Randy Jackson Weighs In On 'Idol's' Week 2 Contestants; Says Age Is Making This Season So Good

“American Idol” just wrapped up its second week, proving definitively that without Simon Cowell, this really is a new show.

At the Nashville, Tenn., auditions, there were a handful of awful singers, but spearheaded by executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, the show focused on the emotional back stories of the good ones — young men and women who had golden pipes – like 15-year-old Lauren Alaina.

Big personality, big hair and a big voice helped her stand out, but she broke hearts, tearfully opening up about her inspiration — “big sister” (actually her cousin) Holly, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to undergo chemo-therapy.

And after singing for the judges, they were won over by her voice.

“She’s mad talented,” Randy Jackson told Access Hollywood on Friday of the teen who got the golden ticket to Hollywood after dueting with Steven during her audition on “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.” “She’s mad talented and fearless.”

Randy said the youngster was so good, she had him thinking about the past a little bit.

“She’s definitely got a gift. Reminded me a little bit of our first winner, Miss Kelly Clarkson,” he said.

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But Randy wasn’t the only one to put high hopes on the blonde. At the close of Thursday’s show, Steven Tyler told the “Idol” cameras he thought they’d found their winner, calling the winner a “her,” leaving many to speculate if Lauren is the Season 10 early frontrunner

Beyond Lauren, “Idol” has introduced fans to a host of younger talents this season, which Randy credits to new age rules.

“We only dropped the age by one year, to 15, but it’s unbelievable how much talent that we’re getting in that whole age range,” he said. “I’m telling you, they’re going for it, dude. Fifteen is like the new 30.”

There certainly is no lack of talent in the 20s either. Thinking back to Wednesday’s show, Randy pointed out Chris Medina, 26, who touched America with his singing voice and his love and dedication for fiancée Juliana Ramos, who suffered a brain injury.

“I think it affected all of us,” Randy said of Chris’ story. “When these kids walk in, they come in with their stories and we listen to their stories and I think we got affected along with America. But that’s what this show’s really about. It’s about people trying to achieve their dreams in the face of all sorts of odds, you know what I mean it’s a tearjerker, man; it’s a heartbreaker. I think we were all so just touched by it.”

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