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American Idol finds musicality in “Music City,” pt. 3

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Amerian Idol

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Why a girl who already claims that her occupation is "recording artist" would need American Idol is slightly beyond me, but that's exactly what Latoya “Younique” Moore bragged about. She brought her CD for the judges to share between them, though also beyond me is why anyone would subject themselves to listening to Latoya's songs. She sounds like a swarm of bees droning through the air. When Randy found out that she had been singing "When I Close My Eyes," he asked, “Are you sure? It sounded nothing like that.” She ensured us that this has been her dream for a long time. Of course, a longstanding dream doesn't equal a good singer. Randy imitated her voice unpleasantly but accurately. She sang her way out of the room, desperately. She stood in the corner like she was too embarrassed to be seen again. “Still no,” Randy called.

This disaster was followed by a montage of talented guys. Usually, I ignore the names that flash on the screen through these quick fire shots, but I did catch Allison Iraheta's name two years ago, and last night, Danny Pate caught my attention with his rendition of “Poppa Was a Rollin’ Stone.” The judges sang and danced along with him, making his audition fun and memorable. Hopefully we'll see a lot more of him when we hit Hollywood.

Matt Dillard, a Nashville cowboy, comes from a family that took in 700 foster children over 23 years. Surprising to everyone, Matt sang Josh Groban's “You Raise Me Up.” His thick accent disappears when he sings, but he needs to get a little flow going. His phrasing was a little stilted. He started the song in a key too high, but, to his credit, at least he recognized it and admitted his mistake to the judges. Randy liked that he was a country boy singing Josh Groban. “I can pretty up, too, if you wanted me too,” Matt laughed. Jen didn't feel Matt is ready for the competition, but Randy and Steven granted Matt one more shot in the form of a golden ticket.

The final contestant of the night was Lauren Alaina, a 15 year old from Georgia. (Unlike the previous night, 15 year olds were not so common in Nashville.) Lauren was raised with her cousin Holly, and the two are like sisters. So when Holly was diagnosed with a brain tumor, Lauren was devastated, and she organized a fundraiser in which she sang in order to raise money for Holly. Lauren proved to be pretty much the whole package – she’s adorable, she’s got a fabulous country voice, she sings with immense emotion; clearly, this girl is a natural born performer. Randy told her, “You’ve got real, natural, god given talent. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it.” Lauren started to cry tears of joy at the praise, which Steven encouraged. “I think you should cry cuz you’re gonna make 40 million people cry.” Still crying, Lauren brought her entire family in to meet the judges. How cute. I think Lauren’s the one to watch from last night’s episode, and so do most – there’s a lot of early “could she be the one?” buzz around this girl.

Next Wednesday at 8:00pm, Idol hits Austin, Texas.

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