Ryan tells us that tonight is "a tale of two cities" -- those being San Antonio and Long Beach, just like the ones Dickens wrote about.
After the credits, we're in San Antonio, specifically Sunset Station. As always, the local media makes much of the event, which looks to be held in the main room of an old train station. Vincent Powell is a contestant who is returning from a season I either didn't watch or don't remember, and apparently he's also a big Mariah Carey fan. He sings "Rock Me Baby" and has a decent and soulful enough voice that Randy monotones "Hello" at him somewhere between the first few lines. But then Vincent builds from there, obviously impressing them. Keith asks how far he got last year (it was to the end of Hollywood), which Vincent now blames on Randy sipping from his Coke cup at an inopportune moment. So it was last year, when I was here. I still don't remember him, though. None of the judges has anything negative to say, but they manage to fill some time before giving him a four-way yes. He's pretty excited about going to Hollywood, mostly because he'll see Mariah there. Has he already forgotten that he just now met her?
Up next are Derek and David Bacerott, who make me think of nothing so much as the Menendez brothers. Except the Menendez brothers had more TVQ than these two tools, who sing a "duet" as though from separate rooms. Randy gives multiple nos, Mariah says no and Keith says no after getting tired of waiting for Nicki to come up with a polite way to also say no. Mariah tries to explain to them the basic rules of harmonizing, but they're argumentative and yammering until Nicki has to explain, "Your part of the audition is done." The guys shut up long enough to hear Nicki lie that they were great, but it's a no, while Randy explains that they're not only bad -- they also have terrible attitudes. Amazingly, they argue all the way out to the post-audition interview and multiply through the magic of editing into a crowd of yammering, self-justifying, never-shutting-up Menendi. I'm going to have nightmares about those two.
The next contestant is Savannah Votion and she has both a five-year-old daughter and an outfit that advertises that there was no C-section involved. She sells her straightforward story of early, unprepared motherhood in a speaking voice that has me a little worried, until she sings "At Last" for the judges, who sit raptly throughout. She strikes Randy and Mariah as a natural, Keith claims to be able hear her whole life story in her voice (which, okay, because there doesn't seem to be much), and Nicki agrees that she was born to do this. So she's going to Hollywood, no surprise.