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American Idol gets crazy in Austin, TX, pt. 2

Casey Abrams gave an original audition, singing jazzily and playing the melodica.
Casey Abrams gave an original audition, singing jazzily and playing the melodica.
Michael Becker/Fox

American Idol


On day 2 in Austin, quirky Courtney Penry informed us that “Ryan Seacrest is the sexiest man alive.” She squirmed in her seat when he came close to her, and she fake cried when she scored a hug from her “future husband.” “You know you love me, because I love you and I’ve loved you forever,” she said, shaking her head and widening her eyes in a crazy manner. Before she sang for the judges, she gave them her best chicken impression. Well, at least the girl has spunk. She has a pretty great voice, too. There were some definite imperfections in her version of “Stay” by Sugarland, but it was refreshing to see a contestant who’s not faultless. “There [were] parts of your voice that were really strong, and there were parts that had little weaknesses in them,” Jen noted, but Steven thought Courtney had “star quality.” Though Randy passed on the girl, the other two awarded Courtney a second chance in the form of a golden ticket.

Nick Fink hopes that he and his girlfriend Jacqueline Dunford will be “American Idol’s first power couple.” Jacqueline performed Duffy’s “Mercy” with power that got a little shouty when her volume increased. Nick delivered “Sunday Morning” with a sleepy, bluesy sound that’s been heard before. They were both better than mediocre, though not by much. Jen told them, “You both sang songs that we hear a lot, but they both had very interesting takes on each of the songs. Really good, both of you.” It was good news from Steven and Randy, too, and the two were able to bring their love for each other to California.

During Janelle Arthur’s audition, the cameras again cut to her family in the middle of her singing, disabling the audience from forming a real opinion on Janelle. Steven did ask her to sing something more up tempo, thus allowing everyone a little more time to make a decision. The judges gave her a unanimous yes, though there didn’t seem to be much that was too distinctive about her.

Seven foot tall armadillos and other such nonsense from Idol hopefuls forced the ugly side out of Randy. He threw around some Simon style insults, apparently getting sick of the awful auditioning. Randy – you are not alone.

Thank goodness for Casey Abrams, then, the Seth Rogen look-a-like who doesn’t think he appears to be a doppelganger for the actor at all. Casey started “I Don’t Need No Doctor” by Ray Charles with some soulful scatting. His performance continued in his raspy rocky soul voice, full of energy. “Altogether now,” Randy said excitedly when Casey finished; then he led the judges in a chorus of, “YES!” Casey was something different, and I can’t wait to see more of him, as well as the 49 other people who got golden tickets, when the Hollywood rounds begin.

Tomorrow night, Idol hits LA early for that city’s round of auditions. Tune in at 8!