‘American Idol’ recap: Night 2 of Season 17 includes ‘greatest audition ever’ [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

American Idol” is only on its second night of the season but ABC is promising that the March 6 episode will include the “greatest audition ever.” This special edition of the reality competition series will feature a dozen artists hoping to win over the three judges — Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie — and get one of those coveted tickets to Hollywood.

Among the hopefuls seen is Alejandro Aranda, who wowed the judges with his original song, “Out Loud.” If you can’t wait to watch how this unfolds on the show, take a look at the sneak peek of Alejandro’s audition. And you can also check out our rundown of all 12 contestants who audition on night 2 of season 17.

SEE ‘American Idol’ Season 17 schedule: When are the live shows and grand finale?

All of them are hoping to number among the 150 contestants who make it to the next stage: Hollywood Week. At the end of those seven days, only 40 will get an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii where they auditioned for judges again, this time in front of guests staying at Disney’s Aulani Resort in Honolulu. (Spoilers: The men and women who made the Top 40.)

Only half of them made the cut. Those Top 20 then took turns performing on their own and with celebrity guests. Fourteen of them got put through to the live shows, which begin on April 17.  At that point, you will be able to predict the outcome of each episode in our predictions center. You can already make forecasts for the outcomes on such reality TV shows as “Survivor,” plus the winners of the Academy of Country Music Awards and both the daytime and primetime Emmy Awards.

SEE ‘American Idol’ Winners: Where Are They Now (Seasons 1 – 16)?

Refresh this page for our live blog updates. 

8:00 p.m. – The judges continue their trek across America tonight is search of this season’s winning Idol. Will some of the top contenders for the title audition tonight? Or will most go home in a puddle of tears? Let’s get this party started!

8:10 p.m. – We’re kicking things off in Idaho where Courtney Penry, the crazy “Chicken Girl” from 2011 (who was in love with Ryan Seacrest) returns for a second chance at stardom. Singing “Parachute” by Chris Stapleton, Courtney still seems to be more gimmick than talent. She loves clapping along with herself and mouthing her own percussion, but this is a terrible audition. Courtney has no sense of melody and a totally forgettable tone. Will the judges appropriately drag her? Of course not. Katy likes her and Luke simply said “I didn’t want to bury my head in the sand.” Courtney then takes a stab at “Girl Crush” which is mildly better but I feel like these judges are too quick to move forward with average singers. She’s through to Hollywood. Meh.

8:20 p.m. -Becoming the next “American Idol” has been Logan Johnson‘s since he was five years old. Like everyone else featured this season, Logan has had a tumultuous and tragic past. It’s so depressing! Logan developed a drug addiction (along with his brother) but is finally clean and sober and ready to be a pop star. Appropriately singing “Sober” by Demi Lovato, Logan has a nice singer/songwriter sound and accompanies himself on guitar. He’s not a bad looking guy and he sings with passion, even if his vocals don’t have that wow-factor. It was a solid audition that Luke finds “incredible” and compares to Justin Timberlake. Katy hopes there is an additional gear but loves the beauty and sweetness of his voice. Logan is headed to Hollywood.

8:30 p.m. – We’re picking things up in Los Angeles and Luke is grossing out Katy by clipping his fingernails next to her. A quirky character by the name of Eddie Island walks in with a smiley-faced guitar that happens to match Katy’s manicure. The curly-haired hipster starts strumming and singing his original song, “Stay Okay” and instantly brings smiles to the judges. Eddie has a nice voice and a great singer/songwriter vibe going. He stands out but he’s not obnoxious and his song is actually good! Katy thinks he’s a star and Luke is ready to invest in the Island. Lionel finds him contagious and wants to keep him around for a while. Eddie is headed to Hollywood!

8:40 p.m. – Down in Louisville the judges are still looking for the cream of the crop. Kason Lester, a fruit farmer addicted to chocolate covered strawberries, brings along some goody baskets to bribe the judges before he breaks into song. Singing “Holding Her” and accompanying himself on guitar, Kason has a bit of a rasp in his voice and definitely doesn’t sound like a trained singer, but he’s alright. I’d rather get a basket of strawberries from him than an album, but he can hold a tune. Katy calls him Top 10-worthy and loves his name and sound. Luke doesn’t think Kason delivered on the guitar and needs to hone in on his signature sound. Full of potential, Kason is headed to Hollywood!

8:45 p.m. – The lucky streak continued for a string of other contestants who weren’t blessed with a full segment, but still made it to Hollywood. They include Jake Durkin, Cory Young, and Betsy Jo (who did a killer acoustic version of “How Will I Know”). All of them play guitar as well, is this a new prerequisite for this show? I’d prefer less guitar playing and more good singing!

