I've not covered American Idol in ages, in fact, I can't even remember the last time I wrote a recap for it, but since this is a year of change, I thought I'd give it a shot. Much is different since Candice Glover was named the 12th winner last year, new executive producer, new judges, new format, everything is brand new. At least we can still count on Ryan Seacrest to stay the same. Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez, after a year break, are both back and replacing the ancient Randy Jackson is jazz singer Harry Connick, Jr. Also out, Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick as executive producers, replaced by Per Blankens, previously of Idol Sweden. Will all this changes help the show regain it's diminishing ratings? Does it still have what it takes to produce a star? ... This ... is American Idol!

Recap and videos after the jump ...


Marialle Sellars - 17 - Cold open. She gets some alone time in "The Chamber" before auditioning for the judges. She gets a little teary. Then a green light buzzes and she enters the room. Quick chat with the judges and Marialle promptly impresses them with a soulful cover of Bruno Mars' "Grenade". Her voice could be a bit richer but I'll take her for now. "You are gonna be a nightmare for the other competitors" newbie Harry declares. It's 3 yeses for her.


Harry doesn't know what kind of judge he'll be but he knows he'll be honest. "If it's the right thing to say, you've to say it" he says.

Troy Durden - 29 - He's incredibly confident. He knows he's got what it takes. Kinda cocky to be honest. He loves to twerk so he twerks. JLo can twerk better than that, yet she doesn't show us. He chooses "Over the Rainbow", something unexpected for such a loud personality. Nice voice though nothing special. Keith wants to see him sing while twerking. The result is bizarre. 3 yeses. "You might need to twerk a little bit more on your voice" JLo advises.

Sam Woolf - 17 - He's from Florida. He lived with his mom for most of his life but when he was about 13 she left, so he ended up moving with his dad. His dad had some depression problems, so he moved with his grandparents. His grandpa calls him "Mr Wonderful". We see him performing "Lego House" at a coffee house which morphs into his audition. Great editing but even greater performance. Such a wonderful tone. His arrangement was weird at times, the tempo kept changing, but I blame that on the nerves. Keith liked it a lot. Harry didn't like the fact that Sam has a tattoo on his arm, since he's been telling his 17 y/o daughter she can't have one and Sam's looks great. No to the tattoo, yes to Sam.

Ethan Thompson (23), Jillian Jensen (20) and Lindsey Perricone (18) -This is a different kind of montage. We hear the contestants sing while they talk about themselves. Ethan's tone is amazing, kind of record I'd buy in a heartbeat. Lindsey wanted a Golden Ticket since the show started. She auditions with Delta Rae's "Bottom Of The River", an unusual choice but one that sounds great on her. Lastly, former XF US S2 contestant Jillian confesses that the only time she feels complete is when she's a guitar or when she's on stage, all while we hear her emotional take on "Not Over You". After getting 3 yeses, Jillian asks Harry for a hug, just because "Will and Grace" is her favourite TV show ever.

Stephanie Hanvey - 16 - She's a Jersey girl. Her favourite artist is JLo. She'd love to follow her footsteps. Her "Price Tag" rendition is just ok,  her voice could use some years, and I doubt she'll survive Hollywood if she makes it. JLo felt it lacked something emotionally. She believes there's something there but it was inconsistent. She gets 3 yeses. Her parents enter the room and hug her.   

Morgan Deplitch - 15 - She's also a big fan of Jennifer. "You make me wanna be someone in this world" Morgan tells her. "Not you so much Harry" Keith says. "My mother loves you" Morgan adds. "That's nice" he retorts. Her audition is much better than Stephanie's though she's still not quite there. As JLo notes, she was losing her voice a bit. Harry was thrown away by the song choice. He'd like to hear something more age appropriate from her. 3 yeses either way.

Austin Percario - 17 - He was a member of XF US S1 group InTENsity, you know, the 10-member-strong teen group. He's from New Jersey and is a senior in high school. His mom is such a stage mom. The judges invite her in. "She's gonna cry ... or pee, whichever comes first" he says. She bumps into the stage. "For a stage mom, you didn't see the stage" adds. Austin is a good singer but this audition illustrates why he was put into a group. His voice doesn't have much personality which makes him a great fit for a boy band. 3 yeses.

