ABC airs the the third of five “American Idol” episodes devoted to the audition stage of the competition on March 1. Another 15 would-be winners of season 18 will sing for the three judges — Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie — hoping to get one of those coveted tickets to Hollywood.
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.
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 in April. 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 primetime Emmy Awards.
Below, follow along with all the action on the Night 3 season 18 episode of “American Idol.”
8:10 p.m. — Auditions begin in Savannah, Georgia tonight with Kimmy Gabriella, a 17-year old who says she has music in her veins. Her father was a professional musician who toured professionally and now Kimmy hopes to follow in his footsteps. She’s singing “Let’s Hurt Tonight” with a beautifully controlled pop voice, showing both range and emotion. The judges are so impressed that Katy asks Luke and Lionel if they even want to critique it. Next Katy asks if Kimmy could sing in Spanish and after the youngster belts out another tune Katy responds, “Top 10.” It’s a big YES for Kimmy to Hollywood.
8:15 p.m. — Auditions continue in Los Angeles with a trio of contestants performing for the judges in the same building Orlando Bloom asked Katy to marry him. She’s feeling the good vibes and hope they continue. Amelia, a 23-year old piano player is up first with “Yesterday” and Katy calls her “a dream.” Guitar player Erin Kirby is just 16-years old but also impresses the judges with her vocal range and guitar skills. Last in this montage is 26-year old Jordan Jones, a lounge pianist who caps off his audition by proposing to his girlfriend! She said yes and the judges said yes to Hollywood for Jordan, Erin and Amelia!
8:20 p.m. — Back in Savannah, 27-year old Lauren Mascitti is auditioning with an original song called “If I Can Lose You.” Lauren brought along her fiance, songwriter Shawn Camp who has penned hits for country music legends like Garth Brooks and Brooks and Dunn. Lauren has a classic country voice with a rich tone that reminds me of Trisha Yearwood. The judges love the feeling and emotion in her voice and Lionel says he’s a sucker for a good songwriter. It’s a big time yes for Lauren!
8:30 p.m. — Up next is 24-year old Ryan Harmon and he’s about as country as it gets. He may not appear to be the next “American Idol” on first glance but he’s got the personality of a star and is instantly adored by the judges. He hails from Arkansas and considers playing guitar his greatest strength. Prior to his audition he lets it be known if he doesn’t get a golden ticket, at least he’ll get a meal at Golden Corral before he heads home. If you want to hear more from this guy you can tune into his podcast “Country Fried.” Ryan is singing an original song called “I Knew This Would Happen,” a ballad that has Luke grinning from ear to ear. Aside from being a breath of fresh air in the personality department, Ryan can sing! Unfortunately the judges aren’t into it and suggest he go to Nashville to pursue songwriting, but it’s a NO for Hollywood. Boo!
8:40 p.m. — Ryan made an exception for our next contestant who missed the deadline to audition. He simply saw her standing on the sidewalk and she let it be known that she wasn’t able to get in so Ryan brought her straight to the judges without knowing anything about her voice. Her name is Courtney Timmons and she’s a 22-year old security guard singing “Rise Up.” She surprises the judges with her ability to carry a tune, but quite honestly her story was more captivating than her vocal. Courtney hasn’t blown me away, but there’s potential. Courtney is heading to Hollywood! Ryan begins crying and I just can’t tell if this is a joke or not — but apparently it’s real. Time for Courtney to go fill out her paperwork.
8:50 p.m. — We head up to Oregon and are immediately thrown into an audition from Lauren Spencer-Smith, a 16-year old high school student impressing the judges with “What About Us.” Lionel calls her wise and gifted well beyond her years and says she has amazing control. Katy compares her to Leona Lewis and believes they can help her carve out who she wants to be as an artist.
8:55 p.m. — The next person to audition brought along his great-grandmother who is rocking six-inch heels and a leopard print dress in anticipation of meeting Lionel. Her dream comes true when her grandson, Dewayne Crocker Jr. hits the audition stage. He’s a preacher’s kid singing “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” The 23-year old changed up the arrangement and he’s singing it as a ballad to show off her’s church pipes. This man can saaang! He hardly sang any actual words, but still, he’s got pipes. The judges like the timbre of his voice and says he has the goods. Dewayne is heading to Hollywood and grandma was serenaded by Lionel!
9:10 p.m. — Up next Dillon James, a 26-year old who Katy commanded to basically strip down to show off his torso tattoo. Dillon confessed he is a recovering drug addict who is turning his life around and has dreams to become a professional musician. He sings “To Make You Feel My Love” and has a unique vocal delivery that goes off melody at times but remains intriguing. Dillon doesn’t have the typical voice of an idol, but there’s something interesting about him. Luke says his voice is unusual but he loves it. The other judges concur and Dillon is heading to Hollywood!
9:20 p.m. — The next artist to audition is a Los Angeles native and hardcore Katy fan. Her name is Geena Fontinella and she began singing in the church as a young girl and now hopes to follow Katy’s footsteps to superstardom. She’s singing an original song that I wouldn’t be interested in hearing again and she’s more personality than talent. She’s a no for me but the judges are in their own world. I guess Geena is heading to Hollywood.
9:30 p.m. — Up next is Jared Lettow — but not the Oscar winner (it’s just pronounced the same). Aside from being a charmer, Jared shows off some incredible yodeling skills that takes the judges by surprise. Despite that intricate skill, Jared’s overall vocals leave much to be desired. Katy eventually screams for him to “STOP YODELING!” They send him packing but thank him for showing off his party tricks.
9:40 p.m. — After some more less-than-stellar singers embarrass themselves on national television, a 20-year old named Shannon Gibbons arrives to give the judges some hope. Shannon is the lead singer of a band in Long Island and is ready to break out as a solo star. She sings “I’d Rather Go Blind” and shows off a gritty, husky tone that is a refreshing change from the vocalists we’ve seen so far tonight. Lionel tells her take it to the next level, but Luke calls her their new standard moving forward. Shannon is heading to Hollywood!
9:50 p.m. — The next artist to audition considers himself a performer, model and social media influencer. But he’s more than just a photo! Isaiah Grass is about to show the judges something special! He’s singing the 80’s classic “Take On Me” and even brought his own amp to plug into. His borderline obnoxious personality made me expect the worst from this, but I find myself strangely entertained by Isaiah’s performance. Unfortunately he’s just not a very good singer. The judges appear to be in the same boat as me and send Isaiah back to influencing social media without a trip to Hollywood.
9:59 p.m. — There’s just one singer left to audition tonight and her name is Genavieve Linkowski. She initially auditioned two years ago and even made it to Hollywood week, but was sent home before the live shows. Since then, her sister was tragically killed in a car accident and it’s been a difficult path back to Idol. But tonight Genavieve sits down at the piano and sings “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” with more passion than ever. The judges can feel the pain in her performance and feel her growth as an artist. Lionel calls it his greatest YES of the day and Genavieve is heading to Hollywood. That’s a wrap for tonight!