American Idol
Season 13, Auditions #5

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: B | 9 USERS: C
YOU GRADE IT
Utahan to Me?
Alabama, supposedly sitting in his trailer feeding his baby four months before his audition. How did anyone even know he was going to audition back then? Four months minus one minute later, Casey enters The Chamber, where he -- along with some other hopefuls edited in -- must endure those long seconds in that confined space with only their dreams, their fears and Ryan's voice-over about what it all means.

It's 7:30 AM in Salt Lake City, so naturally the town is crammed with hopefuls, dreamers, delusionals and one Austin Wolf, 16. That's another one of those showbiz names that Harry Connick, Jr. envies, like he doesn't have one of his own. She -- for Austin is a she -- belts out "Radioactive" well enough to impress all three judges. They give her unanimous yeses seconds later, right after we just heard Jennifer Lopez telling cameras that unlike on other shows, they really spend the time with the people who audition.

Next is a fresh-faced young woman named Kylee Adamson, 18, which I only mention because she's also a lumberjack. She's doing "When You Say Nothing At All," and has a pretty nice voice. Plus the judges don't even mind how she skips past the long breaks between lines. She goes through unanimously, and then we're on a whole montage of good-looking people, including Keith Sanders, 26; Michael Simeon, 19; and Tessa Norman, 19, who rocks the judges back in their seats on her first note. All three of them are through, big surprise.

So now it's time to move on to some oddballs, like scat-mumbler Samantha Townsend, a woman who applies an airy non-tone to a Joan Jett song and some dude with a keyboard whom Keith diplomatically advises to "get help." I think he means help with learning to sing, but that advice could also be taken more generally.

Alex Preston describes himself as a shy band geek who came out of his shell, which is why we seem him at home playing guitar, violin and drums. He enters the audition room with his guitar and does an original that one expects to suck. And it does, but the dude surprisingly has a nice voice and an interesting performance style, despite his perma-squint. The judges are pretty blank-faced, but they let him go on for a while, which is a good sign for him. Harry is impressed with the guitar harmonies he was playing, Keith with his singing and strumming and Jennifer with his efforts to connect. He gets yeses across the board, and Harry even says he'd go watch him play. Nice that he came to them instead.

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American Idol

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