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"American Idol" visits Salt Lake City

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The fifth night of Idol auditions traveled to Salt Lake City.

So far, nearly 100 wannabe superstars impressed Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban and earned their Golden Tickets to Hollywood.

When they get there, they will face the show’s version of Boot Camp that will feature a mentor session with new in-house mentor Randy Jackson!

Who will face the judges and the DAWG? Read on to find out…

16-year-old Austin Wolfe kicked off the night with “Radioactive.” She had a good tone and added unnecessary runs. But once she hit those high notes…she hit a home run. Jennifer stated that she had the whole package and Harry added that Austin reminded him of Paramore’s Hayley Williams. She received the show’s first Golden Ticket.

After that, Salt Lake City was on fire! Singer after singer impressed the A-list judges and received their pass to Hollywood. However, there were some abysmal singers that slowed the show down. 20-year-old Mont Vernon native Alex Preston turned things around with an original song choice that had a rough-around-the-edge vocal. Jennifer stated that he was a very comfortable performer and the guys added that they were captivated with the performance. He received three “Yeses” for Hollywood.

25-year-old Samantha Calmes brought in a fanny pack into the judges’ room. The Louisiana native is a strong female folk singer that delivered an okay original song: “From Birth.” But, she decided to pull a Cole Vosbury and performed the Jeffersons’ theme song that pleased the judges! Harry stated that she was very smart with her song choice while Keith loved her originality and Jennifer loved her phrasing! She headed straight to the City of Angels.

Thousands traveled across the county for the chance to audition in front of the judges. 16-year-old Kenzie Hall traveled from Alabama to sing a fiery “I’m Gonna Find Another You to the judges. I loved her conviction in her voice and J.Lo said that she “had everything.” She rushed out of the room with a Golden Ticket.

Other auditonees had to over come obstacles! For 25-years-old Paisley Van Patten, she had to rebuild her life. At 15-years-old, she had a record contract, a car and a producer. But the fame got to her and she became an alcoholic. After burning out, Paisley has been sober for two-and-a-half years and decided to try out for Idol. Her cover of Faith Hill’s “When the Lights Go Out” broke my heart and gave me goose bumps! I hope she does well in Hollywood.

Another audition that gave me goose bumps came from CJ Harris. The Jasper, Alabama native dedicated his audition of Allman Brothers’ “Soulshine” to his late father and literally stunned the judges. While J.Lo admitted that it was not perfect, she liked him. Harry liked his pleasant vibe and Keith told him believable. CJ broke down when all three judges told him that he was heading to Hollywood.

There were a lot of disappointed faces on Day Two. Some of the judges thought that they were ready for the challenges that the show and this music career faced. However, Salt Lake City native Emily Rottner proved that she was worthy with a Caribbean soul infused “Valerie” that pleased the trio and earned a place in Hollywood.

Knoxville, TN native Briston Maroney is a fourth generation performer. His tagline is “music is family.” His father taught him guitar for five years and his great-grandfather was a recording artist that lived in Nashville. Briston is an old soul! I loved his take on the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” that brilliantly blended Mick Jagger and Kurt Cobain’s vocals. J.Lo stated he has a unique voice but Keith wanted to see other elements in his vocals. He will have a chance to show the country singer in Hollywood.

Idol ended its Salt Lake City visit with 22-year-old Casey Thrasher. Casey auditioned for the show for his two kids: a six-month-old and 2.5-years-old. He met Keith Urban outside the CMA Awards and promised him that he would meet him again. Casey kept his promise and reunited with him at American Idol. His cover of Brooks and Dunn’s “Believe” was brilliant and had so much pain in his voice. I think he could be a force to be reckoned with during Hollywood Week.

Tomorrow night, the auditions end in Omaha!

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