Tuesday, February 13

AI - Hollywood!

It's time for AI bootcamp! Before we get started we're told that Chris Daughtry's album is the fastest to go Platinum of any AI alum! Congrats, Chris!

Day 1: Women Only
Of the 172 contestants, there are almost twice as many women as men! So Day 1 will be only gals. You know the drill: they line up in groups of 6; each sings a 30-second solo with no judge feedback; the group is given their verdict all at once with some stepping forward & then either the front or back line advances.

First up is Jory Steinberg (one of the 3 girls I really liked from NYC) who sings "I'm Out of Love," and I think she does well. The others in her group don't sound familiar: Geri Guyer, Kelly Caruso, Lisa Morrison, Christen Ham, and Jeromishia Lemar. The whole group is sent packing, and the rest of the crowd is warned that they have to bring it!!

Perla Meneses (Shakira-light from Minneapolis) is shown arriving in the airport and acting like she's already a star. She sings "Hips Don't Lie" and is safe for now.

Rachel Jenkins (Army Reserve wife from Minneapolis) does a poor rendition of "Unbreak My Heart" and is sent home.

Baylie Brown (the 'commercial' 16-year old from Texas) sings "Stronger" again and is very good. She & a couple others in her group advance.

All in different groups that we didn't get to hear, but are being sent home: Ashlyn Carr (strange faces girl), Porcelana (rocker workout-for-a-year girl), and Sara Burgess (lied to parents girl; I liked her!).

Nicole Turner is shown arguing w/her Mom about which song she's going to sing. She ends up picking the one her mom wanted, "Ain't No Way." She was good, but not good enough. Afterward she's all mad at her mom & both end up going back up on stage to argue with the judges that her heart wasn't in it and that's why she sang poorly. Not very classy but got them more screen time. An Ashley in her group was also sent home.

Day 1 recap: 114 girls came in, 58 go out to the next round, including Melinda Doolittle (awesome backup singer from Memphis; one of my favorite ladies), Gina Glockson, Tatiana McConnico (17-year old soul girl from Birmingham), and Jamie Lynn Ward (sob story blond from Birmingham auditions). (Names in bold are those I know for sure are in the top 40....)

Day 2: Men
We don't get to see very many of the guys. Sundance is shown talking about the gender odds being in his favor, and I think he advances.

One group of 6 contains Jarrod Fowler (Navy Idol; my favorite guy from Minneapolis). He sings "You Raise Me Up" and is ok, not great. Matt Sato (16-year old from Minneapolis whose parents couldn't be there) sings something I don't recognize but isn't very good. For some unknown reason, Matt is sent to the next round while Jarrod is sent home! Definitely seems wrong from what we were shown, but we know we aren't shown everything. Also sent home from that group are Michael Lawson (don't think we've seen him before) and a Chris - perhaps Chris Richardson from NY? Hope not as he was really good!

Aaaand, we're done! 58 guys are now 34, including Blake Lewis (spiky-haired beatboxer from Seattle), Nick Pedro (NY, forgot words last year in Hollywood round), Phil Stacy (tall bald guy in Memphis whose wife had a baby that morning), and Sean Michel (Castro long-hair guy also from Memphis auditions).

It's 8 pm and time for groups to form! We're shown some of the drama as a few people have a hard time finding groups to join, and people start arguing over song choice, then later whether they're practiced enough to go to bed yet, etc. Some of the practices & contestant combinations look very promising. I love group round!!

Day 3: Group Performances
Matthew Buckstein (tallest of last year's 'Brokeback Cowboys') is back! However, we're not (yet) shown his performance or whether or not he advances.

We have a very short focus on those who forget their lyrics and are sent packing: Jose Laguna (don't remember him) and Matt Sato (who both forgot the words and sang very badly).

Next is a 4-girl group containing Gina, Perla, Jessica Gordan (new), and Marisa Rhodes (also new; I *love* her voice!). Perla goes home and the rest advance.

Time for the highlight of the episode: a 4-guy group consisting of Chris Sligh (curly-haired guy from Birmingham who wanted to make David Hasselhoff cry; *love*), Rudy Cardenas (tall, baldish Venezuelan last on Day 1 in Seattle, another one of my faves), Blake Lewis, and Tom Lowe (British boy bander whose 1st-round audition wasn't shown in the US but was elsewhere! It's on YouTube & he's good; and British!). They sing "How Deep is Your Love" and not only do they sound great individually, they've put together an awesome performance. After solos they all come to the front of the stage to sing the chorus, harmonizing (with Blake beatboxing), and Tom & Rudy do a bit of dancing (ok, Rudy does a lot!). A quick shot of the judges shows even Simon smiling, and we see the performance through to the end where they 'fade out' repeating "love" a couple of times. Everyone in the audience stands and applauds. I got chills and will definitely be rewatching this a lot! I'll be surprised if all 4 don't make it to the Top 24.

Sundance is in a group w/2 girls, L'Paige and Robyn Troup (both new). We're shown his solo from the previous day which was just ok; his group performance isn't a lot better and he forgot some lyrics. The judges, or at least Paula & Randy, must've really liked him early on because despite this he advances. Simon says they're being too generous.

The last group we see is the 3 Girls of Drama: Baylie with the BFF's from NY, Amanda (blond) and Antonella (very tall & the better singer). In practice Amanda was having a rough time with the words to "This Old Heart of Mine"... so took off to flirt w/some guys. During the performance... she also forgets the words! Just a few, but still. Baylie forgets almost all of them and is, surprisingly (which I say due to her editing, not her talent, though she's decent) sent home. Also surprisingly, both Antonella and Amanda advance.

36 have been cut during the group round, including Sean Michel. :-( And finally...

Day 4: Final Solos and 3 Rooms of Doom
We'll see more of the solos tomorrow. I say "more" though we aren't shown any today. Just the rooms, where 56 will become 40. This is what I could catch:

Room 1 is good (20 people): Chris, Matt B, Tom, Rudy, Gina, Paul Kim? (Asian guy from Best of the Rest), Blake, Melinda, and the curly-haired guy we haven't heard sing but who looks like a cross between Constantine and Sara Gilbert.

Room 2 also good (20): Tami Gosnell (Whipping Post gal from Best of Rest), Sundance, Sanjaya (Indian brother; yay!), Antonella, Brandon Rogers (28-year old backup singer from LA, another one I liked a lot), and maybe Nick?

Room 3 has the 16 who are cut: Shyamali (Indian sister), Amanda (BFF), Brian Miller (repeat from last year), and the tall bald guy with glasses (Phil Stacy??).

Some of my early favorites about whose status I have no clue at the moment: Jordin Sparks (pretty, curly-haired gal from Seattle auditions); Danielle McCullough (18-year old bluesy blond from Memphis); Jenry Bejarano (much older looking 16-year old guy from NY); Chris Richadson; and Akron Watson (thinner cousin from San Antonio; I heard he was disqualified & cut before the Hollywood round started?). Plus Rachel Zevita, not a favorite but interesting 18-year old tie-dyed opera girl from NY.

Whew! Everyone is saying this was way too much crammed into one hour, and I agree! Really, we didn't need to see half the bad, non-entertaining first round stuff they aired, and I think almost everyone would rather have seen a lot more of the Hollywood performances! I suppose we can hope 'Rewind' gets to Season 6 eventually, but I highly doubt it.

No comments: