A newly-blind teenager blows everyone away with her powerful voice, and Luke Bryan reconnects with a Make-a-Wish kid he gave his guitar to two years ago.
It's only the second night of auditions on "American Idol" and we've already seen some absolutely breathtaking talent, we've seen Luke Bryan perform a stunning duet and Katy Perry throw herself at the feet of her latest thirst trap.
The real tragedy is how did the editors of this show not give us the full audition of the contestant that had Katy Perry swooning, and ultimately collapsing at his feet. It isn't even online, but it was still a hoot to watch.
Katy mooning over contestants was one of the most entertaining aspects of the first season on ABC. Luke and Lionel love to tease her about all the pretty boys, so how dare you deny us this instantly iconic moment!
We also didn't get the sweetly adorable couple that crooned a love song at one another, but they were definitely more adorable as a couple than they were talented as vocalists. Just for giggles -- and we ain't mad about it -- we did get viral sensation, seven-year-old Malea Emma to sing the national anthem. For some reason they waited until almost the end of the show to do it. Have they never seen a single sporting event? You start with this!
The night brought its share of emotional back-stories, including Luke's duet partner who has an unexpected and intimate connection to the country crooner. On top of that we got a sweet blind girl with the voice of an angel and a humble young man who may not know it, but he might just be a musical genius.
Just for giggles, I'm going to rank the auditions each night from worst to first to see who my favorites are. Will they move on? Will the judges get it right? After all, we know I'm right, so they just need to get on board.
17 years old "Gimme Back My Heart," Karly Ryan
The sense of legacy in this audition is just amazing, as Karli's mother auditioned for this show 15 years ago. Her original song was such a perfect ballad from a young girl's perspective and her vocals were on point for that kind of country/singer-songwriter music. She didn't quite hit everything as sharply as she should have, but she has that gift for taking you on a journey through a song and that's a powerful thing. The judges were right, though, in that she's not mature enough vocally or in finding who she is just yet. Could she have gotten there through this process? Probably, but she wouldn't have won. Katy and Lionel held her back this year, but maybe she'll get some seasoning on her and try again.
28 years old "Holdin' Her," Chris Janson
Even though he bribed the judges, this strawberry farmer came off as very humble and genuine from the first words he spoke in his package about how his strawberry farm almost happened by accident. He was a little shouty in his performance, though there was a good quality to his voice. Maybe nerves had him trying a little too earnestly to impress, but honestly, the talent is there. Lionel picked up on the storytelling quality of his voice right away and that says he doesn't have to belt out a tune to bring us in and make us feel something. He didn't succeed in that here, but the potential is definitely there.
15 years old "I Do," Luke Bryan
Ethan was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at 18 months old and as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation when he was 13, he got the opportunity to meet Luke Bryan, who actually invited him on stage to perform with him. And then Ethan returned the favor, turning his audition into a sweet duet with his own idol. Luke and Ethan partnered very well, though it did show the immaturity in Ethan's voice. He still has a young teen's voice, but it has a pleasant quality to it nonetheless. There's a gentleness there and a genuine quality as well. He's another borderline contestant who could connect with viewers and really grow through this process.
25 years old "Parachute," Chris Stapleton / "Girl Crush," Little Big Town
Known as the "crazy chicken girl" from 2011, Courtney might be best remembered for losing her damned mind over meeting Ryan Seacrest. This time, though, she comes to the show pre-engaged so she can focus on her audition. She oversang "Parachute," but in doing so, she proved she's got quite an instrument. Plus, the banter between her and Katy -- over her wedding ring and who was more fearless -- was actually rather adorable. She did better on her second song, at Luke's urging, and was an easy pass through. Now she just needs to make it through group rounds to outdo her previous run.
25 years old "Stay Okay," Eddie Island
Eddie walked into the room as Katy was laying into Luke for clipping his nails at the judges' table. "Look at how pretty they are," Luke tried, but Katy wasn't having it. At least Eddie cheered her right up with googly eyes on his guitar because Katy -- for some reason -- totally had googly eyes on her fingernails. His original song was a quirky little thing, but it really picked up as it went along and by the end, we were fully on board the ship to Eddie's private island. His outlook on life, his personality and even how he infuses himself into his music is wholly unique and absolutely infectious.
23 years old "Washed by the Water," NEEDTOBREATHE
We absolutely loved that Landen welcomed the judges into his unit by yelling at them and making them stand at attention and even do push-ups, though as it turns out one Miss Katy Perry was terrible at all of those things. Lionel Richie, though, was an old pro. He even knew how at ease looked. And then he started to sing and Sgt. Knowlton has a beautiful raspy soulfulness to his voice. It's an effortless Americana voice that could really connect with people.
28 years old "Besame Mucho," Andrea Bocelli
Juan Pablo came out with so much swagger in his opening package, it was hard to imagine he'd be able to backup a personality bordering on obnoxious with great vocals. And then he took on Andrea Bocelli. But by damn if he doesn't have the chops to earn all of that cockiness. We weren't on board the whole way through, but he was able to deliver with passion, gusto and plenty of over-the-top schmaltziness. It's not always a bad thing.
24 years old "Out Loud," Alejandro Aranda / "Cholo Love," Alejandro Aranda
"There's a lot of great singers on this show, and I'm not really a singer-singer," Alejandro said, uncertain how he might be received on the show with his particular approach to music. He's so humble and uncertain of himself, self-taught only four years ago. And then he attacked that guitar like he was a virtuoso and brought beautiful soft vocals on top of it. So good was he that Lionel asked if he'd play a song on the piano just because he wanted more. Does this guy really not know how talented he is? Just good lord. His guitar and piano work is stronger than what he does vocally, but he may just be a musical genius.
20 years old "Sober," Demi Lovato
Now Logan has lived the lyrics of Demi's song, albeit with painkillers over alcohol, and you could feel every bit of his own life experiences poured through his acoustic guitar and gentle, haunting and sweet take. It's a beautiful and powerful song in its own right as Demi sings it, and we all know she means it, but Logan still found a way to filter it through his life and come up with a fresh interpretation of it. He has a lovely upper register that was just smooth as silk.
17 years old "Rise Up," Andra Day
Just one year ago, Shayy lost her sight after doctors discovered a brain tumor. The teen has had a monumental change in her life and still found the courage to come out and audition. And she did not take it easy on herself, tackling one of the most emotional and powerful and difficult songs going. She absolutely nailed it. Her voice was transcendent, she hit that falsetto like she was ordering a coffee. The ease with which she just stood there and transported us into her world and made us feel every note. This girl is a true talent. Even without her story, she'd be absolutely deserving of moving on.
"American Idol" continues with a special episode on Wednesday and then back Sunday, both at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. It can't settle into its usual Monday time slot until after "The Bachelor" wraps next week.
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