San Antonio's specially branded montage of over-singing losers is made to look like an old sepia-toned Western, but with the same kind of punishing performances that have Nicki saying, "There's always Auto-Tune."
Ryan meets a guy who is willing, nay, expecting to be called "Papa Peachez." His explanation of how that arose from working with homeless people and singing is not really an explanation at all. "I'm really just a big black woman trapped in a little boy's body," he assures us in an interview. He dances like a little girl, however, and it would seem frequently. He starts singing some original, autobiographical, riverboat-sounding song that goes on at some length. Nicki thinks he's a superstar, Keith thought it was a little theatrical, Mariah declares him quirky and Randy basically tells him to get serious. Here's the thing, Randy -- I don't think Papa Peachez was kidding. Nicki votes "a billion Sicilian yes," and when Keith and Randy tell him no, Nicki argues for him. Mariah says yes, so it's a tie. Apparently San Antonio means Randy is the tie breaker and after some wheedling from Nicki and Peachez, Randy changes his mind. Such as it is.
The next contestant, Sanni M'mairura, has a mom from Tanzania and a dad from Kenya. So he'll probably be president one day, but for now he leads a song-and-dance group. He speaks a little Swahili for the judges and sings "Who's Loving You" by Michael Jackson. His voice is a decent match and he throws in a lot of extra notes. The judges like him, especially how he doesn't try to sound like Michael Jackson, so obviously he's through to Hollywood. I agree that he didn't try to sound like Michael Jackson; it just seemed to happen.
The last San Antonio contestant is apparently a bit of an emotional basket case at the moment, which Ryan somehow managed to coax out of him in the holding room. This is Adam Sanders, a high-voiced, vaguely Grimace-shaped kid who's rather star-struck by the judges until he starts belting out "I'd Rather Go Blind" by Etta James and turns out to probably be the best singer in the San Antonio round, putting that high voice right the hell to work. Randy and Mariah give him a standing ovation and everything, and all four of them just sort of sputter happily before giving him their yeses. We'll be seeing him again. And Ryan narrates, "stay with us, we're only halfway through," doing his best to make it not sound like a threat and totally failing.