By Sean Daly, ,
Published April 28, 2016
They ought to stick to cheesesteaks.
“American Idol” failed to uncover many potential contenders when auditions rolled into Philadelphia Wednesday night.
Instead judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. were forced to endure some of the most bizarre performances of the season — including a Dollar Store worker from Rhode Island who ripped his shirt off after failing to earn a ticket to Hollywood and declared: “I guess they don’t like a good entertainer, I guess. They’d rather have a simple, bland… a Whitney Houston or something.”
Later, 25 year-old junior Ellis Banks brought the judges a glittery “Jesus hair piece.”
“I am going to impress the judges by giving them a performance they are probably never going to see again in their life,” he promised before launching into a tone deaf cover of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”
There were, of course, at least a few high points.
Half-dozen hopefuls advanced to Hollywood during the 60-minute episode.
Among the standouts were:
Sarah Strum, 17 (Restaurant hostess - Centreville, Virginia)
She’s perky, cute and entertains the judges with her interpretation of the Meghan Trainor hit “Lips Are Movin.’”
“I think you are pretty special,” Connick tells her. “You have a sound that belies your years.”
Isaac Cole, 15 (Student - Emlenton, PA)
He nailed the performance of “Love Like Crazy” and probably won a few points for his Bieber-at-17 inspired look, but Isaac nearly blew it by relying much on a manufactured southern twang in his voice.
“I think would be a really good idea is to stop singing with a twang,” Connick warned.
“You don’t talk with a twang. Sing it like you. You can be a country singer without putting a fake identity on.
Harrison Cohen, 17 (Student - New York City)
Harrison sang an original song called “No Time,” which he claims was written “about some experiences I have had with the ladies.”
“I liked the sound of your voice,” J. Lo told him. “The song… I felt like I could hear it on the radio.”
Creepy bonus points: The teen introduced the judges to his “foxy grandpa.”
Gianna Isabella, 15 (Student - Jackson, NJ)
If bloodlines count for anything, Gianna should do quite well. Her mother is R&B singer Brenda K. Starr, who had a huge hit in late 1980s with “I Still Believe.” For her audition, the teen selected “House of The Rising Sun,” prompting Lopes to declare afterward, “Momma would be proud!”
Jenn Blosil, 23 (Brooklyn, NY)
Jenn brought all the flight and crazy should find but still ended up with perhaps the best all-around audition of the evening. She walked in with a guitar but ended up performing “House of the Rising Sun” on piano and scoring three coveted yes votes.
“American Idol” airs Wednesdays and Thursdays on Fox.