"American Idol" swung into Baton Rouge for its fourth stop.
Thankfully, Thursday's episode was only one hour, meaning fewer (and better) auditions being shown.
One contestant "raised the bar" this season, according to the judges. It's the first of our 5 can't-miss auditions from the South.
1. Burnell Taylor
The judges gushed over Burnell Taylor, who sang "I'm Here" from "The Color Purple." While Burnell's voice was good (just watch Keith Urban's reactions), was it the breakthrough audition it was hyped to be? Listen and judge for yourself:
2. Megan Miller
There have been a ton of sob stories already this season, but Megan's was legit. The reigning Miss Baton Rouge was involved in a car accident just three days before her audition. While her body was battered, as evidenced by the scars on her knee and shoulder and her leg cast, her voice and spirit were still strong. Listen:
3. Charlie Askew
Things went askew -- literally -- when this self-proclaimed "socially awkward" teen hit the stage. His shyness gave way to a big voice. We're not sure he has that showy stage presence or personality to make it far, but he's definitely one of the most interesting contestants so far:
4. Chris Barthel
The polar opposite of Charlie Askew, Chris was a ball of energy. Nicki Minaj gave him the nickname "Mushroom" and he definitely was a "fungi" (Keith Urban's pun, not ours.) We were really shocked by his dance moves, and the fact he had a girlfriend. Just watch:
5. Dustin Watts
We've seen good-looking country guys in each city. Seeing how the last five "Idol" winners were WGWG (white guys with guitars), this firefighter might go far. Judge Nicki Minaj clearly liked what she heard ... and saw. Do you agree?
Are you ready for the Hollywood rounds like we are?
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