On tonight's episode of AMERICAN IDOL, the crew visits St. Louis. In a crowd of ten thousand, they're out to find the next success story to follow in the footsteps of IDOL alum Carrie Underwood, who auditioned in St. Louis back in 2004.,
First we hear from 22-year-old Johnny Keyser, who gets one of the most enthusiastic responses that we've seen from judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson all season. "You know you're going to be a star, right?" J-Lo asks, and Johnny is sent off with the first golden ticket of the day.
27-year-old Oliver McCrary, on the other hand, doesn't impress the judges. "Music is my wife," he says, and Randy quips: "Your wife's going to be looking for a divorce!"
20-year-old Ethan Jones formed a country band with his father; when his dad went to drug and alcohol rehab, Ethan continued singing and will continue all the way to Hollywood. "To hear Steven Tyler say that he loved my voice…" Ethan says in disbelief, closing out the first day of Gateway City auditions.
Day two sees 28-year-old Mark Ingram - who works in the very hotel where auditions are being held - rallying his coworkers to hear him sing. The group gathers behind him in the audition room to much applause, but unfortunately the judges aren't quite so impressed when Mark misses some notes. Still, he keeps his positive attitude: "My heart says yes, and that's what matters," he says.
The final contestant of the show will be Lauren Grey, 22, who sings with her father in a southern rock band, and says that he inspired her to audition. Her audition, in turn, inspires the judges - especially Jennifer, who says "I have two words for today. Lauren Grey!"
In all, 46 people will be headed to Hollywood from St. Louis. Tonight's episode brings a close to the auditions, with host Ryan Seacrest touting it as "the most successful road auditions we've ever had." Whether or not that's true will become clear next week, as the AMERICAN IDOL team hits Hollywood to put their new singers to the test!
Emmy Award-winning AMERICAN IDOL is created and executive produced by Simon Fuller, Founder, 19 Entertainment, a division of CKX, Inc.; and executive-produced by Cecile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia North America, Inc.; Ken Warwick, Executive Producer, FremantleMedia North America, Inc.; and Nigel Lythgoe, President, Big Red 2 Entertainment.