Mild-mannered American Idol 2013 judge Keith Urban set the stage for the Baton Rouge auditions by saying, “All the good music’s from the South,” and the city known as “The Red Stick” did not disappoint. The show was only a hour, but it was jam packed with scenery, singing, and Southern hospitality. We dare say the talent was so good, it had us asking, “Feud? What feud?” As Nigel promised it would, the show seemed to shift its focus from the judges to the contestants, as it should be.
The performances started off a bit wobbly -- literally -- as Miss Baton Rouge Megan Miller took the stage on crutches after being in a serious accident only three days earlier. In fact, she was going right from auditions to the hospital for surgery to fight an infection in her leg. All she had to do was follow the golden (ticket) brick road, as her rendition of “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” earned her four yeses in no time flat. Keith has established himself as the corny joke-teller, telling Megan he thought she was going to sing “Lean On Me”. He’s lucky he’s cute. Megan made a joke about having Keith escort her to the hospital, which caused a kneejerk reaction of him showing off his wedding ring. That’s right -- something’s got a hold on Keith, and that’s Nicole Kidman, ladies.
While Charlie Askew described himself as someone who has always been “socially awkward,” his voice -- and bird calls -- were top notch. After a rough start with “Breakthrough” by “Queen,” his rendition of Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy” had the judges enraptured. As Keith said, his voice “was not of a gender, like Bowie or something,” which was interesting because his mother had said his social shyness had been dubbed “Charlie Askew syndrome,” as it hadn’t fallen under any other diagnosis. Randy Jackson said it best by calling him “seemingly dark, strange, but cool.” You might wonder if this odd boy with the sweet voice will make it past Hollywood Week. Well, if you have a hankering to find out, you can check out our American Idol spoilers list for the Top 40.
Maddie Assel, who was shown as a child looking like a dead ringer for Shirley Temple, was nominated by her grandma, proving Grandma does, indeed, know best. Her unique take on The Beatles’ “Oh Darling” sent her to Hollywood at near light speed, but not before Granny could embarrass with her head-to-toe Mardi Gras garb. We’re just glad she didn’t beg for beads, if you get our drift.
Have you ever met anyone whose name fit them like a glove? We give you last night’s Paul Jolley. His “awww shucks” demeanor and beautiful rendition of Rascal Flatts’ “I Won’t Let Go” had him sailing on through to American Idol 2013 Hollywood Week.
Then, of course, was the guy who seems to have it all, Resident Physician Calvin Peters. He was dubbed “The Singing Doctor” by his peers but, sadly, didn’t earn a “NickiName” with his unique rendition of Maxwell song “Whatever Whenever Wherever”. What he did earn, however, was that golden ticket. Is there a doctor in the house? Yes, yes there is.
We really only had one good “guffaw” last night, and that was given to us by the extremely loquacious Christopher Barthel. Unlike Dr. Peters, Christopher did earn the “NickiName” “Mushroom,” or “Shroom,” as Randy called him. His top-heavy hair didn’t get him any yeses, but he did get Nicki Minaj’s hands through his hair. Did anyone see the look on Mariah Carey’s face as Nicki felt his luscious locks? She was appalled, dahling. Just appalled.
We caught a quick glimpse of Brandy Hotard and a couple of other ladies who received golden tickets, but thankfully we were given a very lengthy look at firefighter Dustin Watts. Who doesn’t love a firefighter (and his handsome co-workers)? Luckily, he had the chops to go with the backstory, and his Garth Brooks song earned him a “something special” from Mariah.
As always, the American Idol 2013 Baton Rouge auditions ended on its most powerful note, sticking by the ole “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” theory. Burnell Taylor brought down the house with his story of rebuilding post-Katrina and then an absolutely breathtaking rendition of “I’m Here” from A Color Purple. He not only got a golden ticket, but a standing ovation from the judges. As Nicki said, “this is what we came for,” gushing that he not only auditioned, he “entertained.” As if those words weren’t glowing enough, Keith said, “You could turn an atheist.” It’s safe to say the judges were impressed, and even Ryan Seacrest told him, “You changed that panel forever.” How far will Burnell Taylor make it? We know from our spoiler list that he makes it into the top 20 males but, based on the judges’ reaction, we think he could go far...very, very far.
Who was your favorite? Need another look at last night's auditions to decide? Watch all the performances from the American Idol 2013 auditions from Baton Rouge here!