American Idol returned to the airwaves tonight with the first audition show of the season.
Tonight, the four judges traveled to the Big Apple to hopefully find the best thing in the recording industry.
Up first to face the new panel, 27-year-old bus driver Michael Buonopane, who first exploded into the room with an intriguing cover of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and then moved into showcasing his “diversity” by tackling different genres. Unfortunately, he was first “No” of the season as Randy, Nicki and Keith out voted Mariah to send him packing.
The first yes of the season belonged to 28-year-old Tenna Torres. This Queens native was a Camp Mariah alumnus and brought pictures with her that impressed the R&B Diva. She performed a fascinating cover of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend” that impressed the panel and made Mariah proud.
Another girl that impressed the judges was Christina “Isabella,” who struggled with her weight all throughout her high school and lost 50 lbs. in college. She showed off her big brassy voice with a nice octave too when she tackled “Summertime” that had Nicki state “O.M.G.” and added that she had amazing skill and a beautiful tone. Keith stated he loved Christina’s humanity in her voice. In the end, she will be joining Tenna at Hollywood.
During the latter half of the 7:00 p.m. hour, the judges said “No” to some quality talent including 21-year-old cancer survivor and amputee Evan Ruggiero and Jessica Kartalis, who was nominated by her mom to perform in front of the judges. Unfortunately, Jessica struggled during her audition but the judges encouraged her to try again next year.
Hoping that she would not receive a “No” from the judges, 23-year-old Israeli immigrant Shira Gavirelov demonstrated why she had number one songs on the Israeli charts, when she delivered a strong cover of Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie” that made the “Starships” singer go crazy.
The last contestant from the first half of the night was Brooklyn native and subway singer Frankie Ford. Just as he was singing a cover of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” he stumbled but was given a second chance from the judges. Keith loved his dynamics and Mariah loved his glow. He received the final yes of the day and was left speechless.
Unfortunately, the beginning of the second half of the premiere was full of “No’s.” However, 17-year-old Hammonton, New Jersey native Sarah Restuccio was turn things around and impress the judges with her ability to sing two different genres: country and hip-hop. Nicki begged the judges to bring her into the competition because she will offer variety to the show. Luckily for Sarah, the rest of the panel listened to Nicki and was awarded a Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
Another girl that rocked the second day and also received a Golden Ticket was 18-year-old Angela Miller. This former food services employee struggled with hearing problems all her life but loved music. She blew the quartet away with her robust version of Jessie J’s “Mama Knows Best.” All four stated that she had incredible tone and had bright future ahead of her.
One of the most interesting characters that the audience met tonight was 22-year-old college student Gurpreet Singh Sarin. He had 40 to 50 turbines to match every single outfit and was nicknamed the Turbinator. Gurpreet was first contestant to receive three “Yeses” to go to Hollywood after his jazzy interpretation of Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” impressed Randy and the ladies but not the “Kiss a Girl” singer.
The final singer of the evening was 21-year-old Ashlee Feliciano, who charmed the quartet with Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On.” Mariah stated she had potential while Keith added that she loved her tone. The judges requested that Ashlee bring her family into the room to hear the results. All four judges said “Yes” and Ashlee joined 40 other contestants who earned Golden Tickets to Hollywood.
Tomorrow night, the show heads to the Windy City to find talent! But will the Judges’ egos stop production?