Samantha Calmes, 25, is almost too aggressive in her plea for the judges to appreciate her frumpiness -- the bit allows for a funny Let's Make a Deal joke from Harry, but did anyone really want to see the contents of her fanny pack? Her original, "From Birth," includes both spoken word and some deliberately gnarled singing, plus a "fire of desire" to signify her goals and a mention of the "screaming demons" she has inside. It's a lot. But hey, at least she's different, and she came up with all of this on her own. Samantha's cover of The Jeffersons theme song is received much more heartily. She's a regular Cole Vosbury, this one. (Cole sang "Movin' On Up" in his blind audition for The Voice.)
Harry responds well to performers, so he instantly admires Arkansas real estate appraiser LeBryant Crew, 24, who announces he's "gonna move around a little bit" in his snap-infused cover of "My Babe." More! More please. We only hear a few seconds. Then Maryville, Tennessee student Laurel Wright, 18, delivers an original with strong country appeal and I'm really drawn in to the lyric "Why couldn't you stay one more day so I could say I loooooove you?" Her soft tone is gorgeous and she seems genuinely sweet and maybe even a little shy (so she's not completely like Skylar Laine, but she's close). I'm very into her.
The judges insist that D.J. Bradley, 20, is the unemployed Tennessean version of Ed Sheeran. Hmm. I guess. Is that why they brought him in? This hangdog emits what Keith Urban generously calls "a balance between mysterious and disinterested" during his "Hometown Glory" cover -- "I gotta find something riveting in there," warns Keith. Harry agrees, but J. Lo thinks "there's a blossom to be had here." I guess if you stare really hard at a shaggy rug and then unfocus your eyes a bit… well, yeah, you can potentially see a flower in just about anything. My laundry heap just became a rose garden! All I had to do was pretend it was not laundry. Anyway, this guy's not bad or anything, but it's questionable whether he can come out of his shell.
Kenzie Hall, 16, is "so nervous I'm gonna throw up any second," she announces. Great, now I'm wondering how much dried-up vomit exists in The Chamber. But nah, if there was any real drama to reveal within that thing, we'd have seen it….right? The Draper, Utah cutie offers little in the way of gritty soul but an impressive vocal range on John Mayer's "I'm Gonna Find Another You" -- I particularly like when she sings "all the way" as if she's bravely but gently scooping out the lowest note. That growl of hers can probably be punched up for the big stage, with some work. "You have everything going on," J. Lo assures Kenzie, one of the prettiest young contestants of the season so far.
NEXT: Can I get some Tiquila with that cornbread?