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‘American Idol’ Recap: Judges Head to San Antonio + Long Beach

American Idol Judges
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On last night’s (Jan. 30) episode of ‘American Idol,’ auditions were held in San Antonio, Texas and Long Beach, Calif. Will the next ‘Idol’ be discovered in Sunset Station or aboard the Queen Mary? Read on to find out what judges Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson thought of the most recent round of performances.

Vincent Powell: Read about his audition here.

Derek and David Bacerott: This duo of brothers started off on a bad note (pun intended) and ended on an even worse one. “Definitely not – no no no no no,” stated Jackson. The Bacerott boys weren’t willing to take “no” for an answer, which resulted in an exhausting back-and-forth with the judges. “Your part of the audition is done, so let’s take it down a notch and realize that we are trying to help you,” rationalized Minaj. “If you guys are gonna make it, you really need to readjust your attitudes,” cautioned Jackson. Needless to say, they didn’t get the green light for Hollywood.

Savannah Votion: “I’m your next American Idol,” declared the San Antonio native with confidence. She has a 5-year-old daughter and struggles to balance being a parent with pursing her passion for singing. She sang ‘At Last’ by Etta James and instantly blew away the four panelists with her powerful vocals. “You have life in your voice,” remarked Urban. “I can hear a lot of life going on, like lots of struggles and highs and lows and triumphs. I could hear all of it and it’s a lot of empowerment that I loved.” On the count of three, they declared a unanimous “yes!”

Cristabel Clack: Read about her audition here.

Ann Difani: This former Miss University of Arkansas received her ‘Idol’ audition as a surprise from her loving husband. She sang Faith Hill’s ‘Stronger’ and effectively proved that she has more than just good looks. “I liked you when I saw you and I still like you,” commented Jackson after Difani’s husband joined them in the room. “This is like a great American love story.”

Victoria Acosta: She started singing mariachi when she was only six years old, but she strayed from that genre to perform Fergie’s ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ at her audition. Perhaps she should have stuck to her roots. “I kept waiting for one more thing and I can’t quite put my finger on what that was … I felt a little bit disconnected,” admitted Urban. Finally – but only after Jackson prompted her to sing some mariachi for them – Acosta let her true talent shine and earned a golden ticket to Hollywood

Papa Peachez: “I’m really just a big black woman trapped in a little boy’s body,” proclaimed the hilariously outlandish 19-year-old. He went on to confess, “My music is different – I don’t like doing covers.” And different it certainly was. “Peachez, I think that you are a superstar,” praised Minaj. “Loved the song. Loved that you wrote it. Loved that it was something that only Papa Peachez could sing.” Not all of the judges agreed with her, but interestingly enough, it was Carey who backed her up. “I’m gonna say yes … it’s a small yes,” she said. In the end, Jackson caved and tipped the scales so that Peachez could move on to the next phase of the show.

Sanni M’Mairura: He’s a 16-year-old whose dream is “to become not only a performer, but a great role model.” He wowed the panelists with his own take on Michael Jackson’s ‘Who’s Loving You.’ “Your runs were pretty and your riffs ended right and I wasn’t expecting it. You really had a great, well-orchestrated audition,” said Minaj. Urban added, “I love your balance of confidence of confidence and humility.” This one was a no-brainer – they were all about sending him to Hollywood.

Adam Sanders: Read about his audition here.

Shubha Vedula: The men were the only judges present for her audition, and she won them over instantly with her performance of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Something’s Got a Hold on Me,’ earning a well-deserved golden ticket.

Brian Martinez: He was singing in the restroom one day when a self-proclaimed “producer” came up to him and encouraged him to audition for ‘Idol’ – but maybe he should have just stayed in the bathroom. His rendition of ‘You’ll Be in My Heart’ by Phil Collins was “Not good, dude,” to borrow Jackson’s accurate opinion.

Matt Farmer: A moving story accompanied his delivery of Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come.’ He served overseas on a mission in Iraq and was seriously injured by an explosion. “I just remember waking up in a hospital in Kuwait,” he said. He suffered brain trauma and was supposed to be sterile as a result of the medication he was given – but then he appeared at his audition with his adorable daughter in tow. “We’re so excited for this next step in our life,” stated Farmer after impressing the judges with his voice and strong spirit.

Stephanie Sanson: This wild, purple-haired contestant seemed more interested in making a statement than being the next ‘American Idol.’ She wasted no time in diving right into Adele’s ‘Set Fire to the Rain,’ but you could hardly make out what song it was beneath all the horrendous screaming. She bolted from the room before the judges even had a chance to share their thoughts – which was probably for the best, as they had nothing positive to say. “That’s the first time I’ve heard a screamo rendition of Adele,” remarked a baffled Urban.

Jesaiah Baer: Clad in nautical attire, her audition was off to a great start when it was suddenly interrupted by a fire alarm. Thankfully, once everyone was allowed back onboard the Queen Mary, she was given the chance to finish her performance of Kimbra’s ‘Settle Down.’ “You’re really, really talented for 16. That’s a tough song to sing,” said Jackson. Minaj was similarly impressed: “Your voice was really defined … it was very shocking for me. Kudos!” The judges all agreed that she deserved to move on to Hollywood.

Micah Johnson: Read about his audition here.

Rachel Hale: This 21-year-old lit up the room with her winning smile and positivity. She also won the judges over with her spin on ‘People Get Ready.’ Urban compared her to Wynonna Judd and his fellow panelists were quick to agree. “You have a such a good energy around you and I love your voice,” praised Minaj. “She has to be the happiest contestant I think I’ve ever met,” agreed Jackson.

Briana Oakley: 16-year-old Oakley was featured on ‘Maury’s Most Talented Kids’ back in 2009, but with that fame came a slew of unwanted negative attention. She couldn’t even eat lunch in the school cafeteria because she didn’t feel safe there. Urban stated that her version of ‘Up to the Mountain’ by Patty Griffin showcased her voice, range and cool hair. “You are poised and ready for this moment … this, today, is your moment,” spoke Minaj. “This could be the start of something huge for you,” Jackson said.

Matheus Fernandes: Another victim of heartless ridicule, he admitted that he didn’t think he had much of a shot at making it due to how different he was. “Everyone else would grow taller, and I’d stay in the same place,” he said. Yet he chose to look beyond those who doubted him because of his height (or lack thereof) and prove that great things can indeed come in small packages. “You’ve got a great voice,” Urban said, following Fernandes’ heartfelt delivery of ‘A Change is Gonna Come.’ Jackson offered him the following parting words, along with a ticket to Hollywood: “I know society can be crazy and harsh … but hey, this is a talent show, it’s about everybody. We’re all people. So to me, you’re ten feet tall right now.”

Be sure to tune in tonight (Jan. 31) for another round of ‘American Idol’ auditions!

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