American Idol had its second night of auditions last night, with judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan handing out more golden tickets to Hollywood.
Among all the contestants one stood out from the rest: Alejandro Aranda. The 24-year-old dishwasher from Pomona, California, performed an original song, “Out Loud,” which had all three judges singing his praises. A triple threat: Alejandro wrote the song, sang it and accompanied himself on the guitar. Lionel Richie told Aranda that he was inspired by his talent. Luke Bryan said, “I just feel like I’m in the presence of greatness.” And Katy Perry called him an absolute genius.”
Other Golden Ticket recipients included:
Courtney Penry: This was not the first time Country has graced the American Idol audition stage. A few years ago, she made a huge impression with her crazy chicken antics and her love for Ryan Seacrest. This time around, Courtney says she’s ready to be a star. Courtney’s first song, a rendition of “Parachute” by Chris Stapleton, was a bit much for the judges. So Penry gave a second, more emotional performance of “Girl Crush” by Little Big Town – winning her a golden ticket to Hollywood.
Logan Johnson: Detailing his struggle with drug addiction, Boise-native Logan Johnson performed “Sober” by Demi Lovato. The judges moved by his story and his vocals. Johnson was surrounded by his loving and supportive family as he got three “yes” votes and a ticket to Hollywood.
Eddie Island: Coming from Nashville, Eddie Island came in with an infectious smile and an original song. With a googly-eyed guitar (which bonded him with Katy as she had googly-eyes on her nails) Island graced the judges with his cool-guy tone and talent. Luke said he’s going to “invest in the ol’ island” and Island made it through.
Kason Lester: A strawberry farmer looking to make his passion for music as a career, Kason Lester debuted with his rendition of “Holding Her” by Chris Janson. “I really like the growl in the voice,” Richie said. “I like you.” “I think he’s Top 10,” Perry said. While Luke didn’t think Lester “sold it” with his guitar playing, it was his voice that seemed to push him over to a “yes” vote.
Shayy: Just a year prior, the young singer was told she had a tumor in her brain making her optic nerve begin to swell. After 50 percent of the tumor was surgically removed, Shayy was legally blind and experienced bullying after she returned to school. Despite her hardships, the young singer found the positives in life and gave the judges a beautiful rendition of Andra Day’s “Rise Up,” bring judge Richie to tears. “You’ve completely wrecked me,” Richie said.
Landen Knowlton: Army Sergeant Landen Knowlton loosened up his nerves by “pulling out the knife hand” and drilling the panel of judges. Despite being dressed in a knee-length leather coat and heels, Perry learned what a real push up looked like and how to properly At Ease. Through his rendition of “Washed By The Water” by NEEDTOBREATHE, he got three “yes” votes from the judges.
Ethan Payne: Fighting cystic fibrosis since he was 18-months-old, the 15-year-old country singer “never ever saw singing in his future.” Two years ago, Ethan got the chance to meet Bryan for the first time through the Make A Wish Foundation. “There’s no cure for cystic fibrosis, but singing is my cure,” Payne said to the judges. With the guitar Bryan gave to him in hand, Payne asked the country singer to join him in a duet. “He came to Texas to show me up and now he’s on American Idol to show me up,” Bryan joked. The two sang Luke’s song, “Do I” together for Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.