American Idol XIV – Live Blog and Recap – Hollywood Week No. 4
Welcome to the live blog and recap for American Idol 14, “Hollywood Week No. 4”! The search continues for the next American Idol!
Tonight, the solo rounds begin, as last night’s dramatic episode brought group round to a close. Now, we begin the process of whittling down the remaining finalists to the Top 48! Which artists will rise to the occasion, and which singers will fall to pieces under pressure? Will any dark horse contenders emerge?
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating the post with live, running commentary and analysis, along with videos of tonight’s proceedings.
Let’s get this show on the road!
-We open with contestants arriving at the Orpheum for the final day of Hollywood Week, as the judges come to the realization that they must cut down a list of 80 finalists to 48. We get things started right away…
–LOREN LOTT says she’s going to sing “Skyfall” because it makes her cry. She nervously waves hello to her grandmother in the audience, and then launches into the song. It takes a bit long to get going, but as the song continues she gets more comfortable, and it gets to be pretty damn good. Not “standing ovation” good, but that doesn’t stop J-Lo from getting on her feet anyway. I get the feeling Loren is going to be around for a while. I can see J-Lo trying to make her happen in the same way Nicki attempted to make Amber Holcomb happen.
–DANIEL SEAVEY sings “I See Fire” by Ed Sheeran, and honestly, this is his best performance by a country mile. I was actually shocked. He made it over into a more laidback, interesting version than the original song, believe it or not. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I would actually put him through after this. Keith tells Daniel that he has such a joy about him that it’s infectious, and that he’s like a joyful man who landed in a musical body, as if he can’t even believe what he’s capable of doing.
-We then get a montage of Rickey Minor helping the acts in rehearsal, giving them valuable advice. However, rehearsal doesn’t go too smoothly for BIG RON WILSON, who has trouble remaining in sync with the band. He gets lippy with Rickey, arguing that he keeps slowing down the tempo and making it hard on him. But Rickey doesn’t want excuses. Big Ron tries to say he didn’t mean to talk back, but Rickey says he doesn’t even need to apologize. He just needs to listen and take the advice, otherwise he’ll take his advice somewhere else. I’m really not sure who to side with on this, since we didn’t hear Ron at all, nor did we see any of the previous rehearsals where he claimed things were going better with the band. So we don’t really know how much, or to what extent, Rickey changed the arrangement, or if Ron is right to be mad. It was a strange segment, although I get why they included it. Hollywood Week = drama.
BIG RON WILSON
-Before Ron goes out onstage, we see Rickey apologizing to him, saying if he misunderstood Ron, he’s sorry. BIG RON WILSON then comes out onstage and sings his version of “Let’s Get It On,” since it’s the song that brought him here. It’s a solid version, although I liked his audition far better. Harry questions Ron on why he didn’t cut the band off, since there’s an awkward bit at the end where he just sort of trails off. Ron then throws Rickey Minor under the bus, saying that he wanted to direct the band but Rickey wouldn’t let him. He insults Rickey further by saying it must be a “short man” issue, causing the crowd to “ohhhh.” Rickey looks offended, and I don’t blame him. But the judges seem to enjoy Ron, and even have fun by telling him that he can direct the band himself, noting that they’ll follow his lead. They try it out, and Ron has a lot of fun with it, but I’m kind of soured on Big Ron with his attitude. Afterwards, he claims he’s got the kind of energy American Idol needs.
SHI SCOTT is incredibly nervous, and is psyching herself out. By the time she gets onstage, she tells the judges she’s a bit out of breath. She sings “All I Could Do Is Cry” by Etta James, and while I like her, I’m still not sure what kind of artist she’s going to be, since one minute she’s Amy Winehouse and the next minute she’s Duffy. Harry notes that Shi didn’t need to mention being out of breath, since it was evident all the way through. He says it wasn’t her best vocal performance, but while Shi knows she got negative feedback, she’s still proud of what she did. She just really wants to get past this round, feeling this is where she was “birthed to be great.”
