By Ericka Alston
8:00 AM EST, January 31, 2013
Finally, a drama free night on "American Idol," and the best night to date. It's a fact, everything is BIGGER in Texas!
We joined the contestants in San Antonio and Long Beach tonight and neither town let us down. Actually they both did the absolute opposite and lifted the show to a new plateau.
There were no nicknames, cat fights and minimal appearances by low- or no-talent hopefuls.
The show began with the return of Vincent Powell who made it to the end of Hollywood week last season -- and what a return. Vincent sang "Rock Me Baby" and he could have rocked us all night long -- but he had a flight to Hollywood to catch with the very first Golden Ticket of the night.
We briefly met brothers Derrick and David, who quite frankly just couldn't handle the truth. They were bad, real bad. Kinda horrible actually and the judges told them so, and then told them both goodbye.
Immediately following Vincent to Hollywood was Savannah, single mommy of a 5 year-old who sang Etta James' "At Last," which gave us chill bumps and made the hairs on the back of our necks stand at attention. Nicky Minaj called the performance "organic" and told Savannah that she was "born to sing."
Next, Cristabel. The 29-nine year old worship leader was indeed a "Girl On Fire," singing Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You." If "American Idol" ain't got you in this season's line up Miss Cristabel, they ain't got a show. Amazing! Off to Hollywood for you, ma'am. We'll see you soon. Bravo. (I actually stood and clapped and yelled Bravo -- couldn't help myself!)
This week's nominee was nominated by her husband. Randy surprised Anne on a football field in Arkansas, during a game and presented Anne with her personal invitation to come and audition for the show. Anne graced us with her rendition of Faith Hill's "Stronger" and Keith Urban said, "there's a whole lot of Faith in you!"
The judges sent Anne to Hollywood. We are having a great night with lots of talented singers. Most impressed with the home of The Alamo.
On day two we met mariachi singer Victoria, who sang Fergie's "Big Girls Don't Cry" -- Victoria was a no for me and didn't quite do it for Keith Urban either who said that there was a disconnect for him. I too was disconnected but my vote does'’t count it seems as the other three judges sent Victoria packing to join the others in Hollywood. Not feeling good about this one and not giving her more than a night's stay in Tinsel Town. You heard it here first.
Poppa don't PEACH!! Introducing "Poppa Peach," who sang his original song, in let's just say his "original" voice after declaring "I'm a big black woman trapped in a little white boy's body!" I say let her out and send her home but the judges sent the "duo" to Hollywood. Hmmmm.
Sammi. Sammi. Sammi. I think I love you! This little African boy made my heart smile. Sammi sang little Michael Jackson's "Who's Loving You." His combo of confidence and humility was enchanting, his performance flawless and his personality, infectious! Off to Hollywood, Sammi. It's a good thing because Sammi told us that he was already packed. Way to prepare.
Now if there were actually a "black woman trapped in a white boy's body" she was trapped in Adam Sanders and her name is Etta James. Adam sang "I'd Rather Go Blind" by the legendary icon and I am certain made her proud. He reminded me a lot of Adam Lambert and every show should be so lucky to have an Adam Lambert and even more lucky to have Adam Sanders.
Adam was guaranteed a seat on the plane headed to Hollywood the moment his first note hit the airwaves, just wow is all I could say and Nicky Minaj could say nothing, a first for Minaj who was speechless after Sanders' performance.
We met Shuba Vedula, who sang Christina Aguilera's "Something's Got A Hold On Me," which allowed her to get a hold of a Golden Ticket.
Brian, who butchered a Phil Collins song, was not so lucky.
Our military veteran, Matt, diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, sang Sam Cook's "A Change Is Gonna Come." He got his Golden Ticket and I can't wait to hear him again and think he'll do awesome in the group rounds.
Some blue-haired chick named Stephanie came out, screamed a lot and flipped the judges the bird. That was a no.
During Josiah's audition the fire alarm sounded and the ship was evacuated. After receiving the all clear we went back to Josiah's audition where she sang "Settle Down" and got a ticket to Hollywood.
The last contestant of the day was Micah. Whoa Micah! Micah spoke with a speech impediment as a result of a 1 in 100,000 risk that a nerve would be hit and damaged while having his tonsils removed.
Although we could barely understand what Micah said when he spoke, we understood him loud and clear when he sand "Chicken Fry" and blew us all away. In the words of Randy Jackson, we've got another one "in it to win it!" Hollywood.
16-year-old Brianna, told her tear-jerking saga of being bullied in school to the degree that she had to eat her lunch in the bathroom to escape the taunts of her schoolmates sang Patty Griffin's "Up To the Mountain" and this little lady's career is certain to get just as high as the mountain tops she sang about. We'll hear all about it in Hollywood.
Our second bullied teen, now 21-one years old, was Matheaus, who left us all in tears after he too sang Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come."
Matheaus ad-libbed and inserted the names of the judges into his very personal rendition of the song leaving us all to believe that a change was certainly gonna be coming for him. A change in altitudes for our very short little crooner, from the plane to Hollywood.
Tonight's show was full of amazing talent and amazing stories of overcoming obstacles and following dreams. This is the "American Idol," that we love.
Tomorrow we're headed to the home of Carrie Underwood, Oklahoma. If tomorrow is as half as good as tonight we're in for a fantastic show.
It's "Idol," BABY!
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