'American Idol' Recap: Mariah's in Tears by End of Baton Rouge Auditions (VIDEO)

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Now that the months-long lead up to the underwhelming brawl between the big-named new judging panel of American Idol has come to a close, the FOX show seems focused on finding true talent.

The search for the next superstar continued on Thursday's episode in judge Randy Jackson’s hometown of Baton Rouge, La.

There, he and fellow judges Mariah Carey, 42, Keith Urban, 45, and Nicki Minaj, 30, finally put their drama aside and focused on finding true talent.

While this episode was a bit snooze-y by comparison, it did turn out some noteworthy contenders, and the strongest audition we’ve seen this season.

The first audition of the day comes from Louisiana-native, Megan Miller, 22. She was injured in an accident just three days before her audition. An infection in her leg requires immediate surgery, which she has decided to postpone until after her audition.

“I’ll let it fall off before I miss my audition,” she states. “The leg can wait.”

She proceeds to hobble into the audition room, on crutches, in heels, and showcase a super strong singing voice for the judges, who seem shocked by her delivery. “Undeniable superstar,” says Nicki. Agreed.

Socially awkward teenager, Charlie Askew, 17, is from Little Rock, Ark. and says he has always had trouble communicating with others, except through music. I can’t tell at first if his version of Queen’s “Breakthrough” is going good or bad. After a second song, (which I think he’s making up) it seems the judges are thoroughly impressed, if not perplexed by the lanky loner.

“You’re this seemingly dark, strange, but cool guy,” says Randy. He’s through to Hollywood, as Mariah thinks he “can really shake things up in this competition.” I’m not convinced.

After a slew of screwball contestants seem to suck the life out of the judge’s panel; a dreamy-looking doctor revives their spirits.

Dr. Calvin Peters, 27, is a physician from Fort Wayne, Texas, who gave up his passion for singing to focus on his medical school studies. Now known as “the singing doctor” by his patients, he’s ready to pursue his real dream. He boldly attempts Maxwell’s  "Whenever, Wherever, Whatever” and nails it.

He’s followed by another sexy man with an even sexier job. Dustin Watts, 27, is a foxy firefighter from Baton Rouge, La. After fielding questions from Nicki about his single-status, he gives a flawless performance of Garth Brooks’ “ She’s Every Woman,” and earns his ticket to Hollywood.

Now, we’re rushed through a montage of super strong vocalists making it through to Hollywood, but we don’t get to see their full auditions. Producers are probably saving time for the next contestant, who makes the strongest showing we’ve seen this season.

When Burnell Taylor, 19, lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, he and his family relocated to Baton Rouge to rebuild their lives. His powerful rendition of “I’m Here,” from The Color Purple, moved Mariah to tears, and earned him a standing ovation from the judges' panel.

“Right now, there’s a spotlight out there just waiting for you to walk into it,” says Keith. “That is what we came for,” agrees Nicki. “I feel like we’ve been flying all around this country looking for that!” Watch Burnell's audition again above.

If this episode's finds are any indication of what’s to come, it should be smooth sailing next week, when American Idol takes the talent search to San Antonio, Texas.

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  • Jethro Nededog
    Jethro Nededog

    Ah, Nathan, thanks for the very kind way you helped us out with that information. You'd be a hilarious person to watch Idol with.

  • Nathan
    Nathan

    The second song was "Nature Boy" by Nat King Cole, you dunce.