Whew! Wednesday's San Antonio and Long Beach auditions were jam-packed with mucho vocal talent, a refreshing (though brief) absence of the Nicki-Mariah "feral cats in heat" vibe, and plenty of light sob stories to get those waterworks going -- if you tune in to American Idol to cry, which I always do.
All in all, it was a pretty big night for Ryan!
So let's get to it. Fifty singers moved on from these two cities; we met 15. And they are....
Vincent Powell, 29, got cut during season 11's Hollywood Week, and he jokingly (I think? Actually I hope he was serious) blamed his demise on Randy Jackson, who'd taken an ill-timed huuuuuuge sip from his Coke cup during his performance. Hey! Something familiar! Randy got REALLY enthused about that long sip, eventually making the most of this product placement opportunity waiting to happen by announcing "Coca-Colas are good!" All of them. They're all delicious. And so was Vincent's take on "Rock Me Baby," which at times sounded like a perfect Auto-Tune, and I mean that in a flattering way. He had an upbeat energy, cute thick-framed #RandyGlasses, and best of all, despite Vincent's declaration of love for Mariah Carey before his audition, we didn't have to suffer through a long and embarrassing physical encounter at the end.
"At this time, American Idol is my best bet," said no rational person ever. But I'll give Savannah Votion, 24, a pass on that because any young mom who shows up in a black sequined tube top to complement rhinestone-studded jeans and a navel piercing and a red pleather jacket is just the right type of irrational in my book. After her big-voiced but not overly aggressive cover of "At Last," Randy called her "a real performer" and Nicki Minaj -- expert on the natural -- called her "organic." I liked how Savannah emanated such passion for each note and had good energy/compelling body language throughout. She wasn't stuck up about her talent, either. She basically seems like a riot.
Worship leader Christabel Clack, 29, is just thiiiiiis shy of dead in Idol land. I'd like to officially lead the worship of the tremendous ocean wave at the top of her short, sculptural 'do. Christabel, who actually looks a little like Alicia Keys, gave off a Toni Braxton vibe for me -- soft and easy with a mannerism that just draws you in -- on "If I Ain't Got You," and Keith and Nicki raved about her own "little runs" that were different from Alicia's. "They weren't like, TA-DA!'" pointed out Keith. "They were like…." and he proceeded to make some gnarly hand gestures to signify those little runs. He's just a one-man pleasure center up at that table. I also liked how Mariah threw up her diva hands at Christabel's sweetly controlled "You-ooh-ooh-oooooh, baby." This girl is on fire!
NEXT: 'I'm a big black woman trapped in a little boy's body'