American Idol Recap: Legend of the Fall

Wednesday night’s installment of American Idol — focusing on Day 1 of Season 11 Hollywood Week — ended with a horrifying cliffhanger: Lovely and poised 16-year-old Symone Black falling off the stage and hitting the auditoruim floor in a horrific heap. But fret not, Idoloonies, I’ve got the transcript — made up entirely in my brain — of what happened next:

JENNIFER
My shoes! My shoes! I think that girl splattered a drop of blood or something on my $12,500 shoes!

RANDY
Yeah, yeah, yeah! Hollywood Week, baby! Season 11 is ON!

NIGEL
Who got the shot? Camera guys, did any of you get the shot? Who got the bloody shot? Oh, just call the medics.

JENNIFER
(hysterical now)
Where’s my assistant? Assistant! Assorted commoners! Anyone! I need someone to check my Louboutin Platinum-Labels for fluids — immédiatement!

RANDY
Hey, do you think Haley Reinhart has anything to do with this accident? I’ll bet she does. Freakin’ Haley.

STEVEN
Bass guitar and waters muddy. Let’s pray the kid don’t wind up bloody. Hey diddle-diddle, now let’s play ball. Did anybody catch that crazy fall?

SYMONE
(opening her eyes, still groggy)
Um, did I make it through to Group Rounds?

Oh come now. Of course the Esteemed Judges aren’t going to send Symone packing when Idol resumes Thursday night. And not out of sympathy, either. The kid’s rendition of “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” was positively sublime — showcasing a soulfulness and patience you wouldn’t expect from someone young enough to use the phrase “stage dad” without an eye roll or a hint of resentment.

American Idol: Top 10 Auditions of Season 11

And of course Symone can’t have been too badly injured, either. I mean, let’s be honest: If there are any concussions or broken bones or facial lacerations when the show returns from its tacky cliffhanger, Uncle Nigel will be drawn and quartered at the intersection of Twitter and Facebook, right? (I know, I know…my faith in the dignity, decency, and good taste of reality television betrays a shocking naïveté for someone who’s been covering the genre for almost a decade.)

In any event, the show must go on. And so we must talk about the other Hollywood Week hopefuls — and, you know, their actual singing — even if it the endless loop of Symone’s collapse going into and out of every commercial break made you feel like you were watching a special edition of Winter Wipeout.

The episode followed roughly half of the 309 singers who scored Golden Tickets at their auditions. Similar to previous years, these vocalists were separated into groups of 10, asked to give a capella auditions, and then either allowed into the next round or sent home. Let’s break the featured contestants into three groups: Contenders, Pretenders, and “Probably Weeping With the Bartender.” (Eh, I tried too hard to rhyme there; let’s just label that last group “Eliminated.” And let’s add in a “Too Early to Tell” column, just for good measure.)

CONTENDERS
Johnny Keyser: His cover of Amos Lee’s “Dreamin” was muddied up by too much melisma and too many runs. But even if Christina Aguilera is his spirit animal, he’s got an undeniable skill set. That said, he’s getting the “confident, bordering on cocky” edit; is Uncle Nigel setting him up for a tearful takedown?

Elise Testone: I don’t care what anyone says: Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity” is totally cool. And Elise threw that shrimp down on the barbie and gave it her own gravelygravelly-blues spice. I just wish stupid-face had let her finish the chorus.

Baylie Brown: The way she finessed the Jody Watley gem “If I’m Not in Love” (later popularized by Faith Hill, but srsly, check out Jody’s) made it seem like someone had let Michael Phelps get in the water at a middle-school swim meet. Girlfriend is gonna go far.

Hallie Day: Nobody’s going to touch Crystal Bowersox’s Hollywood Week rendition of “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” but this was soulful and sexy nevertheless.

Jen Hirsh: MIA from the audition rounds, but displayed crazy control and plenty of range — and a little bit of flirtatious humor, too, when she told Steven her last little run of notes was just for him.

David Leathers, Jr.: Anyone who can tackle “Because You Loved Me” and not make me hit the mute button must be doing something right. Certainly showboated in places, but showed subtlety and restraint during his performance, too. Now he just needs to stop with the lay-deeeees man shtick.

