American Idol XIV – Live Blog and Recap – Hollywood Week No. 1 (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for American Idol 14, “Hollywood Week No. 1”! The search continues for the next American Idol!
Tonight, Hollywood Week begins, as the contestants take the stage for the most grueling round of auditions yet. Will the frontrunners from auditions continue to shine, or will they collapse under pressure? Will dark horse candidates step up to the plate? Who will be eliminated on the first day, and who will survive to group day?
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating the post with live, running commentary and analysis.
Let’s get this show on the road!
-The judges arrive in Hollywood, as do the contestants, filling up the theater in short order. The judges step out in front of the assembled, nervous contestants to talk about how tough Hollywood Week is going to be. J-Lo praises the tremendous talent they’ve found so far, while Keith tells the contestants they need to stand out if they’re going to make it through. Harry, however, says that some of the contestants will be called forth to sing…right now. Hollywood Week begins! Let’s do this thing!
JAX is called up first!
-Jax is concerned because she feels the judges expect a lot from her based on her first audition. Her keyboard is brought out, and she goes into “Toxic” by Britney Spears. It’s very smoky and cool, although this is a situation where the arrangement is so vastly different from the original that I find myself wondering why she even did it, since it’s not really a new version of “Toxic,” it’s just a completely different song that happens to share the same lyrics. Still, I really enjoyed it. J-Lo chats with the judges about how Jax nailed the song without losing the melody. However, they don’t tell Jax, since they won’t be telling any of the contestants how they’ve done in this round.
-We follow it up with VERY brief auditions from MARK ANDREW, EMILY BROOKE, and SAL VALENTINETTI. In all honesty, I thought all three were outstanding. I didn’t catch Mark’s song, but Emily does a solid version of “Little White Church” while Sal nails “For Once In My Life”. I’d be shocked if any of these three got cut.
-Adam is nervous about his audition, since he could very easily go home today. He steps forward and sings “Demons” by Imagine Dragons, and I think he might be in too high a key. It starts out strong enough, but once he hits the chorus, it becomes really strained. His voice screeches a bit as he struggles to hit the notes, and I find myself really feeling for him. It’s tough to be put on the spot like that, especially when nerves are at an all-time high. Harry is disappointed, and J-Lo notes that the nerves are really coming out today. Adam feels he did all he could do, and that he at least had fun. I hope he makes it through, but I’m not so sure he’ll get another chance.
-Tyanna sings “Dance With Me Tonight” by Olly Murs, giving it a bluesy, old fashioned feel. She has a very big voice, and it quickly fills the room. She also has an easygoing confidence that is beyond her years. Seriously, she’s just such a confident performer, and I really enjoy watching her.
-We follow it up with 20 seconds or so of Savion singing “Lucky,” and it’s criminally brief. This is just so good, and it instantly shoots to the top of my list of favorite performances.
-Hollywood does a completely unrecognizable version of “Someone Like You” by Adele. His voice is good, but once again, it’s so unrecognizable that I find myself wondering what the point is. He also has some trouble with the song, which seems more like nerves than anything else. It’d be a shame if he got cut over this. I mean, even though I don’t love it, I just can’t front on his voice. The dude has my favorite tone of the competition so far. Hopefully, the judges see his potential and give him a second chance.
-After we get a brief montage of contestants succumbing to the pressure, Keith tells the contestants to please relax onstage, to just loosen up and sing. Dude, easy for you to say.
-J-Lo messes up Shannon’s name before being reminded that it rhymes with “perfume”. Shannon steps up and sings “Sur Duke” by Stevie Wonder, and it’s much, much better than her first audition, as she keeps in the center lane with the melody and doesn’t oversing. However, she runs into trouble when she forgets a lyric, causing her to freeze awkwardly. But she recovers soon enough and finishes the song in relatively strong fashion, although I think she dipped back into the oversinging department towards the end, as she basically just shouted the end of the song. J-Lo feels Shannon can “sing her little but off,” but Shannon feels there’s a very real possibility she’ll be cut tonight.
-We then hear Adam Lasher on the other side of the commercial break, singing an absolutely badass rendition of “Wicked Game” by Chris Isak. THIS is how you reinterpret a song. You change it up just enough that it feels like a wholly new, original version, but you leave enough of the original melody in there that it’s recognizable. I loved this, and find it to be one of the best of the night so far.
-Garrett gets up to perform, and his father accompanies him to the stage as the other contestants get on their feet for him. Seriously, dude is popular among his fellow contestants, people who should probably feel pretty threatened by him. It speaks volumes of how likable the guy is. He sings “To Make You Feel My Love,” and gets a standing ovation from his fellow contestants for it. I thought the vocal was mostly solid, if a bit unspectacular. But what’s impressive is something that Harry quickly picks up on, which is that he has no vibrato. He’s got a strong, confident tone.
-We then get a small montage of people with guitar troubles, from tuning issues to problems with the chords themselves.
