Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and the rest of the “American Idol” crew headed south for the New Orleans round of auditions last night, and while no performers were as spectacular as Yoji “Pop” Asano from the New Jersey auditions, a handful of singers stood out — and one got Randy and Steven to lift their shirts up. Tell us how you would rank last night’s most memorable performances, and check out our full recap of the New Orleans auditions.
1) Jovany Barreto
Song: Luis Miguel, “Contigo en la Distancia”
Jennifer said: “When you get to a whisper it’s beautiful, just as beautiful as when you hit the highest, loudest belting note that you can do.”
Steven said: “From my melodic sensibility, it was very delicious.”
Randy said (lifting his shirt up alongside Steven and Jovany): “We all look the same! It’s crazy!”
We say: Yes, Jovany’s vocal range and passion were impressive, but his cover of Luis Miguel’s “Contigo en la Distancia” wasn’t the reason that his audition was the most memorable of the New Orleans round. Before trying out, Jovany had told some of his buddies that he’d take off his shirt in front of his “goddess” Jennifer Lopez, and sure enough, the 23-year-old showed off his abs for J. Lo — and got Steven and Randy to do the same. Randy only lifted up his white t-shirt to the top of his belly button, a move that was totally fine with everyone involved.
Song: Otis Redding, “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”
Jennifer said: “You are so sweet and so cute!”
Steven said: “Looking at you singing and closing my eyes… in and of itself was like a work of art, a thing of beauty.”
Randy said: “Nice, nice! I like this dude!”
We say: 15-year-old Jacee was the perfect mix of raw talent and stage savvy, sliding down his high notes with ease and adorably pointing to his wrist during the “wastin’ time” line. Steven seemed downright tickled by a performance, grinning from ear to ear when Jennifer voted “yes” and then giving the singer “a double helping of oooh yeah” to send him to Hollywood.
3) Paris Tassin
Song: Carrie Underwood, “Temporary Home”
Jennifer said: “When you sang, I felt it, I really felt it. It brought tears to my eyes, and that’s the first time that happened today.”
Steven said: Nothing
Randy said: Nothing
We say: Paris offered the most tear-jerking backstory of the night, as the 23-year-old mother of a special needs child told the judges that she was singing to teach her daughter to “go for your dreams.” Her emotional rendition of “Idol” winner Carrie Underwood’s “Temporary Home” showed off an operatic voice and even got Jennifer a little misty.
4) Gabriel Franks
Song: Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance”
Jennifer said: “I’ll go first… it’s a no.”
Steven said: “You think it was a bad choice of song?”
Randy said: “I enjoyed you!”
We say: Gabriele impressed the judges (most predictably Steven) with his long hair and Mick Jagger-esque mouth — but then he opened that mouth, and out came a savage version of Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” The judges cringed as he scratched at the high notes, and his spoken-word interpretation of the song’s bridge was downright creepy.
Song: Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Jennifer said: “Two goose pimples, and it’s still morning!”
Steven said: “You were fabulous.”
Randy said: “In New Orleans, THAT’s the way to nail an audition!”
We say: Brett said that his signature phrase was “I’ve got this,” and he certainly proved it with his soulful take on Queen’s epic hit. After the high-voiced victim of bullying revealed that baby oil keeps his red locks looking so frizzy, he bowled over the judges with a performance that was much more mature than his 16 years.