‘American Idol XIV’ review: Hollywood Anderson, Nick Fradiani, Travis Finlay try to impress Adam Lambert

Adam -American Idol” brought more than just talent to the table with Thursday night’s new episode. They also brought Adam Lambert! The season 8 star was one of the judges on the panel, filling in for Keith Urban while taking care of a family matter.

Sal Valentinetti – We previewed this guy before the episode, and we love the personality. We also love the rapport, and he has a pretty nice voice. He’s probably not right for this show (crooners never do that well), but it’ll be fun to track his journey. Maybe he can get some more money from Harry Connick Jr. before it’s over.

J. None – He and his stuffed bear had a good audition! This was a little bit odd to say the least, mostly because Harry was intent on making it even more awkward than it had to be. Still, it’s hard to dispute that he has a pretty solid voice.

Jax – Who does she think she is, Charlie Hunnam? She has an interesting, flowing voice. This sort of singer was really popular a few years ago on the show, but we’ve seen less of them lately.

Najah Lewis – She did a Maroon 5 song, and actually sounds a little bit like Adam Levine’s former fellow “Voice” coach in Shakira. We dig her, but we’ve got to hear more from her to really assess her talent level.

Tion Phipps and James Killian Dunn – These two were mostly there to be a part of the “people crushing on Jennifer Lopez” package. Let’s vote this one “ugh” a billion times over.

Shi Scott – We like her voice, even if her name is a little too out-there for our taste. We also agree with Adam about her vocals: She’s not ready.

Eric Lopez – This was all over the place. Why in the world did this guy go through to the next round, other than begging Adam to let him through? Too messy, and there’s no real control over his voice.

Qaasim Middleton – This guy apparently spent some time with the Naked Brothers Band, so he’s clearly not that “undiscovered.” Still, very talented.

Adam Ezegalian – A pretty good singer, but do we really need him at the moment? Just remember that we had Caleb Johnson a year ago, and this is really more of the same thing.

Travis Finlay – Another super-strong vocalist, especially with his intonation and his phrasing.

Nick Fradiani – He came in and auditioned right after his girlfriend Yanni G., who was also good. She just didn’t choose the right song. His voice was STELLAR. One of our favorites of the entire season so far. Plus, we just love Peter Gabriel.

Hollywood Anderson – We’ve heard better singers so far, but this guy’s emotions just really got us. What a killer, killer way to close. His name may be a little over-the-top, but the man’s singing is something real and something fierce.

Overall, this was the best round of auditions this season so far. It’s really not even close. There was so much talent from start to finish, and at least half of the names we mentioned here are people we could see in the live shows. Episode Grade: B

Who was your favorite from this “American Idol” episode tonight? Share your thoughts with a comment, and head over here to see what we thought of this past episode! Also, sign up to grab some other TV updates worthy of a song or two via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: Fox.)

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