had much more to offer. One contestant was so impressive, she even showed the potential to walk away with the whole thing!
‘American Idol’: New Orleans Auditions Make Harry Proud
However, the evening got off to a rough start with some…enthusiasm. Drew Plaisance, 23, was literally the worst auditioner we’ve seen so far. The. Worst. It was one of those auditions that made you cuff your hands over your ears.
And guess what? Things didn’t immediately improve from there! Yodeling. Cracking. Torture.
“What the hell is going on in here?” Harry asked before adding that the abysmal talent was actually breaking his heart.
Finally though– finally!– fuchsia haired beauty Jelly Joseph, 26, emulated fellow red headed belter Adele with “Rollin’ In The Deep” and she restored Harry’s hope in the state of Louisiana. With her golden ticket in hand, Jelly singlehandedly got New Orleans back on track. Honestly, Jelly was the first auditioner so far this season that immediately gave the impression that she stood a chance to win this competition. Are you ready for this Jelly?
Sixteen-year-old Tiffany Stringer, had more pep in her step than the Energizer Bunny and, to be honest, it was exhausting. She was a pretty decent vocalist, but the high school cheerleader added one too many high kicks to her song (literally) for Harry who said no. JLo and Keith decided she was worthy of another shot, though, so I guess we’ll see her in hollywood. Preemptive yawn.
Tiffany’s energy was directly juxtaposed by another 16-year-old, Greyson Turner, who performed an original song, and from the sound of his subdued soul voice, it could’ve come out of a 45-year-old. The judges adored him, as they should have, and with a “Hollywood, baby” from JLo, he walked out with a golden ticket.
Sarah Quintana, 28, kept the good vibes flowing. Harry even took to the piano to accompany the jazz singing lady. Sarah was so good, I didn’t even mind that she wasn’t wearing shoes (okay, I did still mind, but I was a little more forgiving). However, because of her super unique sound, the judges decided this competition just wasn’t the right route for her, so they passed.
‘Idol’ Gets To The Heart Of NOLA’s Talent
At about the half hour mark, New Orleans finally found its steady groove.
Quentin Alexander, 20, sang Lorde‘s “Royals,” and it was fitting because Quentin showed up in what might be the swaggiest homemade outfit ever made. He also added a lyric change, after “I’m not proud of my address,” he slipped in “but I am.” Not shockingly, that appealed to hometown Harry. Three yeses!
Mikey Duran, struck the right chord right off the bat as he attended the same high school as Harry. That alone might’ve gotten him his golden ticket, but his James Blunt/Sam Smith hybrid voice was so smooth, Harry called him a bluejay. Another unanimous yes.
Next, we got another one of those montages of three young women–which, by the way, seems to be an editing device that Idol has been turning to nearly every episode and should maybe be reconsidered–each of whom sang country, and each of whom was given a golden ticket.
“Me and Harry are from the same state– he’s got to expect something out of me,” Ricky Hedricks, 17, said before walking into the audition room. He certainly had the talent, but not much idea what to do with it. “It’s like having a nice car but you don’t know how to drive it,” as Keith said. Still, the judges were intrigued enough to send the homegrown boy to Hollywood.
Dakota Suarez, who is a drag queen though wasn’t dressed as such for his audition, sorta lacked the voice (pretty important part of a singing competition, at least I thought it was), but the judges were intrigued by the prospect of a drag queen performing on the Idol stage and sent him to Hollywood. Here’s to hoping his voice is better when he’s wearing heels!
Nepotism may have worked its way into Idol, as Adam Lasher, 27, is the nephew of Carlos Santana. That relationship clearly doesn’t guarantee a person success in the music industry though, because Adam decided to put himself out there for the judges. With talent on par with his uncle’s, Adam got a yes from each judge.
The evening’s final contestant was single mom Erica Washington, 24, and she took a risk singing Beyonce‘s “Halo.” Honestly, in the abstract, you’d have to be clinically insane to take on Queen Bey, but dang Erica knew what she was doin’. “I didn’t think about Beyonce once, and that’s a tell tale sign,” Harry said. That it is.
And with Erica, we end NOLA on a very high note– actually, before leaving the city, Harry brought his fellow judges some crawfish and beignets. Okay, now the episode can officially end.
Do you guys think we found the next Idol tonight?
— Casey Mink