American Idol: How Was Day One in Hollywood?

There were tears. There was triumph. There was even that one contestant who refused to take no for an answer. And now, the first round of Hollywood Week for American Idol‘s tenth season is in the books. (If you’re on the west coast and don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading….NOW) A lot of familiar/pimped names (Lauren Alaina, Brett Loewenstern, Chris Medina) broke on through to the other side (aka the group rounds), while other promising contestants (Sarah Sellers, Travis Orlando) got unceremoniously dumped. And then, of course there was the case of lovebirds Nick Fink and Jacqueline Dunford (pictured). He sang atrociously and got a “thumbs-down” from the judges; she sang marginally better, but was kept around (most likely in an attempt to ratchet up the drama). Mission accomplished: Nick lingered in the aisles of the auditorium, begging like George Michael for just one more try. “Bzzzzttt!” Not gonna happen, kiddo!

But you know what is gonna happen? My full episode recap, which will post overnight right here at So while I get to writing, you head on down to the comments to share your feelings about what went down during round 1 of Hell Week. And to get up-to-the-minute alerts to all my Idol coverage, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV. Holla, hey-ey!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Sue says:

    I wish that Idol would show us some of the other singers that we did not see during the auditions in Hollywood. It seems like the producers pick their favorites and that’s all we get. How about actually seeing Sarah Sellers sing in Hollywood??? She was fab during her audition yet we do not see if she really did do badly in Hollywood. Very frustrating.

    • I agree. It also becomes predictable. Because the majority of the people that we see week after week will end up being the Top 20. That’s why they(the producers) are putting so much time into showing us these contestants. If they didn’t make the Top 20 then they wouldn’t waste their time. We saw about 20-25 people tonight, there were over 300 other contestants we didn’t see. Doesn’t take a genius to realize that they are showcasing the ones that are the chosen few to get us ready for the live rounds. They do this every year but it gets to be annoying that we can’t see some other talent.

  2. MEL31602 says:

    I never was a fan of Sarah Sellers, so the only person shown being cut in this round who I had really liked was the accountant, but he wasn’t going to win anyway. However a few of the singers who impressed me in their auditions (especially Chris Medina and Lauren Alaina) didn’t sound as good to me. The one who did really impress me though was Hollie, the girl who cried her way to Hollywood in her audition. I actually liked her audition and wondered why everyone else thought she didn’t deserve to get through. I think tonight she proved she belongs on that stage.

  3. darclyte says:

    Well Michael, now we know why they didn’t include Sarah in that montage of the “favs” that AI had at the start of an episode last week.

    I hate it when a contestant who sang well at their first audition is dumped in Hollywood and we don’t get to see why. It’s also a bummer when they don’t show us what happened to some of the “pimped” contestants like John Wayne. I caught a glimpse of him walking to the stage, but I never saw if he made it or got cut. I also didn’t see Janelle, the country gal who complained that people think country folk are all dopey. And where was Adrienne, the black gal who was adopted by the white family? What about Scott Dangerfield?

    Hopefully some of them are still around and we’ll see them next week, but it sure would be nice to know.

    • MEL31602 says:

      At this point I assume if a pimped contestant is not shown then he/she made it through. If the contestant had been cut it would have been shown

    • darclyte says:

      Also, as far as the 2 “couples,” I thought that in their initial auditions that Rob of the “ex” couple as well as Nick of the “cheesy” dating couple were both better than their ladies, but tonight I thought that both women did much better than the guys. Nick correctly got cut, but I thought Rob also was weak.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Once again, darclyte, I find myself in complete agreement with you. I really enjoyed what little I heard of Chelsee Oaks tonight – and she has great hair! I also enjoyed Jaqueline Dunford singing Sam Cooke, although it was a bit oversung. Is “oversung” a word? There were never any histrionics when Sam sang his songs.

      • Candace says:

        according to TMZ the cheesy couple was a fake. They know each other, but they have never dated.

  4. James says:

    Damn Slezak…You must be mad at the Sarah Sellers instant bye-bye from hollywood…Ah well at least most of my fav’s made it!

  5. Amy says:

    The cheesy couple getting broken up wasn’t a big suprise, but I thought it would be Nick that would make it and not the blonde. Of course they did cut him off from his song early, but that was the plan…right. He should have realized “their plan” and not thrown a tantrum in front of millions of people, oh well.
    Noticed that Sarah’s singing wasn’t aired….why…because it wouldn’t make sense that she was getting cut this early?
    Glad the other couple (x-couple) made it through though. Plus Robbie Rosen and a few others I liked.

