Ohh, the feels. The final season of ‘American Idol’ is already beyond awesome, as we saw tonight in the second half of the two-part series premiere. After hearing her sing, the judges made two of a contestant’s dreams come true!
American Idol season 15 is alive and kicking! In the Jan. 7 episode, the auditions continue as judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. seek the best undiscovered talent in America. They travel to Little Rock, AK and San Francisco, CA to populate the competition, and there’s one special surprise at the end!
We’re off to an emotional start when we learn that the first contestant of the episode, Cameron Richard, 15, was born with a cleft palette, and the doctors told him he’d never be able to speak, much less sing. However, he overcame his disability with surgery, and now has a beautiful voice! He plays guitar as he sings “Gimme Love” by Ed Sheeran and his sweet Louisiana accent shines through. “I love your voice and your passion,” JLo tells him. Harry, of course, loves his Louisiana accent. Cameron gets a golden ticket!
Next is Daniel Farmer, a 24-year-old student from Tennessee who can’t wait “to seduce JLo” with his smooth moves and soulful singing. He’s got charisma, personality, and the voice! He sings D’Angelo‘s “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” and dedicates it to JLo, obviously. It works: she calls him “sexy” and “confident…it’s very attractive”! Harry critiques his runs, which didn’t quite land every time, but Keith and Jen give a “yes”, and Daniel’s on his way to Hollywood!
Dalton Rappatoni, 19, is a Texan with gorgeous green eyes who works as a vocal coach at an after-school program called School of Rock, where kids get to play in a rock band. He turns “Phantom Of The Opera” by Andrew Lloyd Webber into an indie jam as he plays acoustic guitar, and it’s the coolest thing ever. He made the song his own — which is a risk — and the judges “dug it”. “I’m looking for someone who’s got an artistic contribution to make, and you gave me that,” Keith told him, and Dalton gets that coveted ticket.
Of course, we have to suffer through a depressing montage of hopefuls who don’t make the cut, and it hurts even worse because this was their last chance to audition — there’s no “next season” to try again!
La’Porsha Renae, 22, from Mississippi has a beautiful baby daughter. She was in an abusive relationship, and had to take her daughter to a shelter to survive. Singing and praying helped her out of that dark place.”When I sing, I feel like I’m in the Milky Way. This is more than a competition for me,” La’Porsha says. JLo holds her daughter during the audition, and La’Porsha does an incredible a capella cover of “Creep” by Radiohead. Harry calls her “an assassin with runs” (we know, at this point, that Harry is obsessed with runs) and he’s blown away. In a precious move, Jen hands the golden ticket to the baby. Adorable! Meanwhile, Season 8 winner Kris Allen sneaks into the bathroom to see who’s practicing, and he surprises a young guy by joining in on a duet. Cute.
Next up is Maddie McAllister, a 15-year-old from Arkansas who lives on a farm with lambs, chickens and pigs…and she brings a chicken to her audition. Jen is terrified and refuses to touch the chicken as Keith holds it — so funny. Maddie does her best as she sings Carrie Underwood‘s “Cowboy Casanova”, but her voice is “too young” and she needs a few more years before she’s ready.
Trent Harmon, 24, is also from a 400-acre farm in Mississippi. His family runs a true farm-to-table restaurant, but he knows that he needs to leave the farm to make it in music. During his cover of “Unaware” by Allen Stone, the judges try to pin his genre down — is he country? Is he pop? Either way, he’s amazing — and Jennifer finds him surprising and is blown away. Harry gives him the highest compliment and calls it his “favorite audition” since they started! Trent is going to Hollywood…and we wouldn’t be surprised if he wins the whole damn thing.
Olivia Rox, is a 16-year-old student from California and the daughter of Jazz great saxophonist Warren Hill. She performs a beautiful rendition of “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars as she plays piano. Her voice is unique and refreshing, and it earns her a ticket. Then, Melanie Tierce‘s amazing cover of “Revolution” by The Vamps gives JLo “goosies”, plus Malie Delgado, 20, from Alaska raps during Gretchen Wilson‘s “Chariot”.
Kyrsti Jewel, 15, from California is a game-changer. Her family is the hugest fan of Idol — Kyrsti and her parents have attended the finales, met the winners, and even collect merchandise. Her parents are invited to watch her audition inside the room, and it’s embarrassing as they fangirl over the judges, but also cute. Her cover of “Mamma Knows Best” by Jessie J is powerful, and she definitely has a pair of lungs! Harry calls it a “touchdown”, and Kyrsti is off to Hollywood.
Inevitably, we see one poor girl bomb her audition. Sarah Hayes, 26, starts with Bonnie Tyler‘s power anthem “I Need a Hero”, but she’s so nervous that she forgets the words and switches to another song halfway through. She apologizes, and it’s a “yes” from Harry, Keith gives her harsh, honest criticism and calls the performance unfocused, unstable and frenetic. JLo says she hasn’t heard enough of a voice, and also says no. Keith says she doesn’t seem ready for the competition emotionally, physically or mentally. Sorry!
Tristan McIntosh, 15, from Tennessee has mixed feelings about her audition — she’s excited, but her mom is serving in the Army in the Middle East, so she’s missing her daughter’s audition. Tristan looks and sounds beyond her years as she croons “Why Baby Why” by Mickey Guyton. Harry then reads an email from Tristan’s mom wishing her good luck with her audition, and as the girl is crying, her mom shows up!!! There are smiles and hugs all around, and even Keith cries at the reunion. Oh, the feels. (By the way, Tristan gets the golden ticket.)
HollywoodLifers, what did you think of the second half of the premiere? Let us know!