Tuesday, February 12

Hollywood (2/12/08)

It's Hollywood Week!! The New, and possibly Improved, version! This year we find out that no one will be cut at all in the first two days. Also, contestants are allowed to play instruments. Also, unfortunately, there will be no group round. :-( I understand that part was less relevant to the competition, but it was always one of my favorite parts, so I'll miss it.

The first round will be solos - no standing on stage in lines & stepping forward to sing (until Day 3, anyway). If you're really good and get at least 2 "Yesses" from the judges, you have an automatic pass to Day 4. Otherwise you come back on Day 3 for your "2nd chance." It wasn't obvious which result everyone got, but I'll list what we did see... Also I'll just do names and songs for those we've seen before, but if you want more info (audition city, etc.) lmk in the comments. (Bold indicates supposed Top 24.)

Brooke White sings "Beautiful" and plays piano. Despite her admitted lack of confidence, she's through.

Lorena sings Shania - no.
Amy Flynn - no
Leo Marlowe - no
Alisha Dixon - "Unwritten" with guitar; not good, a no.
Michael Sanflippo - "When I Need You" on guitar. I liked it, but Simon called it dreadful. Not through.
Alyssa Coco played keyboard & it's a no.
Shaun Barrowes plays Billy Joel on keyboard - no.

I think Jake Mellema is new (20, from MI). He's the lead singer and drummer for a band so chooses to sing and play drums here... for "Hooked on a Feeling"?! Um, whatever. He's just ok, & doesn't advance.

Ok, this is what I've been waiting for: finally one of the T24 guys we haven't been shown yet! It's David Hernandez, 24, AZ (4713). Now they show us his initial audition from San Diego (wow they found a lot of talent there!): "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." Very good. Today he's doing "Love the One You're With," and I put my pen down to watch. Randy later says his attention was also drawn from the very first note. This is great - he's confident, he moves around the stage (& has potential for dancing, lol), he shows a wide range of vocal styles (great song choice for that)... and is a very good singer. I love when somebody 'sneaks up' on me like this... and of course I don't want to get too excited about anyone yet, but this is the best reaction I've had to anyone yet (Robbie being 2nd, though I'm not proud to admit it!). We shall see, there are more to come!

Quick glimpse of Chikieze advancing; also a black gal with short hair, maybe Melanie?

Amanda Overmeyer was unfortunately in a pretty bad car accident the week before this was taped. She had some staples in her head & some cracked ribs, plus her car was totalled! Ick. She's in good spirits though, and her "Light My Fire" is a bit much for me but pleases the judges enough for her to advance. Simon does warn her that she'll need to develop a bit of variety in her vocals.

Ah, forgotten words. We see several... new guy Buck Smith (really long hair) singing "Stuck in the Middle with You"; Cardin, unfortunately (though her vocals are still awesome!!); and Natashia Blach singing "Sway" (and the song title is part the lyrics she forgets; not good!).

Ghaleb gets a long clip about being a ladies' man or something, though most of it is with one girl (Cardin). Whatever. He plays guitar & sings Bryan Adams' "Everything I Do" very poorly.

The total for Day 1 was 84 people: 54 no's, so 30 yesses. On to Day 2!

Josiah is up first. He plays keyboard for what I assume is another original, and is very good. Judges love him and he's through to the last day, despite his big teary scene they keep showing in the promo's. Yet to come then.

Danny sings "When I Need You" and is a.mazing. He's through. Man, I hope he makes it to the top 10! The clip was way too short. ;-)

Ramiele - "Till You Come Back to Me"; yes.

Carly - "When I Need You"; yes. I thought it was iffy but he judges still adore her.

Michael Johns - "Light My Fire"; yes.

David Cook plays guitar with "Everything I Do" & is very good. Also yes though only 2/3 (Simon said no).

Robbie also does "Everything I Do" (heh, 2 "rockers" in a row doing Bryan Adams; that will definitely get flack on the message boards!) and also advances. Another way too short clip, but what we heard of his voice was very nice.

Jessica Brown, Perrie, and Syesha all do "Everything I Do" but do not advance.

Colton Berry, 17, VA (55501) finally gets some screen time, though still not very much. He sings "Everything I Do" and has a soft but nice voice. I think he's through.

Kyle is last and does something upbeat I don't recognize. He gets some intro stuff and there's a mix-up with his hotel room assignment (there are already 2 women in 'his' room), & then there's something about his pick-up lines and you hear him asking a girl if she's ever had deer jerky. ;-) Poor guy. He does an upbeat song I don't recognize and it's really not good vocally and really *bad* presentation wise. Paula admits it was "a little corny" but Simon says "abyssmal" (and for once, I mostly agree). Paula beats around the bush and Simon gets annoyed w/her and walks out. If that's as much as they 'fight' this season, I'll be happy, as I usually find it a waste of screentime. Anyway, Kyle sticks around to try to redeem himself.

18 of the 80 advance for a total of 48 so far.

Day Three looks familiar: on stage in groups (lines) of 10 people, step forward & sing, then wait for results. Simon warns it will be "brutal."

