“American Idol” kicked off season 4 on ABC on February 14. Night 2, which airs February 21, features another dozen artists hoping to win over the three judges: Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. Each is 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 make the cut.
Those two score of contestants will then take turns performing on their own and with celebrity guests. Only half of this Top 40 will move on in the competition. And from these Top 20, just 14 contestants will get put through to the live shows, which begin in early April. At that point, you will be able to predict the outcome of each episode in our predictions center.
Below, follow along with all the action in our live blog of the Night 2 Season 19 episode of “American Idol.”
8:00 p.m. – We waste no time tonight, getting right into Amanda Mena‘s audition of “Golden Slumbers.” It was such a clearcut decision that all three judges announced immediately and in unison that she’d be advancing to Hollywood.
8:03 p.m. – Up next was siblings Liahona Olayan and Ammon Olayan with their original song “Listen to My Heart.” In the audition Liahona played piano and they tossed the verses back and forth between the two of them. The judges liked how different it sounded and thought they complemented each other really well, though Luke thinks Ammon has growth to do vocally. Katy was most taken by their songwriting skills and likened Liahona to Alessia Cara. Despite some hesitation about Ammon being as ready as Liahona, all the judges gave a Yes vote to both of them.
8:11 p.m. – Wearing a Thor costume, Anthony Guzman entered his audition to perplexing looks from the judges that quickly devolved into them all screaming Scandinavian cheers to one another. His rendition of Ella Fitzgerald‘s “Cry Me a River” sent Anthony’s audition down a more positive path, but there was clearly confusion about why he had entered in a costume. The confusion caused Luke to say No, but both Katy and Lionel said Yes with the expectation that he’d take his talent more seriously going forward.
8:19 p.m. – Big blue eyed Katy Perry lookalike Hannah Everhart sang “Wayfaring Stranger” for the judges, but her nerves got the best of her. Luke stopped her halfway in to ask that she stop checking them out to see what their reactions were. On her second attempt, Katy offered some encouragement that loosened Hannah up a bit, but it was still not enough of an effort to convince them of her talent. In her third attempt, she sang “At Last,” a song she thought was less of a safe choice, and that convinced Luke that she had enough in her that deserves to be pushed further by the process of the show. The judges were very stern with her, explaining that she needs to believe in her talent and step up if she’s going to compete against other singers that will be leaving it all on the table.
8:32 p.m. – Lacking the opportunities to explore his dreams in his small Mississippi hometown, Calvin Upshaw arrived at Idol knowing that this was his chance to achieve something for himself and his family. Lionel felt the emotion in Calvin’s audition, hearing the cracks in his voice as those of feeling not of his voice breaking. He took the lead on this vote, promising Calvin that the vulnerability he showed them was the beginning of a new path forward for him, and Katy and Luke joined Lionel in seeing him through to Hollywood.
8:46 p.m. – 15 year old Casey Bishop‘s taste in music (Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers) surprised the judges, and her song choice of “Live Wire” by Motley Crue surprised them even more. Once again, Katy was not pleased with the selection and asked her to sing Sarah Vaughan instead to show off the soul in her voice. Lionel told her that she should “appreciate rock, but sing like that” because her second audition was a clearer depiction of what she can do with her voice. Luke predicted that she’ll be the winner of the season and so it was no guess that she’d advance to the next round.
8:57 p.m. – As a fan of hip hop and reggaeton, Yurisbel was determined to show the judges something they rarely see in the auditions with his rendition of Pitbull‘s “Fireball.” While the judges were woken up by Yurisbel’s high energy and unique speaking voice, his singing wasn’t as exciting as Luke getting away from the table to dance alongside him. Lionel thanked him for allowing them to let go and Katy thought he’d be a disruption to the competition, but she still voted No. Somehow, both Luke and Lionel were swayed though and voted Yes to send him to Hollywood with a mission to provide some fun.
9:12 p.m. – Chayce Beckham took a break from his tractor driving to finally try out for Idol after refusing his parents’ advice to for a few seasons. For him, music kept him grounded through struggles with addiction and he was thankful that all the negative and positive points in his life had brought him to this audition. Luke was clapping within seconds of his guitar solo beginning and by the end Lionel was feeling the authenticity of him as a performer. The judges were ecstatic to give him a golden ticket, with Katy suggesting that much of America will relate to him.
9:25 p.m. – Via online submission first, Ace Stiles performed an original song and then sang it again in front of the judges. For the panel it was the individuality Ace showed in that song that made him an appealing pick for the judges. Luke, however, was concerned that his songs were still too introverted and that he wasn’t ready for the show.
9:35 p.m. – Katy and Lionel also felt like there was more growth that needs to happen in order for Ace to be ready, but Lionel was kind of enough to give him a Yes in order to inspire confidence that he has the tools to move forward with in order to continue to work on his craft.
9:39 p.m. – Cassandra Coleman is more used to performing her music online and so stepping in front of the judges to perform live was a new experience. Her take on “The Way It Was” by The Killers left the panel speechless with not much more to say other than that they loved it. Lionel told her one bit of advice, that “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” In a challenge to put her there, he asked her to play something for the unrehearsed from the piano to show her musicianship. Despite the nerves she managed to deliver a second flawless audition of “Apologize” that Luke feeling like she’s a wholly unique undiscovered talent.
9:51 p.m. – For the final audition of the night, Willie Spence stepped in to the room having changed his lifestyle in order to drop 200 pounds in the last year after discovering fluid in his lungs in a major health scare. His rendition of Rihanna‘s “Diamonds” resulted in exuberant cheers from both Lionel and Luke, calling him a “special human being.” Katy was more reserved in her praise, asking him where he sees himself in five years. He said he wants the world to hear his voice and thinks that Idol is the place for him to get there. Lionel was excited to invite him to join the show because of the believability in his expression of the song. As they sent him to Hollywood, Katy asked only one thing of him: “Try not to sing circles around everyone.”