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American Idol traveled to Baton Rouge, La. Thursday night, and unlike Wednesday night’s dramatic auditions in Charlotte, N.C., things went a whole lot smoother. The judges got along, agreed on the contestants, and found some amazing talent on the way.
Ryan Seacrest begins the show by saying that 5,000 hopefuls turned out to audition in the city. He also says all the good music is from the South, something Randy Jackson agrees with, adding that “it’s good to be home.”
The first contestant of the day is Megan Miller, who is the current Miss Baton Rouge and is also on crutches because of an accident that happened three days before. She says she’s not letting anything get in the way of her dream and sings “Something’s Got a Hold on Me.” Nicki Minaj calls her an “undeniable superstar” and Mariah Carey says she has a quality about her that is sweet and endearing.
Charlie Askew is next, who says he has been very socially awkward his whole life and that music has been his outlet. He sings “Breakthru” by Queen, and the judges tell him they are pleasantly surprised. They love his voice, so they send him through to Hollywood.
The next audition is Maddie Assel, who is surprised by Randy in a restaurant after her grandmother nominates her. She sings “Oh! Darling” by The Beatles, and the judges love her voice, so they give her a golden ticket.
Paul Jolley is next, who auditions with “I Won’t Let Go” by Rascal Flatts. Keith Urban says he’s got an honestly in his tone, and Nicki says 1000% yes. With that, he’s through to Hollywood.
After a long day, Ryan says the judges are beginning to fade and need someone to give them energy again. Chris Barthel is the guy for them, who has an overly enthusiastic audition. The judges agree in that singing isn’t his thing but that he is entertaining. Nicki gives him the nickname ‘Mushroom’ and even runs her hand through his hair after his audition.
Calvin Peters is the next contestant to surprise the judges, but in a good way. The physician, who is in his third year of residency, sings “Whenever, Wherever, Whatever” by Maxwell. The “singing doctor”, as the patients in his hospital call him, impresses the judges and Mariah even calls him “handsome.”
Michelle Montezeri, Breanna Steer and Brandy Hotard are then the next three contestants to go through to Hollywood.
Firefighter Dustin Watts then auditions, who sings Garth Brooks’ “She’s Every Woman.” Mariah tells him there is something special about him, while Nicki tells him he already looks like a country star (and also asks him if he’s single).
The show ends with Burnell Taylor’s powerful audition. He reveals he grew up in a musical house, but it was only after Hurricane Katrina made his family lose everything did he realize how important singing was to him. He sings “I’m Here” from The Color Purple, and the judges give him a standing ovation while also bringing Mariah to tears. Nicki tells him, “This is what we came for. That wasn’t even an audition. That was entertainment. While everybody else auditions, you entertained us.” Keith adds to the praise, telling him, “There’s a spotlight waiting for you to walk in it.”
The talent has been unbelievable so far this season, and next week they’re off to search for more. They finish the auditions round by travelling to Southern California, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City. The show airs Wed. and Thurs. night on FOX.