'American Idol' Reboot Judges Open Up About Reality TV Competition

'American Idol' Reboot Judges Open Up About Reality TV Competition

William Casanova, 26, Washington, DC: A woman's shoe salesman, he charmed the judges with his smooth, flirtatious personality, and earned a golden ticket by singing Donny Hathaway's "A Song For You".

But her second song was the selling point.

The rest of the night ambles along at a familiar pace, as we're mostly introduced to decent singers like bespectacled goofball Catie Turner from Langhorne, Pennsylvania, who refers to the boom mic above her as a "corn cob" and laments, "What if Katy Perry thinks I'm odd?" When we talk about vocal talents on these singing competition shows, a voice like Alyssa's is what we all hope to find. It was hard to let go after 15 seasons. Lionel Richie approved her as fit for Hollywood because "you're strong", he asserted.

Maddie, a 19-year-old college student from Clarksville, IA, sang "Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie, and Lionel insisted they need her on the show. They were extremely appreciative, and Katy Perry even put her cat motif socks on her hands before Zach launched into Sinatra.

Layla, a 16-year-old high school student from Marion County, KY, performed "Who's Lovin' You" by the Jackson Five. I thought I was going to be the authority... but, no, no, I am the Kindergarten teacher.

And Noah, an 18-year-old nursing student from Royal, AR, sang "Stay" by Rihanna. Katy, Luke and Lionel also agreed to send him to Hollywood.

Aside from the new set of judges, American Idol is pretty much the same. The panel applauded his ability to make such music from such a bare but beloved instrument, and his golden ticket capped an unexpectedly moving first night. Where other shows, including The Four, Fox's Idol replacement, throw singers in front of a studio audience right away, Idol auditions dispense with the hubbub and introduce us to the talent pool before hair, make-up and ill-advised song suggestions get in the way. "Your first kiss was Katy Perry".

The other showcased contestants from NY include Maddie Poppe, who sings The Muppet Movie song "Rainbow Connection", and gets three yeses for her "storyteller voice"; and Koby, a 26-year-old musical theater performer from Denver, who belts perhaps the longest, loudest vocal run in Idol history.

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