“American Idol” heads to Little Rock & San Fran

American Idol Final Auditiosn

Who received the final Golden Tickets from Keith, Jennifer and Harry? (Photo & graphic property of FOX & 19 Entertainment)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

The American Idol farewell season auditions continue!

Tonight, Ryan and judges Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban returned to San Francisco for one final time and paid a stop to Little Rock, Arkansas in their search to find the bookend to Kelly Clarkson’s legacy.

Who showed potential and might make a mark on Hollywood Week? Read on to find out…

Thousands of hopefuls traveled to Little Rock to audition for American Idol. Auditionees received assistance from Season Eight winner Kris Allen. Little Rock’s native son hoped to ease their nerves as they prepare to face the judges.  While the trio took their seats, Cameron Richard brought some New Orleans flare to his audition. The 15-year-old had some chutzpah as he covered Ed Sheeran’s “Gimmie Love.” Jennifer loved his passionate voice, while Harry applauded his accent and called him a “young Paul McCartney.” He received the first Golden Ticket of the night.

24-year-old Daniel Farmer could not wait to enter the Audition room, so he could seduce Jennifer. He tackled D’Angelo’s “How Does It Feel” for his audition. Daniel does have a dope voice and when I listened to his velvety vocals, he reminded me of 90s soul where Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight and Luther Vandross were kings. Jennifer grinned to ear-to-ear and loved his interpretation of the tune. Harry challenged him to nail the vocal licks, as he headed to Hollywood Week.

19-year-old School of Rock vocal coach Dalton Rapattoni delivered a haunting rendition of “The Phantom of the Opera.” While I have heard some powerful interpretations of the song, I like his simplistic approach.  Harry dug the performance and Keith liked Dalton’s artistic contribution that he brought to the competition.  Dalton received the third Golden Ticket of the night.

During the auditions, Kris Allen met La’Porsha Renae and her daughter. She survived spousal abuse and turned to music to find the strength to move forward with her life. As she handed off her daughter to Jennifer, she tackled Radiohead’s “Creep.” After hearing Kimberly Nichole slay this tune on The Voice, it was hard for me to be impartial. However, I did admire her runs and her gorgeous tone.  Jennifer helped La’Porsha’s daughter deliver her Golden Ticket.

Maddie McAllister considers herself “your typical country girl.” She brought one of her chickens to her audition.  While Jennifer freaked out about the chicken’s presence in the audition room, Maddie brought Jazz to Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova.” However, the judges thought that she needed a couple of years to improve on her vocals and was denied a Golden Ticket.

As Maddie and her chickens exited the building, Trent Harmon shared his story about his family’s farm-to-table restaurant (The Longhorn) and how he wanted to leave the roost to pursue a career in music. He tackled Allen Stone’s “Unaware” for his audition. Jennifer and I were shocked by his voice and I loved the twist that Trent gave to that tune. While the “First Love” singer was blown away and liked his soulful voice, Harry declared that Trent gave his favorite audition of the journey so far and gave him a Golden Ticket.

The show entered the final hour in San Francisco. Season Nine winner Lee DeWyze joined the show to cheer on and advise the contestants. Brook Sample was the first contestant to audition in San Francisco. She tackled the Dixie Chicks’ “Cold Day in July” for her audition and she gave me the first chills of the season.  After the performance, Harry told her to give herself more confidence and Keith called her voice: “special and unique.” Her humbleness paid off as she received a Golden Ticket from the judges.

Olivia Rox is a second generation entertainer, as she carried on the tradition that her parents started. I was surprised how she gave a Sarah McLachlan twist to Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.”  I loved her uniqueness and I wished that we have heard more from her.  I have to agree with Harry—this is going to be one hell of a show!

Malie Delgado should win this season’s “The contestant that traveled the farthest to audition award.” The current Miss Alaska became a radio personality performed Gretchen Wilson’s “Chariot.” I found her voice to be refreshing after some of the duds that I have heard throughout the past two nights. The way she attacked the song made her case to become the final American Idol. Harry told her to be ready for the long haul and told her that she was “the most beautiful aquamarine” in a sea of blues. Malie received a “Yes” from the judges and tried to flirt with Ryan after she got her Golden Ticket.   

The Chavez Family and their daughter, Krysti Jewel, have worshipped the FOX juggernaut since its debut. After meeting several Idol alums (including Season Nine winner Lee DeWyze) and attending the finales, they received a rare opportunity to watch Krysti audition in front of the judges. Their daughter gave a powerful interpretation of Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best” that shocked the judges and became ecstatic when their daughter received her “Golden Ticket” to Hollywood.

The final audition of the night belonged to 15-year-old Tristan McIntosh. She dedicated her audition to her mom who serves in the military.  Tristan gave a heartbreaking performance of Mickey Guyton’s “Why Baby Why” that gave me the first chills of the night.  Jennifer reminded her of Alicia Keys and Keith liked her progress. However, the show arranged a special surprise for her. After Harry read an e-mail that Tristan’s mom wrote, her mother walked in from the wings and gave Tristan a huge hug and the Golden Ticket that she had been waiting for since she was 10-years-old.

Next week, “Idol” heads to Philadelphia and Clay Aiken comes in to help!

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar