‘American Idol XIII’ review: Nikki McKibbin’s son Tristen Langley arrives; Briana Oakley returns

The logo -American Idol” got off to a heck of a start on Wednesday night with a show that brought quite a bit to the table sometimes: Great performances, emotion, and judging that was actually judging. Harry Connick Jr. is in particular a bright spot on the panel, mostly because he was honest, engaging, and also very funny. Ultimately, he was the voice every viewer sitting at home wishing that the judges would speak for them. (Typically during the live shows, some of the judges lose their voices altogether.)

Tonight, we had what was yet another two-hour spectacular featuring a variety of different singers hoping to get a golden ticket, and to move forward to the next phase of the competition. We went to Austin and San Francisco, which were at least pretty fun … even if they were not they didn’t have the same sort of zingers about them. We’re going to ignore most of the bad and ridiculous acts this week, mostly because we felt like the show was mostly going to ignore them this year.

Best Austin Acts Advancing

Jessie Roach – Female rocker alert! Seriously, Jessie could be in the 1980s performing with some of the greatest singers of that era. She has the most interesting voice of the women that we’ve seen so far; let’s hope that she just makes it far.

Megan Miller – Megan is one of those singers who has some great skill, but there are moments where that is completely masked by some of the problems that she has trying to hit those big notes. Someone needs to call these singers to actually concentrate on making someone enjoy what they are hearing rather than just trying to impress people. Luckily, Harry did that while expressing concerns about her voice. (Also, if you don’t remember Megan, she is that singer who previously tried out with a set of crutches.)

Spencer Lloyd – Basically, he is the sort of good singer that will do well if he makes it far … at least in that the ladies are going to love him. Also, auditioning with Colton Dixon’s “Never Gone” was such a great move when it comes to actually bringing in some of that audience.

T.K. Hash – A very soulful take on the Fall Out Boy hit “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark.” It was very different than what we saw in the original, and that’s exactly why we dug it. Plus, he impersonates Obama! Pretty funny stuff.

McKenna Dennis – A very good singer, but why stick her with the “vote now” teaser before a commercial break? It was clear that she was going to advance to the next round.

Tristen Langley – The son of Nikki McKibbin! What a crazy story this is that the child of a season 1 contestant can come on the stage and perform. He wasn’t bad, but Harry was right (as he typically is): He was mostly just on the show right now for the family relationship. Is it goo that he’s advancing? Maybe.

John Fox – Anyone who sings “Make You Feel Me Love” is really going into this with a challenge trying to impress the judges, since it’s so based on emotion. But this guy (not to be confused with the football coach) did deliver!

Best San Francisco Acts Advancing

Rachel Rolleri – Rachel can hit notes better than most of them, but there were many mistakes that come with her young age. She just has to curtail that, and maybe she will when there are not so many nerves running rampant.

Emmanuel Zidore – This audition was just way too emotional. We know that he is a very good singer, but that only goes so far in this. You have to have some sort of story that you really don’t want to play out too much.

Caitlin Johnson – Caitlin’s “Something’s Got a Hold on Me” was pretty fun and surprising. For a young girl from an Oregon horse ranch, we were surprised that she took on this sort of style. While Harry is right AGAIN with her not being ready, she still got the “yes” votes that she needed.

David Luning – Please keep this guy, and please then have him go very far in the live shows. We know that this is apparently the season of the white guy with the guitar, but this voice is so folk / rock / possibly country that it is worth hearing. He’s basically the male version of Kez Ban.

Briana Oakley – Remember Briana? She’s back! She also had a better performance here than she had throughout her run last time, where she was buried by one of the best lineups of women ever on the show.

Adam Roth – The moment this “sound healer” came out and started doing his throat singing, we thought that this was a complete joke; but, he can actually sing! He’s probably not as good as he tried to sell himself, but it was at least entertaining.

What did you think about this episode, and who was your favorite from the show? Share your thoughts below, and be sure to click here if you want to see some more from this season. Also, sign up for our newsletter to get some more updates sent straight to you via email.

Photo: Fox

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!