updated 01/23/2014 AT 4:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/23/2014 AT 6:45 AM ET
And it was from “contestant” Harry Connick Jr.
“They’re not laughing at you, they’re laughing near you,” Urban told him. “It’s a no from me.”
Though Connick didn’t receive a golden ticket, 40 singers did, showing why Detroit is Hitsville U.S.A.
“You are born naturally with a certain amount of grit [when you come from Detroit],” said Keri Lynn Roche, a 24-year-old waitress, who sang “Radioactive” with her guitar before singing “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James without it.
“I love your style, the way you emote,” said Lopez.
Malaya Watson, 15, of Southfield, Mich., who plays the tuba in her high school marching band, belted “Ain’t No Way” by Aretha Franklin.
“Thank you! Thank you!” cheered Connick, while Lopez called the teen “blessed.”
Bryan Watt, 29, who said this was his “last shot” as he was “on the older side,” sang “So Small” by Carrie Underwood, which drew continued “Aaaah’s” from Lopez.
Melanie Porras, 19, who was raised by her single musician father, sang “Fever” before laying down her guitar to wail some Bon Jovi, which prompted Lopez to exclaim, “I could hear you recording records, and I haven’t said that to anybody this year yet.”
Other standouts included flowery, fresh Jade Lathan, 20, and 15-year-old Sydney Arterbridge, whose performance of Minnie Ripperton’s “Loving You” caused Connick to wonder if she could hit the mind-blowing high notes. She did.
Maurice Townsend, 26, a father of four and minister of music from Grand Rapids, Mich., wowed the judges with some John Legend.
“I just sat back and enjoyed the show. That never happens,” remarked Urban.
Ayla Stackhouse, 17, who said that all she listened to growing up was Motown, connected with Connick, who told her, “If Berry Gordy was in the room … he’d say there’s some star potential there.”
Ryan Nisbett, 24, who once weighed 300 pounds, sported a high pompadour and even higher voice to sign Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel.”
“No guy has come in that sounds like that in all my years,” Lopez told Nisbett, while Connick said he hoped that voters would give the unique singer a chance.
And 17-year-old Marrialle Sellars capped the night with a touching story of her father, who influenced her musically before passing away just after Christmas in 2008.
“He left a letter for us,” she said. “ ‘I’ve taught you all you need to know, God gave you a gift, now go use it.’”
Sellars, rocking a Miley Cyrus vibe and voice, sang “Grenade” by Bruno Mars, and each judge ripped off a third of a golden ticket and presented it to her.
Idol continues with Austin auditions on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.