Sing it with feeling: "American Idol" judges look for emotional connection in latest round of auditions

Posted on: March 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC/Mark Levine(Hollywood) — American Idol nearly went to the dogs — quite literally — Monday night during another round of auditions, but a few emotional performances really turned things around. 

As Lionel Richie said early on in the episode, the judges were looking for “the real note,” not just “the right note.” They wanted chills and goosebumps. Some contestants delivered, and others didn’t.

Here’s a rundown of some who delivered:

Brandon Elder, 22, Arab, AL: Brandon nearly brought the judges to tears with an original song he wrote for his adoptive mother after she passed away from breast cancer. They felt the emotion in his songwriting and voted a unanimous yes.

Dominique Posey, 26, Birmingham, AL: The judges were looking for chills and they got it with Dominique’s soulful rendition of Donny Hathaway’s “Song for You.” They all advised him to quit his job as a legal secretary and sent him off with a golden ticket. 

Amalia Watty, 28, Brooklyn, NY: She came to New York from the Caribbean in order to connect with the father she barely knew. While she shared her dad’s passion for music, their reunion didn’t go as planned. Her audition — singing Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love” — had a happier ending, and she got sent through to Hollywood.

Genavieve Linkowski, 18, Goodrich, MI: Genavieve, the oldest of 10 children, wowed the judges by performing Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up on Us” at the piano. Lionel compared her to a young Celine Dion

Kenedee Rittenhouse, 19, Checotah, OK: Kenedee scored major points with Katy by wearing a cute dress. She also scored some points from being from Carrie Underwood’s hometown. Her rendition of Carrie’s “I Told You So” didn’t grab the judges right away, but she followed it up with Katy’s “Firework” and they put her through. Lionel and Luke later surprised Katy by giving her the dress Kenedee was wearing as a birthday gift.

Victoria McQueen, 15, East Point, GA: Talk about destiny! Victoria was born on June 11, 2002 – the same day the original American Idol premiered on television. A lot to live up to be, but lucky for her, she can actually sing. Her bubbly personality and powerhouse rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing” got her three yeses.

Taryn Coccia, 17, and Peyton Coccia, 20, Nashville, TN: Older sister Peyton was content to play guitar in the background and let Taryn have her singing moment, but the judges got both sisters to audition and they both ended up making it through. Hollywood Week just gained a little sibling rivalry.

Samothias, 20, Wheaton, IL: He caught the judges’ attention with his unique hairdo, then kept it with his rendition of Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey.” Lionel even compared him to Prince

Cody Martin, 26, Louisville, KY: He came out singing “Happy Birthday” to Katy Perry and the judges put him through right then and there. OK, so it wasn’t exactly goosebumps-inducing, but it was pretty funny.

Marcio Donaldson, 28, Compton, CA: Perhaps the most emotional story of the night belongs to Marcio. As a kid growing up in Compton, he was put into the foster system. When his week-old nephew, Rashad, was about to face the same fate, Marcio took him in and is raising the baby as his own. He brought baby Rashad to his audition and sang “Jealous” by Labrinth. “It’s not technically perfect, but it’s real,” Luke said. Marcio accepted his golden ticket through tears of joy.

And here are some who didn’t quite connect with the judges:

Audriana Bolton, 20, Portland, OR: Audriana attempted “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin, but fell short of meeting the judges’ expectations. She also nearly broke their eardrums when she attempted a Mariah Carey-style “whistle tone.”

Britney Holmes, 28, Frisco, TX: As a vocal coach, Britney was technically perfect in her rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” But the judges were looking for more than just the right notes and didn’t feel connected to her performance. She was sent packing. 

And then there were the dogs:

Here’s why you should never bring a dog on an audition. One unnamed contestant brought her peekapoo with her and let’s just say the dog lived up to its name. Each time the poor girl started to sing, the dog decided to relieve itself on the floor. Needless to say, the girl did not make it through — but she certainly made a lasting impression.

There were even more dogs to be had as Katy Perry celebrated her birthday on set. Lionel, Luke and Ryan surprised her with a room full of puppies and had her own dog, Nugget, pop out of a giant cake. 

The final rounds of auditions continue Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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