Before hitting the stage, the show aired a clip of sisters Lashunda Jackson and Leandra Jackson in a verbal battle: "I'm the next American Idol." "No you're not. I'm the next American Idol." They sang for the judges separately with Leshunda starting. Randy said "you've got a good voice, but you need more experience." Paula encouraged her to get some more stage experience and try again next year. She left the room in tears. Next, Leandra came in crying after learning her sister had been cut. She performed "Summertime" which created some laughter at the judges table. But the judges were very compassionate with Leandra. Randy said "It's a no for me, but you tried hard." L.L. got up to hug her, and then Simon, Paula and Randy also surrounded her in a group hug.
Looks can be deceptive
Blue hair, mismatched striped clothing, rainbow streaked shoes - Briana Davis certainly caught the judges' attention when she walked into the room. But could she sing? She chose "Phantom of the Opera." L.L. said "I think you have an amazing voice." Paula said "You can adapt your voice to Rock." Welcome to Hollywood, Briana.
19-year-old Anthony Fedorov had health problems as a child that were so severe doctors predicted he would never talk. He proved them wrong. He sang "Angel" by John Secada. "You remind us of Clay Aiken," Simon told the teen, with short cropped blonde hair and glasses. Paula said "you're a brilliant vocalist." And L.L. said "Absolutely" when asked for his vote.
Off to Orlando
The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando bustled with 9,000 singers who thought they should be the next American Idol. Marissa Ganz belted out "White Boys" from Hair. Paula said, "You obviously want to do musical theater." To which Simon replied, "based on that performance, you should do plays."
Painful to listen to
The next two contestants, Eschine Orcel and Ryan Miller were difficult to listen to. Orcel sang a horribly off-key version of "The Greatest Love of All," and Miller butchered his song.
A shining light through the clouds
Just when the judges were worried that no one could sing in Orlando, in walked Vonzell Solomon. The 20-year-old had on a green shoe and a pink shoe which coordinated beautifully with her layered green and pink tops. Randy loved her look. Then she sang "Chain of Fools." Paula said "I love you." Randy said "100% yes. You were born to be a singer." Simon added, "We needed you today."
Meet the Fakers
The next clips showed the many ways contestants came out crying, saying they hadn't made it to Hollywood, and then as family comforted them, they whipped out their yellow papers showing they actually made the cut.
Paula fights to tears
Dezmond Meeks will always love Paula Abdul. That's because she fought tooth and nail against Randy and Simon to send Meeks to Hollywood. "He did James Brown and he did it better than James Brown," said Paula. Simon disagreed and said it sounded like a stage review that you might see at Disney World. Paula said "I feel like quitting this show right now," and added "He's worthy above and beyond anyone we've seen today." Paula, teary eyed, finally got Randy to break down and change his vote to yes. "Welcome to Hollywood," Randy told Meeks.
Coming up next: Auditions in San Francisco with guest judge Brandi. Plus, another Molfetto brother returns for his second chance.
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