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?


Quick hits! Aw, sorry, you guys: Sarina-Joi Crowe, 17, half-shouted "Mama Knows Best" but in a pleasing and controlled way; probable Oompa Loompa descendant Haley Davis covered "Blue Bayou" with class and style, and Na'chelle Fullins-Lovell executed a series of high-pitched runs that previously only Mariah Carey could pull off. Watch out, girl!

Guest usher Scotty McCreery found one of his middle school classmates, who was hilariously not super-duper jazzed about it.

Isabel Gonzalez' audition was worth it merely for the footage of Randy Jackson's fantastic voyage down to Alpharetta, Georgia in a big yellow school bus that I was hoping would say 'REMEDIAL VOCAB', but did not. Isabel's aunt had to nominate her becauseĀ  she'd be too nervous to do it on her own -- but this adorable creature in a demure patterned dress and socks with loafers showed no sign of worry during her beautiful rendition of "Nothing Could Ever Change This Love." Mariah was spot-on that Isabel looks like a young Phoebe Cates, and I agree that audiences would fall in love with her based on that face alone. I don't think her actual voice is quite wow-worthy just yet, but she's so young. She could come backā€¦

Did Isabel's teacher's question -- "Can anybody tell me what an SAT score means or why that's important?" -- give anyone else the willies? Sorry if you're still in high school and need to remember/care about the answer.

I liked Tiasha Bethea's back story -- the 21-year-old fronts an alternative rock band of three shaggy-haired white dudes so just the visual of them all was to die for. Love her spirit, love her wide-eyed optimism, hated how Randy immediately pooh-poohed her song choice of "Folsom Prison Blues" after she said she wanted to stick with rock and roll. How is Johnny Cash not rock? I wasn't bowled over by the vocal, though -- and her subsequent cover of "You Oughta Know" was a pitch-perfect imitation of Alanis but otherwise nothing special. She's another one I'd like to see down the line after at least a year of digging deep and figuring herself out. Mariah and Randy said no; Nicki and Keith said yes, and apparently Keith had been appointed Special Tiebreaking Wizard for the Charlotte round (this is a thing now?), so she's through.

NEXT: Did you know country music and brain surgery were the same thing?

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