American Idol recap: Country Discomfort

Soul-heavy singers battle fuse-blowing Nicki Minaj for the Charlotte auditions spotlight
Ep. 03 | Aired Jan 23, 2013

DA DUN DUN Has Nicki had more work done on her mouth?

Fox

Welcome to Charlotte, NC, where the security guard doesn't even know who famed race car driver Ryan Seacrest is. What a quaint fictional land! Wednesday's auditions brought us tons of talent, so let's focus on that instead of the over-hyped Nicki Minaj vs. Mariah Carey brawl that Idol refused to even air, opting instead to show a group debate in which Nicki Minaj somehow emerged as a rational hero.

Whatever, you know? I'm sick of caring about their conflict. These two obviously can't stand each other, but tonight they found common ground in that they both lust after extra-tasty-crispy turkey bacon (surely a possible new #nickiname for Mariah) -- so why not just focus on the positive? Here's who made it to Hollywood!

I was all set for some major bawlin' as soon as Brian Rittenberry, 27, wondered "How do you explain to your 5-year-old son that mom was gonna go to heaven?" But it turned out his wife survived her stage 4 cancer and has lived to get both sets of nails done and meet her "hall pass," Keith Urban. Mrs. Rittenberry wants it, Ryan! Also: Dude, not in front of the children, Ryan!

I liked how unexpectedly high Brian went on his raspy cover of "Let It Be," and Keith was enamored by Brian's "good light about you, and soul."

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I found myself rather enamored by Keith's desperate-to-escape chest tattoo. For the record.

Jimmy Smith, 25, decided to audition online last-minute after "looking on Twitter at work trying to find a car buying guide for his first clunker." Story of my life, Jimmy. We have so much in common already. His clear, country vocal on "Bless the Broken Road" was divine, even though I could not stop imagining the different ways in which the Makeover Madness team would attempt to rejigger Jimmy's curly blonde ramen noodle hair. It was verging on Timberlake circa 2000, but with those green eyes and that smile and cute personality, this guy could be a real contender if his look was updated to the correct decade. I loved the way he gushed, "Oh, wow!" after Mariah said she couldn't wait for the world to hear that "something incredibly special and unique" she spotted inside of him.

Nicki said Jimmy had "the sweetness I need to hear from my country singers," which could be a direct translation of her first comment, "Poppin, poppin, you poppin' like you MAD fly" -- I'm not sure.

NEXT: "Black girls can't rock!" --Randy Jackson

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