-Trevor wants to be the next Bill Nye, if this whole music thing doesn’t work out. He says he hopes his guitar is in tune, but that doesn’t matter to the opening part of the song, as he belts out Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire” in a cappella for the first couple moments. When he launches into the guitar portions, he gets even more confident, showing some really strong artistry in the sort of things he does with his guitar. The crowd loves him, and so do the judges. However, Trevor doesn’t know that, and he expresses doubt over whether or not he’ll go through. But how he could possibly get cut after that is beyond me.
-We come back from break with Joey Cook, who sings “Kerosene” by Miranda Lambert, and it’s absolutely TERRIFIC! She plays on the ukulele, noting in a confessional that she’s normally uncomfortable when she isn’t behind her squeezebox. Yet she totally nails this performance, making me wish we could have heard more from her. J-Lo notes that she loves Joey’s voice. That makes two of us, Jen.
-Amber is in tears backstage, having a panic attack without her family here with her. She didn’t think she’d make it this far, but she steels herself and prepares to go onstage. Once up there, she does this weird bit where she jumps up and down, and then slaps her chest, to create a kind of percussion for herself. But it just doesn’t work, mostly because she’s wearing the wrong shoes for this, and also because she’s far too tiny to make any sort of noise doing this. She sings “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, and honestly, it’s not great. It’s not bad either, but it’s not up to the standard of her last performance. Harry even notes that she wasn’t that good this time, saying she was “inferior” to her last audition.
-The judges then call all of the contestants who sang back onto the stage for the results. Jennifer says that they were called up to sing today because they were among the most memorable contestants from the city auditions. However, some of it wasn’t good today. That said, the judges have decided to give them all the benefit of the doubt and put them all through to tomorrow.
ALL THE CONTESTANTS ADVANCE TO TOMORROW!
-The judges then let the rest of the contestants know that they’ll all be advancing to tomorrow too, and they all celebrate because, well, now they don’t have to be put on the spot. At least not until the next day.
-It’s time for DAY TWO! The 38 contestants from yesterday have already advanced, while the remaining contestants must perform for their lives. We open with the contestants performing in lines of 10. After all 10 have gone, the judges will announce which will advance, and which singers will be going home. At the start of the day. Harry announces that half of the contestants will be going home today. The pressure is on!
FIRST LINE OF 10
-RENO ANOA’I is up first, saying he wants to be the next American Idol so he can help out his family. He shouts out his mother up in the balcony, fighting back tears while talking about how much she sacrificed. He sings “Contact High” by Allen Stone, and I love his voice.
-PRISCILLA BARKER sings “Butterfly Fly Away” by Miley Cyrus, and I mostly dig it, although I wish she’d enunciate more.
-JAQ MACKENZIE says it’s weird to be here since her great grandmother and great aunt performed vaudeville at the Orpheum. She says she’s the next American Idol because she just is, which Keith thinks is the best answer so far. She sings “Cool Kids” by Echosmith, and Harry likes the contrast between her waif-like demeanor, and the power of her voice. I agree completely.
-The judges deliberate and reveal the results…
RENO ANOA’I and JAQ MACKENZIE are going through!
PRISCILLA BARKER is eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL XIV!
COURTNEY GUNS, TARA HONDA, and COURTNEY ZAHN are eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL XIV!
-We return from break with ERICA WASHINGTON absolutely killing it with “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keys. It’s a total no-brainer for the judges…
ERICA WASHINGTON is going through!
-J-Lo then complains a bit about the temperature, at which point Sal Valentinetti stands up to flirt with her, by telling her they can have a nice Merlot. He also adds that, as an Italian man, Latinas turn him on like nobody else. J-Lo is clearly flattered, although she does ask how old Sal is again.
NEXT LINE OF 10
-MICHAEL SIMEON sings “Warrior” by Demi Lovato, and it’s miles ahead of his city audition. I thought his voice was outstanding here, as was his keyboard skills. Color me impressed by Michael.
-BIG RON WILSON sings “A Song For You,” and impresses me even more than Michael did. Not only does he have comparable keyboard skills, he’s got a crazy falsetto. I thought this was just terrific.
-The judges eliminate the front row, and save the back row. That back row includes Michael and Big Ron.
MICHAEL SIMEON and BIG RON WILSON are going through!
-We close up tonight’s show with…
THE LAST LINE OF 10
-GABBY ZONNEVELD (“GABBY Z”) is up next, and she wants to impress her mother and show that all her hard work will pay off. She says she’s the next American Idol because she’s more than just a singer, she’s a performer and an artist. She starts going into “Bottom of the River” by Delta Rae, and it’s really good! Until she completely blanks on the lyrics. She just FREEZES. And not just for a second or two. She’s up there just completely blank, struggling to remember her place and coming up empty. I feel awful for her. I know what it’s like to blank out on lyrics and chords, and it’s utterly horrifying. And that terror only keeps you from remembering what you’re supposed to know already. The worse the panic, the worse it gets. But it’s hard to overcome that panic when so much is riding on the outcome of that audition. We end the episode on this cliffhanger.
-And that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Were there any contestants who got through that didn’t deserve to? Were any contestants eliminated that deserved to advance? Sound off in the comments! Until tomorrow, thanks for hanging out! I’ll be back tomorrow night for part 2 of Hollywood Week. Be sure to refresh the page as I’ll be adding videos in the next few minutes. Thanks again!