Hopefuls continued to turn out for their chance at being the winner of American Idol 2015 as the Judges headed north to New York for the next round of Idol auditions.
Following suit in last week’s hometown visit of Keith Urban’s Nashville setting we’ll see this visit take us to Jennifer Lopez’s old turf in New York. Will this be where we find the next American Idol Superstar? It’s time to find out!
Our live recap runs with tonight’s show from 8-10PM ET and features all the auditions and videos of the performances. If you missed anything you can now watch full Idol episodes online as a first for the series. Join us in our Idol chat room right now and talk about the auditions with other Idol fans!
The show kicks off with the introduction of Adam Lambert, a former contestant turned American Idol judge. Quite a journey he’s made! Let’s see how he handles being on the other side of the table.
First up we’ve got Sal Valentinetti, the quintessential New Yorker, singing “Fly Me To The Moon.” Wait on that. Harry Connick Jr. challenges Sal on the real name of the song and he gets it. “In Other Words.” But can he deliver on this great rapport he’s developed with the panel?
Jennifer says she loves him, but Harry says he’s not right for the competition. Adam is the tiebreaker and sides with Sal’s journey to Hollywood saying he thinks a lot of people at home will be wanting to see more of him. Harry really didn’t like it, but he’s got the Ticket and moves on.
Support comes in all shapes and sizes. J. None arrives with his stuffed animal, Mr. Crispy, his comforting friend who sits with the Judges. Things settle down and J. sings “My Prerogative.” Harry says he really likes the performances and JLo agrees. Adam says J. is going to Hollywood and he’s off with his teddy bear and a Golden Ticket.
Bringing in a softer side to the auditions we’ve got Jax Cole performing with a piano and singing “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” It’s a fantastic performance. Harry says it was really strong, he thinks she’s lovely, and has a lot of talent. Jennifer says Jax’s performance was very confident while still drawing them in. Adam says she has the “it thing” while still having warm and grounded energy. It’s a no-brainer. Jax is through to Hollywood with a Golden Ticket!
Taking a turn for the weird we have Johnny Arco who has a backstory of being arrested for playing Bach in the subway. Now he’s here on American Idol to play a violin supposedly from 1719 worth a half-million dollars. He’ll be performing Radiohead, naturally.
Harry sums it up for us that it’s devaluing as the performance continues. It’s different, but just too wacky to work, right? Adam cuts him off and says it was “very interesting.” Harry says he’s really entertaining and very talented, but he’s not right for American Idol. They all agree but send him off without a ticket. Next!
Speaking of street performing we’ve got Najah Lewis with a Maroon 5 cover of Payphone for her chance at Idol’s Golden Ticket. Harry goes first and he was clearly pleased with what he heard. He says that some people stand still and bore a room, but she stood there and captivated him with her performance. Adam thinks she did things that were very inventive and interesting. Jennifer skips the vote and says Najah is going to Hollywood.
It’s time for a montage. We’ve got Jennifer Lopez touring her old stomping grounds and we hear from the youth she has inspired with all her achievements. Of course she’s also inspired a few young male contestants with a hope of romance. James Killian Dunn and Tion Phipps are both there for a Golden Ticket and maybe even a new relationship.
Both of the young men give great performances but its Tion who earns a panel-wide support for his delivery and is off to Hollywood. James also manages to secure a Golden Ticket but Adam doesn’t think he’s ready. This of course kicks off Harry singing and dancing around that Adam’s vote doesn’t matter. He’s just teasing Adam.
Now we have the very confident Shi Scott who suddenly turns very nervous. Adam calms her nerves and she’s ready to go with “Valerie” which sounds very Amy Winehouse and Harry calls her on that. He thinks she’s got a lot of talent, but warns her not to overdo the duplication of another artist. Adam thinks she’s very pretty and talented, but he’s worried she isn’t ready. JLo and Harry override those concerns and she’s got a Ticket.
