That settles it. I've found my favorite contestant on Season 14 of American Idol. I know what you may be thinking, "How could you already know who's your favorite? The audition process has only lasted three days so far!" I don't care, readers. I don't care. Because Ellen Petersen has proved to be one of the only people who has really made me love country music, all while playing the freaking banjo. That's right. The banjo is cool again! Ellen Petersen, the 22-year-old banjoist and vocalist for a family bluegrass band introduced herself to the judges and all three instantly found Petersen to be a breath of fresh air. The singer auditioned with "Cowboy Sweetheart" by LeAnn Rimes and accompanied herself with the banjo in a beautifully subtle and interesting way. And it was obvious to see why all three of the judges fell for it without any doubt.
After her audition, Harry Connick Jr., called her a pro and applauded her for her subtlety in performance and her already well-established persona that she clearly had cultivated through years of singing with her family on stages all around the country. Connick Jr., even told Petersen that her performance made him "proud to be from this great land."
I have to completely agree with my favorite American Idol judge, Petersen proved to be well-versed in not just performing and auditioning, but also in her manner of speaking, acting and addressing the judges. She was basically a class act and it's no wonder she wowed the judges so completely.
After the judges unanimously sent Petersen through to the Hollywood rounds, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban asked if the singer could quickly play the theme song to the Beverly Hillbillies as they sang along. It was easily the most entertaining moment of the episode, and it solidified the judges' love for the Peterson. And it cemented my thoughts that Peterson should be one of the ones to beat.
Images: Fox (screenshot)