Jerome Bell turned out an extra soulful version of R&B great Marvin Gaye’s baby-making classic “Let’s Get It On” during the “American Idol” Milwaukee auditions and managed to avoid a cheesy cover of a challenging song in favor of a rafter-rattling rendition of the 1973 jam.
Sporting a brown fedora, black jacket, white T-shirt and silver kicks he lovingly referred to as “space boots,” the native New Yorker busted out a trill-heavy version of the track as his mother rooted for him outside the audition. Bell, who honed his chops belting at bar mitzvahs and weddings, took the sensual midtempo jam to church with bold, full vocals that he sometimes stretched to a dazzling falsetto, snapping his fingers and bopping his head along the way.
After suffering through a slew of subpar Midwestern hopefuls, the performance turned the judges into believers as well. “Hot, crazy vocals, in tune, control, tender, the right moments,” Randy Jackson gushed. “I like you.”
Jennifer Lopez concurred, describing Bell’s voice as “loud, soft, sweet, powerful.”
Jackson summed up the panel’s reactions by pointing out Bell got “all of the isms jumping off.”
Steven Tyler echoed Jackson’s sentiments with his trademark wit, adding that Bell prompted “none of the ’wasms’ ”
Ultimately, the Aerosmith frontman simply pegged the audition with some impassioned nods of approval and two simple words: “So good.”
And just like that, Bell, who said he was just trying to make it to Hollywood, was officially headed West.
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