Unlike a stop in Pittsburgh, American Idol got a mixed bag of contestants auditioning for season 11 in Aspen on Wednesday night. Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson heard 31 singers worthy of tickets to Hollywood and a handful of wacky performances worthy of fast-forwarding on your DVR, including color-guard coach Tealana Hedgespeth, who badly wanted to step out of her twin sister's shadow, and a (badly) British accented air guitarist from Iowa named Magic Cyclops. Seriously.
But Steven called server Curtis Gray "a major talent" after he sang "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday" by Boyz II Men. "Very nicely done," Randy told him. "Song selection was brilliant." Gray, who plays keyboard and vocals in a five-piece group, will just have to break the news to his band mates that he's going to Hollywood alone.
Haley Smith, a house cleaner, busser and meat packer from Orem, Utah, delighted the judges with what might be the most appropriate audition song ever, "Tell Me Something Good" by Chaka Khan. (Watch a clip above.) "You're putting your own spin on a great R&B song," Randy told her, adding she had a "natural gift." Steven was simply "honored to be here listening to your voice."
Student Shelby Tweten, 17, spoke about her struggle with bipolar disorder and depression in a thick Minnesotan accent before singing a lovely version of Carrie Underwood's "Temporary Home." It was "beautiful," Jennifer declared. "Brought tears to my eyes." Randy told her, "You're fearless as a singer."
Jairon Jackson, 19, of Denver, sang an original song called "So Hard." "Beautiful," Steven Tyler said. "I loved it." "You got something special there," Jennifer told him. Randy liked the song – and Jairon was on his way to Hollywood.
Waitress Angie Zeiderman, who fancies herself a "vintage glitter queen," said people call her Lady Gaga on the street because of her performer vibe. She danced awkwardly and dropped to her knees while singing "If You've Got It, Flaunt It" from The Producers. Randy clearly thought she was weird and lacked the talent to go to Hollywood. But Jennifer saw something she liked and urged Angie to try another song, which she did. Surprisingly, her version of "Blue Bayou" changed Randy's mind. Jennifer seemed satisfied with her initial appraisal of Angie: "She had such a strong voice with a good soul," she said.