idol-5

Last night the American Idol crew headed to two cities, and first up was San Antonio, Texas. First up was Mariah-obsessed Vincent Powell, 29, from Austin, who sang “Rock Me, Baby.” It turns out Vincent made it to Hollywood last year, and Randy had rattled him a bit. Keith said, “Vincent, I love you man. I think you can take what you do, fuse it, and find your own thing.” Nicki said, “It’s clear that your voice is amazing, and it’s clear that you brought joy to this room.” Mariah said, “You obviously know what your’re doing, and you obviously sing like an angel.” It was a unanimous “yes.”

Next were twins Derek and David Bacerott, 21 and 24, of San Antonio. They sang, “You Should Let Me Love You” by Mario, and made all of the judges very uncomfortable with their strange voices. Randy said, “Should we vote now?” and Keith laughed. Randy added, “No, no, no, no, no. The whole thing was terrible.” Mariah and Keith agreed, the former adding that they didn’t really understand harmonizing. They argued with the judges, and Nicki tried to shut them up by saying, “You’re great, but it’s a no from us.”

The sort of scantily-clad but lovely Savannah Votion, 24, from San Antonio is a single mom with a powerful voice. She sang, “At Last,” by Etta James, and Randy said, “You seem like a real natural performer to me, that’s why I like you.” Mariah said, “I felt you very strong. Big voice talent, babe.” Keith said, “You have life in your voice. Lot’s of struggles and hardships and trials and love.” Nicki said, “It sounds so organic. It doesn’t sound forced, it’s what you were born to do.” Savannah got a ticket to Hollywood.

29-year-old Christabel Clack from San Antonio sang Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.” Keith said, “I loved that you put in your own little runs at the end of the phrases. It was beautiful.” Mariah said, “It’s obvious that you’re a real singer. I know you, I get you, I love you.” Randy said, “You’re what the whole thing is all about.” Another unanimous yes.

Another one of the Idol nominees was Ann Defani, 23, a passionate University of Arkansas grad student. She sang Faith Hill’s “Stronger,” and Keith said, “Pretty tone. I liked it.” Mariah asked if she wanted to be a country singer, and said, “I love that you have a place where you’re starting.” Nicki asked her about how she would be with being away from her husband who nominated her, and Randy said, “I liked you when I saw you, and I still like you.” She got four yeses, and the judges praised her “great American love story.”

Day two in San Antonio began with Victoria Acosta, 20, who got her start as a Mariachi singer. She sang Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” Keith said, “I liked it, I kept waiting for one more thing and it didn’t come, so I found myself a bit disconnected.” Randy asked her to sing some Mariachi, because of the connection she had with it. They loved it, and she got a golden ticket.

Our first crazy of the night was Papa Peachez, 19, from Mississippi, who claims that inside his skinny, white exterior, there’s “a big black woman.” Okay then…he sang his own song with a much deeper voice than you’d think, which I guess makes sense considering his earlier comparison. Nicki said, “I think that you are a superstar. Loved the song, loved that you wrote, loved that it was something that only Papa Peachez could sing.” Keith said, “I think that for me it was so theatrical…maybe so much so that I couldn’t see you in it.” Mariah said, “I see you as being a quirky kind of artist.” Randy said, “Dude I think if you could get serious about it, and add some serious vocal lessons, you could really have something.” The guys voted no, and Nicki argued, and Mariah said yes. Randy was the tie-breaker, and Nicki pleaded for him, so he got through.

Next was Sanni M’Mairura, 16, from Texas, who sang The Jackson Five’s “Who’s Loving You.” Nicki said, “Candy canes, strawberries, whipped cream, rainbows, and sunny skies. You really, really had a great, well orchestrated audition.” Randy said, “What I love is that you weren’t trying to sound just like Michael [Jackson].” Keith said, “I love your bounds of confidence and humility. I think that’s inspiring.” He got four very easy yeses.

The final contest for San Antonio was Adam Sanders, 19, from San Antonio, who sang “I’d Rather Go Blind,” by Etta James. He had probably the most soulful, strong voice we’ve heard this season. He got a standing ovation, and the judges couldn’t stop yelling over each other about how he stole the show. Randy said, “You shocked all of us, dawg.” They were so excited to give him praise and, of course, a ticket to Hollywood.

