Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 12, Episode 4 of Fox's "American Idol."
Season 12 of "American Idol" is in its third week and, now that the Nicki/Mariah drama has slightly subsided, all of the judges seem to be finding their own place in the show. Mariah has taken on the role of imperious diva, gracing the show with her presence, while Randy might be taking his judging gig just a little too seriously after twelve seasons. Keith remains pretty inoffensive other than some awkward "mmm"-ing through the more soulful tunes. And then there's Nicki's facial expressions. The best way to watch this season of "American Idol" is to just stare at Nicki's face. She really says it all. So who impressed the judges?
This week, the show hit up San Antonio and Long Beach in search of the next "American Idol." San Antonio kicked things off right with Vincent Powell, a praise leader who easily made it through with his rendition of B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby".
Up next was Derek and David, a brother duo who weren't quite as lucky. Their Ne-Yo harmonies were totally off-key and the judges were not pleased. Nicki pulled out her disgusted face and the brothers left without a golden ticket.
Savannah Votion auditioned with the Etta James classic, "At Last". Mariah nodded along soulfully and Keith called it "organic," so obviously she got a ticket to Hollywood.
Cristabel Clack was next to make it through. She had a unique voice and a really cute baby. It worked.
Ann Difani was nominated by her husband to appear in front of the judges. She's a country singer and chooses "Stronger" by Faith Hill for her audition and was sent through.
Mariachi singer Victoria Acosta didn't convince the judges with Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry," but after hearing her mariachi, they gave her a ticket.
Then there was Papa Peachez. Self-described as a "big black woman trapped in a little boy's body." Papa Peachez performed a theatrical original number, which was was undoubtedly entertaining. Nicki absolutely loved it, calling him a superstar and the "most special." The other judges weren't quite as sold on Peachez, but Nicki gets what she wants and he's sent through.
Sixteen-year-old Sanni M'Mairura impressed the judges with an upbeat Michael Jackson number. His confidence and charm, in addition to his riffs, earned him a ticket.
The final audition of San Antonio and one of the big shockers of the night was Adam Sanders. Before singing "I'd Rather Go Blind" by Beyonce, the judges were clearing preparing themselves for a flop, but he blew them away with his range and vocal power. It was a definite yes from all judges.
The Long Beach auditions, which were held on the Queen Mary, got off to a rocky start with Mariah stuck in traffic and Nicki rehearsing for the AMAs. Randy and Keith had to go it alone for the first audition and easily let through Shubha Vedula for her passionate rendition of "Somebody's Got a Hold on Me" by Christina Aguilera
Matt Farmer, who served overseas in Iraq, suffered a traumatic brain injury from a bomb explosion. Bringing his daughter, who he never thought he could have because of his meds, Matt explained how much this audition meant to him and how much he has overcome. The judges are inspired by his story and his voice and send him through.
Stephanie Sanson performed a heavy metal version of "Set Fire to the Rain." It was obviously a joke and was most likely dared by her friends. The judges were offended nonetheless.
Jessiah Baer's audition was interrupted by a fire alarm, and the entire Queen Mary was forced to evacuate. Luckily, Jessiah still got her chance and she made it.
Micah Johnson was left with a speech impediment when his tonsils were removed and the doctor hit a nerve. His singing voice, however, is as powerful as ever and his spirit shined through, earning him a golden ticket.
Next up is Rachel Hale, a talented and extremely happy contestant. The judges love her positive attitude and her voice and she's sent on to Hollywood.
Briana Oakley, a victim of bullying throughout middle school and high school, hoped to inspire others by proving that you can overcome it. Her beautiful voice is more than enough and the judges all agree that she is a real contender.
In the final and most emotional audition of the night, Matheus Fernandes discussed his struggle with bullying due to his height. He performed "A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke and his voice and his story touched the judges. For Matheus, the audition captured how far he has come and how happy he is with who he is. "To me, you're 10 feet tall," Randy tells him.
"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.
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