Tonight's American Idol began with a never-ending screech from a flamboyant man with wild fashion sense. No, this time it wasn't Steven Tyler, but 18-year-old Darius Thomas and though the judges readily dismissed him, his sound was very similar to our resident rocker judge.
Apparently, Steven reached his wailing quota on Wednesday's episode.
For those who wondered if this season's Idol would be toning down the more ridiculous auditions, several such contestants obviously lined up in Nashville in protest. While Darius may have been a tough act to follow, Dental Assistant, Christina McCaffrey pulled out all the stops by showcasing unique dolphin sounds as she entered the audition room. Unfortunately, these particular sounds were audible to human ears. But her audition was not all for naught as JLo and Randy redirected her to her true calling as a cartoon voice over.
When actor Giovanni Ribisi's doppelganger, Rob Bolin arrived with his ex-girlfriend, Chelsee Oakes, to audition, the judges turned tabloid reporters, intent on creating a star-crossed lovers story. Chelsee Oakes's current boyfriend, who accompanied her to the auditions, somehow didn't find the premise quite as romantic. But since there's no stopping true love, the two rode off into the sunset with golden tickets in hand, both hoping that, now separated, they can reach the success they failed to achieve on CMT's singing competition, "Can You Duet?"
Typically, Idol is always on the lookout for big voices but this evening Steven and Randy welcomed former Miss Teen USA, Stormi (yes, Stormi; cue collective groan) Henley to Hollywood, much to JLo's displeasure, who exclaimed that the contestant had, "the smallest voice" they had ever heard. But what male judge could have said no to American Idol's own real-life Veela?
Jackie Wilson, a 28-year-old Bar Manager/Singer, enchanted all three judges with Stevie Wonder's, "Until You Come Back to Me." In fact, the judges broke into applause at the end of her audition and Randy gave her "a million percent yes," (which is apparently much better than your measly 100%). JLo told her fellow judges to "remember her when the others come in" because that is what they are looking for.
Paul McDonald, though he only managed to nab a millisecond of air time, should not be overlooked. His cover of Rod Stewart's, "Wake up Maggie," was chill-inducing. Of course, Matt Dillard, rocking "his backwoods chic," nabbed infinitely more air time due to the fact that his parents have taken in over 700 special needs foster children. In fact, Matt claims that he is auditioning because success would enable him to help a lot of people. With such an inspirational backstory, Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up," seemed the logical song choice. But when all was said and done, the story was far more moving than the song.
Then came Lauren Alaina. Lauren had a backstory that dealt with her standing by a loved one recovering from a brain tumor. The story didn't compare to some of the tragedies that other contestants, such as Chris Medina shared, but this 15-year-old High School Student didn't need a backstory because she was about to deliver one of the best auditions that American Idol has seen in ten seasons.
When Lauren Alaina sang Faith Hill and Tim McGraw's "Like We Never Loved at All," she was amazing. But when Lauren and Steven Tyler shared a duet of Aerosmith's, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," it was clear that a star was being born.