–ADAM LASHER performs “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty, and we don’t really get much in the way of buildup before or after. But the performance itself is pretty fantastic. Just a solid rock vocal, with a tinge of blues. He hits a killer falsetto note during the chorus, and is one of the better performances of this line.
-The first group of performers come forward…
DANIEL SEAVEY, SHI SCOTT, and LOREN LOTT advance to the next round!
BIG RON WILSON and ADAM LASHER are eliminated!
Not surprised about Big Ron, although I’m a bit shocked that they cut Adam Lasher already. I think he was a real dark horse in this competition. For his part, Daniel Seavey is stunned. So stunned, in fact, that he cries. It’s kind of endearing, actually.
–QUENTIN ALEXANDER makes a grand entrance in a lavish coat, and a flame-patterned outfit underneath. Harry is more excited to see what Quentin is wearing than J-Lo, although I have no idea what he’s even got on. Harry cues up the band to play some strip music for Quentin to remove his coat, and J-Lo sexily strolls up to take it from him. The judges are loving this, as is the crowd. We get a flashback to a conversation he had with the judges about releasing his imagination or some other thing you’d probably hear a contestant say about their coaches on The Voice. He sings “Riptide” by Vance Joy and does a wonderful, piano-driven version that Keith openly admits to loving.
QUENTIN ALEXANDER advances to the next round!
-We then get a montage, as MADDIE WALKER sings “Don’t Ya” by Brett Eldridge. I’s a solid performance although a bit unspectacular for my tastes. TREVOR DOUGLAS sings “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver, and I think it’s terrific. To me, Trevor is the frontrunner to win this entire thing.
MADDIE WALKER and TREVOR DOUGLAS advance to the next round!
–ALEXIS GRANVILLE is pretty nervous, fearing she might pass out again. She sings “You Light Up My Life” and Harry cuts the band off when she spends almost the entire song in the wrong key. Harry allows her to stop and restart. However, she once again continues in the wrong key, prompting Harry to stop her and simply thank her. Alexis is confused, not understanding that he’s eliminating her. He explains that being off-key once is one thing, but twice is inexcusable. Alexis is utterly and totally defeated, hanging her head and dropping her shoulders as she leaves the stage. She breaks down in Seacrest’s arms backstage, and I just feel awful for her. I had no idea she was so young, still just a teenager.
–JAX sings “Let It Be” to her parents in the audience, even stroking her mother’s hair. She fights back tears as both of her parents give her a kiss on the cheek. Harry: “The crazy thing is, she doesn’t even know those people!” The judges love her, and honestly, so do I. Her tone is just gorgeous, even when her voice starts to break a little. The judges put her through right on the spot.
JAX advances to the next round!
-We return from break with MICHAEL SIMEON, singing “Try” by Colbie Callait. It’s really good, in my opinion. Michael is a good who grows and grows every time we see him. He sounds like a ready-made pop singer. J-Lo notes, however, that isn’t his voice so much as his heart that pulls her in, since it’s evident every time he sings. She says we need that kind of singer in this competition.
-NICK FRADIANI is nervous, noting that he’s the old guy of this competition, since he’s 28 and can’t audition again after this. He makes note of this in his backstage session with the judges, stating that it’s crazy how talented some of these young kids are. Onstage, he sings “Babylon” by David Gray, and he makes some changes on the fly to prevent the performance from being derailed. Keith loved that Nick did this, and Harry says it’s evidence of Nick’s experience. J-Lo notes that she just plain likes Nick, prompting Nick to respond that he likes her too.
–KATHERINE SKINNER dedicates this to her cat, who passed away. Katherine notes her cat “went out a superstar.” I still have trouble believing she’s just 15, since she seems like such an old soul. I also have trouble understanding what the big deal is with this giant pantsuit-looking outfits the contestants are wearing, since Jax was stuled similarly. Gorgeous girl, but I don’t think even she could pull it off. But back to Katherine, who sings “Alone” by Heart. It starts off okay, but she ends up going on and off pitch all over the place. Harry says she’s got great vocal ability but not the experience. However, she takes this as a compliment, saying she felt really good about her performance.
