"American Idol" went looking for contestants in Portland, Oregon, on Wednesday (February 1) and came up big — especially in the case of Jermaine Jones.
The soft-hearted Jones, measuring in at a mighty 6-foot-8-and-a-half inches, was dubbed the "gentle giant" by the judges. The self-described mama's boy sang Luther Vandross' "Superstar" and instantly made a fan out of Jennifer Lopez, who praised the warmth of the low end of his voice. Steven Tyler agreed. "You have a really spiritual voice. It took me away," Tyler told him, as the three judges sent the 24-year-old through to Hollywood.
Jones was one of 45 contestants in Portland to receive a Golden Ticket to Hollywood. Among those joining him for Hollywood Week is Jessica Phillips, a 25 year-old dental hygienist from Brooklyn who in the last year has taken to caring for her boyfriend, who suffered from a stroke last Easter and did not know who she was when he awoke from a coma. Phillips' version of Faith Evans' "Again" was good enough to earn her a trip to Hollywood, though Lopez criticized her breath control in the song's closing moments. Her boyfriend, D'Angelo Perry, was outside waiting for her when she came out with the good news, and their story made for the one of the most touching moments of the young season.
On the other end of the spectrum is Brittany Zika, a 21-year-old from Portland who claims her clumsiness has earned her the nickname "Tripster the Hipster." The funky, free-spirited Zika, wearing a fedora and a pair of oversize glasses, sang Brandi Carlile's "The Story" in "one of the prettiest voices we've heard," according to Lopez. She sailed through to Hollywood; no word yet on if the fedora is coming with her.
Mother of two Britnee Kellogg, 27, had a bit of a Britney Spears thing going on with her look, and the blonde sang a fiery version of "You're No Good" aimed squarely at her basketball-player ex-husband, whom she said cheated on her, breaking up their marriage. The feeling of the song came through in her words, and Randy Jackson complimented her on the attitude in her voice. The Vancouver, Washington, singer earned a Golden Ticket and has plenty of spurned-lover tracks to cull from if she needs inspiration going forward.
Naomi Gillies, 22, of Boston had the moxie to audition with Aerosmith's "Cryin' " in front of Tyler, and she passed her test with flying colors. "You belted it out!" Tyler told her, while Jackson chimed in, "If you've got it, you've got it, you've got it." Somewhere, even Alicia Silverstone was happy.
The final singer showcased Wednesday was 22-year-old Romeo Diahn of Portland, who was born in Liberia. He sang Bob Marley's "Is This Love," and though Lopez expressed trepidation about passing him through, considering she wasn't sure how or where he'd fit into the competition, the three judges stamped his ticket to Hollywood and sent him on his way.
Thursday's "Idol" focuses on the St. Louis auditions and is the final audition episode before Hollywood Week begins.
What did you think of Wednesday's episode of "American Idol"? Let us know in the comments!
Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.