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• When "American Idol" came to New Orleans, it was all about judge Harry Connick Jr., because it's his hometown.
• Drew Plaisance, 23, the first contestant had a family connection to him, with a cousin who used to babysit Harry. Unfortunately, he was sort of a joke contestant, sing-talking "Pretty Young Thing" by Michael Jackson and whirling about wildly. No surprise it was a no.
• This was followed by a montage of some painfully bad singers and Harry asking, "What the hell is going on?" He said it was breaking his heart.
• Then came Angelica "Jelly" Joseph, XX, whose long hair was dyed cherry red, a beautiful contrast to her cafe-au-lait complexion. She sang an Adele song but took a different take, making it syncopated and sailing up to the high notes with control. Harry told her he'd had high expectations for New Orleans and was glad she represented the city with style, elegance and spirit. Keith Urban loved her spunk. Jennifer Lopez told her, "Welcome to Hollywood." She was through with three yeses.
• Tiffany Stringer, 16, is on the drill team at her school. A perky petite girl with long dyed blonde hair, she did a cartwheel by request. She was dancing around as she sang, and Harry said it felt "really drill team" to him. Keith found her entertaining and vivacious. He said yes. Harry said no, leaving it up to Jennifer, who said yes, because she wanted to see her one more time in Hollywood. She counseled her to work on her vocals a little bit more.
• Another white guy with a guitar, Greyson Turner, 15, sauntered in wearing a blue button-down shirt and khaki shorts. He sang an original, "Chasing Shadows." He had a little bit of a country vibe to his delivery. Jennifer called him talented and liked his passion. Harry and Keith agreed, with Keith saying he has good pitch. Three yeses.
• Sarah Quintana, 28, sang a jazz number, appropriate since New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz. She was accompanied by Harry on piano. Looking a lot like a young Susan Sarandon, with large eyes and auburn curls, Harry told her that he wasn't sure that "Idol" was the right route for her, despite her talent. He said no. Jennifer agreed that she wasn't sure she could win the whole thing, so she also said no. Harry, however, said he would have said yes. So for her, it was a no.
• Quentin Alexander, 20, grew up in a rough part of New Orleans but appreciated the artsy flavor of the city. He expresses himself through fashion, and Jennifer praised him for his look, which she said blended "pilgrim and tribal," with a grew felt jacket with black lapels and matching shorts, and a brown wooden necklace. He sang "Royals," and Harry said it reminded him of Sly Stone and Terence Trent D'Arby but would want to see him push further. Jennifer agreed, telling him to play musically the way he plays with his clothes. Keith agreed, telling him to work on bringing more to his performance. Three yeses.
• Mikey Duran, 19, went to Harry's high school, sang "My Demise," an original, accompanying himself on guitar. He wore baggy faded jeans and a kelly-green T-shirt, with a short beard and wavy brown hair. His song was pretty melodic, and Keith loved it. Jennifer liked the unique sound of his voice. Three yeses, as Harry told him to "make the Blue Jays proud."
• Then we got a brief listen to some other auditions: Nalani Quintello, 19; Tori Martin, 20; Hope Windle, 24. They all had a similar sound. The judges were split on Hope but put her though.
• Ricky Dale Hendricks, 17, is a country boy who likes hunting and fishing, and who wore a chambray shirt and brought his guitar. He sang a country melody, "The Thunder Rolls." Keith thought he was like a guy who had a phenomenal car and didn't know how to drive it yet. Jennifer liked that he projected emotion with his lyrics. Harry said he sounds like a young man, and he thought he would benefit from being tested in Hollywood. Three yeses.
• Dakota Suarez, 18, is a drag queen who performs under the name Bianca Jade. He sang in a very affected way, but had lovely tone. Harry thought that the performance didn't rise to the right level. Jennifer said yes, but after Keith dressed him down for trying to make an argument about all the effort it had taken, also said yes. Dakota was through.
• Adam Lasher, 27, is a guitarist who has performed with Santana. He had an injured thumb, however, from skateboarding. Jennifer thought he looked like Jimmy Fallon, and I can see that. A bearded, head-banded version. A diabetic, he has a device that checks his blood sugar. Keith thought "Robotic Pancreas" would be a great band name. He had a smooth voice and was also a terrific guitarist. Keith loved his voice and his artistry. Harry loved his singing and the fact that he was "trying to make the guitar happen without your thumb." Jennifer joked, "Not today," but of course, he got three yeses and a Golden Ticket.
• Erica Washington, 24, had a daughter young. She sang "Halo" by Beyonce, and her voice was deeper and richer. Her styling made her look older than she is: a shapeless short-sleeved olive dress and oodles of gold necklaces. Harry loved the "thick sound" of her voice. Jennifer loved her voice and her style. Keith thought she'd made the song her own. Three yeses.
• Next week, the final stop: San Francisco.

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