RESULTS, PT. 2
-The contestants from this line are brought out…
EMILY BROOK, MICHAEL SIMEON and NICK FRADIANI advance to the next round!
KATHERINE SKINNER, PIPER JONES, JESS LAMB and ALEX SHIER are eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL XIV!
-Katherine plans on maybe auditioning again, since she’s only 15 after all. Alex and Piper are tearful, however, with Alex saying he really wanted to get through and Piper noting that this is not the end for her. After all, as she says, “Piper Jones” is not a name you easily forget. I did like Piper and I wish they’d shown her audition so we could have gotten some reasoning behind why she was cut. But I assume they must have had some reason. It’s hard to know with this show though, considering some of the cuts they’ve made in the past.
-Clark tells the judges his backstory, noting that he first found his father’s guitar at age 11 and started strumming away. He was so bad that his mother pleaded with his father to teach him some chords. The judges love his story, particularly that his father’s name is “Virgil,” but even with that lovely little piece of backstory, Clark is leaving the guitar behind for this performance. Here, he performs “Try A Little Tenderness” on the keyboard and NAILS it. Best performance of the entire night so far. I love his soulful voice, his easygoing confidence and his energy.
-MARK ANDREW sings “Skinny Love” after having a bit of an emotional freak-out backstage prior to the performance in which he ultimately decides to ditch his guitar at the last minute. It pays off in spades, as this is easily his best performance of the competition so far. And that’s saying a lot for Mark, a contestant who’s been consistently good all the way through the competition. He gets a bit tripped up towards the end, and J-Lo asks what happened. He says he’s got a 3-month-old at home so he hasn’t gotten much sleep, and the pressure has only exacerbated it. Harry warns him against forgetting lyrics again, and Mark seems disappointed in himself. Afterwards, J-Lo notes to the other judges that finalists have to do a lot of press and live shows, so it’s kind of troubling that he’s already worn out.
-We get a brief montage of some of the other contestants in the line, as they note that NAOMI TATSUOKA is hard to understand and ALEXIS GOMEZ didn’t deliver her best.
RESULTS, PT. 3
-The singers step forward…
MARK ANDREW, CLARK BECKHAM, ALEXIS GOMEZ, KATHERINE WINSTON and SHANNON BERTHIAUME advance to the next round!
NAOMI TATSUOKA is eliminated from AMERICAN IDOL XIV!
-It’s also worth noting that ADAM EZEGELIAN is among those advancing, although I forget which line he was in. I simply forgot to list him earlier. Back to this line, Naomi says the judges have made a mistake, and that they don’t know anything they’re talking about. “This doesn’t affect me,” Naomi declares, storming off in an angry manner that suggests otherwise. Meanwhile, Harry lets Mark know that the only thing that got him through was his voice, and that he needs to learn his lyrics from now on. Speaking of forgotten lyrics…
–JOEY COOK is worried about forgetting her lyrics like she did during group day. She sings “Across the Universe” by the Beatles, and I think it’s an absolutely lovely vocal, from the richness of her tone to the clarity of her phrasing. However, Joey messes up during the song again, suddenly faced with the possibility of going home. She is so nervous that her Idol dreams are about to end that she has a panic attack offstage, noting to the assistant that she feels nauseous. I’m rooting like crazy for Joey right now. Her elimination would absolutely break my heart. Seriously.
LOVEY JAMES sings “You Light Up My Life,” TYANNA JONES sings “Try” by Colbie Callait, RAYVON OWEN sings “Try A Little Tenderness,” and RILEY BRIA continues sucking up to Keith by singing “Somewhere In My Car”. They all sound terrific, but Rayvon is the standout, in my opinion.
JOEY COOK, TYANNA JONES, RAYVON OWEN, LOVEY JAMES and RILEY BRIA advance to the next round!
-However, no sooner does Joey tearfully celebrate her advancement than the producers let them know that they will be performing in front of a live audience at the House of Blues tomorrow. Joey is already freaking out, and so am I.
And that’s a wrap! What did you think of tonight’s show? Did the judges make the right choices? Sound off in the comments! Until next week, thanks for hanging out!