Moving over to the other side of the country we’ve got the San Francisco auditions and that starts off with Brook Sample, a waitress who is over coming home smelling like ranch sauce. She’s performing a Dixie Chicks song and I think we’ll be seeing more of her in later rounds with this great voice and good looks. After the performance Harry wants to be proud of herself and her abilities. All three judges vote “yes” and she’s off to Hollywood.
Olivia Rox comes in with a guitar but we get a piano performance of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.” Olivia Rox grew up with music in her life and hasn’t stopped pursuing it since and now she hopes to be that bookend to Kelly Clarkson.
The judges are all thoroughly impressed and this bubbly sixteen year old singer is on to the next round where Harry hopes to hear something from that guitar she brought in.
We get a montage of performances including Jessica Clark, Ameet Kanon, and Kayla Mickelsen who all earn Golden Tickets before we slow down to meet Melanie Tierce who gets Harry Connick Jr. out of his seat and out of the room because he’s so impressed. So yes, of course Melanie also gets a ticket to the next round.
Keeping up the theme of a seemingly all-ladies night we have Malie Delgado singing Gretchen Wilson’s “Chariot.” It’s a slightly awkward performance that I start to expect to falter, but she keeps it together and the judges are pleased. Harry points out that while it was good, Malie is just one of many very similar performers in the contest this season and he hopes she can stand out. All the same, Malie Delgado has herself a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
Mixing things up a bit, Harry Connick Jr. asks Ryan Seacrest to sit in for him at the judges table while Harry heads out front to talk with the contestants. Harry tries to give the next singer an edge by giving him tips on what to discuss with Ryan for personal points, but it all gets flubbed and Brandyn Brunette will have to rely on his talents instead.
Good thing for Brandyn is that he has plenty of talent. Harry returns and ends the song holding him in a hug in his joking way before the judges, and Ryan, all agree that he’s a great singer and piano player. It’s four “yes” votes for Brandyn Burdette who is off to Hollywood with a Golden Ticket.
Contenders for the biggest American Idol fans are here with their daughter, Krysti Jewel, who looks to make the family’s dreams come true with a Golden Ticket of her own if she can pull it off. She’s performing “Mama Knows Best” from Jessie J. It doesn’t do it for me, but after all that hype there’s no way she’s not getting through. All three judges agree to send her on and Krysti Jewel is off to Hollywood.
Now we’ve got Sarah Hayes doing the round of excitement over meeting JLo, Harry, and Keith before launching in to “Hero” only to have that quickly halt when she realizes she’s forgotten the words. No worries. She shifts to a different song and it’s a better selection for her anyway.
Afterwards Harry says the mixup was a lack of focus and he puts the bulk of that blame on the judges for playing around with Sarah beforehand. He believes she’s shown enough talent in the mix to make it a “yes” vote for him. Keith isn’t convinced though and says the problem lies with Sarah. JLo agrees with Keith saying she just isn’t ready. It’s one of the first split panel decisions we’ve seen so far. It’s a no for Sarah Hayes.
Closing out the night we return to Little Rock to meet Tristan McIntosh. She takes a seat at the piano to play “Why Baby, Why?” and it’s fantastic. Jennifer announces she’s got the coveted “goosies” and says Tristan has the Alicia Keys vibe and is very impressed.
Talk turns to Tristan’s mother and Harry reads an email of encouragement that puts her in tears, but wait, there’s more. Tristan’s mother, who was overseas in the military, comes out from around the corner to surprise her and hand over the Golden Ticket. Expect to see a lot more from Tristan McIntosh.
Now American Idol closes out its final premiere and readies for the rest of the season. Judges head to Philadelphia in next Wednesday’s one-hour episode and there’s plenty more in the rest of the American Idol schedule for 2016 so settle in for the ride!