Rachel Rolleri, 17: Keith detected a thickness in her tone, "like a Cher thickness." Whoa! Really? This is the girl who winced/winked at the judges upon messing up a chord in Sugarland's "Stay" -- cute the first time, but deadly and annoying if executed again, warned Harry. But he liked her understated confidence -- "extremely important in Idol" -- and agreed to give her a shot.
Emmanuel Zidor, 24: He's the one who crawled in singing, tricking us all into believing he was a Joke Contestant. The feeling never really went away for me (Dawg), but I can't deny the power and clarity of his vocal on "I Believe in You and Me." I can't decide if the Miami airline ramp agent's huge personality will be alluring or off-putting. But I'm eternally grateful to Emmanuel for prompting this brilliant exchange:
J. Lo (warning him not to make her cry): I'll have to fix my makeup!
Keith Urban: Or someone will.
J. Lo: They.
Oh my God. It's just such an amazing encapsulation of reality. #ItTakesAVillage
David Luning, 26: Awww. A thoughtful, quiet creature in a great big hat, David sang a surprisingly dark original about giving his heart away when he should've kept a part of it for himself. I rather liked this! It's not American Idol-y, but I don't know, I can see this guy playing a minor character on another show I recap, Nashville. (Isn't that what all aspiring singer-songwriters should do, ASAP?) Keith pointed out that David might be crushed by all the big voices in Hollywood, but the other half of him (including all the hairs to the left of 64B) appreciated David's "staunch originality" too much to let him go.
"You'll have your own spot in the sadness, know what I'm saying?" offered Harry. Gah, I love his way with words! Don't we all have our own spots in the sadness? I feel it every time my remote control thuds on the chilling dread of live TV.
Selena Moreno, 22: Ugh, this twins segment just decimated me, sob-wise, and I loved every minute of it. Long story short: Selena, not Sierra, is the better singer, as evidenced by her confident take on Janis Joplin's "Try." I couldn't get the sense that she was amazing, but you never know; the splashy twin-sister element of the presentation may have corrupted that, as Harry pointed out. I loved what he perceived from his perch at the table: "When Selena was watching Sierra, she was like ice…. she knows. They know." I got my second goosies of the season here. I'm delighted at how the other sister's lesser vocal talent was presented as this DEEP DARK SECRET they always knew was there. Great sisterly dynamic, too, after the verdict. We're not all created perfectly equal; not even twins.
NEXT: The Good, the Bad, and the Sound Healer