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'American Idol' Offers Another Early Glimpse at Top 24

Two returning favorites and one adorable audition round out the second episode of the Fox singing show

American Idol 14 Lovely James - H 2015
Michael Becker/FOX
Lovey James, center

American Idol stepped up its search for a superstar in Nashville and Kansas City during the second part of its two-night season premiere.

Credit judges Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban for staying focused on the task at hand, or as Lopez adeptly put it, making the show  “about the kids," for delivering a better round of contestants on Night 2.

“It’s about somebody’s dream coming true,” she said.

The Fox competition is already showing its hand partially revealing its top 24, and if you really pay attention you can guess who went through (hint: many were shown Thursday). And there were more than a few returning Idols from past seasons which carries obvious advantages.

Once again, auditions were followed from the stadium floor into the judging room, and while some talents soared, others were gently crushed. Poor Cammie Lester started her Adele song in the wrong key and never recovered, while Jasmin Pinela brashly announced that “the star is here,” only to falter with a voice crack that derailed her dreams. The show, however, was kind. 

Golden tickets were awarded to goofy guy Andrew Annello, big-voiced powerhouse Piper Jones,  versatile musician Gina Venier, beat-boxing Blake Lewis protégé Jake Black, dramatic belter Naomi Tatuoka, the face-painting, origami-making Jhameel Kim, wholesome former jingle singer Cody Fry and swaggering cosmetologist Hector Montenegro.

Adorable moments include 4-year old "princess" Hope, who scored a golden ticket with her sweet audition of “Let It Go” (eat your heart out, Idina Menzel). Her mother, Kelley Kime, also went through to the next round.  Also, Pianist Jess Lamb received something better than a ticket, getting an opportunity to tickle the ivories with Connick.

In a major head-scratcher, Urban and Lopez put through flat-toned Zach Kaltenbach despite Connick’s protests that the singer couldn’t “find a note.”

Here are the other stand-outs from Night 2:

Lovey James: The marketable singer-dancer's version of “Break Free” by Ariana Grande showed she has chops that belong on the radio. 

Savion Wright: Unceremoniously cut in season 13, this year’s comeback kid lost the braces and got soulful with Eric Clapton’s “Change the World.” He also wisely asked for critiques as he left the audition room.

Sarina-Joi Crowe: Will her fourth time through Idol be the charm? Her energetic One Republic cover and bubbly spirit points in a positive direction.

Trevor Douglas: The bespectacled indie guitarist who survived “sugar-coated puberty” rocked Ed Sheeran better than Sam Woolf did last season. Teen girls will love him if he gets to the live shows.

Garrett MilesBringing memories of Idol alum Scott MacIntyre into the mix,  Miles , who is blind, impressed with “Proud Mary” and singing Selena’s “Coma La Flor” with Lopez in Spanish. His comfort on stage will surely benefit at the forthcoming live showcase at House of Blues.

Who were your standouts?

Twitter: @MicheleAmabile, @Idol_Worship