As my fine colleague Heather Warlick reported in her live blog, “American Idol” aired clips from its Oklahoma City auditions Thursday night, the final night of audition episodes.
As usual, the “Idol” producers seemed more interested in showing performances that were unusual or heartwarming than in just spotlighting really strong singers.
Still, three performers with Oklahoma ties that appeared on the episode were given their golden tickets to Hollywood and the next round of competition. Ventriloquist Halie Hilburn, a 2008 Oklahoma Christian University graduate from Texas, got giggles for her yodeling and for her canine puppet pal Oscar, but once the judges heard her just sing, they sent her to Hollywood – without Oscar:
Sassy Zoanette Johnson, who lives in Tulsa, sang the national anthem in honor of President Obama’s second term, needed a little help with the words, but her over-the-top performance seemed to speak to Nicki Minaj in particular and gained her a golden ticket:
The judges were understandably inspired by bubbly Tulsan Kayden Stephenson, who looks younger than his 16 years because he has cystic fibrosis. He performed “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder:
Just before former “Idol” judge and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler auditioned in drag, the show announced that 44 other performers made it through to Hollywood week from the Oklahoma City tryouts. Not surprisingly, several are from Oklahoma, including Norman indie pop singer-songwriter Jacob Abello, who played South by South and Norman Music Festival last year.
Also, Tulsa native Matt Farmer, who now lives in Phoenix, was given a ticket to Hollywood in the Long Beach, Calif., tryouts that aired Wednesday. However, his run in the “Idol” contest may prove short-lived since he reportedly admitted lying about his military service on the reality show.
Here are “Road to Hollywood” interviews with some of the Oklahoma “Idol” contestants that made it to the next round of competition. (If you know of one I missed, please feel free to politely share in the comments):