1) Phong Vu, 25, Houston, Texas, sang "Unbreak My Heart" by Toni Braxton. A broad-shouldered guy in a simple gray shirt, he got very emotional while talking to the camera about just getting the chance to audition before the judges. This emotion continued throughout his audition, as he broke down in tears, seemingly overwhelmed at being there. Although his performance was weak, the judges were very encouraging to him. Jennifer Lopez told him, "Thank you. It's not going to work this time." He was passed on by all three.
A montage showed a number of unsuccessful country auditions, some of them singing the same song that Scotty McCreery, the season 10 winner, had made famous, "Your Man" by Josh Turner. None of them were Scotty.
2) Skylar Laine, 17, Brandon, Mississippi, sang "Hell on Heels" by Pistol Annies. A video package showed her hunting and helping her family with their little store/restaurant. For her audition, the country girl wore a red and white sundress with a beaded necklace and hoop earrings and some red accents in her cherry-brunette hair. Her voice was genuinely good: country strong, I'd say. Three yeses from the judges. She talked them into allowing her friend to come inside and meet them, since "She's obsessed with you." The friend gave Steven Tyler a hug and towered over him on her heels.
3) Baylie Brown, 21, Nashville, Tennessee, sang "Bed of Roses" by Bon Jovi. It was her second time auditioning, though she'd made it to Hollywood before (and been cut from there during group week). She wore an all-black outfit with a sort of cape on top and electric blue pumps. The intervening time did her well: she had matured in her voice. Randy Jackson said she was significantly better. Three yeses.
4) Kristine Osorio, 28, Amarillo, Texas, sang "One and Only" by Adele. She had been in a band with her husband, which all got put on pause when she had her three children (7, 5 and 2). Home video showed her with the kids, although she's now going through a divorce and will be a single mom. She's had trouble finding work so has been cutting hair in her house. She got a loan to pay her lawyer but instead bought a plane ticket to audition. Kristine wore a one-shoulder black leopard print top that showed off her shoulder tattoos. Her voice was very controlled with power. "That's how you do it right there," Randy declared. Three yeses.
5) Reagan Wilson, 23, New Braunfels, Texas; Cheyenne James, 17, Conroe, Texas; Linda Williams, 24, League City, Texas. In this segment, the judges disagreed over three women, with the judges turning down one girl who had a great voice for no real reason. Then, with Linda Williams, who made Jennifer wince, although Steven said, "Baby, you can sing." This made Jennifer say, "I think I'm in the Twilight Zone." Jennifer told her she couldn't connect with her, and Randy said, "I think you've got something." Jennifer told her she needs more experience. Jennifer continued to argue with them afterward they'd put her through to Hollywood. [VIDEO OF JUDGES' SPAT]
6) Alejandro Cazares, 26, Houston, Texas, sang "Looking Up" by Paramore. He was a bit of an odd duck. He wore a teal button-down and a pair of dark jeans and kind of looked like he was there for a job interview. While he put a lot of emotion into his singing, he was nowhere near a good enough singer. He tried to talk them into putting him through anyway. Randy told him that his voice was terrible. Alejandro got down on his knee. Steven said, "Not yet." Randy said, "Never." He begged to sing in Spanish, which made Jennifer wince. He promised to be back next year (when the answer will probably still be no).
7) Cortez Shaw, 20, Garland, Texas, sang "Someone Like You" by Adele. He grew up in a single-parent household and was homeless for two years. He wore an olive button-down casual shirt with jeans and black tennis shoes to the audition. He did the song very up-tempo which was a little odd, but on the chorus, he sounded better. It was odd but not unpleasant. Jennifer remarked, "That's what that song sounds like." Apparently, a lot of people have tried to sing that song. Randy asked him to sing another song. That's when Cortez told Randy that he's his favorite judge. Jennifer called him good looking and sweet with a good voice, and said yes. So did Steven and Randy.
Then there was a montage of some bad auditions, including Julie Shuman, who wore pleather pants that actually made noise when she sang. Steven told her, "I bet you're crazy in... on the dance floor." Randy found her singing screechy. Vanessa Hernandez did "Heard It Through the Grapevine." Just bad. Erin "Nire" Kettl sang a very weak ballad that made Jennifer laugh.
8) Ramiro Garcia, 28, Houston, Texas, "Amazing Grace." He's a worship leader at a church in Lakewood. An amazing story: he was born with no ears. Doctors told his parents he'd be deaf and mute. At age 4, they created an ear canal and discovered he had an ear drum and would be able to hear. Every year he had to go back for more surgeries. Incredibly, his singing was one of the best of the season so far: lots of dimension to it (loud and soft, emotional and subtle). Steven liked both his voice and his "insides" and told him he's "the power of example." Randy said he's hopeful, and Jennifer said, "I guess we're taking a leap of faith with you today." He made it to Hollywood, and his tearful father and mother overwhelmed him with hugs. Sweet.
In all, 54 hopefuls made it through to Hollywood from Galveston. Next week, the Pacific Northwest.
Again, sorry this got up so late. I'll try to do better next week.
Just when you've almost lost hope, "Idol" gets interesting again.