The Hollywood Round
Seven cities and thousands of auditions later, the judges have handed
out 164 golden tickets, written on them one of the Idol catchphrases:
"You're Going to Hollywood!" Now the process of separating the wheat
from the chaff begins. It's the week that these hopefuls have both
awaited and feared... Welcome... to Hollywood.
LOS ANGELES - Orpheum Theatre
Day One of Hollywood week begins with, of course, the arrivals. The bad
news: two-thirds of the 164 will not survive past this week. They're
looking for only 50. The good news: Get a yes, you're getting a
free-ride to the final day of Hollywood Week. Get a no, and it's still
all good, because they're going to get a second shot. Also, no one will
get cut the first two days, but on day 3, borrowing a phrase from
SYTYCD's Nigel Lythgoe: they'll be singing for their life.
And to help them out, for the first time, we're borrowing a cue from our
Canadian cousins and allowing the use of musical instruments.
First contestant of the Hollywood Week is Brooke White (24; Mesa, AZ;
Philadelphia). Confidence is her biggest obstacle. She'll be taking a
huge risk in bringing out the keyboard for "Beautiful" by Carole King.
She's a better piano player than a singer, but potential is there.
Judges give her a pass to the final day.
Lorena Pinot (28, Miami), Amy Flynn (16; Knoxville, TN; Charleston), Leo
Marlowe (23; Charlotte, IA; Omaha)... not quite. Alisha Dixon (18;
Manahawkin, NJ) and Michael Sanfilippo (19; South Barrington, IL) on the
guitars... also not feeling the love. How about Alyssa Coco (16;
Penfield, NY) and Shaun Barrowes (27; Spanish Fork, UT) on the keys...
No. What about Jake Mellema (20; Sand Lake, MI) on the tubs? Nope. "It
was just... just okay," says Randy. "That was not my favorite," says
Paula. "It was a horrible song choice. It was a horrible presentation,"
David Hernandez (24; Glendale, AZ; San Diego) just uses his voice on
"Love the One You're With" by CSNY. He wowed in San Diego, and...
continues to wow at the Orpheum. He's got the crowd (okay, three people)
on their feet. Randy loved this from note one. Simon thought it was
great and comfortable. He's going to the final day.
Halfway through day one, and the judges have been vicious. How will they
react to Amanda Overmyer (23; Mulberry, IN; Atlanta), fresh from a car
accident that put 12 staples in her head and a crack in her ribs? She
sings "Light My Fire" by the Doors. Much improved from the original
audition. That makes three horrors she's passed... a brutal car
accident... passing her NCLEX (she's a nurse, after all)... and getting
a pass to the final day. Simon wants her to diversify, though.
Other players are given the same warning Simon gives every year, "Don't
Forget the Lyrics!" ... Wait, that's another show. Said warning fell on
deaf ears... Lucky they're coming back on Wednesday.
Last contestant of the day is Ghaleb Emachah (27; Miami), speaker of
four languages... English, Spanish, some other language... and the
language of love. You remember Ghaleb from Miami, when he started
kissing everything in sight after getting a pass-through. Will his wiles
continue? He breaks out his acoustic on "(Everything I Do) I Do It For
You". Bad song choice... Wrong tone. Paula was non-plussed. Simon called
it murder and corny.
In total, 54 people from day one are singing for their lives. The other
30 from today... they'll have no problem relaxing until day 4.
Day Two begins with 80 more people fighting for a fast-pass to the final
day. The first person is Josiah Leming (18; Morristown. NJ; Atlanta),
who is taking a risk with the keys on Mika's "Grace Kelly". The keys
were fine, but the false was a bit off-putting. You have to nail the
false on that song (or at least have the range for it). Randy says he's
got the attitude. Paula says the girls are falling in love with him.
Simon says he'll remember this one. He's got a pass.
This was only the beginning of a run of good fortune, evidenced by Danny
Noriega (18, Azusa, CA), Ramiele Malubay (20; Miramar, FL), Carly
Smithson (24; San Diego), and Michael Johns (29; Buckhead, GA).
Midway through day 2, it's as intense as it's going to get. David Cook
(25; Blue Springs, MO) is going solo with one guitar on "I Do It For
You". (C-Note: What's up with all the blue tongues?) David: "And that
was the easy part." Easy for him. Everything fell into place, but Simon
wasn't THAT moved. Paula was the swing.. she gives him the pass. Also
getting a pass from Bryan Adams are Robbie Carrico (26; Melboune, FL)
and Colton Berry (17; Staunton, VA) Jessica Brown (24; Longview, TX),
Perrie Cataldo (27, Phoenix), and Syesha Mercado (21; Sarasota, FL)
don't feel any of that Robin Hood love from the judges.
