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'American Idol' Season 13 recap: 5 best performances from Atlanta's truly unique auditions

by Carolyn Menyes   Jan 23, 2014 21:41 PM EST

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It was time for American Idol to go to the Dirty South tonight (Jan. 23), with the Atlanta auditions. The show oddly began with some Radiohead and a wake-up call from Ryan Seacrest's mama Connie, but soon it was back to the races as usual with some strong tryouts in the ATL.

After some of the show's best auditions thus far last night in Detroit, how could Georgia peaches stand up? The answer is... incredibly well. It seems like something's in the water this season, and Idol is looking to rebound from a mediocre season 12 to make 13 lucky.

Check out the five best auditions from Atlanta below:

5. Caleb Johnson - It's a big return for Caleb Johnson to American Idol. This Jack Black-esque rocker made it to Las Vegas in season 11 but was cut before the top 40 after a disastrous take on "Old Time Rock and Roll." Seriously. That thing was worst performance ever material. However, he's back with a vengeance, and gave a huge, gusto-filled guttural performance. Will 2014 finally be Johnson's year? Depends on what Idol is looking for, but if they're searching for a rocker, he could be it.

4. Sam Burchfield - We'll say it right now: Sam Burchfield is most likely not going to make it to the American Idol live shows. He's just to eerily similar to season 11 winner and all around star Phillip Phillips, which Idol producers were quick to point out in tonight's episode.

However, there's something to be said for an audition that was just fun to watch. This guy clearly went to Phillips' School of American Idol, but his performance of "I Wanna Be Like You" from The Jungle Book (which is a great song choice, btw) was stupid fun. His guitar was popping, his voice had a real unique tone. It was just a purely goodtime performance, which is something that the often serious Idol could really use more of.

3. Bria Anai - If you weren't sure whether or not this girl was going to rock it, you needed to really look no further than her sparkly purple lipstick. SPARKLY. PURPLE. LIPSTICK. Where does one even find that?

Bria Anai is only 15 years old and has a voice that's truly one-of-a-kind. Her smooth vocal also packs a punch. The pure power of her voice nearly blew out my TV speakers. Don't be surprised if you see her in the top 30 this year. She's a solid mix of pop, R&B and soul, meaning she can transcend genre and thus audiences for a solid Idol following.

2. Majesty Rose - Though she looks all of 16, Majesty Rose is shocking 21. Accompanied with a painted acoustic guitar, she gave a soft, sound performance of Coldplay's "Violet Hill." Keith Urban noted that oftentimes when singers start off quietly, it's easy to dismiss them but she's able to pull a listener in, and his notes were spot-on.

She was effortless, breezy and utterly captivating, giving Idol one of the stronger performances of the season. If she doesn't make it to Hollywood, it would be a crime.

1. Jessica Meuse - This girl is an old soul. With hot pink and stark black hair, Jessica Meuse stolled into the Idol audition room rocking out with an original song "Blue Eyed Lie."

A dead ringer for a young Stevie Nicks or a Janis Joplin without such a rasp, Meuse demonstrated her solid vibrato with her old school rock vibes. In a competition that can so often pass through middle-of-the-road contestants, it's nice when someone wholly unique comes through, which Meuse demonstrates for 2014. This girl is going places, and hopefully it will be through American Idol.

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