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'American Idol' Season 13 recap: 5 best performances from Detroit, featuring Ryan Nisbett, Melanie Porras and more
It's week two for the 13th season of American Idol, and this week judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. took Detroit by storm to potentially find the next pop sensation in the city of Motown.
Amongst some odd auditions from the Singing Manicurist and a tryout from Connick himself, Detroit proved to have some huge talent in its wells. In the end, Idol picked out 40 singers to move on to the next round of Hollywood, but who truly stood out?
Check out the five best performances from the two-day Detroit tryouts.
5. Jade Lathan: Sometimes being an American Idol is about more than just the singing, and it seems like Jade Lathan has it all. Rocking flowers in her hair and a dress and jacket straight out of the grunge era, this 20-year-old got gritty with her take on Amy Winehouse's "You Know I'm Not Good." Seriously. This girl got really into it, stomping her foot and snapping her fingers to the beat.
She has a jazzy undertone with some whistle backings (as Lopez pointed out), giving her a real unique vibe. This girl is going places.
4. Maurice Townsend: First off, Maurice Townsend is a 26-year-old father to four of the cutest kids in Michigan.
Now that that is out of the way, his smooth as silk soulful voice shined way above whatever weird edits Idol producers chose to do over his audition. Townsend had a bit of an Usher quality to his voice with more blues and jazz than the coach from that other singing competition. Plus, when he was on his way to Hollywood, the Idol judges had his son hand him the golden ticket. AWWWW!
3. Melanie Porras: Season 13 is the Idol season for guitars. Seriously. Though the instrument adds a nice touch to some auditions, at other times it can take away. This was clear with Melanie Porras, a 19-year-old Georgia peach who gave a boppy, jazzy performance of Peggy Lee's "Fever" with an acoustic accompaniment.
After Jennifer Lopez thought she was playing it too safe, she blasted out with Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead Or Alive." She has total control of her voice, easily maneuvering through some subdued squeaks, breathy notes with an overall soulful vibe. For some performers, this thing could be all over the place, but it works for Porras, who gave one of the more unique female performances of the night.
2. David Oliver Willis: Last year, David Oliver Willis fell just short of Idol's live shows, getting cut right before the top 20 in Las Vegas. However, the coffee shop owner came back with a vengeance, giving a powerhouse performance of Alex Clare's "Too Close" (the song from the Internet Explorer commercials).
Though the judges worried his guitar was leading the performance instead of his voice, it was clear that Willis has the chops to cut through the competition. He was an easy choice for Hollywood (again) and 2014 could finally be his year.
1. Ryan Nisbett: One thing that can get tired about American Idol is the middle-of-the-road singers who make it through to Hollywood. Sure, you can sing a solid pop or country tune, but oftentimes there's nothing particularly unique about a contestant that will leave a memorable mark. This was not the case for 21-year-old Ryan Nisbett.
Rocking a hipster outfit that would make all of Brooklyn jealous, Nisbett shocked by performing Sarah McLachlan's "Angel." As Lopez pointed out, his voice was truly one-of-a-kind, with a timbre that almost defied gender. Nisbett will easily slide into the Idol live shows with this voice that's all his own, and a career in alt-pop (a la fun.) is clearly in his grasp.
Honorable Mentions: Keri Lynn Roche opened the episode with a smokey, soft cover of Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" and an emotive turn on Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind." In other unique takes on classic songs, Jena Asciutto made Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" all her own with an upped temp and take with unique enunciations. Brandy Neelly's throaty vocals had the judges split. She's half Jewel, half standard pop star and wholly unique; she'll be an interesting one to watch in Hollywood. Ethan Harris has the hair of Harry Styles and the face of an Osmond brother and sings JUST LIKE HE TALKS. It's eerie. He has a sweet little voice to match that sweet little face, and the tweenage girls could swoon. And finally. There was Malaya Watson, aka the girl who everyone wants to be friends with now. This high school tuba player gave a smoky, oddball take on Aretha Franklin's "Ain't No Way." She's another one to watch.
American Idol will return tomorrow with auditions in Atlanta.