Second night of auditions awesome for American Idol; who knew showing people with talent was actually good for the brand?


It’s been two episodes, but I ain’t scared to say it.

American Idol is back .

For the die-hards the show didn’t leave, it just went down a path we’d rather forget, like the night in college when you decided to drink half a handle of Captain Morgan, chase it with a case of Bud Light and decide NOW was the time to tell your crush how you want to be more than friends.

(For any readers who haven’t reached college, this night – or something similar to it – is coming. It’s glorious)

After Monday’s episode, I got separate messages from friends about “my show” being better than they remembered and being surprised about the amount of talent. Problem is, talent hasn’t really been the issue with American Idol, even in those seasons we’d rather forget. It’s been how producers have managed the talent that really ruined things.

We’re two episodes into the season so I don’t wanna jinx things, but they’re doing an incredible job just showing talent. It’s a page out of The Voice – or so I hear, because I don’t watch that show out of #Loyalty, unlike the traitorous Kelly Clarkson – where you show the good, the great and the borderline. If I want to see someone embarrass themselves on national TV, I can watch the Lakers play basketball or any of the “reality” shows that get rating on E. Early in Idol the joke performances – William Hung, Pants on the Ground, etc. – that got ratings worked because they actually happened; by then end people were sniffing out contestants looking for their viral moment and forgot to pay attention to who was actually performing.

I don’t know that there was more talent Monday than we’ve had in years past, but it felt like it because we got to see it. I’ve been writing it for years, but watching American Idol is no different than watching the NFL (sorry nerds). You pick a couple favorites and live and die with their successes and failures. You root against other contestants because you want yours to move on so when they win, you can say “I was there the whole way.”

Monday we saw 16 contestants get through and a solid handful with the talent, potential and look to make a deep run, provided Idol doesn’t screw around with the top 24 selections. We also saw Katy Perry flash everyone, so that was cool too.

Below are my Top 3 from tonight. Auditions were easier to blog in the old format because they’d let like 8-10 through and there was time to write between the sob stories and joke acts. Night of auditions I’m gonna post my reactions, give you a Top 3 and then the next day I’ll delve into everyone. Last night I had a Diet Dr. Pepper while I was writing after the show and the caffeine kept me up until like 2:30, which did not make for a good morning.

Lotta great options for a Top 3, especially with Katy Perry putting Mara Justine and Brandon Diaz in the Top 10, joining Alyssa Raghu from last night. Throw in an ex-big black dude with soul, a dude named Cassanova and a man I’d leave my wife for (swear I’m not a stalker Trevor Holmes), tough to narrow down to just three but here goes:


1) Laine Hardy
“Hurricane,” The Band of Heathens

Philip Phillips Jr. For a 17-year old kid, he owned the audition so hard Luke Bryan did everything possible to prove he was more man and more country than a kid literally from the bayou. Katy Perry has spent most of the first two episodes filling the Top 10 but didn’t mention Laine and for good reason – he’s better than Top 10 talent. I don’t want to say he’s going to win American Idol because we’re two episodes in, but right now I’m gonna start trying to figure out who’s coming in second.

2) Rissa Watson
“When We Were Young,” Adele

When Idol contestants try to sing Adele it generally goes bad because they’re on American Idol specifically because they’re not Adele. Rissa’s stripped-down acoustic cover was exactly what you do with a song like that. While Katy and Lionel disagreed with Luke’s assessment about her putting down the guitar, he nailed it. She’s got the kind of voice that does well in the show but having the ability to add an instrument to it and complete remake a song? I think she’s got a chance to be a Top 24 contestant, unlike that a-hole Katy Perry who had the gall not to put Rissa in the Top 10.

3) Christina Jones
“Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me,” Gladys Knight

(Starts at 2:04 if link doesn’t; Idol didn’t post the performance on YouTube)

I spent a lot of Idol with my face in my laptop or my phone trying to tweet and take notes (and definitely not ripping through pistachios) and whilst I was complimenting young Mr. Griffin Tucker – who should have been in Katy’s Top 10 but got robbed – on the Twitter machine, Christina’s first note made me stop about 40 characters in. She’s got a big voice. Big big big voice and singing a song that’s older than her parents is a damn good way to win votes. Was also hoping to see one of those rubber bands snap and take someone’s eye out. Not a huge fan of her seeing color in music though, thought we weren’t supposed to do that anymore.

Expect a full recap by lunchtime EST Tuesday, provided this winter storm doesn’t knock out my power and internet again. Don’t forget to follow the Twitter and the Facebook page and check me living the #DadLife on Instagram at @Rhody31 where you’ll learn my semi-super secret identity.