RECAP: American Idol Begins Hollywood Week

AMERICAN IDOL: Contestants getting ready to perform in the “Hollywood Round #1” episode of AMERICAN IDOL airing Wednesday, Jan. 27 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2016 FOX Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Becker / FOX.

After weeks of auditions, American Idol has finally reached Hollywood week. It’s really a shame that this is the last season of Idol (WHICH WE HAVE BEEN REMINDED EVERY 15 SECONDS OF), because it seems as though the judges have really taken on the job well. Harry Connick Jr. is still the most brutally honest, but Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban have stepped up and formed true opinions. While there are still gimmicks at play (Jlo is a diva, Harry is the musical genius, Keith is.. Australian?), the rapport between the judges is playful and sincere, rather than over the top and forcefully flirtatious (looking at you The Voice). With all that said, American Idol is still incredibly predictable and it’s almost as though not much has changed from previous seasons.

But alas, Hollywood week is upon us. The first round is the traditional rows of ten. Ten people perform solo, and the judges decide who gets to move on to group rounds. Of the 190 contestants, about half will go home.

First up is Jordan Sasser. Happy go lucky Jordan auditioned with his wife, but only he made it through. It was an uncomfortable moment that showed him unphased by his wife’s tears.

Jordan sang Tori Kelly’s “Should’ve Been Us” for his Line of Ten audition, and had a rough time. His song choice showed his lack of range, and came off incredibly shout-y. Next up were two young band kids. Billie Joe Armstrong-esque Dalton Rappattoni and green haired Jaci Butler. Dalton’s rendition of “California Dreamin'” showed off his smooth tone. His voice paired with his guitar and dreamy eyes will get him far. Jaci followed with Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries.” During her original audition the judges told her she sang “like herself,” yet this second audition was exactly what you would expect from a female lead singer. Her voice was not unique, and frankly, sort of hurt my ears. But what do I know, all three made it through to group rounds!

This season’s quirky chick (think Joey Cook from last season) Jenn Blosil (J.Blo which she refers to herself as) sang “Brother,” which showed off a unique tone. I’m partial to softer voices, but can already tell that she likely won’t make it very far. Powerhouse women singers and country singers are the types that win this thing. Also making it through are Olivia Rox, who sang a stripped down “Genie in A Bottle,” and another dreamy guy with a guitar, Tommy Stringfellow. Yep, he even has the perfect name.

The producers decided to throw in some GIRL POWER by showing a clip of Harry saying that this year is all about the girls. Look at all the girls and how little guys! Lets put it into America’s head that a woman needs to win this year! It’s probably not a brainwashing technique to get everyone to vote for a girl because Idol hasn’t received crap for having an attractive white guy with a guitar win so many times. (Yes, that’s sarcasm).

The next line of ten shows off some of the said ladies: Jessica Cabral with Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph,” Melanie Tierce with Kelly Clarkson’s “Invincible,” and Sonika Vaid, singing Ariana Grande’s “Almost is Never Enough.” Melanie, who Harry had pegged as a potential winner during her audition, unfortunately didn’t make it through. Surely this is to showcase that nobody is safe.

Continuing the trend of amazing women is new mom La’Porsha Ranae. La’Porsha’s ten month old daughter watched from the audience as her mom belted out Katy Perry’s “Eye of the Tiger.” There’s not doubt that La’Porsha has a strong beautiful voice, but I found her “grunting” forced. The judges, no doubt, will keep a voice like hers around for a while. So, of course she makes it through.

While people like Melanie Tierce are getting cut for who knows why, people like “ladies man” Daniel Farmer are making it through. His audition in Little Rock was charming, but his rendition of “Treasure” lacked any personality. Fellow ladies man Manny Torres impressed with a cool raspy version of “I Can’t Feel My Face.” Both men have been getting lots of screen time, and both make it to the next round!

Next is a quick round: Cutie pie 16 Lee Jean gives a very sweet and innocent performance of Ed Sheeran’s “All of The Stars.” Melany Huber, though only shown for a line of Gavin Degraw’s “Sweeter,” had an amazing vibrato. Shelbie Z sang some song and sounded pleasant. Why does she look familiar? Oh, because she was on The Voice. Though Lee and Shelbie make it through, Melany doesn’t which makes me wonder why they didn’t show the worst part of her audition? (Was there not one? If not, WHY DIDN’T SHE MAKE IT THROUGH?!)

Day of Lines of Ten begins with Jeneve Rose Mitchell. Jeneve literally came from middle of nowhere with her cello, and sang “Boondocks.” This girl is the perfect example of novelty. Her cello playing is incredible, but her voice? Average at best. But people love country, and she makes it through.

Brenda K. Star’s (yup, THAT Brenda K Star) daughter Gianna Isabella sang “One Night Only.” Tristin McIntosh, whose deployed mom surprised her at her audition, belted out Carrie Underwood’s “Something in the Water.” Neither girl was perfect. Both girls showed off some strong voices but lacked control and pushed too hard in areas. Both girls make it to group rounds!

Tiny, super excited, American Idol super fan (read as: one of the most annoying people ever to be on this show) Michelle Marie made it to group rounds. Her fellow super fan Kyrsti Jewel didn’t fare as well. While neither girl is anywhere near ready to be on “Idol,” Krysti was actually better. Oh well. We then get a montage of unmemorable people who also didn’t make it through.

The final line of the night includes Trent Harmon. Trent performs Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down.” Although he has “full blown mono,” he sounds much better than most of the people who have made it through already. This guy needs to go all the way. Miranda “Poh” Scott (sister of previous Idol contestant Shi Scott) sang “Stay,” and sounded like Rihanna’s clone. Emily Brooke made it far last season on Idol. She takes on a Cassadee Pope song (um, wrong show?) and delivers a performance that shows off a voice that is very Kelly Clarkson-esque. All three get separated into different lines, and Jennifer Lopez reveals the front row will go through. After a pause she assures the back line that they are also going through. Yay!

After surviving the major cuts of the first round, who will make it through tomorrow’s dreaded group round? DUN DUN DUN..

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