Jessica Phillips: If you’re gonna cover Whitney, thank you for not choosing “I Have Nothing,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” or “I Will Always Love You.” Jessica nailed every note, and was feeling it so much that she had to add her own little umphs and exhalations between every line. I was feeling it, too. Mmm-hmm. Yes. Mmmkay? Now if Idol would just stop putting subtitles under her perfectly understandable boyfriend. Mmm-hmm. Yes. Mmmkay?

Erika Van Pelt: Her red plaid tablecloth shirt and slingshot doubling as a vest were oustandingly awful, but her version of Pink’s “Glitter in the Air” showcased tons of vocal firepower. (Note: Idol stylists, please be gentle if Erika makes it through to the live shows.)

Jeremy Rosado: Infectious-disease doctor receptionist pronounced “said” as “shed,” but I can’t be too mad at his big voice and goofy-polite personality. That rendition of “Superstar” was kinda Ruben 2.o, with more carefully coiffed eyebrows.

PRETENDERS
Heejun Han: He’s providing great color commentary — “Everyone is so tall, so pretty. Even the guys are pretty. I don’t know what they eat.” — but the self-deprecating cutie covered the same song in Hollywood (“How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”) that he did in his audition. Is he anything more than a solid Michael Bolton impersonator?

Reed Grimm: First the “Family Matters” theme, and now “I Got a Golden Ticket” from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory? I just cahhhhhhhhn’t with his ham and precious sandwich. And yeah, his fellow contestants went wild, but maybe because they know this is one guy who’ll never make it all the way to “This Is My Now.”

Shannon Magrane: Too much like listening to someone singing along to Alicia Keys’ “Fallin” in the car, and not enough like listening to an artist in her own right, y’know what I mean?

Creighton Fraker: Another hideous vest — did I see frayed white denim before fainting from the sheer indignity of it all? — and a giant anvil of vocal tics and nonsense dropped atop “Somebody to Love.” Uncle Nigel, make it stop! (He’s not going to make it stop, is he?)

TOO EARLY TO TELL
Lauren Gray: Her gravely tone is right in my iPod’s wheelhouse (sorry for my use of “wheelhouse”), but just like in her audition, Lauren was pushing Adele’s “One and Only” so hard, I half-expected her to leave a kidney stone behind on the stage.

Phillip Phillips: Obviously more comfortable with a guitar in hand, he almost seemed to be strumming an invisible one as he gave a serviceable but slightly strained “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” Was he playing with the melody a little or just off pitch?

Adam Brock: I dug the snippet of his audition-round “Stormy Weather” a lot more than his Hollywood rendition of “Walking in Memphis,” where his rhythmic and melodic choices made about as much sense as replacing Cheryl Cole with Nicole Shoesandleggings on X Factor. Also: Heejun’s color commentary > Adam’s color commentary.

Aaron Marcellus: I liked his audition snippet from earlier in the season, but his “ladies, Jennifer” before an overwrought “Here and Now” was like the melted cheese splashing over the entree in the Applebee’s ad of Hollywood Week.

ALSO ADVANCING WITHOUT ANY ADDITIONAL INFO
NBA Dancer Brittany Kerr, Broadway-Gaga type Angie Zeiderman

ELIMINATED
Travis Orlando: His version of “My One Desire” was solid, but not spectacular. And while it’s hard to watch a teenager sobbing and saying things like “I have to go back to nothing — nothing at all,” I really wish one of the judges had taken him aside and said, “Go back and get your high-school diploma, and then we can talk about Season 12.”

Jane Carrey: That enigmatic giggle at the end of “Looking Out My Back Door” might’ve signaled to the judges that Jim Carrey’s daughter was disappointed in her own performance. I actually thought she sounded pretty good, though, if I’m being completely honest. Also: Major hair upgrade! (Just sayin’.)

Also booted: Ramiro Garcia, the guy who was born without ears; Wolf Hamlin, who looks like a werewolf a little; Jenni Schick, the teacher who kissed Steven on the lips; Linda Williams, the woman J.Lo tried to veto from getting through on looks alone during the “J.Lo is the only judge listening” montage; and (if my eyes did not deceive me) Kristine Osorio, who used her divorce attorney money to fly to her audition.

What did you think of Day 1 of Hollywood Week? Were you turned off that the show left us hanging about Symone’s audition? And who were your favorites and least favorites on the night? Sound off below!