American Idol Auditions Recap: The Kids Are (Just) A'aight

“Let me feel your fifteen-ness!” cackled Jennifer Lopez, beckoning a fresh-faced American Idol hopeful — one not even eligible for a driver’s permit — to come a little closer during Thursday’s two-hour audition telecast.

Youth may be wasted on the young, but it’s apparently the lifeblood of the House That Jordin Sparks Bedazzled in this, its farewell season.

Several times over this week, we witnessed J.Lo, Harry and/or Keith crushing a youngster with the “you’re not really ready” speech — then turning around and giving ’em a Golden Ticket to Hollywood anyhow.

Yes, I realize that with Fox’s decision to pull the plug on its reality granddaddy at the end of this shortened season, there truly is no promise of “next year,” but you can’t pull a chocolate cake out of the oven after 20 minutes and expect it to support spatula after spatula of frosting. It’s going to collapse, dammit! Heck, even that cake in Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park” met a terrible fate — and she took so long to bake it. So why are the Idol Powers That Be hell bent on pushing hopefuls who are still all gooey and unformed in the middle?

Sorry, this metaphor ran its course about 100 words ago — but I’m like three hours in to a low-carb diet and Betty Crocker’s already come a’knockin’. Maybe I should just run down the telecast’s 14 non-montaged Golden Ticket recipients in order from least- to most-promising? (I’m not including Kassy Levels or Rhea Raj’s montaged snippets — since we didn’t hear enough actual vocals to form a true opinion). (I’m also skipping extended reviews of each audition this week, since I’ve got a nagging chest infection and have to shoot Reality Check with Melinda Doolittle — see our season premiere below — tomorrow.)

14. Ethan Kuntz, “Stormy Monday”
13. Tywan “Tank” Jackson, “Superstar”
12. Andrew Nazarbekian, “To Make You Feel My Love”
11. Ashley Lilinoe, “Black Velvet”
10. Elvie Shane, “House of the Rising Sun”
9. Terrian, “Happy”
8. Jake Dillon, “Danny’s Song”
7. James VIII, “Sun Comes Up”
6. Jordyn Simone, “Who’s Lovin’ You”
5. Mary Williams, “Til I Can Make It on My Own”
4. Thomas Stringfellow, “Give Me Love”
3. Chris “CJ” Johnson, “Dreams Come True”
2. John Wayne Schulz, “The Dance”
1. Amber Lynn, “Unaware”

On that note, I pass the mic to you! What did you think of Night 4 of the American Idol Season 15 tryouts? Who were your faves? Sound off below!