American Idol Hollywood Week (Night 1) Recap: Can You Feel It Coming to the Airport Tonight?

american-idol-hollywood-or-home-season-13American Idol fans are verrry familiar with (and rather fond of) the phrase “thrown under the bus” — a phenomenon in which the production and judges turn against a particular contestant (see: Castro, Jason) in order to help achieve a pre-ordained outcome.

But thanks to new, exciting and possibly European techniques in psychological torture brought to us by incoming producer Per Blankens, certain Season 13 evictees will forever shudder at the expression “thrown onto the bus.”

PHOTOS | American Idol: 21 Best Auditions of Season 13

Yes indeed, the “Hollywood or Home” portion of the competition found all 212 of Season 13’s Golden Ticket recipients arriving at Los Angeles International Airport and — instead of heading to their hotel rooms, as per usual — being whisked off to an airplane hangar where 52 of the perceived weakest links had to give sudden-death performances for Harry, Keith and J.Lo.

Voices broke like wine glasses knocked off of countertops. The judges winced repeatedly, as if someone kept telling them  that Nicki Minaj would be sitting in with them for the rest of the season. And finally, in the cruelest twist of all, the 52 scrutinized singers were split into two busses marked like a Missing Persons song title: “Destination Unknown.”

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Then, Bus 1 went back to the “departures” gate — where 32 rejected vocalists were presumably placed in sealed wooden crates, stuffed into cargo planes and sent back via two-day delivery to their hometowns. [Cue sad trombone.]

And that was only the episode’s first half-hour!

OK, sure, “Hollywood or Home” was the same wheat-from-chaff exercise that’s been a hallmark of Idol since the days of Nikki McKibbin — whose son Tristen Langley was a Bus 1 passenger (here’s hoping we see that nice boy in Season 19 or so!) — simply dressed up in fancier packaging. Nevertheless, it provided a nice little amuse-bouche leading into the standard Hollywood Week first course: You know the drill — “10 singers stand in a line, sing one at a time, then advance to Group Rounds or get cut.”

Let’s cut right to the highlights (and lowlights) of the two-hour installment:

3) MICHAEL ORLAND’S EYE ROLLS | Yes, the Group Rounds are a cacophonous clang of ego and exhaustion and emotion and exasperation, but watching vocal coach Michael Orland throw his side-eye at contestants’ failed rehearsal harmonies — and inability to listen to constructive feedback — never gets old.

2) AUDITION FAVES REAFFIRM THEIR AWESOMENESS | Majesty Rose’s sublime Feist cover, Sam Woolf’s sweet, affecting “Waiting on the World to Change,” Briana Oakley’s booming “Mama Do” and Dexter Roberts’ “Dead Man Walking” “Barton Hollow” allowed the quartet of standout auditioners to further cement their status heading into the voting portion of the competition. Don’t choke in Groups, guys!

1) NEW FRONTRUNNERS EMERGE | I’ll admit I didn’t dig Kenzie Hall’s audition, but her swift, acoustic spin on Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” was the highlight of the solo rounds. Meanwhile, Tiquila Wilson’s Gospel-ized “The Climb” and Jena Asciuto’s supple upgrade of “Video Games” pegged them as ones to watch, too.

3) A HARD-WORKING WOMAN GETS VILLAINIZED BY GROUP SHENANIGANS, WHILE A NICE FELLA DOESN’T GET A CHANCE TO FULLY EXPLAIN HIS SONG CHOICE | Jessica Meuse might very well be a drama queen — as tonight’s Group Rounds edit pegged her. But if we’re being really real, I don’t think it’s asking a lot that she wanted her initial singing partner to correctly hit his harmonies, nor that she wasn’t overly enthused with being choregographed into submission by a teenage cohort’s stage mom. The fact that she’s female, though, makes me worry her reactions won’t play as well for voters as Phillip Phillips and Heejun Han’s Hollywood Week snarkiness back in Season 11. Meanwhile, why exactly did Harry and J.Lo have such a conniption about Keith London’s choice of “If I Were a Boy”? There are multiple possible ways to interpret (or even look past) simple things like pronoun choices — and I kinda expected them to be mature enough to keep their ears (and their minds) open when contestants are singing. (I know, I’m crazy that way.)

