“American Idol” kicks off its 14th season in Nashville!

 

American Idol XIV on-air talent

Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. & Keith Urban are back and are looking for the next big superstar! (Photo property of FOX)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

13 years ago, a television show took the nation (and the world by storm)!

Along the way, this show transformed several singers such as Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Fantasia, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, David Cook, Adam Lambert, Haley Reinhart, Jessica Sanchez, Angie Miller and Caleb Johnson into household names!

It also revitalized the careers of its (current and former) celebrity judges: Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez and introduced viewers to two mega media players: former head judge Simon Cowell and longtime host Ryan Seacrest.

Now in its fourteenth season, American Idol is back and looking for potential superstars that will add to the collection of Grammy Awards, platinum records and Academy Awards!

Which artists impressed veteran judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. to earn that golden ticket to Hollywood? Read on to find out….

In an Idol first, Ryan introduced the viewers to its Top 24! While the Top 24 were silhouetted behind a “starry” stage, they sang a passionate cover of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” After listening and watching to the performance on YouTube, I think there are strong singers in this group…but I need to hear more from them to make my judgments.

The show kicked off its 14th season in Keith Urban’s hometown: Nashville! As the judges arrived at the stage, Keith was reunited with a face from his past! 17-year-old Riley Bria had the opportunity to perform alongside the former Voice Australia coach at an awards show in 2012! While Keith knew that Riley could shred, he did not know about his vocal ability! Riley showed off his passion and superb vocal runs with his cover of Keith’s “Georgia Woods.”

Priscilla Barker packed quite a vocal punch with her cover of Tanya Tucker’s “Delta Run.” The youngest of 10 children made Jennifer smile, but did not impress her enough. Luckily, Keith and Harry Connick, Jr. thought that she was ready to tackle Hollywood Week! As for a bonus, Priscilla’s mom (a big-time Keith Urban fan), met the veteran judge and got a hug!

While the Nashville auditions were almost all fun-and-games for a majority of contestants, it was do-or-die for 15-year-old Amber Walker. She used music to escape from the violent Memphis. Ms. Walker’s vocals on Elvis’s “Heartbreak Hotel” blew me away! Unfortunately, Harry could not send her through and advised her to work on her vocals. However, her fellow Leo….Ms. Lopez and Mr. Urban overruled Harry’s decision and gave her a Golden Ticket.

As the day went on, the judges decided to get picky and several hopefuls found themselves heading home! Hoping that he would not get three “No’s,” it would not happen to him is barista Kory Wheeler. It was very interesting to hear a man’s take on classic song. I definitely felt something from Kory and to see Keith almost in tears was superb! It looks like Kory is heading to Hollywood!

The final audition of the night belonged to 15-year-old Emily Brooke! Ryan inspired her to audition for the show after announcing that the show will be coming to Nashville. For her audition song, she decided to attempt to slay Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away.” Emily has a strong set of pipes and superb sense of musicality. She got the last Golden Ticket of the night.

Tomorrow night, “American Idol” returns to my hometown of Kansas City!

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar