Tuesday, February 3

AI8 Hollywood Week - Days 1 & 2 (2/3/09)

We get 4 episodes of Hollywood Week this year instead of just 2; yay!! And the 147 contestants got something new as well - a "Boot Camp"! Time with stylists, vocal coaches, and a famous mentor - Barry Manilow! He sure does love Idol now, lol. How fun for all the contestants though!

The format is familiar - Contestants go on stage in groups ("lines") of 8, each singing a cappella for the judges, & are then divided into one group that advances and one group that goes home - I guess last year's '2nd chance' idea is gone. So, Day 1 we have 64 up...

The first group includes Dennis Brigham and Lil Rounds.
- Lil sings "I Will Always Love You" and gets a standing ovation from the judges; Kara calls her "bold and brave." She's through.
- Dennis: "For Once in My Life" - just ok, vocals definitely not up to finalist level. Is cut.
- An Asia and Alexander (tall guy w/beard from NY, we haven't heard sing) also advance from this group.

Frankie is shown with Simon saying "that was way overcooked." Some of the Day 2 group (out sightseeing on Day 1) is shown, including Brent Keith Smith.

Next group shown:
- Nathaniel Marshall (new- 18, NY, 103187) - Sings Ray Bolz's "The Anchor Holds" and my brain is confused, lol. This is a conservative Christian song being sung by a guy with tats and piercings; I'm interested, anyway!! He's got a good voice, but seems to have emotional issues (after being asked why he chose the song, he goes on a bit long & starts sounding desperate). We shall see.
- Anoop Desai: "If It's Magic" - LOVE!!! - through.
- Jasmine Murray: "The Trouble with Love" - very good; though.
- Rose Flack: "Dock of the Bay" - just ok; not up to par w/most we're seeing. Gets through this round though.
- Michael Castro: not shown singing; is through.

Another group:
- Stephen Fowler (new- 26, OH, 98158) "Superwoman" - Randy says this is one of Stevie Wonder's toughest songs to sing; Stephen is very good. He's through.
- Jorge Nunez: "Angel" (Jon Secada) - very good; through.
- Von Smith: "If the Rain Must Fall" - sigh, just as OTT and annoying as before. Simon calls it "indulgent nonsense" and "horrible." Von is humbled; is through and doesn't even celebrate, saying he knows he has to work harder to make it next time. (Unfortunately I'm afraid that for Von, "work harder" means sing louder and emote more... NO!!!)

We see Nick Mitchell / Norman Gentle after his initial audition, saying it's time to ditch the Norman persona & get serious. Not. Norman comes out (no pun intended) in the same shiny outfit and headband to sing "And I'm Telling You (I'm Not Going)". He's still the entertainer, even shouting up to folks in the balcony (and "Seacrest!"), but ending with some very nice, strong vocals. I would love to hear him just sing a song; I do think he's talented - Paula says the same thing. Simon says he's boring as Nick and a joke as Norman. But he gets at least one more chance as he's sent through to the next round.

We're also told Scott McIntyre and Frankie Jordan advance but we don't get to see them singing.

Day 2 - the other 83 get their chance!

Jackie Tohn: "Rock Me Right"- the more I hear, the less I like (too affected, reminds me of Amanda last year who got old fast). Paula says she remembers her most out of all the auditions. She's through.

A tall black guy is shown getting cut - Asa (music teacher) perhaps??

- Jamar Rogers: "California Dreamin'" again - borderline IMO. Advances. Next is bff...
- Danny Gokey: "Kiss From a Rose" - wow, can you say *perfect* song choice for his voice?! Sounds awesome, and they show his whole clip (more of the song than most others). Through!

Some more a shown advancing though we don't get to hear them sing: Matt Brietzke, Matt Giraud I think?, possibly Leneshe (cute young black girl), and Julissa.

Time for Bikini Girl Katrina: "Breathe" - just so-so. Lots of air time as the male vs. female judge differing opinions are shown, but she ultimately advances.

Some who get cut: Jessica Furney (lives w/grandma), Sharon Wilbur (brought dog), and Patricia Roman (large family in P.R.).

Then we're shown 2 dads:
- Jeremy Michael Sarver (oil rig guy): "More Than Anyone" - good; Randy said he was one of the best they'd seen that day. Through.
- Jesus Valenzula (2 boys got him through 1st audition): "Lately" - just ok and is fittingly cut.

The last group of Day 2:
- David Osmond: "The Way You Look Tonight" - nice; through.
- Erika Wesley, an FBI agent from Oregon I don't think we've seen before, is cut.
- Emily Hughes (early rocker girl) practices a 40's song but at the last minute switches to No Doubt's "Excuse Me, Mister". Sounds decent to me though the judges all say they're disappointed. She's through to the next round.
- Alex Wagner-Trugman (sang in closet) advances as well but we don't see him sing.

A few more that we're told are through: Alexis Grace (blond mom), Brent Keith Smith, Ann Marie Boskovich, and Adam Lambert (they do show Randy complimenting him).

Altogether 104 advance to the next round: Groups!! Bring on the drama and awesome harmonies!

(It's late & I'm not proofreading this - let me know if there are mistakes!)

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