“American Idol” wrapped two days of Detroit auditions on Wednesday at the Westin Book Cadillac — and the Motor City did itself proud, according to returning judge Keith Urban.
“Lots of good talent here in Michigan,” Urban said during a press conference with members of the media Wednesday afternoon. “Detroit delivered.”
This week’s auditions, held in a ballroom on the hotel’s fourth floor, focused on callbacks from the try outs held over the summer at Ford Field. Around 3,500 would-be “Idols” turned up at July’s open call, singing for the chance to come back and strut their stuff in front of the show’s judges (who, at the time of the Detroit auditions, had yet to be cast).
On Wednesday, eruptions of cheers could be heard coming from the judge’s room as singers were granted those precious golden tickets to Hollywood, where they’ll compete in the show’s next round. Names of contestants that made it through were not disclosed, and contestants were barred from talking to the media, lest any of the show’s surprises be spoiled.
Jennifer Lopez, who is returning to her judge’s chair after sitting last year out, said the talent they saw in the Motor City made for “two pretty great days.”
“I’ve got this system where I put a heart around someone who I really think can make the top 10,” said Lopez. “Yesterday I think I had one, today I had six.”
Lopez sat at a desk with Urban and new judge Harry Connick Jr., along with “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. Behind them was a picturesque view of the downtown skyline, shot from the Detroit River.
As a prank, Urban, Connick and Seacrest’s seats were lowered, while Lopez’ was raised — a sight gag illustrating where the judges think they rank in terms of importance.
Seacrest, who was also on hand at the July auditions, said the Detroit trip was successful. “Plenty of excitement and enthusiasm from moms and dads and sisters, and we saw some contestants that could make it to the final round,” he said.
Connick, the new guy on the block, said he felt the talent he saw was strong. “We saw some contestants that straight away I thought were going to the top three,” he said.
As for how he’s fitting in with his fellow judges? “All kidding aside,” Connick deadpanned, “I hate these people.”
Detroit is the fourth city “Idol’s” judges have visited so far this season, following stops in Boston, Austin and Salt Lake City. Three more cities are on the itinerary: San Francisco, Atlanta and Omaha.
“American Idol’s” 13th season kicks off in January.