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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol 12, Jan. 17 – Breaking My Heart in a Whole New Way

Kevin Nabity, 25, digital media designer, Polk City, IA, has always had a passion for music, really getting into Vanilla Ice and Ninja Turtles. He started off with singing, which led into rap, then into martial arts, and then onto dancing. He's confident, but doesn't want to come off as cocky. He says this as he loses his bo staff into Lake Michigan. He tells the judges he loves doing computer animation, video production, and dancing. He does a few weird handstand like things and launches into One Week. If we were still listening to albums, I'd say he was playing the 33 at the 45 speed.

Randy jokes “Sold,” as he feels like he's in a bad auction and Kevin has tried to sell him a bad motorbike that he didn't want. Kevin then goes into Come Sail Away and Keith looks like he's wondering what he got into. Mariah tells Kevin it's not for him. Keith thinks singing isn't his strong talent, and dancing … he trails off. Randy advises him to do something else. Nicki likes him, but doesn't like his singing. He gets four noes in unison.

With Mariah joking that this is her first real job, Isabelle Parell, 15, Centerton, IN, says she grew up listening to country music, so is most excited to meet Keith, especially since he married one of her favorite actresses (Nicole Kidman). For some reason, in the middle of this, Ryan is talking to her family, and they are critiquing the camera crew. She's singing Baby It's Cold Outside, so she brings the lyrics for Keith, since it's a duet. She's good, and he's not so bad himself.

After the song, Keith reads what it says at the bottom of the lyrics, a thank you to him and a note saying it should be read after the song. He likes her voice and thinks it was a good choice of song, but does question her choice of singing partner. Mariah was happy to hear a Christmas song and thinks she has a sweet, humble quality to her. Nicki likes her voice, tone, and attitude. She thinks she seems like a star. She gets yeses from everyone but Randy, but his vote doesn't count this time.

Keith has to leave to do a concert in Vegas, so Randy moves to sitting between the two girls to keep them in control. Nicki is enjoying the male auditioners, especially a guy with a hole in his pants who asks why she's looking. Griffin Peterson, 22, Oconomowoc, WI, (hey, I've been there …) walks in, and she likes him it seems, but she doesn't like the name. He doesn't have a girlfriend, and that pumps her up a little more. He sings Washed By Water, and is a little raw, but he does have something.

Nicki tells Griffin he looks and feels like a star. Randy says the voice was just barely below average. Nicki objects, promising that girls will come to his concert. Mariah sees what the fuss is about, as he has a handsome face, and she thinks there's potential. Randy wonders if he could be the new Bieber, but Nicki says Bieber doesn't do that to her. Randy says no, but the girls say yes. I get it. He's not bad, and he's HOT. He's through, and his mom gets to give Ryan a kiss, as it's on her bucket list.

Curtis Finch Jr., 24, St. Louis, is a tutor at a charter school. He's a hard worker and believes in sharpening his craft. He and his family are excited to be there. Nicki wants to rename him Finchy. He's singing a Smokey Norvel (Randy's favorite) song. I could listen to this guy all day long. His runs are amazing. They say a collective yes, and Nicki believes God wanted him to sing for them. He brings his Mariah-fan friend in to meet Mariah, and it's a good day all around for everyone. Nicki even pays Mariah a compliment here, asking if anyone knows what it's like to meet Mariah for the first time.

Mariah Pulice, 19, a restaurant hostess, Darien, IL, is up next. Mariah Carey says it's almost like a club, as she didn't know any other Mariahs growing up. This Mariah admits to having a rough couple of years and says, through tears, she's recovering from anorexia. She felt a lot bigger than the other girls in junior high and could feel food gong into her arms and legs and hated it. By high school she was eating a slice of cheese a day. She lost a lot of friends and some days wouldn't get out of bed, and when she was really sick, she stopped singing. She's made a tremendous amount of progress, and if there were no music, she would not be alive. Singing again was like nothing she'd felt before. The eating disorder did not beat her, and it won't.

Mariah fittingly sings Let It Be, and it's chilling to the bone. It's my first chills of the competition and second tears. Nicki really felt the song and says her spirit comes out through her music. After all is said and done, you want to tell a story. Ryan starts bringing her family in as Randy says he loved it, and Mariah says she knows what it's like to sing through tears and what she's doing sharing her story, as she's sure there are others sharing the same story. She gets three yeses, and I'm chilled to the bone again. Her family and friends run in and engulf her in hugs, confetti, and signs, and thank the judges for giving her a chance. Mariah P. says she never wants to let the ticket go.

Brandy Neelly, 17, of Louisville, says she's been a fighter all her life. She was adopted when she was 6 after being placed in foster care. Her birth father was her adopted mom's brother. He and his wife had a lot of physical and emotional issues and weren't able to take care of her. Her adoptive mom knew she didn't want an 18-year-old kid to knock on her door some day and ask how they let that happen to to her. Brandy admits to being starstruck by Keith and said she knew every song on Keith's CD from a young age. She's always wanted to be the next Idol.

Brandy sings Your Cheatin' Heart and has a groove about her that's captivating. Keith tells her it was a great song choice the way she does it. She's says her grandpa used to sing it to her, but Keith is pretty sure he didn't sing like that. Nicki thinks's she's super, super special. She felt she had great control and presence. Mariah gives the song choice an A+ and likes to hear such a great song with a beautiful and talented singer. Randy loved it from note one. Yeah, it's four yeses.

Josh Holiday, 24, caregiver/vocal coach, Celeste, TX, sings Back at One and sings with great passion. Randy thinks he has something cool going on, and Nicki doesn't think they've heard that tone yet. It's four yeses. Courtney Williams, 18, Greenville, MS, has a gorgeous tone. Andrew Jones, 28, high school music teacher, Chicago, is great as well. They both get through to Hollywood.

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