8:50 p.m. – Another guitar player (shocker!) Karli Ryan is up next. She’s singing an original song called “Give Me Back My Heart,” putting down the guitar and hopping on the piano. Karli has a line in this song about Amazon Prime so she’s clearly of a certain age. Actually, I wanted to make fun of this song but it’s sort of sad and good. Luke loves her understated voice. Katy appreciates her voice but would like to hear a few more gears. Lionel wasn’t really feeling it. Luke’s a big believer and gives a “Yes.” Katy holds firm with a “No” and Lionel delivers the final blow and sends Karli home in tears. That was a little sad but enough with the mediocre singers already!

9:00 p.m. – Up next is a serious Latin lover named Juan Pablo who is ready to rock Katy’s world. He compares himself to Shakira and Enrique Iglesias, but let’s hear what this low-cut shirt wearing crooner has to offer. Juan keeps it old school with “Besame Mucho” which leaves Katy fanning herself and whispering, “Caliente’!” Juan’s full of passion and the judges are buying it. So dramatic! Now that everyone is sufficiently seduced, Lionel compliments Juan’s power of captivation while standing still. Katy loves him, but Luke isn’t feeling it. Majority rules, Juan Pablo is headed to Hollywood!

9:10 p.m. – We’re back in Louisville to see more contestants who have overcome all the odds to get here. A year ago a young girl named Shayy had some eye trouble and found herself in the emergency room. It turns out she had a tumor in her brain and her eyesight slowly faded. Now legally blind, Shayy has learned Braille, moved forward with life and still dreams of being a singer. Singing “Rise Up,” Shayy shows restraint in the first verse before letting her power loose in the chorus. Lionel is a puddle of tears and soon the judges give her a standing ovation. “You have wrecked me!” Lionel declares. “You’re a lesson to us all. I’m so in love with you.” Wow, that was powerful. Shayy is headed to Hollywood!

9:25 p.m. – Next we’ve got an army sergeant hoping to keep the American dream alive. Landen Knowlton is supported by his troops and enjoys writing “lovey dovey” songs. After putting the judges through a few military drills, Landen performs “Wash By the Water” and shows off a bluesy, raspy tone. I can’t say I’m blown away by this performance, but it’s okay. Lionel is hopeful there is more in there but likes what he’s doing. Luke says it’s not perfect from start to finish, but he has natural, real soul. Landed gets a golden ticket to Hollywood, but I suspect his time will be short.

9:35 p.m. – Up next we’ve got a 15-year old country singer named Ethan Payne. Ethan’s got cystic fibrosis and as a special gift when he was younger, Luke Bryan invited him to perform to perform on stage at a concert. Will Luke remember him? Absolutely. Filled with confidence, Ethan invites Luke to duet with him in the audition, saying “How you doin’, boy?” Ethan’s got a nice voice, but his personality is what stands out. The judges love his confidence and believe with that he can do anything. Ethan’s going to Hollywood! Holy white guy with guitar day on “American Idol!”

9:45 p.m. – A couple of newlyweds are next on the audition stage. The pair got married at Walt Disney World just a month ago and they’re hoping to take this honeymoon to Hollywood. Singing “So This is Love” from “Cinderella,” Kimberly and Bernie are cute, but this sounds like a high school talent show performance. I don’t think Hollywood is in the cards for this duo, but maybe they can find a nice community theater somewhere. It’s a “No.”

9:59 p.m. – It’s finally time for the last audition of the night and it’s the one we’ve all been waiting for. The one called “the greatest ‘American Idol’ audition ever” throughout the promos. Will it live up to the hype? More and more contestants are bringing instruments along with them, but few are truly great musicians. Alejandro Aranda has only been playing music for about three years, but he’s a quick learner. He’s not sure what he has what it takes to get to Hollywood, but he’s ready to give it a shot. Alejandro is dressed casually and is pretty awkward when talking to the judges. Finally, it’s time for him to sing and he will be playing an original called “Out Loud.” As soon as he opens his mouth, Alejandro sounds like a recording artist who has been in the business for years. His vocals are effortless and his guitar skills are ridiculous! Finally someone who can play AND sing. The judges are just laughing because they can’t believe what just stumbled into the room. Lionel walked over to give Alejandro a hug and said “I am so inspired I just want to hear a piano song now just to hear it.” Alejandro strolls over to the piano and busts out a performance like he’s classically trained. I’m blown away by this guy, he definitely lived up to the hype! The judges are looking around at each other like, “we better not screw this up.” Luke feels like he’s in the presence of greatness. Katy says she thinks he’s the winner, really special and an absolute genius. Luke says, “I don’t even want to see anyone else.” Well, good luck everyone else! Alejandro has basically been crowned, but first he’s heading to Hollywood! That’s a wrap for tonight!.

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