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Old faces, new talent populate the “American Idol XIII” premiere

Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. share a laugh while filming “American Idol.”
Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. share a laugh while filming “American Idol.”
Photo property of FOX, FremantleMedia North America & 19 Entertainment

One of the biggest television shows of all-time is back!

American Idol launched the careers of Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert and more! The alumni from this show have won numerous Grammys, American Music Awards, Billboard Awards and Oscars than ANY OTHER SHOW in the history of Reality TV.

So who discovered this talent? Each year, three (or sometimes four) of the biggest names in the recording industry have offered their opinions and guided the nation to pick a winner.

While original judges Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell resigned from the show in 2009 and 2010 respectively, Randy Jackson will guide this year’s talent as the show’s in-house mentor. This season, three Idol veterans (Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr.) will occupy the judges’ desk!

So did Harry, J.Lo and Keith find some potential winners tonight? Read on to find out!

The first person to receive a coveted golden ticket was Boston native and twerker Troy Durden, who covered “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” While his voice was average, the judges seemed to like him well enough to move him to the next round. However, before he left the room…Jennifer gave him a stern warning: “We want others to take you seriously, focus on your music!”

As Troy left the room, 17-year-old Sam Woolf brought his guitar into the room. He delivered a fast-paced “Lego House.” Sam had a nice quality about his vocals and Keith commented about his pitch being “incredible.” However, newcomer Harry Connick, Jr. did not like Sam’s treble clef tattoo, but sent him through to Hollywood.

Now, before the contestants faced the panel…they must sweat it out in the Chamber. The pressure of the Chamber did not get the best of several contestants including a potential Phillip Phillips clone Ethan Thompson and former X Factor USA alum Jillian Jensen. However, dreams were broken in the audition room after the judges raised the bar on Boston.

16-year-old New Jersey lifeguard and Jennifer Lopez fan Stephanie Hanvey waited her whole life to appear on the show. After giving J.Lo a complement, Stephanie sang Jessie J’s “Price Tag.” While Keith loved the way she performed, both Harry and Jennifer stated that the vocals needed work…. however all three of them said, “Yes!” Her parents rushed in as she grabbed her Golden Ticket.

Another Jennifer Lopez admirer, 15-year-old Morgan Deplitch, wanted a Golden Ticket! She covered Grace Potter’s “Paris (Ooh La La).” While it was not as strong as Amanda Brown’s cover, J.Lo was impressed with her…but Harry wanted to hear her sing an age-appropriate song and told her to use that advice when she heads to Hollywood.

17-year-old Austin Percario’s mom (who he claims is a stage mom) to his Idol audition. He hoped to get a golden ticket so his mom would not have to accompany him to Hollywood. Austin sang David Guetta and Sia’s “Titanium” and it was one of the stronger male vocals in the 7:00 hour. I loved his vocal control and Keith stated that he loved the merge of raspy meets pop. All three judges gave him a unanimous“Yes!”

15-year-old Kaitlyn Jackson ended day one in Boston on a high note. She premiered her original song that she wrote in honor of her grandfather, who passed away before he could listen to it. Her original song gave me chills and I think she had an Angie Miller vibe about her. All three judges gave her high remarks and gave her a Golden Ticket.

The second day opened with the judges divided with a contestant. The contestant…21-year-old handyman Keith London. His cover of Katy Perry’s “Roar” had an Ed Sheeran vibe about it and he had a good presence. While J.Lo and Keith went gaga over him, Harry was honest and said that he was not moved by the performance. However, J.Lo and Keith’s “yeses” gave him a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.

American Idol finished its season premiere in Austin! The show had a mix of good and bad auditions. However, Savion Wright began to change the night in the right direction. Savion struggled with school due to his ADHD but according to his mother…music saved his life. His original song was incredible and I think his vocals will propel him to the top. Harry said it best: “You are going to intimidate your competitors” and all three judges said: “Yes!” Jennifer gave a teary-eyed Savion his ticket to Hollywood.

I love a Southern Belle! But what makes me smile a lot…is a Southern Belle with A HUGE VOICE! When Madelyn Patterson sang “Up to the Mountain,” she had me at the first few vocal licks! She is a vocal dynamo and many viewers wondered: “Where is this voice coming from?” While Harry tried to give her advice, Keith and J.Lo gave Madelyn a golden ticket and silenced him.

Many guitarists were sent through to Hollywood. However, 21-year-old Malcolm Allen proved that he did not need a string instrument to audition for the judges. His cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” gave me chills and Jennifer stated that he was a natural.

Tomorrow night, Idol concludes its Boston round and heads to San Francisco!

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