The fourth audition episode of American Idol season 10 found the crew in Nashville in the middle of their cross-country trip to find America's next singing star. While there were a few crazy auditions in the mix, several of the people who showed up in Nashville brought their A game. Here are some of the musical highlights of the Nashville auditions of American Idol season 10.
There hasn't been much outward dissent on the panel during the tenth season of American Idol, but that changed with Miss Teen USA Stormi Henley's performance. While Jennifer Lopez was not buying her potential, both Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson put her through to Hollywood, despite Jennifer's complaint that she had the smallest voice of the season so far. Stormi Henley's choice of "Father Can You Hear Me" was unique because it started out as a gospel song utilized in the 2005 movie Diary of a Mad Woman.
Adrienne Beasley's performance of Lady Antebellum's "American Honey" during the Nashville auditions was as distinct as her backstory of life on a farm with an adoptive family. Judge Steven Tyler was even moved to tears, but could not explain why. "American Honey" became the third country #1 single for Lady Antebellum, as well as their third top 25 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
While producers spent much of the Nashville audition episode hyping "the one" (see #7), a much more interesting audition came in the form of former couple Rob Bolin and Chelsee Oaks. Their duet of "To Love Somebody" by the Bee Gees was one of the most touching moments of American Idol so far this season, and it appeared that the judges were won over before they even sang solo. Rob Bolin's version of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" displayed one of the most distinct voices this season, clinching him a spot as a dark horse early on. Season seven winner Kris Allen performed "What's Going On" during the finale.
Rob Bolin may have opted for a classic R&B song to make it through to Hollywood, but his ex Chelsee Oaks went a more contemporary route, choosing to cover Brandi Carlile's "The Story." The song was a great fit for Chelsee Oaks's voice, and she also was sent through to Hollywood week, providing some interesting tension as the former couple continue on toward the finals. "The Story" is Brandi Carlile's only charting pop single, having hit #75 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2007. Lacey Brown also sang "The Story" in season nine.
The night's most unlikely golden ticket winner was Matt Dillard, who in a pair of overalls fit the show's normal gag contestants. But it appeared all three judges were shocked by the quality of his voice singing Secret Garden's "You Raise Me Up." While Matt Dillard's performance wasn't among the best of the evening, it was good enough to allow for a second chance, although the judges were concerned he would be swallowed up in Hollywood week. Americans may be most acquainted with the Josh Groban Grammy-nominated version of "You Raise Me Up" which he performed on Idol Gives Back, but the original belongs to neo-classical duo Secret Garden, and it is built around the traditional Irish instrumental behind "Danny Boy."
While she didn't get as much attention up front, Jackie Wilson walked away with the strongest belter title for the Nashville auditions of American Idol. Jackie's cover of Aretha Franklin's "Until You Come Back To Me" had all three judges in awe of her vocal ability, and judge Jennifer Lopez commented that Jackie Wilson was the type of contestant they needed in the competition. Aretha Franklin took "Until You Come Back To Me" to #1 on the R&B chart in 1973, as well as #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It took Aretha Franklin 12 years to return to the top 10 of the pop chart with "Freeway of Love."
It was hard to miss the fact that American Idol producers think that Lauren Alaina is a star, with their teases of her performance throughout the Nashville audition episode. By the time Lauren got to sing, the hype was so huge that it was almost impossible to live up to. Lauren Alaina's cover of "Like We Never Loved At All" by Faith Hill was terrific, but Lauren definitely is not at the same level as Carrie Underwood was in her audition. Time will tell, but Lauren is still someone to watch.