Kaitlyn Jackson - 15 - She's gonna sing an original song, "Another Angel". When she was 11 she sang at a concert and during that, her grandfather had a heart attack on the stands during the last song.  They saved his life that day but unfortunately, her grandpa passed away the day after she wrote this song, so he never got to hear it. The song is quite beautiful and so is her singing. "If you can write a song like that ... wow" Keith says. 3 yeses.

Keith London - 21 - He's a handyman from Pennsylvania. He's off to a false start but recovers nicely from it. I kinda like his "Roar" cover. He's got a great clear tone. JLo stops him because she doesn't want him to ruin it. "I like that song but you just made me like it more" she adds. Harry doesn't think he's a good enough singer, so he gives him a no. Fortunately for Keith, the others give him yeses.

Shannon Wilson - 24 - He's an RnB singer. He's a football player. Ryan apparently played offensive lineman. "I guarantee there's one person home thinking I'm making this up" he says. He totally is, right? Lovely smooth sound that could get boring pretty quickly. He hits some crazy high notes at the end and JLo begins holding a Golden Ticket. It's 3 yeses.

Stephanie Petronelli - 22 - She's a Patriots cheerleader. Another contestant singing "Paris Oh La La". The girl's got a great raspy voice but not as much power as Morgan who sang this before. Her tone is a lot prettier though. Harry tells her he was watching her abdomen while singing and it seems it was all coming from the neck up. He's got a point. He gives her a note. JLo says yes and Keith ultimately caves and says yes as well.


Savion Wright - 21- He's been trying for 8 years to be here. He didn't feel he was creative enough to audition before. He's diagnosed with ADHD. His parents bought him a guitar, which helped him with it. He's been listening to Harry's music since he was 10. Harry is surprised, "you know who I am, right?". He performs an original, "Dark Side of Me". The song is kinda awesome and his is possibly the best audition so far. They all give him nos, saying him it sucked. Obviously a joke, he gets 3 yeses. Listen to a studio version.

Terrica Curry (20), Justin Fira (24), Shelby Comey (15) - Terrica has two mothers, her biological mom and her godmother. They've been there for her for everything. Strong voice, could use some more character. Justin is a valet parker, he's been doing it since 18. His audition is rather good, maybe a bit shouty. Shelby's dad is a cowboy. The girl is super country but needs a lot of work, the involuntary yodel exposing that. All get 3 yeses.

Madelyn Patterson - 22 - She's a hairdresser from Georgia. Her rendition of "Up to the Mountain" is solid, her voice is very strong and she hits some impressive high notes. Harry isn't convinced though and asks for another song. Keith wonders why because he really liked that. He gives her a yes and so does JLo. "Some people in this panel are very easily impressed by licks, by runs ..." he begins, being cut by JLo handing her a ticket. "You'll hear it on Hollywood" he finishes. JLo denies being easily impressed but it's obvious she and Keith are, as revealed by the tape.

Viviana Villalon (19), Savannah Young (17), Ben Boone (22) - Viviana accompanies herself on the ukulele while singing a cool version of Maroon 5's "Love Somebody". Quirky Savannah wows the judges with her "Toxic" rendition while Ben's unique tone also wins him a Golden Ticket.

Malcolm Allen - 21 - He doesn't know how to play the acoustic guitar, so he brings his buddy, "airy", his air guitar, in with him. Cool guy. He's a natural performer, his "Superstition" rendition is so effortless. He admits his really serious about music, if he could marry it, he'll do it. 3 yeses for him.

Munfarid Zaidi - 19 - He reads Harry's Wikipedia page every day before he goes to sleep. Kinda creepy dude. Harry says if he blows them away on the first song, he'll pick him up and hold him like a baby on the second. "That is a weird incentive" Keith says. Munfarid was born in Pakistan. His first song, Adele's "Crazy for You", impresses them so Harry picks him up while he sings "No One". It's so weird. "Why was Harry cradling you?" asks Ryan. "Cause I love him" Munfarid answers.

21 Golden Tickets are awarded from Austin and 25 from Boston.

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