For the second hour of the show, the competition moved to Long Beach, CA. The auditions started without Mariah and Nicki, who were stuck in traffic. First up was Shubha Vedula, 19, from Michigan, who sang Christina Aguilera’s “Something’s Got a Hold on Me,” and wowed the boys. They skipped comments all together, and voted her through.

Mariah showed up for the next contestant, Brian Martinez, 21, who was overheard singing in the bathroom and encouraged to come out and audition. He sang Phil Collins’ “You’ll Be In My Heart,” and ruined one of my favorite movie songs, but the poor boy looked so nervous you had to feel badly for him. The judges laughed and quickly said no.

Matt Farmer, 26, from Oklahoma, came with his young daughter. His story was that when he was on a tour in Iraq, he suffered from traumatic brain injuries, and the medication he took for it (supposedly) made him sterile. Obviously not, because shortly after that, Cadence was born. She came into the audition of course, and her dad sang “A Change is Gonna Come,” by Sam Cooke. Randy said, “I like your voice, man. You’ve got strong pipes.” Mariah said, “I thought there were certain moments that were just so raw, and real, and beautiful and heartfelt.” He got three yeses, and his daughter continued to look unimpressed throughout the whole thing.

Purple-haired Stephanie Sanson, 16, announced that she was in a band, but explain the genre of their music. She began jumping up and down in her audition, and literally screamed Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” while flipping off the cameras. Randy told her to “keep going that way” (meaning towards the exit), and she obliged, still screaming.

Finally, the fourth judge arrived, just in time to watch Jesaiah Baer, 16, from California. She began to sing Kimbra’s “Settle Down,” but just then a fire alarm on the ship started to go off. Nigel Lythgoe and Ryan came in to tell everyone they had to leave. Of course, the audition resumed after they figured out the issue, and Jesaiah finished her song. Keith said, “I loved it within seconds of you starting.” Randy said, “You’re really, really talented for 16. That’s a tough song to sing.” Mariah said, “I actually liked what you did a lot. I thought it was interesting.” Nicki said, “You had a very mature confidence. The voice was very defined.” The voted “yes” unanimously.

The last contestant of day one was Micah Johnson, 24, from Georgia, who recently had his tonsils removed, and some nerves were damaged, leaving him with a speech impediment. He sang “Chicken Fried,” by the Zach Brown Band, and his vocal chords clearly weren’t damaged: I got goosebumps from his voice. Randy said, “You open your mouth and sing like a bird!” Nicki said, “Absolutely, without a doubt, in my opinion ready for the competition.” Keith simply said, “Beautiful!” Mariah said, “It was your spirit, it was you there. I was moved by your story, but if you didn’t have that story, I would’ve been moved by your voice.” Another four yeses.

Long Beach, day two began with Rachel Hale, 21, from Arkansas, who sang the country song “People Get Ready.” Keith said, “I like your voice.” Nicki said, “You’re really pretty, really striking, you have such a good energy around you.” Mariah said, “I’m glad there’s someone who already understands who they are, and what type of artist they want to be. And that’s great!” Randy said, “You brightened up the room!” So they day started with a golden ticket.

Briana Oakley from Antioch, CA, is a 16-year-old who, a number of years ago, was bullied after being on a TV show about America’s Most Talented Kids. She sang Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain,” and my goosebumps came back. Keith said, “It was fantastic. Your control, your range, your light, your cool hair.” Nicki said, “Wow, wow, wow. You are poised and ready for this moment. This today, is your moment. All the starts have aligned to get you here to us today.” Randy said, “You just have natural talent. Sheer, natural talent.” She obviously got through.

21-year-old Matheus Fernandez from Georgia moved to Los Angeles to pursue music, but he has always been a bit different: He’s very short, and no one could ever figure out why. He sang “The Change is Gonna Come,” and it was absolutely beautiful. Keith said, “Absolutely loved it.” Nicki said, “We’re looking for a special person, and you fit that bill. So yeah.” Mariah said, “You hit me in the heart, and you brought me to tears. I want you to know that you can sing anything for me.” Randy said, “To me, you’re ten feet tall right now.” It was another heartwarming end to the episode.