Time for another montage and this one is all about “A**hole Adam” as he’s dubbed in comparison to “Harsh Harry.” Seems Adam is no pushover when it comes to the Hopefuls and breaks many a heart in the process. You’ve really got to earn your ticket with Adam Lambert!
Eric Lopez is ready to liven things up with “The Show Must Go On” even though he knows heading in to Queen territory is dangerous with Adam at the helm.
Hmm. Adam is surprised by all that Eric got right in the song, but he doesn’t sound sold on it. Harry thinks he’s interesting and while he isn’t sure how far he’s going to go he does want to hear more from Eric and gives him a Yes. Jennifer is on the fence because she isn’t convinced that he’s Pop enough so she goes with No. Adam identifies with him but doesn’t think he’s ready. Eric pleads his case and convinces him for another shot during Hollywood Week. Harry applauds his hustle and congratulates Eric.
After a montage of “legs” we land on Maddie Walker who is back from last season where she was cut during Hollywood Week. Maddie is performing “Suitcase” in hopes of a second shot at the live shows. Courtney Zahn and Jackie Nese are mixed in with her and both garner praise from the Judges. All three are off to Hollywood where we’ll see them again.
Qaasim Middleton is extremely excited about music and his family who has a strong background in entertainment. We’ve got quite a personality here and he’s very entertaining as he performs “Sir Duke” for the Judges. Jennifer says she loved it and how he showed off what he can do with his voice and his vibe. Harry wants to see what he can do in “his world” as compared to the restrictions during his audition. Adam can’t wait to see what he can do when he has an arrangement and some practice. Golden Ticket!
Taking a moment from the auditions Harry Connick Jr. says that he’s so incredibly impressed with Adam Lambert as a judge that he’s sorry he couldn’t have known him as a contestant. Adam agrees to audition and come in with a song just as any Hopeful would do. Harry is thrilled and here we go with an impromptu performance by Adam Lambert with “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Time for more Adam with the arrival of Adam Ezegelian who actually got his start on Idol several years back when he won a competition at the American Idol Experience at Disney. Now he’s back for a real audition and shot at Season 14 so he can “expand his audience.”
Adam is singing “Born To Be Wild” and he’s not holding back with his roars and energy in the delivery. Lambert wants to hear something else and Adam takes a more serious approach with a Jason Mraz performance of “I’m Yours.” Harry is thrilled and says he’s great. Jennifer thinks he was unusual and unexpected which got her excited especially with his second song. Adam says he was more authentic in the second performance. It’s three Yes votes and he’s off.
Montage time of rejections mixed with Katherine Winston performing for her eventual Golden Ticket win before we move on to Travis Finlay with “Stay.” The Judges love Travis and deservedly so. “You’re the kind of person this show is made for,” says Adam Lambert. Jennifer and Harry fully agree and it’s Golden Ticket time.
Time for couples with Yanni G who arrives with her boyfriend, Nick Fradiani Jr. She’s up first and performs “the cup song” but it doesn’t do much for the Judges. Jennifer points out her choice was too weak and didn’t show off her abilities. Nick comes out stronger with “In Your Eyes,” a much better selection and it’s part of what makes the difference. Nick leaves with a Golden Ticket while Yanni just leaves with him.
Last performance of the night we’ve got Hollywood Anderson, a street performer with a big and fun personality. He’s singing “My Best Friend,” an original he wrote back in college, and it’s fantastic performance which makes it obvious why he was selected to close out the night.
Jennifer slaps her hand on the table and exclaims “I felt it!” Adam agrees that he knew “from the first note.” All three judges are thrilled and even Jennifer says it’s the kind of song she’d want to record tomorrow. Adam loves all the facets of what he did. Harry says that Hollywood’s performance was easily the best of the entire stop in New York and possibly even of all they auditions they’ve seen this season. Three Yes votes and we’ll see more of Anderson in Hollywood!