The Season 9 American Idol auditions have taken us to four cities so far, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and Orlando. Ninety-six contestants have made it through at this point, and while we haven’t seen everyone sing yet, a few people are already creating some internet buzz. Here’s a list of five of the most talked about auditions so far:
5. Justin Williams from Sandy, Utah. Williams, 27, auditioned in Boston, Massachusetts. Even though it wasn’t mentioned on the show, Justin has auditioned for Idol before. He made it to Hollywood last year and actually sang in the group round with eventual winner Kris Allen and finalist Matt Giraud. Williams is a vocal coach, who is definitely easy on the ears and the eyes. He’s also a cancer survivor, diagnosed with the disease at the age of 20.
4. Tyler Grady from Nazareth, Pennsylvania. Grady, 19, auditioned in Boston, Massachusetts. This is his third time to try out for the show, but his first time to make it to Hollywood. Grady showed up to his audition with the look of a 60s rocker and braces on both of his arms. While his voice was good, his back story was even more interesting. It turns out that he likes to climb trees in his spare time, and recently shattered both of his wrists after falling out of one of those trees. Grady is a drummer, or was one before breaking his wrists, but he really wants to be a lead singer. After his performance of “Let’s Get It On,” Grady should be on his way.
3. John Park from Evanston, Illinois. Park, 20, auditioned in Chicago. John was convinced to try out for the show by one of his friends just a week before the Chicago auditions. Park describes his voice as low, sultry, and very different from anyone else on the show. His sound and his looks definitely melted Shania Twain, who said he had a “beautiful bottom end” and “nice lips.” Park is studying ‘voice’ in college, and even though his parents wanted him to major in something else, they’re probably pretty happy with his choice now.
2. Angela Martin from Chicago, Illinois. Martin, 20, auditioned in Chicago. This was her third time trying out for the show, and her third time to make it to Hollywood. Back in 2007, her father was killed shortly before Hollywood week, and Martin went home during the early rounds. She made it to the top 50 in season eight, but was forced to leave early for a court appearance for a traffic violation. All of the judges remembered her from her previous auditions, and after her performance of Mary J. Blige’s “Just Fine,” the public should remember her too.
1. Vanessa Wolfe from Vonore, Tennessee. Wolfe, 19, auditioned in Atlanta. Wolfe wasn’t the best singer to audition for season 9 of American Idol, but she was definitely the one most worth cheering for. Wolfe lives in in a rural town so small that teens, like herself, jump off of bridges for entertainment.
Wolfe’s lack of attitude was refreshing, especially when she talked about how she bought the dress she was wearing at a local dollar store for $4.50. So often American Idol pokes fun of people like Wolfe, as if being from a small town is something to be embarrassed about. Wolfe recognized this when she told the cameras, “I know the judges are like high profile people and I don’t want them to look down on me or nothing like that.”
Wolfe auditioned with the country song “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show. While it was clear that she was nervous and a bit unpolished, she actually had some raw talent. After earning four ‘yes’ votes from the judges she cried, screamed, and exclaimed, “I’m going to Hollywood. I’m going to ride on an air-o-plane.” This will be Wolfe’s first time on a plane, and while she may not make it through Hollywood week, she’s definitely one to watch.