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'American Idol' Season 14 Recap & Review: New Orleans Auditions Bring Out the Songwriters and Artists

by Carolyn Menyes   Jan 22, 2015 21:13 PM EST

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American Idol season 14 has already seen us in the hometowns of Keith Urban (Nashville) and Jennifer Lopez (New York City), so it was high time we visited the most hilarious judge's hometown: yes, Harry Connick Jr.'s New Orleans. And in the final night of the third week of auditions, we finally got there.

New Orleans was a songwriters town. Tuned heavily in to the world of seafood, jazz and artistry (only two of wich have to do with music, obviously), the Idol auditions here were filled with original songs and original personalities. And it helped this episode to standout and wash a bit or the dullness away from last night's Minneapolis episode.

There were some odd missteps in judging. JLo, Keith and Harry let cheerleader Tiffany Stringer through on a bizarre performance of Cher Lloyd's "Want U Back" yet passed on the beautifully talented Sarah Quintina because she "wasn't right for the show." These decisions were mildly off-putting, but Tiffany won't make it far on this show anyway and hopefully Sarah will be the better for it, at the end of the day.

That aside, let's take a look at the five best auditions from N'Awlins. Enjoy.

5. OK, Beyoncé's "Halo" is too obvious of a song choice, but teen mom Erica Washington wore it well. She closed out the New Orleans auditions with the signature Bey tune, and she didn't even have to sing long to make it on to Hollywood. She can project better than anyone we've seen so far on season 14 of Idol and she has an insane range. If you're looking for R&B, she could be a solid contender.

4. New Orleans was filled with original songwriters with a bit of a jazzy edge, naturally, and 15-year-old Greyson Turner was no exception. He came along with his acoustic guitar to sing an original song, "Chasing Shadows." Despite his horrid personal styling, with a pimpled up face and an over-sized baby blue golf shirt, this kid clearly has some talent going for him. Despite being, like, a high school sophomore, Greyson has an intensity other songwriters could only dram of. Mix that with a bluesy grit and a solid personal song, and he's a good fit for American Idol.

3. Nobody out in the world seems to have a voice quite like Mikey Durant. He is 100 percent throat. Not like Kermit the Frog per se, it's far more melodic than that, but he's definitely rocking a different tone than anyone else out there. Like a slew of other New Orleans singers, Mikey came out with an original song, a shockingly up-tempo number called "My Demise." The song itself, like Mikey, had potential but wasn't quite yet fully realized. He needs a little bit more of work, but with a voice like his, he's too interesting not to move on in Idol.

2. Lorde's "Royals" seems like a played out audition song at this point, but Quentin Alexander was able to make it sound original again. With facial piercings and personal style that Keith Urban likened to Andre 3000, this kid is a clear original person. He could have brought more to that to his audition, as all three judges were quick to point out, but he was intriguing enough with interesting vocal run choices and a timbre that is wholly unique. Quentin was able to make it through to Hollywood, and if he's able to truly embrace his oddball self, he could be a proper contender for the top 24.

1. It's always a little valiant when somebody's got a famous family member and doesn't necessarily use it to break into the entertainment industry. Enter: Adam Lasher, nephew of crazy talented and famous guitarist Carlos Santana. He came in with an original song, and he has a ton of artistry behind him, as Keith Urban was quick to point out. And the most interesting thing about him was how natural he was at it all. He was breezy and easy and pulled off his performance flawlessly. He's one to look out for in Hollywood.

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