Suzanne (single mom from Miami, now with straight hair) and Perrie (single dad) are in the 1st group. She does a blah version of "Summertime," & he does some R&B pretty well, but both are cut.

Amy Flynn gets a lot of footage with her "voice coach" Angel (who made it to Hollywood herself in Season 4). They made a point of saying Amy didn't know the song ahead of time, but she sings "Love Will Bring You Back" pretty well (though she's too belty). Alas, she is cut.

Of the first 40, only 4 went through. I caught glimpses of Chris Watson (black guy from Philly) being cut, and we're told Kayla Hatfield and Angelica Puente are also cut.

The last group includes Kristy Lee Cook, who sings "Amazing Grace" again; Jeffrey Lampkin, Kyle, and Angela Martin (Philly single mom of girl with Retts Syndrome) who sings "Lovely Day." Angela is cut but the rest advance.

It's Day 4! Time to pick the Top 50. The contestants get one last solo, with the band and (new this year) 3 background singers. Just like they'll have in the Top 24 next week, which is nice. The previous evening everyone was to rehearse with the band, which meant many were up very, very late. We're also told they can "pick any song," but later one contestant mentions choosing from a song list. So I'm guessing it's a very extensive list (unlike Day 2 with only When I Need You, Light My Fire, Everything I Do, and Till You Come Back to Me! There may have been a few more, but these were the only 4 we saw).

David Archuleta
gets an appearance for the first time this episode. We see his first round performance on keyboard but don't get to hear any of the song. He advanced straight to today though. He does Bryan Adams' "Heaven" and is very, very good. The judges love him, and he stays.

Kyle sings "You Raise Me Up" and *does* totally redeem himself from Day 2's fiasco with a great vocal performance. Simon actually apologized for his behavior that day. Paula (surprisingly) called this performance "safe," but it was good enough & he stays. I really think he needs to 'update' his look if he's to stick around.

Jeffrey, despite having been very entertaining and encouraging to all of the contestants this week, does himself in with a very poor rendition of "A Whole New World" and is cut.

Joey, after suffering from a migraine all day, sings a decent "Ribbon in the Sky" but is also cut.

Syesha has been hoarse all week so has been resting her voice, and it pays off. She sings "Chain of Fools" & still belts too much but she stays.

Michael Johns
sings "Bohemian Rhapsody." He does very, very well, and knows his range well enough not to go for the highest notes. The judges all love him and Simon says he's the best of the day! Michael surprises me with his humility, seeming almost surprised that they like it. He should be around for a while. :-)

Carly gets more background footage about how amazing they thought she was 2 years ago but her confidence & voice were lacking in San Diego this year. She says she found out she developed an allergy to her dog & has been wearing a face mask and her voice has recovered. She sings (rather, belts) "How Do I Get You Alone?" and the judges are back to loving her. I don't know, something about her personality &/or singing style just rubs me the wrong way.

Asia'h makes her first appearance this show and I don't know what she sings but it's awesome! Her hair is straight & pulled up & she looks really cute. She stays.

Brooke H. (beauty queen from Atlanta) sings "Unchained Melody" and does well until she gets to a certain spot. She asks if she can sing it over and they judges say no, but then she starts singing anyway (I hate it when they do that!). She's gotten one yes & one no and it's up to Paula to decide. She's on the fence and the disrespectful response sends her to the No side (good for you, Paula!). Brooke continues to go on about how she should be able to sing it over and that she didn't get a "fair chance like everyone else." Um, nobody else got re-do's either. Good riddance to that attitude.

Last up is Josiah. Apparently he had a hard time choosing a song (he's gotten by on originals so far), and once he did, imagined a certain arrangement in his head but wasn't able to clearly communicate that to the band. So at something like 5 am he gave up (ah, *now* we get the teary scene). Then we see he ran into (AI vocal coach) Byrd in the hallway & she said he wouldn't "sing through" the song with them (despite being asked 5 times) so they couldn't practice it with him... or something. Anyway, it boils down to the fact that he never really did rehearse the song with the band. So he's very nervous, and decides once he gets on stage to sing a cappella: after complimenting the band he politely 'dismisses' them, which the judges immediately criticize. He sings "Stand By Me" and isn't great, largely due to lack of sleep (his voice cracked) and stress (plus lack of instrumentation, I think, because his rhythm was off, etc.). He admits it wasn't great. However, the judges are very lenient and based on his previous strong performances, all 3 say yes, and he's in the Top 50.

Knowing that the spoilers *don't* put Josiah in the Top 24, I wonder why we have 'wasted' all of this time on a huge backstory (living in car) and stressful-Hollywood-week story on someone who won't matter at all after tomorrow night. Meanwhile there are 4 guys in the Top 24 we have yet to hear sing At. All.

I'm pleased with the talent shown tonight. I just hope those with equal talent (which would be at least Jason C and Luke, from past work I've sampled online) are given some screen time tomorrow so that they don't have to enter audience voting on such an uneven playing field vs. those we've seen several times by now. I know they did that for a few last year so we shall see. Overall still a good show; I still love Hollywood Week!!

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