ABC airs the the third of five “American Idol” episodes devoted to the audition stage of the competition on March 10. Another dozen would-be winners of season 17 will sing for the three judges — Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie — hoping to get one of those coveted tickets to Hollywood. In advance of Sunday’s show, be sure to check out our rundown of all 12 contestants who auditioned on night 3 of season 17.
Which of these will number among the 150 contestants who make it to this next stage? At the end of a week in Hollywood, only 40 moved on to the next round which saw them whisked off to Hawaii at the end of January 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 these Top 40 acts made the cut. In turn, the Top 20 performed twice more for the judges: first in solos and then duets with celebrities. Just 14 of them were 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 of “American Idol” 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.
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8:00 p.m. – The search for the next “American Idol” continues now! Will Lionel, Katy and Luke discover a superstar tonight? Let’s find out!
8:15 p.m. – We’re kicking things off with Ashton Gill, a 20-year old buddy of last season’s gator catching contestant Laine Hardy. Laine has chosen not to audition this year, but he’s there to play guitar his friend. Ashton is singing “Broken Halos” and she’s got a gorgeous, clear country tone. I thought she sounded great, but Katy feels the nerves got the best of her. Luke appreciates that she doesn’t overdo the notes, but she gets a little pitchy. All criticisms aside, Ashton is heading to Hollywood! Laine was a good sport and decided to sing “The Weight” at the request of the judges. Blown away by his newfound confidence, Katy convinced Laine to take his own ticket back to Hollywood!
8:20 p.m. – Austin Michael Robinson road tripped it up to Idaho all the way from Texas looking for his big break. Austin’s a serious cowboy rocking long blond hair under his hat. At just 15 years old, Austin has a lot of confidence singing “Your Man.” The youngster gets his hip swivel on in an attempt to seduce Katy into giving him a golden ticket. I find his voice a bit ordinary and the judges thinks he needs to mature as a vocalist. Katy gives him a “No,” but Luke and Lionel are sending Austin to Hollywood! Then things got a little wild on set when Austin decided to show off his ropin’ skills. Luke threw Austin up on his shoulders while he lassoed Katy! Austin wins some extra points for personality that could take him far in this competition.
8:33 p.m. -Since we just can’t get enough white guys with guitars on “American Idol,” it’s time for the third of night, Jake Puliti. He’s putting his own spin on “This is How We Do It,” a R&B classic that has Katy up and dancing. Or, perhaps she’s down and dancing, falling to the ground and attempting the worm. Were the judges even listening to Jake sing? Apparently enough to give him a ticket to Hollywood!
8:35 p.m. – Next we see mashup of contestants who should be their names weren’t revealed. They’re all pretty awful and one was so bad Katy asked her to attempt to break a glass with her voice. No golden tickets for this crew!
8:40 p.m. – Up next is a friendly Home Depot employee by the name of Shawn Robinson. Although he enjoys his job in the home and garden department, Shawn dreams of being a professional singer. Shawn has a very unique voice and a pretty, recognizable tone. Without seeing him, one might not be sure if a man or woman was singing. He knows how to run up and down the scale without sounding obnoxious and Lionel calls his voice “butter.” Luke describes to soft-spoken man as “precious” and Katy calls him a “ray of light.” Shawn is headed to Hollywood!
8:50 p.m. – Nate Walker grew up singing in church with last year’s finalist Gabby Barrett. Gabby inspired Nate to take his own shot at stardom this year. Singing “Say Something,” Nate sits down at the piano to show off is chops. Wow! Within seconds of starting, Nate sent shivers up my spine. But as the performance went along, Nate struggled to stay on pitch and oversang quite a bit of the notes. He really needs to clean it up if he wants to go as far as Gabby did last year. Lionel feels Nate is anointed and the judges are sending him to Hollywood!
9:03 p.m. – Much of the appeal of “American Idol” is showing the road to redemption so many of these artists are on. Wade Cota grew up with a physically abusive father who beat him so severely as a young child that he still bares the scars on his face to prove it. His mother and siblings were able to escape his evil father, but they’ve lived a humble lifestyle. Singing “Blame it on Me,” Wade shows off his husky, raspy vocals while playing along on his guitar. He sounds like the front man of a rock band and I think he could give some fun performances with a live band behind him. The judges were surprised by the sound of his voice and Luke compared him to Johnny Cash. With a “Hell Yes!” from Katy, Wade is heading to Hollywood!
9:10 p.m. – Riley Thompson is a fresh-faced 16 year old singing an original song called “Oh Daddy.” She’s got a soft, country tone and isn’t a bad songwriter either! She’s a beautiful girl who looks like a star and Lionel thinks her voice is beyond her years. Katy tells Riley to fasten her seat belt because she’s heading to Hollywood!
9:15 p.m. – Peter Lemongello Jr. is a young singer whose father, Peter Lemongello, became the first singer to sell over a million records over television and is credited with inventing the infomercial. Junior looks like he walked right off the set of “Grease,” with his gelled up hair highlighting his 1950’s style. Singing “I Can’t Help Myself,” Peter has a smooth, simple style but isn’t too flashy. Lionel appreciates Peter’s love for 1950’s music but Luke and Katy feel like he needs to polish his vocals. Katy gives the kid a yes, but Lionel and Luke crush his dreams with a no.
9:25 p.m. – Clay Page is a ginger-haired country singer who has had a love affair with music since he was nine years old. He was given his first guitar from his uncle Norman who passed away just a few weeks before his audition. Katy likes how Clay talks out of the side of his mouth, but can he sing? He performs “Die a Happy Man” for the judges, who are all smiles throughout, which is a good sign. Clay has a solid, pure country tone but he doesn’t show a lot of range. Lionel likes his vibe and his storytelling ability. Katy thinks it’s cool, real country. Luke calls him infectious and gentle. The “gentle ginger” is heading to Hollywood!
9:35 p.m. – Hoping to become something great is the next contestant, Drake McCain. He’s got eight sisters, two brothers and a serious high top haircut. He works at the local Piggly Wiggly to help out his mother, who raises eleven children by herself! Insanity. He’s instantly overwhelmed when he walks in to meet the judges and begins to tear up. Drake gospels things up with “His Eye is On the Sparrow,” and Katy joins in to harmonize. Then everyone breaks into “Oh Happy Day.” Katy wants Drake to carve out his tone a little bit and Luke would like him to back off the runs a bit, but this grocery store employee just bagged a ticket to Hollywood!
9:50 p.m. – “Idol” cuts right into the audition of Mica Giaconi mid-performance as she sings “Is This Love.” She’s got a laid back vibe about her and I appreciate that she doesn’t oversing. Lionel is loving all the 15 and 16-year olds this season and we quickly see clips of Darian Baena and Madison Vandenburg. Madison sits down at the piano to sing “Speechless” and immerses herself in the music. She’s got a beautiful tone and range that sends goosebumps up and down Katy’s arms. Katy thinks Madison could be the next Kelly Clarkson. Standing ovation! And the reign of the teenagers continues with Mica, Darian and Madison all heading to Hollywood.
9:59 p.m. – Tonight’s final contestant is a preacher’s kid and is currently the janitor at his family’s church. Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon struggled growing up as a pastor’s child because at age nine he realized he was gay and his family has not been supported. He’s singing a song he wrote called “Almost Heaven.” I love the sincerity in Jeremiah’s voice and the song he wrote is an emotional journey and wonderfully written. He gets a little pitchy when he reaches the top of his belting range, but overall this is a great audition. The judges are thrilled. Katy asks, “Do you know how good you are?” and Lionel compared him to Billy Joel. Jeremiah is going to Hollywood! And that’s a wrap for tonight.