Last contestant of the day is Kyle Ensley (21; Valliant, OK), who was
given a room with two girls... maybe. Will he charm the judges with
"Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)"? How about no... Just my opinion.
Simon? "I surrender." Paula called it corny, but likes his spirit.
Day Three, and it's time to finally face the music. There's one rule for
the 116 people that haven't been called back to the final day... Sing
well BY YOURSELF... or go home tonight.
First line: Suzanne Toon (21; Clearwater, FL) and Perrie get their last
chance with "Summertime" and an original respectively. Both would be met
with the same result... "Sorry, it's the end of the road for you."
Amy (alongside her vocal coach, who went to Hollywood in season 4) is up
next. She just learned "Love Will Lead You Back" last night. It's a
little flat to start. That ends up costing her.
Things only got worse. Forty people have gone on, and only four have
made it through to the next round. Doing the math... that's only 10
percent out of the promised half, and that's with 76 people still
waiting to sing.
Philadelphia auditioner Kristy Lee Cook (24; Selma, OR) sticks to what
she knows best, reprising her "Amazing Grace" for the do-or-die round.
Also in the round, Jeffrey Lampkin (24; Newberry, SC; Charleston). His
sister was eliminated earlier, so this is for honor. Angela Martin (26;
Chicago; Philadelphia) had to deal with even more adversity. Her father
was just killed, so she's fighting through a lot. "It's Going To Be a
Lovely Day"... she hopes. Angela .... is cut. Jeffrey and Kristy Lee are
through to tomorrow.
And that'll be it for today. Almost 100 cut.
Day Four begins as the contestants, bright-eyed and bushy tailed from
working with the band the night prior, know that today is what counts.
After today, if they make it, the next time they're on stage, America
will decide their fate.
But for now, it's all about the judges, who have threatened to cut any
and all people they deem unworthy on the spot.
David Archuleta (16; Murray, UT; San Diego) is first. He sings "Heaven"
by Bryan Adams. Randy was impressed, "The best I've heard since we've
been here". Simon says he's got so many things going for him.
Kyle Ensley sings "You Raise Me Up" by Josh Groban. It's not any less
corny. Paula called it safe. Randy and Simon disagree with her. But all
three give him a pass. Not so lucky: Jeffrey Lampkin.
Joey Catalano (25; Mays Landing, NJ; Philadelphia) woke up with a
migraine, got up with "A Ribbon in the Sky", and came off... a loser.
Syesha also struggled with sickness this week. And you know what they
say, this is not a good week to have a bad week. She tries out "Chain of
Fools"... and again barely made it.
Next, Aussie-transplant Michael with "Bohemian Rhapsody". Randy thought
it was very nice. Simon called it the best of the day. He's through.
Irish transplant Carly just realized that she's allergic to her dog. She
hopes that she sounds a lot better. She leaves the judges "Alone" by
Heart. Not the best choice, but it shows off her range. Judges pass her,
and the hits keep on coming from Asia'h Epperson (19; Joplin, MO;
Atlanta)... and Brooke Helvie (18; Wellington, FL), thanks to Paula...
oh dear... she's still singing. That's usually a bad thing, especially
in this round. Brooke is going home. She immediately complains about
having not been given a fair chance like everyone else.
Newsflash, Brooke... you WERE given a fair chance like everyone else.
What did we say about entitlement, kids?
Last contestant of the day... Josiah. He's nervous about picking a song.
He got one at 3:30a, but can he pull it together in time? He runs into
the Idol coach Debra Byrd, who is trying to bring out his best. He had
ZERO rehearsal time and two hours of sleep. Josiah takes a HUGE risk in
singing by himself "Stand By Me". Sounds like he trashed it. Randy just
said, "That was not good." Didn't work for Paula either. Simon says in
no uncertain terms that Josiah lost his charm, and that he was too
overconfident. Randy says yes... Paula says yes... Simon says yes. He
SQUEAKS by. The experience is sobering, as we see in this montage of
Josiah and others set to Ferras' "Hollywood's Not America", this
season's funeral dirge.
And that's it for Hollywood Week. They've gone as far as they can go on
their own talent this week. It's all over but the crying for the top 50,
but who'll make up the American Idol Class of 2007? Find out tomorrow!