Lilly Scott, 20, of Littleton, CO, was living in her car last year and playing on the street. It’s been a struggle, but was like a gift that American Idol showed up in Denver this year. She never thought she’d try out for the show, but now she knows it’s what she really wants. Everything she’s done musically has led up to now. It’s her one moment to prove herself. Lilly sings Fixin’ a Hole by the Beatles, and plays the guitar as well. I have to say that the song fits her, though. It’s quirky, as she’s beginning to remind Megan Joy. I’m also glad she ditched the peacock earrings. With an outfit here or there is good, not with every single outfit you own.
Ellen tells Lilly that’s what they’re talking about. It’s such a random song choice, and she did such a good job with it. She has such a distinctive voice and stands out because she isn’t like everyone else. She has a presence about her. Simon calls this the best they’ve had so far, because he felt she sang the song because she liked it and it portrayed her well. He’s not feeling star power from her, though, but it could be because of nerves.
Kara calls Lilly believable and says she comes from the heart. The best thing she can do as an artist coming up is stand on the street and busk. Kara thinks this is why she was comfortable onstage. Everyone is going to remember her tonight. Randy loves that Lilly is a real indie artist and doesn’t care what everyone else is thinking. He thinks this is who she really is, and it’s not affected. Ryan tries to talk about Kara, but she’s involved with Simon, saying he’s touching her leg. Makes you wonder what he was doing to Paula all those years, doesn’t it?
Katelyn Epperly, 19, of West Des Moines, IA, is is a college student. Her first audition is her favorite, because she was complimented by Shania Twain. She didn’t think she’d make it through that round, then was one of the thirteen that did. Katelyn wants it so bad, and sitting here today is a dream come true. She sings Oh Darlin’, and has a definitely sexy vibe going. I think she’s one we’ll remember. I like her voice and its Patsy Cline qualities.
Simon tells Katelyn that even though there were elements where she was beginning to scream and it was very messy, he actually likes her. She’s quirky and interesting. It was a good choice of song and brave. She needs an awful lot of work, but he likes her a lot. Katelyn confirms for Kara that she’s been singing all her life, and Kara says that’s why she knows her voice very well. She really switched it up in a way that improved the song for her. Kara does not think the makeover is helping her, as she liked her more natural.
Randy really loves that everyone is concerned with doing runs, but Katelyn pays attention to the tone, and that’s what was great about what she delivered. He likes the makeup thing that Kara doesn’t like. Ellen couldn’t tell whether Katelyn was pushing too hard, or whether it was natural that way, but whatever it was, it was interesting to her and made her want to pay attention to her. The girls are all strong, but she did feel it was pushed. Ryan asks what the word bubble was in Katelyn’s head when Kara was critiquing her look. She thought she just wanted to come out a little more rocker-ish. Kara thought her word bubble was bitch.
Haeley Vaughn, 16, of Fort Collins, CO, got her nose pierced right after she made it to Hollywood, as her mom had promised her she could do it if she made it. It hurt, but was a symbol of what she accomplished. It’s always been a dream of hers to be on the show, and now that she’s here, it’s a dream come true. Haeley sings I Wanna Hold Your Hand and plays along on her guitar as well. Now this, too, is really different and interesting. She was beginning to annoy me in Hollywood, but I like her tonight. This is that unique and different thing Randy was talking about. I could do without that all-white look though.
From a technical standpoint, Kara found some issues with timing, yet every time Haeley takes the stage, she comes on and has fun, and everyone feels it. That’s why people get up and want to hear her. She has to work on the technical, though. Randy agrees here, as he loves that unpredictability of hers and being 16 and bold, but Kara is also correct that the sound in Haeley’s high notes isn’t the best it could be.
Ellen adds that Haeley is 16 and has so much presence onstage and just shines. She doesn’t know technically, but she enjoyed it, as someone that just likes music. If Simon is being honest, he thought it was verging on terrible. She was like a windup doll that never stopped smiling, and that’s why the vocals were all over the place. Ryan wonders if we’re watching two different shows. Ellen explains if it’s a mess, it’s a hot mess.
Next up is Lacey Brown, 24, of Amarillo, TX, an event coordinator at a church. She just missed the semi-finals last year and says she was terrified to find out if she was going through or not this time. Finally making it feels amazing, and every day she wakes up she remembers she’s here and made it. Lacy is singing one of my favorites Landslide, and the nerves are getting her from the beginning, but she picks it back up, then drops it again. I have to say it’s another one where she’ll be compared to the original, and she’s just not going to match Stevie Nicks and Dixie Chicks.
Randy notes it’s an amazing song by Stevie Nicks, but he doesn’t think it was the right song for Lacey. Honestly, he thought it was terrible and pitchy all over the place. He didn’t think it suited her voice. Ellen agrees and thinks Lacey is better than that. She loves the song too, but felt herself pulling for her. Simon found it depressing and after fifteen seconds he was working out how much longer they had to listen to it. It was kind of indulgent, and he thinks she might be working out who she is, trying to listen to other people.