    • Amy says:

      Also, agree with the person upthread regarding Holly. She sang well and looked more composed and mature.
      Chris Medina sounded awful IMO and was shocked they kept him.

  6. Some good calls from the judges. I wish we would have seen what some people did to get cut. And there would have been a few they kept that I would have cut given their “one chance” rule. But, for the most part, the “who safe” bits were really predictable. I keep watching for little glimpses of my favourites, like Paul MacDonald.

  7. Jean says:

    Robbie Rosen’s wardrobe improved, n’est-ce pas? So glad they resisted the temptation to keep VHugz around to annoy everyone else.

  8. Satan says:

    I’ve discovered the key to enjoying this show. Don’t look at it as reality, or singing, or anything like that. Enjoy it for how BAD it is, and how transparent the producers are in their efforts to tug on the ol’ heartstrings. Luckily I don’t have heartstrings, so I can evaluate them without prejudice. Well, except for my prejudice in favor of Evil contenstants, of course. So with that, let the Hard Luck Crooners duel to the death for the Title of Most Profitable Personal Tragedy.

    And so the show begins, with the usual montage of people getting out of cars. This stuff bores me.

    Carrot Top “Brett Lowenbrau” or something (Sob Story: Bullied): Ugh. Don’t care. And dude, would it kill you to run a flatiron through that mop?
    Rachel Zevita (Sob Story: Undetermined): Don’t care, I learned nothing about her from her 5 seconds onscreen other than her name
    Thia something (Sob Story: Undetermined): Really, those pants are back in style?
    Casey Abrams (Sob Story: Unattractive): Is that Will Farrell? Terrible voice.
    Victoria Huggins (Sob Story: Terminally Perky and then—Denied!): Hate her voice, and she claps without making any noise. Annoying. Glad they recycled her. At least we got to see her cry, right? I can always count on Idol to milk these people’s pain and suffering for our entertainment.

    James Durbin (Sob Story: Tourette’s/Asperger’s/Dead Father/Poor/New Baby/Ugly Wife/Cries a lot): Annoying. Hate his hair, bandanna and pretty much everything else about him. Of course he makes it through, and I will enjoy ripping on him for weeks to come. I wonder, does he EVER stop crying? Doesn’t he get dehydrated?
    Brunette singing Celine Dion (Sob Story: Terrible Voice): Wow, she made it through? Somebody on the crew is hitting that.
    Lauren Alaina (Sob Story: Plus size with bad highlights): Don’t care, don’t like her voice.
    Stormi-with-an-i Henley (Sob Story: Stupid name): Don’t care. Oh wait, did she get cut? Don’t care.
    Chris Medina (Sob Story: Sick fiancée or something): AWFUL voice. Where do they find these people? Wait, he made it through? Same old Idol, bringing pre-packaged Chicken Soup For The Soul to TV. Let’s see how long he can ride that sympathy train. You go, Otherwise Completely Average Guy.

    Montage of idiots choking at the critical moment. Not as entertaining as it could have been. Seriously, they can do better than this. I blame the music people for not underscoring the segment properly with the requisite “sucks to be these people” music cues.

    Holly Cavanaugh (Sob story: Nervous): Loud, I’ll give her that. Still terrible though. Looks like a young Jodie Foster. She could star in a remake of “The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane”. That was a cute movie.
    Jacee Badeaux (Sob story: Young and likes terrible music): I think I actually fell asleep while he was singing.
    Robby Rosen (Sob Story: Stuck in an 80s high school movie): Hate everything about him.
    Steve Beghun: (Sob Story: Boring white dude with zero charisma): Denied! Still no personality. I know plenty of accountants that sing better than him.

    Oh look some girls with too much makeup were sent packing. Coincidence? Oh, the tears! I love how the show unabashedly proclaims the eliminated contestants “victims”. Hilarious!

    Hey, that Battle: Los Angeles movie looks promising! Special effects, loud noise, what more do you need. I’m preordering my ticket now.

    It’s Day 2. I got nothing. We waste time watching people get out of cars.

