Ryan Seacrest explains it one more time. In order to be crowned American Idol, there are three steps: 1. Audition. 2. Get a golden ticket, and 3. Survive Hollywood Week. It’s a magical place, straight out of children’s books, if we must believe La’Porsha Renae; ‘Those are some tall palm trees.’
It’s the first round of the third round, which means judges Harry Connick Jr, Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban cut about half the field. There can only be one winner, anyway. Contestants stand in line on the stage of the Dolby Theatre, sing their songs in turn, some will be asked to take a step forward, dividing the group in two rows, one of which goes through to the next round. That’s all that happens in episode 7, and that’s why Hollywood Week is always a bit boring. An empty stage, a lot of young hopefuls, no criticisms from the jury, just a yes or no answer. You don’t have a real favorite yet, someone to root (and later vote) for, so Hollywood Week is and always has been a necessary evil.
Pink Punk Dynamite
There were surprises, nonetheless. Jordan Sasser, the happy go silly guy, who auditioned with his wife, actually sings a whole lot better now. There aren’t a lot of guys around this year, so he might even have a shot. Dalton Rapattoni, the punky peroxide guy, meets his old rival: Jaci ‘green bar of dynamite’ Butler. He once lost to her in a band competition, so it’s on now. They all go through, together with Jenn ‘Quirky Girl’ Blosil, Oliva ‘Pinky Girl’ Rox and Thomas Stringfellow. Now, Thomas may have a voice, but I’ve already grown tired of his uninspired guitar playing. One contestant who showed so much promise during her audition that Harry walked off the set, Melanie Tierce, is sent home. ‘Everything happens for a reason’, she says. Anything to make herself feel better.
Wolves and Roosters
The lady with the best hairdo in 15 years of Idol, La’Porsha Renae, hits it out of the park. With a key for an earring, singing ‘Roar’, she tears up the stage. There’s no way she’s going to be home before the live shows. Joining her, are the two horny for J-Lo roosters Daniel Farmer and Manny Torres. Harrison Cohen, the insecure boy with his foxy grandpa, doesn’t make the cut, just like Melany Huber. She was a serious contender, but apparently not anymore now her hair’s grown back. Going through, are big pack of sweetness Shelbie Z – but don’t be fooled; there’s a wolf in there somewhere, Jeneve Rose ‘no electricity’ Mitchell, Brenda K. Starr’s daughter Gianna Isabella, Miranda ‘Poh’ Scott with her annoying sister, Emily ‘second time’s the charm’ Brooke, and last but not least Tristan McIntosh, who will be in the final 5, maybe even win it all.
Michelle Marie and Kyrsti Jewel, two ‘biggest’ Idol fans, go head to head. Michelle sings quite easily, but Krysti’s not bad either. The latter has to go, though. On her birthday, no less. I’d say that makes it easier, not harder. For her, for some reason, it does. Also not going through: Jake Dillon. The one with the most integrity, I felt, but we didn’t even get to see him; it was just mentioned he was out of the competition. Since Idol features a lot of young folk, it’s a miracle there’s never been an outbreak of ‘mono’. They all stay in the same hotel, don’t they? This might be the year, though. Trent Harmon gets a call from his doctor, right before he has to perform. He needs to rest, drink lots of water, stay away from aspirin and no kissing allowed. Taking part in a worldwide singing phenomenon is really the worst thing he could be doing right now. He sings pretty well, all things considered, and goes through to the next round – the infamous Group Round. I doubt he’s going to get any further than that; mononucleosis is a bitch.
Idol started the week with 190 contestants. Now only 108 remain. Harry’s advice for the ones still standing: ‘Y’all have to get real’. It’s Group Round and, like every year, most people just cannot work in groups. Shelbie Z is the first one to abandon hers, and Poh is nowhere to be found. When they call to find out where she’s at, her dad picks up the phone. ‘She can’t do it’, he says. Poh leaves the competition, because she’s not ready yet, and that’s all she wrote. Really too bad.
She’s left Dalton Rapattoni and Kassy Levels behind, who’re now one man short; a group is only a group with three or four people. Luckily, Anatalia Villaranda has been thrown overboard by Sonika Vaid, Andrew Nazarbekian and Stephany Negrete. It’s a dumb move by these three, because the public may have a short memory, they’re not likely to forget these kind of frontal backstabbing tactics. Sonika’s comment (‘We’re all so special and individualistic’) surely doesn’t help. At the end of the day, all 6 of them are going through.
Sistas, Blue Eyes, Milk & Cookies
Also Shelbie Z’s old group is looking for someone to keep them from getting disqualified. La’Porsha Renae, out of the goodness of her heart, leaves her 4 man group to help them out. Team Sistas is born. Meanwhile, Team Blue Eyes (Kory Wheeler, Kelsie Watts, Jenna Renae and Jordan Sasser) are singing a Bruno Mars song. The key of the song sounds a bit too low for the girls, but they all go through. As is the case with Team Milk & Cookies (Jenn Blosil, Bri Ray, Lynnzee Fraye and Sara Sturm), despite their clumsy choreography. You can’t really blame them, nobody’s had more than a few minutes of sleep.
After Amelia Eisenhauer, Tristan McIntosh, Lee Jean, Avalon Young, Jeneve Rose Mitchell, Chynna Sherrod and Terrian have all gone through, it’s time for the only solo group. Trent Harmon is not allowed to be anywhere near anyone, so his group, adequately called Just Trent, brings no one on stage but him. He is really good. Man, his eyes just make me cry, for all the hurt in them. In spite of, or maybe because of the ‘mono’, he brings it home. Not all good ones make it. Elvie Shane has to pack his bags, just like Jaci Butler. Home is also the destination of subdued Ashley Lilinoe and bossy Lindsey Carrier. Hitting on J-Lo has never been further away for Daniel Farmer. Eliz Camacho finds out overconfidence can actually be your downfall. The one who should’ve been home already, is Gianna Isabella, but the judges just can’t seem to let her (or her famous mommy) go.
I don’t understand why some people can’t memorize one verse, one chorus. Laurel Wright, Marshall Cunningham, Drew Angus and John Arthur Greene obviously didn’t even look at the lyrics of ‘Stayin’ Alive’. Manny Torres, Malie Delgado and Christian Eason show how it should be done. They even get a standing ovation from Keith. Last group of the night: Sistas. They also take a crack at ‘Stayin’ Alive’. Tonie Starr does well, La’Porsha Renae blows everybody out of the water – as usual – but Marlena Johnson doesn’t remember one word she was supposed to sing. She does so, however, with as much style and confidence as she can muster. Harry: ‘Now that’s how you forget words’, so all three of them will be back. Well, this was Hollywood Week. See you all next week, when… well, we’re still there.