What is a melodica?
That was perhaps the biggest question from Wednesday's episode of "American Idol," which focused on auditions in Austin, Texas. The show closed with a performance by Casey Abrams, a 19-year-old Seth Rogen lookalike who sang a Ray Charles song and played a melodica.
That's kind of a harmonica/keyboard combination. Learn more here.
Abrams, who advanced to Hollywood, was one of the few memorable aspects of a mediocre hour-long episode. Other advancing singers include a cowboy, a "power couple" and a die-hard Ryan Seacrest fan.
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Here's a full recap of the show:
Welcome to Austin! We get the highly anticipated "apology" for Steven Tyler's "outrageous behavior." Big surprise, it's just a ratings ploy. The apology appears on screen, and then we get a shot of Steven almost uttering an expletive.
Let the show begin. Jennifer's husband, Marc Anthony, is in the house! Briefly.
First up: Corey Levoy, 21. He didn't meet his sister until he was 14 and she was 16, "due to parental differences." They lived extremely close together, but didn't know it. Now they're best friends.
Of course, the panel has Corey bring his sister in the room before he performs. She sits on the judges' panel. Corey sings an OK version of "I Can't Make You Love Me." He hits some nice notes, but is flat at times. Naturally, his sister says he's amazing. Randy is "surprised and impressed."
Corey unanimously sails through to Hollywood, and then shows off his "J. Lo booty."
Hollie Cavanagh, 17, sings "At Last." She clearly has potential. However, nerves get in the way. The performance is very rushed and lacks emotion.
Steven says she was all over the place with the melody. Jennifer says she needs to get more comfortable. Randy says she's not ready. Randy says no. Hollie starts crying, and Jennifer asks her to sing something else. She tries to perform "The Climb" and breaks down mid-song. Then, she starts up again.
She has a good voice, but she needs some time. Still, J. Lo and Steven say yes. Randy reverses his initial decision. She's going to Hollywood! I don't see her going very far in this competition.
After Hollie's audition, we get the inevitable bad singer montage.
Meet John Wayne Schulz, 23, who works on a ranch. His mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. He said he'd do anything for his mom, and she said she wanted him to try out for "Idol." She's still alive. He sings "Believe" by Brooks & Dunn. He's good, but his style might be a little too traditional for "Idol."
The judges love his story and his voice. He unanimously advances to Hollywood. Of course, the judges have his parents come into the judging room.
Courtney Penry, 17, believes "Ryan Seacrest is the sexiest man alive." She vows to marry Seacrest one day. When they meet, she starts crying. Come on. This seems like a giant act. She does a crazy chicken imitation upon meeting the judges.
She sings Sugarland's "Stay." It's decent, but nothing remarkable. She has potential, though.
Jennifer says she has good vocal qualities, but needs work. Randy says no, Steven says yes, Jennifer says yes. She's going to Hollywood!
Then, we get rapid-fire footage of successful contestants. It appears as if Shauntel Campos and Caleb Johnson are among the Hollywood-bound singers. I didn't get any other names.
Meet Jacqueline Dunford, 21, and Nick Fink, 19. They met in a community college choir and now they're dating. They want to be the first power couple on "Idol."
Jacqueline sings Duffy's "Mercy," then Nick sings "Sunday Morning" by Maroon 5. They both have decent voices. I was expecting a dramatic scenario where only one of them would advance. Yet the judges unanimously send them both to Hollywood.
We don't learn too much about Janelle Arthur, but she performs nice renditions of "Syrup & Honey" and "No One Needs to Know." She easily advances to Hollywood.
Cue another bad singer montage.
Last up: Casey Abrams, 19, from California. He looks like Seth Rogen and plays a melodica, which is a keyboard/harmonica combo. Learn more here. He sings "I Don't Need No Doctor." Despite Casey's goofy appearance, he's a pretty great singer. He unanimously goes to Hollywood, though I have concerns about his commercial marketability.
Who thinks the melodica will become this season's didgeridoo?
Fifty Austin singers advanced to Hollywood, Seacrest says.