    Anorexic girl chokes.
    Some guys chokes
    Another girl chokes
    Bad hair guy chokes
    Moral of the story: These people should never have been giving Golden Tickets

    Rod Bolen (Sob Story: used to date Chelsea): AWFUL voice. He has the charisma of …something with almost no charisma. Oh look, he’s through
    Chelsea (Sob Story: used to date Rod): Another faux-soulful voice. Cut her now. Oh look, they’re both through.
    There’s another couple in the background. Who wants to lay odds that only one will make it through? I’ve seen this show before, and these two have no idea they’re in the producers’ crosshairs. Cue hilarity in 1…2…3…
    Nick Fink (Sob Story: lurves Jacqueline): They’ve got to cut him, he was awful.
    Jacqueline Dunford (Sob Story: lurves Nick): She’ll probably make it through.

    Haha! After the break, a “shocking outcome for our couple”. Not shocking for anyone who has ever watched this show. “Happy couples” are always broken up. Idol knows how to create tears/ratings regardless of the circumstances.

    Aaaaand we’re back from the break, and Ryan Seacrest spoon-feeds us the situation again, and Nick, predictably was sent packing, but not after an emotional plea to the judges. Still don’t care. Cry already. Jacqueline looks the flower in her hair is going to eat her head. More time wasted on Fake Drama. It’s not like they’ll never see each other again. God, how old are they? They look like they’re in high school. Ryan gives them a pep talk or something, but I’m already bored with this manufactured emotional moment.

    Scotty McCreery a.k.a. Aw Shucks Deep Voice kid (Sob Story: Has no actual talent): Seriously, what key is he singing in? Will he make it through? It’s a nail-biter. Okay, no it isn’t.
    Jackie Wilson (Sob Story: Plus size, attacked by necklaces): No idea.
    Jerome Bell (Sob Story: Thinks he’s Marvin Gaye): No idea.
    I won’t believe what happens…next. Another commercial already? Geez. Wait, why am I complaining? The commercials have been way more entertaining. And this one has dragons! And soda pop! Two of my favorite things!

    Tiffany Rios (Sob Story: She’s “robust” according to Seacrest): Her voice is like nails on a chalkboard.
    Travis Orlando (Sob Story: Sick Dad/Lived in a shelter): No talent at all that I could see. Even Steven Tyler was wincing. Predictably he goes home and the guitar strumming music tells us that we’re supposed to feel bad for him. He actually doesn’t seem that broken up about it.

    Montage of crying/excited people I’ve never seen before and therefore don’t care about.

  9. Jean says:

    What happened to Molly Dewolf’s Swensen! If anything she should have added a last name. :-P

  10. Tek says:

    Lots of never shoulda’s ( I mean you pageant girl and belly shaker girl) were sent packing which was good. Thought jujube girl and Adam Lambert wannabe should have been sent packing too but apparently the judges equate screaming and yelling to great singing. Still think Lauren will not make it thru, but was glad to see some of the others like holly, Brett (?), lonesome rob, Scotty low, quirky SF girl with guitar, Casey, brothers smiley and Obama girl make it through. Why oh why do we have to see the SAME sob stories in hollywood…the least you could do is give us new ones! Ugh!

  11. Lizabeth says:

    I was also surprised that Sarah Sellers was cut so early. She was one of my faves as well. I liked the guy with tourettes and a baby tonight until he started trying to Lambert it up. That’s just not working for him yet. Maybe if he would quit crying? I guess my faves of tonight were the blonde with the old boyfriend and Rob of the ex-couple.

  12. Stacy says:

    The blonde way too emotional girl who’s name escapes me but was being totally unaware she is acting a fool on camera? Next Tatiana Del Toro, mark my words. Thank god they got rid of the vanessa girl before group day.
    Loving Brett and Scotty and the fifteen year old who got steven to sing a bit of Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing, and the male half of the exs. Did we see anyone that didn’t get a full audition package make it through (if not a sob story, at least more than 30 seconds and a name?)

  13. brad says:

    What song was played during Travis Orlando’s good-bye message?

  14. Amanda says:

    I was so excited for the first day of Hollywood week but found myself extremely disappointed after tonight’s episode. Maybe I shouldn’t expect as much out American Idol as I do but I can’t help it. Last season’s Hollywood week was where I discover Crystal Bowersox, Did Benami, the only good Andrew Garcia cover etc. Tonight’s episode felt like a complete rehash of the last several weeks. Why do we all need a recap about Chris Medina? And did we really need to see the two couples rooming it up in the hotel?

    Idol should have showcased some of the talented voices we didn’t get to see too much of. Instead of following Victoria Huggins and her eleven suitcases around, I’d have liked to seen Paul McDonald actually sing more than fifteen seconds of a song. Or Emily Anne Reed or even the Harvard Girl who sang the Otis Redding song. They all went through, but instead they air Star Boobs who thinks…no KNOWS she can do it better than all the rest?

