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The first one-hour episode of the season brought aspiring American Idol contestants to Atlanta — Ryan Seacrest’s hometown, which means he co-hosted the episode with his peachy mother, Connie.
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Lots of auditionees brought their guitars along for more than good luck. Preschool teacher Majesty Rose effortlessly impressed with a quiet, yet hypnotic take on Coldplay’s “Violet Hill,” while gas station attendant Jesse Cline won the judges over “within nanoseconds,” noted Keith Urban. Army national guard member Chris Medina, who auditioned with his dog, scored a ticket and a half for himself and his canine, and a personable Sam Burchfield brought the laughs with “I Want to Be Like You” from The Jungle Book.
A few big female voices also emerged from Atlanta: nurse tech Kristen O’Connor was a master of riffs, teenager Emily Piriz brought sass to Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best,” and student Nica Nashae got all the judges drumming on the tabletop. Harry Connick, Jr. compared an inherently rhythmic, pink-streaked Jessica Meuse to Stevie Nicks, and Lauren Ogburn purposely projected a “rough around the edges” image to push the authenticity of her country-song audition.
But the biggest voice belonged to 15-year-old Bria Anai, who blew the roof off with Adele’s “One and Only,” even while wearing an incredibly distracting hot pink, glittery lipstick. “I love the sparkles on the lips — only because you can sing like that!” said Jennifer Lopez, acknowledging that most auditionees rely on a visual gimmick to hopefully get them through.
A super sweet 15-year-old Jordan Brisbane had a handful of raw runs in his “When I Was Your Man,” but server Ben Briley got the deadliest compliment of the night from Urban: “If you sang a cappella on the radio right now, I would pull to the side of the road — I might crash my car.”
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And a few familiar faces found themselves auditioning again: both top 42 contestants on season 11, Neco Starr and Caleb Johnson scored golden tickets to Hollywood once again. Altogether, 44 well-deserved golden tickets were given, bringing the season 13 total to 163 so far.
So which of the singers from the second night will make it to the semifinals, Idol worshippers? Sound off in the comments below!
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