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Rodney HoRodney Ho

Recapping ‘American Idol’ audition night 2: San Francisco, Little Rock

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AMERICAN IDOL: Little Rock Auditions: AMERICAN IDOL will begin its 15th – and farewell – season with a special two-night, four-hour premiere event Wednesday, Jan. 6 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursday, Jan. 7 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. AMERICAN IDOL continues on Wednesdays (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursdays (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). Pictured: Contestant Trent Harmon auditions in front of the judges at AMERICAN IDOL. © 2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Becker / FOX.

AMERICAN IDOL: Little Rock Auditions: AMERICAN IDOL will begin its 15th – and farewell – season with a special two-night, four-hour premiere event Wednesday, Jan. 6 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursday, Jan. 7 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. AMERICAN IDOL continues on Wednesdays (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) and Thursdays (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). Pictured: Contestant Trent Harmon auditions in front of the judges at AMERICAN IDOL. © 2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Becker / FOX.

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Thursday, January 7, 2016

It’s night two. Kanye West is behind us, thank goodness.

And surprise! Little Rock and San Francisco bring us arguably more talent than Denver and Atlanta nigh tone.

There were several singers who could be in the top 10 by the time early March rolls around.

I especially liked the rock guy Dalton Rappattoni, mom La’Porsha Renae, farmer Trent Harmon, Kelly Clarkson fan Olivia Rox and ‘Rise Up” singer Melanie Tierce.

Cameron Richard 15, Raceland, LA, student, “Gimme Love” Ed Sheeran – He had a cleft palate as a baby but recovered well once he had surgery. He has an unusual tone, probably due to youth. I’m not sure I like it but at least he stands out. JLo: “I love your voice and your passion.” HCJ loves his Cajun accent and says he has a “wonderful gift.” Three votes.

Daniel Farmer, 24, Memphis, “How Does It Feel” D’Angelo  – A JLo obsessive, he has a lovely voice and shows impressive stage presence as he tries to seduce her. JLo likes the confidence and sexiness. HCJ: “When you sing your runs and licks, do you think ahead of time? I respect the effort but make sure you land it.” Three votes.

Dalton Rapattoni, 19, Dallas, vocal coach “Phantom of the Opera) – Doing a Broadway tune is always a risk but this Billie Jo Armstrong/Green Day lead singer look a like puts in a solid audition. I’m dutifully impressed.  HCJ: “You took this famous Andrew Lloyd Weber song and sang it the way you wanted to sing it. I dug it man!” Keith: “I want someone with an artistic contribution. That’s what you gave me.” He later added, “That guy is pretty!” Three votes.

“Idol” has contestants note that there is no more next year. This is it! No pressure! We see several nameless folks cry as they get rejected.

AMERICAN IDOL XV: Little Rock Auditions: Kris Allen shows up for support. His episode is set to air January 7, 2016. . Cr: Michael Becker / FOX.

AMERICAN IDOL XV: Little Rock Auditions: Kris Allen shows up for support. His episode is set to air January 7, 2016. . Cr: Michael Becker / FOX.

La’Porsha Renae, 22, McCall, Miss., call center rep. (“Creep” Radiohead) She has a seven-month old daughter who joins her in the audition room. She takes a dirge-like rock song and turns it into a soulful tour de force. A top 24 candidate for sure, if not further. Keith: “It gives a whole different perspective on the lyric.” HCJ: “An assassin with runs.” Three votes.

Maddie McAllister, 16, Ashdown, Ark., student (“Cowboy Casanova” Carrie Underwood) – She brings her prize chicken as a prop. She has a sexy voice but you could tell she has nerves and some pitch issues. HCJ: “It’s the type of voice and presentation that will take a couple more years.” JLo: “Beginnings of a pretty voice.” No votes.

Trent Harmon, 24, Amory, Miss., farmer/restaurateur (“Unaware” Allen Stone) – They expected country. They got soul. And he was surprisingly good. JLo: “I was so blown away. I love the way you sing. A lot of dynamics. It was very your own.” HCJ: “Bar none my favorite audition since we started.” Three votes.

In San Francisco, they show the three levels: main audition, executive producer audition, then the judges. And Lee DeWyze (remember him?) gets some airtime.

Brook Sample, 28, Tuscon, Ariz. waitress, “Cold Day in July” Dixie Chicks. She comes across as an airhead but she isn’t a half-bad singer. But not half-great either. A mixed bag. She shouldn’t be sorry because she does come across as a charmer. HCJ: “You owe yourself a little confidence. You did a really great job.” Keith said her voice is special. Three votes.

Olivia Rox, 16, Agoura Hills, Calif., “If I Was Your Man” Bruno Mars. She has supportive musician parents. She wants to fill Kelly Clarkson’s shoes. She plays her own piano and does a really impressive take on this pop song, slowing it down and giving it cool inflections. HCJ: “Very refreshing.” Keith: “Your voice is really unique.”  Three votes.

The ladies are given plenty of love in a montage: Jessica Clark, 23, San Dimas, Calif., Ameet Kanon, 18, Los Angeles, student; Kayla Mickelson 18, Geneva, Il. ice cream scooper (I really like her!).

Melanie Tierce, 21, Murrieta, student  “Rise Up” Andra Day. She is so good, HCJ takes a break five seconds after she starts. JLo gets goosies. That was so beautiful. Keith even gives her a standing ovation. HCJ: “Absolutely stunning.” Three votes, of course.

Malie Delgado, 20, Anchorage, Alaska, radio personality, “Chariot” Gretchen Wilson. She is pretty and sweet. She is not a bad singer either. She even raps a bit. HCJ worries that there are so many strong female singers. “It’s going to be a dogfight.” Three votes. (She was on “The Voice” in 2013.)

Brandyn Burnette, 25, St. Louis musician original song “Lost.” Ryan subs in for HCJ as a judge. Why? No clue. But then he shows up anyway and stands right behind the singer and then hugs him. He brings a lot of emotion and Ryan was impressed. HCJ was a fan, too. Four votes!

Kyrsti Jewel, Arcadia, Calfi. “Mama Knows Best” Jessie J, Her parents are “Idol” addicts. (I feel them!) They get super excited meeting Lee DeWyze and even go into the room to watch her audition. She opens with a super big note and stays a little on the loud side. But she has skills so it’s not so aggravating. Her dad is so loving this. HCJ: “Clean, loud and energetic.” Three votes.

Sarah Hayes, Middletown, Calif. “Holding Out For a Hero” Bonnie Tyler/ “Invincible” . Blah blah blah. She is inherently annoying, gabby and overconfident. She forgot the words. Blanked! HCJ: “A tremendous lack of focus.” Somehow, he gave her a yes. Keith was not buying it. JLo worries about her. “It’s only going to be more pressure.” One vote and no go.

Tristan McIntosh, 15, Nashville “Why Baby Why” Mickey Guyton. She is very self-possessed given her age. And her singing is beyond her years as well. I don’t think the producers stuck her at the end for her to disappear in Hollywood. She’ll be top 24 for sure. JLo is getting goosies and says she reminds her of Alicia. “I see in you. Your heart is beautiful and special.”  HJC: “You have a lot going on.” He reads a letter from her mom, who is overseas in the military, and she cries. Then she appears in person! JLo said: “She might win.’

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