Monday, February 16

AI8 - Hollywood: The Chair (2/11/09)

(Sorry for the delay - I've not had a good week.)

It's the "Last Day of Hollywood," which really means it's a couple months later after background checks and the 54 remaining contestants have been brought back to find out who will make this year's semifinals! This year we will have a Top 36. And instead of riding an elevator up to the judges' room, contestants will walk through an outside garden, then down a hallway and around a corner, where they'll find the judges in big red cushy, thronelike chairs. Also new this year are "singoffs"- instead of just pitting the last 2 of each gender against each other, there will be several pairs of similar contestants (i.e. brunette pop singer, blond country singer, geeky teen boy) who are each forced to sing one last time so that the judges can pick who's advancing.

Anoop Desai is first! We (finally) see a clip from his group, who sang "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted." The decision is unanimous and he's through.

Von Smith - we get a bit of backstory and learn that both of his parents sing, and they weren't happy with his song choice for his Hollywood solo: "You Can Feel It All Over" (from the clip it seemed very toned down from his other performances that we've seen). Simon said that decision gave the judges their decision - and he's through! Whew - hopefully this means he'll keep it toned down from here on??

Our 1st singoff will be between Alex Wagner-Trugman (closet singer) and Cody Sheldon (horror movie boy). Cody is 1st and sings Gavin Rossdale's "Love Remains the Same," a bit shaky. He leaves and Alex comes up, shocked and upset that he & Cody are being pitted against each other. Alex sings "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and is very good. His attitude was wonderful during the whole thing, even when told he was through he was more concerned for Cody (who was very upset) than happy for himself. Jackie Tohn is shown being surprised that Cody didn't make it when they return together to the holding room.

Adam is up next. Apparently HW was somewhat of a rollercoaster for him - his 1st solo was shown but just the video, no audio. Kara commented (in the clip) that he was still "too theater" and wasn't "touching" her. Simon tried to draw out their decision, saying that he might be surprised with Simon's decision, and that while they all liked him in HW they had to consider whether they thought he could win the show and be a good recording artist... and that it was a unanimous yes!

Taylor Vaifanua was one (of too many) who struggled w/words but was kept in based on earlier performances. She advances again.

Several quick yeses follow:
Jasmine Murray
Arianna Afsar
Casey Carlson
Megan Corkrey
Mishovanna Henson
Stevie Wright

Joanna Pacitti - She was in Adam's group & they show a bit of "Some Kind of Wonderful." She forgot her words there too! The judges (mainly Kara) talk about how they're concerned that she hasn't made it w/so many past opportunities, and that she doesn't seem to know who she is as an artist. Simon strangely replies that she just needs "someone" to "give her a break" and that they think this is her chance, so she advances. Interestingly, the next day on the Fox site it was stated that she was found ineligible and disqualified from the competition. (She knows several 19E employees, and her boyfriend's new band's 1st single was written by Kara - among other things!)

T.K. Hash - no
Chris C (?) - no
Reggi B (?) - no

Kendall Beard - shown singing "Angels" - yes

Singoff between Kristen McNamara and Jen Korbee (the wife of the couple who both advanced, shown kissing at the NY auditions). Jen was in Adam & Joanna's group as was her husband, who was cut then. She sings something I don't know. Kristen sings "I Will Always Love You" and I thought she was better than Jen. Kara said that Jen doesn't connect well w/her songs, but Simon wanted to keep her (she's much more attractive); Paula said Kristen seems to have an "identity crisis" and it shows in her poor wardrobe choices. Regardless, Kristen is through and Jen is out.

Alexis Grace - HW clip shown, good- yes

Scott MacIntyre - repeated the clips we've seen before - yes

Lil Rounds - yes

Felicia Barton - not a unanimous decision, but she's out. Until Joanna got pulled the "next" day, and now she's back in! Yay, Felicia!

Ashley (not sure which one) - unanimous no

Devon Baldwin - no

Singoff: Frankie Jordan and Jesse Langseth - bummer, 2 of my top 3 girls! Apparently Frankie struggled during HW Week and her singoff song was just ok. We finally get to see Jesse's K. City audition where she sang "The First Cut is the Deepest," as well as her 1st solo in HW. Her singoff song was confident and much better than Frankie's. Jesse advances, Frankie is sent home. Bummer.

Shera L. - no

Derek Lavers? - no

Allison Iraheta - HW solo clip singing "Because of You." I didn't really like it, but the judges say she has "raw, natural talent" and she advances.

Danny Gokey - Simon said he needs to be relevant (not sure which way he meant it) & he's through (duh).

Jamar - we see the "Hey There, Delilah" clip again. The judges mention that he "took risks," but apparently they didn't pay off as he is cut, though encouraged to return in the future. The holding room is surprised he didn't make it.

Ricky Braddy - the only male semifinalist we've yet to hear sing! We are told, at least, that he auditioned in Louisville. Advances.

Matt Giraud - yes
Ju'not Joyner - yes
Jorge Nunez - yes
Brent Keith Smith -yes
Stephen Fowler - despite blowing his lyrics (at least twice), yes

Nick Mitchell - Torn about what to do but really wants it; says "I'll do anything to get through." Said his dream is to perform as the character Norman (Normund?) because his 2 passions are singing and making people laugh. The judges said that's exactly what they want, and he's through!

Jackie Tohn - shown playing guitar on Day 4 of HW, singing "I Hope You Dance." It was decent but I still don't care much for her. She's through.

Tatiana Del Toro - sigh. Her solo on Day 4 was very good!! The judges were not unanimous, but she advances.

Singoff between friends Nathaniel Marshall and Jackie Midkiff, whom we haven't seen before. Jackie gets a HW clip of "Superstitious" and does "When a Man Loves a Woman" for the singoff (I thought it was just ok; Kara loved it). We get backstory on Nate, who's mom was a druggie & not around so he was raised by his grandmother & aunts (moved around quite a bit between them). Simon asks about his outfit and he said that if this is his last day, he just wanted to be "true to himself". For the singoff he chooses "I'm Already There" and it's very strong and probably his best performance that we've seen! Definitely good enough to advance. Hopefully he'll let the stylist have some say in the future, because he's through and Jackie, not surprisingly, is cut.

Jeanine Vailes is the sole female semifinalist we've yet to hear sing (nor have we even seen her before that I recall, but then I pay more attention to the guys & had noticed Ricky before). The judges say the decision is not unanimous but she's through. Read, cannon fodder.

Kai Kalama - unanimous yes

Ann Marie Boskovich - yes

Kris Allen - yes (yay!)

And the last 2 guys, set up for a singoff: Matt Brietzke and Michael Sarver, the blue collar dads. Simon didn't like his group performance but I think Paula did & wants him to go through. I didn't know his singoff song but thought it was just ok. Just the comments are shown for Michael's HW clip but his singoff is very good! Kara & Randy want him to advance. Well the editing was good this year because we (supposedly) haven't figured out how many spots are left; but, turns out there are two & they're both through!

Whew! So there's our Top 36.

The 1st group of 12 who'll be performing for our votes next week are below! The top vote-getting male & female will advance, as well as the next highest vote-getter regardless of gender. This 1st group is a tough one!!

Girls: Casey, Jackie, Ann Marie, Alexis, Stevie, & Tatiana
Guys: Stephen, Ricky, Brent, Michael, Danny, and Anoop!


L said...

Brilliant as always, my dear! If I ever miss an episode (heaven forbid!), I know exactly where to come!
It was so good to hear from you!


tractorbladderr said...

Thanks for the update! I hope that things are a little less crazy for you. I've got my fave 8 (4 guys, 4 girls)--5 of them are singing tonight!