[WATCH] 'American Idol' Poll: Is the Show Setting Laine Hardy Up for Success?
[WATCH] 'American Idol' Poll: Is the Show Setting Laine Hardy Up for Success?
Jeff Dodge
Jeff Dodge
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
After a two-year break from American Idol and with two episodes of ABC's reboot behind us, it's starting to feel less weird that the best singing competition show is back. Watching the second night of auditions, it didn't feel jarring or unexpected; rather, it just felt natural. It's like the show never left in the first place -- though something I wish ABC would include is the iconic Idol theme song. Will we ever hear it this season? Maybe at the live shows?

Anyway, judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie are still in the early stages of scouring the country for talented singers. The only downside to night two is that the episode was stuffed with a lot more average singers who received golden tickets. Having said that, there were still some standouts that must be mentioned.

I have to say this before we go any further: when it comes to music, I find that female singers are generally better than male singers. Because of that, I tend to gravitate more towards female contestants on shows like American Idol. But I'm always up for a curveball when something unexpected happens.

During night two of the season 16 auditions, it turns out that the two best auditions of the night came from the men.

First, though, I want to quickly mention the two female singers that stood out the most to me. At the top of the episode was 15-year-old Mara Justine, who you may remember from America's Got Talent season 9; she made it all the way to the Top 12 before being eliminated. When it comes to her Idol audition, what a way to kick off the night! Aside from some iffy low notes, she sounded fantastic. I was really getting into this performance -- and I wanted to hear even more! It'll be interesting to see how she does in this competition and if she can make it as far as she did on AGT.

Then there's 17-year-old Rissa Watson, who sang Adele's "When We Were Young." For some reason, the song didn't sound recognizable to me at first. But once the chorus kicked in, I got it and I started getting really drawn in by the end.

But as I said, the guys took the top spots of the night. I kept going back and forth on who the best audition of the night was. I really could go either way on this one, so I finally just made a decision...

Brandon Diaz's cover of Allen Stone's "Unaware" was amazing. He's got a very soothing voice and I love his falsetto. I wrote down in my notes that he was the best of the guys up to that point in this episode -- and then seconds later, Katy Perry said the same exact thing. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he does going forward.

The Best Audition of the Night

Having said that, I'm choosing Laine Hardy as the best audition of the night. I found myself very surprised by this performance -- in a great way. Laine's voice sounds much older than his young age indicates. There's a lot of grit and depth to it.

Usually when we hear a voice like that, the singer is much older than 17 and has a lot more experience under their belt. That's why I found myself loving this audition. I'm really intrigued by his voice and hope that he can keep this up in future rounds because if he can, he could go far (in the same way that Brandon has the potential to go far too).

One more note on Laine: I noticed that his name was prominently mentioned in the intro to this episode -- is that just a coincidence or a sign that Laine is someone to really watch out for in this competition? Am I just reading into it too much?

Who do you think gave the best audition of the night? Do you agree that Laine Hardy and Brandon Diaz were the top two of the entire episode? And does Mara Justine have the potential to go even farther than she did on AGT? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

American Idol airs Sundays and Mondays at 8/7c on ABC. Want more news? Like our American Idol Facebook page.

(Image and video courtesy of ABC)