Last night marked the final auditions episode for ABC’s American Idol, with judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie handing out the last of the golden tickets to Hollywood.
One of the highlights was a stunt audition. A contestant named “Lady Mapo” showed up in goth makeup and attire, and it turned out to actually be former winner Maddie Poppe in a disguise.
Last year’s runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson also returned to the show and pretended like he was going to audition again. In actuality, he was there to support his friend, a fireman named Jared Sanders who sang “The Fireman.” Richie said yes, but the other judges said no, so Jared did not advance. The contestants that did receive golden tickets included:
Jade Flores was up first, singing “Strawberry Wine” by Deana Carter and accompanying herself on the guitar in a solid country audition. She was particularly starstruck by Perry and thought they had a “spiritual, rebellious connection.” Bryan was impressed by her country singing. She got three yeses.
Christiaan Padavan performed “Vienna” by Billy Joel. They gave him three yeses, and then for fun after, he sang a duet of “Toxic” with his very nervous girlfriend. They also had Padavan sing “New York, New York,” giving him quite a lot of screentime.
Ryan Hammond sang “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith. He had a powerful voice, although his pitch wasn’t always perfect, seemingly affected by nerves. Richie said he thought he made the song his own. The judges thought he needed some work and fine-tuning, but they sent him to Hollywood.
Chloe Channell, whose mentor is country singer Billy Dean, sang “Stupid Boy” by Keith Urban, bringing along Dean to play guitar for her. Channell had impressive technical skills and gave a great country performance. She soared through with three yeses.
Emma Kleinberg sang “American Privilege” by Allen Stone. She also had some pitch issues as a result of apparent nerves, but she showed a lot of potential, and the judges liked what they heard. She advanced to Hollywood.
Zebulon Spencer showed off his vocal and clogging skills in his audition. He sang “Porch Swing Angel” by Muscadine Bloodline. He got three yeses.
An artist named Jorgie brought his bandmates along with him into the audition room and kicked things off with an over-the-top impression of Perry. He sang an original song called “Heaven,” and had a really strong voice, giving one of the standout auditions of the night. He had originality and a lot of personality. The judges were really surprised by him and gave him a golden ticket.
Nick Merico, who put his own spins on “Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse, accompanying himself on the piano and showing off a really solid voice laced with emotion. Perry said his voice will need work but seemed smitten with him. He got three yeses.
For the final audition of the night, Jackson Gillies shared his story of struggling with many health issues in his life. He played guitar and sang “Make It Rain” by Foy Vance. The judges were moved. “There are a lot of male singers that can sing really good in this competition, so I want you to really dig in every time,” Perry said. He got a golden ticket to Hollywood.
ABC has announced when the competition’s live shows – which will allow America to vote – will begin. Sunday, April 14th will feature a live-to-tape episode. Then, the first all-live performance show will air Monday, April 15th. The schedule will then continue with live shows on Sundays only, for five straight weeks.
Starting April 21st, coast-to-coast simultaneous voting will begin, as the show will once again be simulcast in all time zones across the country for three weeks. The show’s finale will air May 19th, and the coast-to-coast voting will also be open for that show.
Next week, the Hollywood Rounds begin, from the Orpheum Theater in L.A.