“American Idol” heads to Motor City

The judges traveled to Motor City to look for the next superstar! (Photo courtesy of FremantleMedia North America, 19 Entertainment and FOX)

The judges traveled to Motor City to look for the next superstar! (Photo courtesy of FremantleMedia North America, 19 Entertainment and FOX)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

So far, 79 up-and-coming artists have been invited by American Idol judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr to Hollywood to see if they are the next superstar!

Tonight, the show traveled to Detroit, Michigan….home of some of the biggest artists on the planet: Aretha, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Madonna and Eminem!  Did the judges find a potential star in Detroit?  Read on to find out…

Detroit native Keri Lynn Roche was the first artist to face the judges. She showed nerves but her complement to Jennifer broke the ice.  Her first song was a cover of Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive.”  While Keri Lynn was okay with her version…I am glad Keith asked for another song because her cover of Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind” gave an outstanding performance that landed her the first Golden Ticket of the night!

Two auditions that caught my attention was from the two ends of spectrum. Malaya Watson and Bryan Watt. The high school junior was about to pull a Holly Tucker and audition in front of three of music’s biggest names. Her cover of Aretha’s “Ain’t No Way” would have made the Queen of Soul proud and received a place in the Hollywood rounds.

This year was 29-year-old Bryan Watt’s last chance to enter the competition and delivered a strong cover of Carrie Underwood’s “So Small” and melted J.Lo.  Harry stated that he liked Bryan’s confident and easy performance and added that Bryan looked like a superhero, while Idol’s country star wanted to see some more ache from Bryan.  Harry stated that he wanted Bryan to wear a cape when he sees him in Hollywood.

The girls continued to show that they would be forces to be reckoned this year as 17-year-old high school senior Jena Asciutto power-punched her way through “Rolling in the Deep.” Meanwhile, Melanie Porras delivered an intriguing cover of “Fever” on her guitar and rocked out with Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.” The “On the Floor” singer stated that Melanie made to record records and I think this was the second coming of Haley Reinhart.  Both girls received Golden Tickets to Hollywood.

For some artists auditioning for the show, it is a chance to make their family’s lives better. 26-year-old Maurice Townsend wanted to make his wife and four children proud.  His cover of John Legend’s “So High” had impeccable conviction in his voice and I loved his runs. Harry stated that it was a “really good performance” and asked for Maurice’s family to come in to the room.  After meeting the family, both Harry and Jennifer coaxed his oldest son to give Maurice his Golden Ticket.

Day two in Detroit kicked off with a late start as Jennifer arrived late. Once J.Lo was ready, 22-year-old David Oliver Willis faced his old friend Keith and the two new members of the panel. David auditioned for the show last season but was cut at the end of Idol’s Vegas Round.  David delivered a strong take on Alex Clare’s “Too Close” that featured strong guitar playing and superb vocals.  J.Lo stated that he had a beautiful tone and Keith added it was effortless.  All three judges gave David a second chance for his Idol dream to come true.

Another familiar face, Brandy Neelly returned to the show for another chance to head to Hollywood. When I first saw her, she reminded me right away about the Voice’s Amber Carrington.  Her beautiful cover of “Wanted” by Hunter Hayes attracted my attention and Keith stated that she played to her strengths and voted yes. However, her nasalness divided Jennifer and Harry.  While J.Lo said “No,” Harry’s “Yes” sent her to LA.

20-year-old Ethan Harris would remind older viewers of the show of Donny Osmond…for many reasons! When he walked into the room, it looked like that he was from the 1970s.  However, he was a huge Keith Urban fan as he brought a drawing of him for the artist to sign.  He also made Mr. Nicole Kidman proud when Ethan tackled “You’ll Think of Me.” All three judges dug him and sent him to Hollywood.

17-year-old Detroit native Ayla Stackhouse moved to Hollywood with ambitions in getting into the music industry.  She came back home to audition for the FOX juggernaut to add her name to Detroit’s impeccable talent.  Her cover of Little Mix’s “Wings” was very jazzy and bluesy that had Harry stating: “star-potential” and Jennifer adding: “Not afraid to go forward.” She received three yeses and a Golden Ticket.

Idol’s trip to Detroit ended on a high note with 17-year-old Marrialle Sellers’s full audition! Her powerful cover of Bruno Mars’s “Grenade” put her at the top of the pack as she received TWO GOLDEN TICKETS!

Tomorrow night, the show heads to Ryan Seacrest’s home turf: Atlanta!



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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar