New judge Harry Connick Jr. cemented his role as tough-to-please truth teller on
"This is tough because it's a perfect story," he told 15-year-old hopeful
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The kid's desire to perform began at age 4, he said, when he appeared on "Idol" to present a rose to his mother. She later finished just behind Justin Guarini and
Ultimately, Lopez and Keith Urban teamed up to override "Hatchet Harry," as he has dubbed himself, to put Langley though, albeit with a warning to open up his notes. They, too, were cementing their roles: Lopez bringing the emotion to the judging table, and Urban the cool.
Other notable would-be contestants from Austin included:
-- Black-haired, black-guitar-carrying Jesse Roach, 27, there because a neighbor she'd never seen before showed up in her garage one day while she was practicing and told her she'd signed her up for auditions and would pay her way. Lopez liked her look, Urban her soul, and Connick her rasp.
-- Quiandra Boston-Pearsall, 17, whose super-close friend, 15-year-old Jamiah Malik, didn't make it. "I don't even know how to feel about it," Boston-Pearsall said.
-- Megan Miller, 23, whose "cry" and "rasp" in her performance of
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-- Spencer Lloyd, a 19-year-old worship leader who made it through on looks and what Lopez called his "sweetness." "You're gonna bring something to 'American Idol' that needs to be there," Connick told him. "It's an image thing, so I'm gonna say yes."
-- T.K. Hash, a 28-year-old
-- John Fox, a 20-year-old worship leader from Magnolia, Texas, whose rendition of
And from San Francisco:
-- Rachel Rolleri, an adorable, blond 17-year-old, whose equally adorable blond mom is apparently a big Keith Urban fan. She impressed the judges with what Urban called a Cher-like tonal "thickness," but also received a warning about making silly faces after minor flubs.
-- Emmanuel Zidor, 24, who managed to recover from an unnerving singing/crawling entrance. "It scared me a little bit. I'm not gonna lie," Lopez admitted. "I've been told by so many people that I can't do this," Zidor tearfully told the judges. They told him he could.
-- Caitlin Johnson, a 15-year-old who lives on a horse farm in North Plains, Ore., whose mature look prompted disbelief from Connick. "You're 32 years old, you're from
-- David Luning, a 26-year-old singer-songwriter who intrigued all three judges with an original song one called "as misanthropic as you can get." "I'm not sure if it's 'Idol' interesting," Connick said, "but it is very interesting."
-- Selena Moreno, a 22-year-old hostess from Sacramento, who tried out with her twin, Sierra, but was the only one of the two to make it through. "One of you is clearly the better singer," Connick informed the sisters before the judges rendered their divisive verdict.
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-- Briana Oakley, 17, who was cut during the Hollywood rounds last season and vowed to return stronger than ever. Urban remembered her. Lopez was reminded of Jordin Sparks. And Connick was really impressed, saying Oakley seemed "proud to sing."
-- Adam Roth, a "sound healer" who amused the judges by talking about chakras and then impressed them just enough with his somewhat peculiar rendition of "Hallelujah" to get through. Lopez described Roth's voice as "very pretty" but said, "Something to me … felt like, 'Is he forcing it? Is it fake?'"
What did you think of the auditions?