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American Idol ended its cross country search for talent in Oklahoma City, Okla. Thursday night, and it was full of bizarre - but strangely good - auditions, topped off with Steven Tyler’s appearance to finish off the show, where he showed up to audition dressed as a woman.
Karl Skinner, 26, starts the auditions off with his rendition of “I Feel Good” by James Brown. Although the judges think he would be a better fit for Ryan Seacrest’s job, they like his singing and send him through.
Nate Tao is next, a 24-year-old American sign language teacher due to both of his parents being deaf. He sings “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder and the judges say they like his charisma as well as how effortless his singing was.
Halie Hillburn then auditions, but not without her puppet Oscar to accompany her. She says she’s been a ventriloquist since she was 9, and Oscar actually duets with her. She sings a second song by herself, and the judges tell her Oscar is holding her back and to let him go. She goes through to Hollywood, and she assures them that Oscar won’t be going with her.
Zoanette Johnson then gives the funniest and strangest audition of the night. She sings the National Anthem as the lost a bet with her family that if President Obama won, she would have to audition with that. She then gives an over-the-top performance of it (to say the least) that makes Keith Urban fall out of his seat. Nicki Minaj tells her, “I am obsessed with you,” to which Johnson responds with, “Me too.” After the judges try to recover, she tells them to speed it up, as she’s got a lunch date. All four judges send her through, and she’s sure to be an entertaining contestant in the coming weeks.
Anastacia Freeman then adds to the strange auditions list when she sings “Unbreak My Heart” by Toni Braxton. Randy Jackson sarcastically asks her if someone told her to audition, to which she says that she heard a voice telling her to. The judges say no to her, and she leaves, but not without angrily saying that she won’t be back next year. Somehow I think the judges are all right with that.
The night ends with Kayden Stevenson, a 16-year-old with an inspirational story. He was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at 18 months and says his life expectancy is 35 years old. He sings “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder and Mariah Carey tells him she is “beyond inspired” and that he should just go make a record right now. The judges send him through and after Seacrest asks him where he gets his confidence from, Stevenson answers with, “I guess I was born with it. I’m lucky. I feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world.”
The auditions aren’t over just yet, however, as Pepper LaBeija still has to audition. It, of course, ends up being Steven Tyler in a blonde wig, skirt, heels and makeup. Strangely, Tyler’s appearance was the perfect way to end the night in Oklahoma City.
45 contestants go through to join the others to compete in Hollywood Week. As always, it’s sure to be an interesting week as the Top 40 are decided. Idol airs Wednesday and Thursday night on FOX.