The second night of American Idol featured a few familiar faces and a whole lot of characters.
For the first time, a second-generation Idol hopeful earned a golden ticket: 15-year-old Tristen Langley – the son of season one’s rocker girl Nikki McKibbin, who finished third behind Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini – sang a cool version of Sublime’s “Santeria” to earn his way to Hollywood.
Langley, who was accompanied into the audition by his mom, is already entrenched in Idol fans’ memory banks: At the age of 4, Langley famously presented his mom with a rose after she performed.
Also hoping for another chance was 17-year-old Briana Oakley, who made it to Hollywood Week last year before being sent home. She said she made the decision to return the minute she got cut, and before she had even finished a soaring rendition of “Stay” by Sara Bareilles, Jennifer Lopez was already whispering “Jordin Sparks.”
When T.K. Hash entered the room, the judges immediately noticed he was a ringer for President Obama.
The 28-year-old also did an amazing impression of the president, but it was his big voice, charisma and confidence that really wowed the judges.
Spencer Lloyd, 19, who wielded a guitar and drop-dead good looks, made a big impression on Lopez.
“You’re a pretty guy,” she swooned.
Although Harry Connick Jr. called Lloyd “ridiculously handsome” but only “an okay singer,” he still earned a ticket to Hollywood.
Army vet Marlon Lindsey, 27, who waited nearly a decade to audition, displayed a beautiful, rich voice singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” while worship leader John Fox, 20, who moved back in with his parents in order to become an artist, sang a moving rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.”
Despite flashing a number of adorkably cute looks whenever she flubbed a note, Keith Urban superfan Rachel Rolleri, 17, moved on by singing Sugarland’s “Stay,” while Emmanuel Zidor, 24, nearly brought Lopez to tears singing Whitney Houston’s “I Believe in You and Me.”
“I’ve been told by so many people I can’t do this,” a sobbing Zidor confessed to the judges, before faux-flipping some nonexistent hair as dramatic emphasis.
The oddest audition of the night belonged to Adam Roth. The 28-year-old “sound healer” at first seemed like a joke contestant, with his white linen outfit, talk of chakras and chanting, but his performance of “Hallelujah” was spiritual for two of the judges.
“I feel guilty and unclean,” Connick said, before Roth got into a stare down with Urban, who finally gave him the golden ticket.
And Rick Rowling probably wishes he never auditioned, after appearing in front of the judges in shades, red suspenders, jean shorts, a load of bad jokes – but with an apparent dearth of singing talent.
“You’ve disrespected the whole process!” Connick, still on a roll after Wednesday night’s premiere, ranted at him. “People have waited forever to audition.”
“How’s that for ‘Harsh Harry’?” he concluded as Rowling exited. “Word.”
In all, 19 golden tickets were awarded, with 14 more handed out in Austin.
American Idol motors into Motown next week.