2) RYAN SEACREST BEING FORCED TO DO ANOTHER VARIATION ON THE “DAD WORKING TO MAKE A BETTER LIFE FOR HIS FAMILY” VOICEOVER | I fully appreciate the pressure that Maurice Townsend and Casey Thrasher must feel being away from their kids — and trying to put food in their mouths. But it still makes me cringe a little when Idol overplays the idea that a reality singing competition is somehow a guarantee of a better life for the wee ones at home. Ultimately, the Idol journey is a massive gamble — one with (from a fiscal perspective) more losers than winners. Maybe staying at home and not quitting your day job is the wiser move? And while we’re on the subject, isn’t it possible that single, childless contestants want better lives, too?

1) FANTASTIC AUDITIONERS GET CUT WITHOUT SO MUCH AS A (MUSICAL) NOTE OF EXPLANATION | Look, maybe Jade Lathan (whose “You Know I’m No Good” was my No. 1 audition of the entire season) choked like a teacup poodle devouring a t-bone steak, but as an invested viewing audience, the producers owe us at least a few bars of failure to help us understand the judges decision. Otherwise, it’s just another excuse for the Idoloonie Nation to stop getting invested in the early weeks of the show, and just start tuning in for the live rounds.

A few other thoughts and observations…

* Quick poll: Keith’s Jennifer Lawrence-esque hair: Love or loathe?

* Caitlin Johnson (the teen Harry thought looked like a 30something Manhattanite) blamed nerves for her hangar-round collapse, but honestly, who would pick “Only Girl in the World” for an a capella performance (or any performance whatsoever)? Have we leanred nothing from Tatynisa Wilson?

* I liked seeing J.Lo in high dudgeon over some disagreements with Harry and Keith — passion’s a good thing in a judge! I just wish she hadn’t been arguing on behalf of subpar sound healer Adam Roth.

* How did Morgan Deplitch survive the airplane hangar after what she did to Sara Bareilles’ “Brave”? Ditto for Neco Starr, whose cover of Bruno Mars’ “Gorilla” had more unpleasant runs than a pair of pantyhose in a paper shredder.

* I’m not sure I love-loved what Brandy Neelly did to the melody of “Stars,” but at least it was…interesting?

* It’s official: I have Spencer Lloyd hair envy.

* Lyric that most expressed what I was feeling about a performance: Bria Anai’s calamitous “everything inside me screams ‘no no no.'”

* Best Rearrangement: Kenzi’s aforementioned “Can’t Hold Us.”

* Worst Rearrangement: Alex Preston’s whiny, nasal rendition of “Scream and Shout.”

* Worst Rearrangement (Runner-Up): Caleb Johnson’s utterly unmelodic “Sympathy for the Devil.” In this case, I had sympathy for “Sympathy for the Devil.”

* Voice I Don’t Think I’m Going to “Get” This Season: Briston Maroney. Uff da. (Please, someone, tell me I am not alone.)

* Contestant Who Needs a Crash Course in Dymanics: Malaya Watson

* Contestant I Kept Seeing But Alas, Not Hearing: Megan Miller

* Voices I Definitely Didn’t Get Enough Of: Keri Lynn Roche, Jessie Roach, Ethan Thompson

* Part of the Show I Don’t Feel Like Writing About Because We’ll Have to Rehash It Tomorrow Anyway: Group Rounds

And with that, I turn it over to you. What did you think of Night 1 of Season 13 Hollywood Week? Which singers stood out for you? Which moments made you cringe? And what did you think of the Aiport Hangar/Busses of Cruelty round? Sound off below!

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. Danny says:

    Please no spoilers or even hints of spoilers. I didn’t want to know that a certain # (not saying in case people missed it in another post) of Michael’s list of 21 made it to the top.