    And what’s up with contestants singing the same songs as they did in their auditions? I know, it’s playing it safe, but the whole journey of Idol forces you out of that comfort zone and to try different genres of music. To me, that shouldn’t be allowed or the judges should have just asked for a different song. I’m sorry, but that’s too easy, singing the same song you already sang?

    As for Idol’s top faves, I’m not feeling a lot of them. Chris Medina sang much better in his audition and though he’s a nice guy, I think he’s getting mostly by on that and his sob story. His singing tonight was awful. As was the kid with turrets/dead father/laundry list of other horrible life events. He started off good but those notes at the end were so over-sung. He reminded me a bit of Shiobahn Magnus from last year at the end, except she could pull it off and he couldn’t.

    Sorry Idol, but I’m not buying what your selling. Seriously wish they’d stop pushing their favourites onto the audience because it’s just so obvious now.

    Hopefully when they do groups they’ll weed out the remainder of them. Including that girl in the blue-shirt who was crying at the end, talking to her mom on the phone? How did she get that far when she was begging on her knees to get to Hollywood. She’ll have a nervous breakdown for sure come group rounds.

  15. darcy's evil twin says:

    Oh, SNAP. I was right about Sarah Sellars. (sorry, Slezak).

    And Jackie Wilson made it through. Yay!

    I agree with some of the comments here – I’m not sure why the Hollywood Week shows aren’t two hours long so we could actually see more of the contestants sing – rather than pal around in hotel rooms and HELLO, PRODUCERS – we caught their audition the first time! How about some new material? And ENOUGH of the sob stories.

    Biggest surprise of the night was Hollie, the blonde that cried during her audition and looked as though she had a bad case of rosacea. The girl was very good tonight.

    Thank goodness Victoria Huggins, the world’s most irritating contestant, was sent packing. Three more months of her and I would have been even crazier. Pageant Queen and Belly Dancer are gone as well. There is a God!

    The singer from New Jersey, Tiffany Rios, does not strike me as a team player and I don’t look for her to make it through group week.

    Paris Tassin (was that her name?) lost a few points with me when she sang “Titanic” song.

    And did anyone even catch a glimpse of the three nameless women we saw on the San Francisco episode?

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Even if Tiffany did make it through, she is so unlikable … would we actually even vote for her? That comment she made was uncalled for. Some of the contestants need to realize a little humility goes a long way.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Oh I agree. Even though she was annoying in her audition, I liked her voice. Thursday night…not so much.

        Would we vote for her? No. Would the cast of “Jersey Shore” vote for her? Probably, in fact, they’ll probably offer her a job, LOL.

  16. sumwhut says:

    methinks tptb want a female to win this season. only weird guys are going through. Where was John Wayne Schultz? was he dumped due to the album/grammy thing? I liked travis orlando.

  17. Snsetblaze says:

    I liked the attitude of that Travis Orlando guy who was cut – he is good enough to keep going and young enough that he can try out for Idol again 13 or 14 more times (wasn’t he 16?). Several auditioners come back more than once and get sent to Hollywood. I was disappointed not to see Sarah Sellers though – at least why she was cut. I would have also like to seen the rocker chick who sang with Steven (blanking on her name) to see if she made it.

  18. Whoopseedaisy says:

    OMG Michael. WTF happened at EW?? It’s like all the awesome got sucked out and now there’s just blah left. I’ve been so “who cares” about it for the last few months that I didn’t even notice that you were gone until Idol started. Thank god I found you again. My one and only idol re-capper (no offense to Annie, who is tall and therefore awesome).

    It’s because they made you guys do that stupid podcast instead of the amazing Idolatry videos, right? I know it.

  19. Kimberly Miller says:

    DOes anyone know if John Wayne Schultz make it through?

  20. Tara says:

    Shoot, Hollywood week started last night? I thought it was next week.

  21. Janice says:

    Can anyone tell me if Caleb Johnson made it through round 1 of Hollywood week?

    • Christopher says:

      Caleb Johnson did make it through round 1! He was in the line of contestants that featured Travis Orlando and Tiffany (star girl). The front row with Travis was dismissed. Caleb was on the back row. Hoping to see him in group round auditions tomorrow night. Some of his videos are on youtube.

  22. stephanie says:

    Does any one know if John Wayne Shultz the cowboy made it thru the 1st round of Hollywood