Anyone following “American Idol” through its celebrated seasons realizes the fleeting joy of grabbing those golden tickets. The true grind gets going in Hollywood, and the first heartache is the single auditions, such as tonight’s January 27 start of “lines of 10,” where half of the hopefuls who get there by hook or by crook already have their visions crushed by rejection, but leave wiser and more ready for their next opportunity. Harry Connick, Jr. expressed that “we want to end the same way we started,” and talents are there this year. Some are among the youngest, others are taking their last chance, and many are of the female persuasion, and all are full of possibilities. Who will shine under the stress at just the right moment?
First up for the evening was Jordan Sasser, the husband who made it through at the Atlanta auditions, while his wife, Alex, was crushed by being cut. He tore into “Should’ve Been Us,” and happily, not only won the judges’ approval, but also a very happy and supportive wife and baby girl at home, too. As fate would have it, contestants, Dalton Rapattoni and green coiffed Jaci Butler have played together, and been in competition together before, and both were ready this time, making it through. Dalton appropriately chose the Mamas and the Papa’s and “California Dreamin;” and his dream goes on. All but two made it through the first line. Jenn Blosil breezed through again, joking about her “J-Blo” nickname. Thomas Stringfellow is staying, at least for now, too, and so is Olivia Rox.
Jessica Cabral from the San Francisco auditions, and Melanie Tierce, who was so memorable for Harry that he was moved to walk out of the audition, stunned, and Sonica Vaid from the Denver auditions, all brought beautiful voice to their moment, but for Melanie, the panel passed. She has the talent to make it, it will just take another road, and there are astounding female voices to be heard through this season. La’Porsha Ranae, who auditioned with the full support, laughter and smiles of her baby daughter, and made the bold choice to go with Radiohead’s “Creep,” let everyone hear her “Roar” to Katy Perry this time, and she got her praise and pass through! Panel favorites Harrison Cohen, who brought his granddad along for moral support and dating advice, Daniel Farmer, who made his perfect pitch and his play for Jennifer Lopez, and Manny Torres, all were in together for auditions, and Harrison was left out this time, but he has many years ahead to sing, and someone will listen. Daniel and Manny may have to expand their repertoires more to please America instead of just their favorite judge.
Lee Jean is still sailing on, and so is country powerhouse, Shelbie Z, but the “American Idol” journey ends for Melany Huber, who fought her way through cancer to come her moment. More doors will open, bigger than she can imagine. Jeneve Rose Mitchell wowed everyone with her cello and her irrepressible spirit in Atlanta, and she had it in spades for Hollywood auditions with Little Big Town’s “Boondocks.” She was the only one in her line to move through. Gianna Isabella, daughter of 80s singer, Brenda K Starr, now her daughter’s full-time “momager,” made herself and mom proud with “One Night Only,” moving on for another day. Tristan McIntosh was also in her group, and her army major mom was still there cheering her on this time, as she sang “Something in the Water” in superlative, emotional form. The judges had some fun with Gianna, asking her to step both forward and back, before telling her that she would go through.
Michelle Marie was one of the youngest, and earliest, to impress the panel, and they were impressed again with her singing on “Dibs,” but sadly, equally big “American Idol” lifelong fan, Krysti Jewel, did not make this cut, even tougher on her birthday, but she still echoed support for her friend and the show. Usen Isong, Kerry Courtney, and Jake Dillon also got tough “no’s.” For the final line, Trent Harmon was battling more than nerves, having just gotten the call from his doctor that he had full-blown mononucleosis. He pushed himself through the audition, where both back line and front line got the blessing of moving forward, among them were Miranda “Poh” Scott and Emily Brooke.
Tomorrow, the grueling group auditions are underway, and there’s no telling who will be lefft standing!