'American Idol': More Singer-Songwriters Audition With Original Songs

American Idol Still March 6 2018 Episode - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of ABC

The auditions for the American Idol revival continued Sunday night on ABC, with judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie searching for new talent all over the country.

The first artist to go before the judges was Crystal Alicea, singing “Lay Me Down” by Sam Smith. Previous to this, she hadn’t had any real performing experience outside of karaoke. She had a delicate tone and sang effortlessly. Perry called her a star in the making, and she soared through to Hollywood.

Next up was country singer Kristyn Harris, who auditioned with “Cowboy’s Sweetheart” and accompanied herself on the guitar. She also yodeled in her audition, which the judges had a lot of fun with. The yodeling was stronger than her regular voice, but even though Perry didn’t think she was right for Idol, Richie and Bryan voted her through to Hollywood.

Eighteen-year-old singer-songwriter Johnny Brenns was up next, singing his original song called “Blue Jeans.” It was a gentle ballad that wasn’t too special, but he sounded good. The judges asked for a little more, and he delivered, securing 'yes' votes from Perry and Bryan, although Richie said no.

Another singer-songwriter, Ricky Manning, auditioned next. Manning also competed on NBC's The Voice, making it as far as the live playoffs on Gwen Stefani’s team. For his Idol audition, he sang his original song “LA Is Lonely.” He got a golden ticket and a new chance to compete.

This season has been big on the original songs, and Sunday night’s auditions featured a montage of some of the worst of them before getting back on track.

Next up was Effie Passero, singing her own song, which was a lot better than those that came before it, and accompanying herself on the piano. She was a strong singer with impressive technical skills, but she brought a lot of emotion to her audition, too. According to Perry, the judges had been looking for someone like her, which bodes well for Passero’s Hollywood Week chances.

Tyler Gordon, who said he could sing in six different octaves, gave a horribly over-the-top audition. All three judges said no.

Johnny White next sang “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” and got the upward momentum going again. He shared his personal story of being adopted at 7 years old after growing up in an unstable home. His initial audition was good, but Richie asked him to sing some more and dial it back a bit. White did as instructed and sold it. The judges unanimously voted him through to Hollywood, with Perry calling him “top 10.”

Singing “If It Hadn’t Been for Love” by The SteelDrivers, 18-year-old Caleb Lee Hutchinson auditioned next. He had a deep, round voice well suited for the style of country he seems to gravitate toward. Perry was drawn to the texture in Hutchinson’s voice, but Bryan cautioned him against overdoing his vibrato. Still, all three judges said yes.

Shannon O’Hara next sang “When We Were Young” by Adele, which was an ambitious song choice for the 17-year-old, but she did it justice. She accompanied herself on the piano and showcased her soulful, mature voice. Perry noted that there was something special about her voice and also praised her personality. O’Hara easily secured a golden ticket to Hollywood.

Amelia Hammer Harris, the daughter of a prolific songwriter, sang The Rolling Stones' “Gimme Shelter” for the judges. She had a rock vibe and a strong sense of artistry that helped her make the song her own. Perry called her “top 10,” and Richie expressed excitement over what comes next for her. Naturally, she’s going to Hollywood.

Ryan Zamo’s weak cover of “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles did not get him any 'yes' votes, but he was followed by 17-year-old twins Julian and Milo Sposato, who sang “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars. They blended well and gave a memorable audition. All three judges said yes.

Next, Les Greene sang Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.” He also struggled with not knowing when to dial it back, but it was a solid audition that showed a lot of potential. Richie appreciated the raw quality of his voice. Greene got a golden ticket.

The last Idol hopeful to audition was Maddie Zahm, singing “New Rules” by Dua Lipa and bringing along her friend and student Marcus. She showcased a lot of experience and artistry, delivering an original cover that made her stand out. She sailed through to Hollywood with three 'yes' votes.