  2. -The Hollywood or Home aspect was just a complete waste of time. I get that American Idol wants to make the show new and different to give a boost to ratings, but I would have preferred a few more “No’s” during the audition rounds and less people to have to cut, most of whom I don’t even know if they made it or not. Other than a couple of them, I couldn’t tell who was on which bus or not.
    -There was a ton of singing tonight and a ton of contestants were featured but the episode seemed really hectic. I just hope in the next few episodes we really start to get more in depth with some of these contestants.

    • Danny says:

      “Hectic”- Well stated. I was trying to figure out what was a little off with this episode. It felt like it didn’t have a good flow or something. Overall still miles better than last year, but not quite as smooth as the auditions of this year.

    • Kaba says:

      You thought it was a waste of time? I thought it was the most sensible thing they’ve done in a while. A way to finally put the people who shouldn’t have been given a ticket on the chopping block? Amazing.
      The show is all too guilty of someone getting tickets they never deserved. We can thank judges like Jennifer for that.

      • But if Jennifer(as the main culprit) just got rid of these people that really shouldn’t have moved on in the first place then there would be no need for “Hollywood or Home”, they would have already been home. It’s just unnecessary extra drama for drama sake. I kept thinking all along that Jennifer never said “No”, well maybe she was told by producers that because they are doing this new round that if she is on the fence then she should let these people go to this Hollywood or Home round. She knew that they wouldn’t make it anyways, so she figured why not. I mean I still think she can’t say “No”, and I might be giving her a little more credit than she deserves but it is possible she might have been given a note about what she should do.

        • Kaba says:

          I doubt that’s necessarily always the case. I just think it’s a good way to properly weed out any shoddy decisions considering there are always those moments when you sense greatness being presented poorly and also there are cases where someone just picked that one song they can always do well (when they can’t do anything else any good otherwise). So I think it makes things work out well because it sifts people out a little more before hollywood. I got tired of people who had decent auditions getting through because some judge saw something there.

          • Jason says:

            IT’s just kind of cruel. They probably just wanted to save the hotel money and send them straight home!!

          • MC says:

            Agreed. I really think that at least 90% of the people on bus #1 knew their fate before the bus veered to the airport. They looked around and saw who wasn’t there on that bus and some of them knew they cracked when singing in the hangar. All 52 of them had to sing in a pressurized environment, but if you can’t trust your talent in a moment like that, you’re probably not ready for the dog-eat-dog music world. Cruel? No, I don’t buy it. It’s just a taste of what’s to come (not just on Idol, but in the world after that).

          • catlover04 says:

            Jason….save the hotel money? Maybe, but wouldn’t they have saved more money by not flying them out to Hollywood only to send them home in the first hour. I didn’t like the twist. I think if they were going to spend the time and money to bring them to Hollywood anyway, they should not have shot down their hopes right off the airplane…sort of. heh. :-}} I found it kind of mean. If they wanted to cut a bunch of people before the Hollywood rounds begin, they should have not sent so many through to begin with, maybe. I think it was cruel to get their hopes up like only to dash them so quickly and maybe caused more discouragement among those who were sent home then they needed to. Just my thoughts. :-}}

      • JBMac says:

        I agree with you totally. Almost all the singers that were cut tonight were ones I saw Harry saying NO to in auditions or being “forced” by jolo to put through. She needs to listen more to Harry and Keith coz THEY know music, not just singing.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I rather liked it but I agree with Danny that it seemed a bit rushed.

    • JM says:

      You’re right about the episode feeling ‘hectic’. Why cram so much into two hours?? Hollywood Week is one of the fav events of the season so why rush it?

      Also, didn’t care for the two buses, and they don’t know where they’re going. That’s just cruel. Also, I would have kept Johnny Newcomb. Not sure he would have made the final choices, but he would’ve learned a lot from the experience.

      • Last year was a different format. They did Week 1 of Hollywood week as only guys and Week 2 was girls. They devoted 3 hours on 1 gender each week. Rather than 2 hours with 200 contestants tonight and 1 hour with 100 contestants which we will get tomorrow. Now I’m all for not segregating the contestants and just having the best contestant, rather than they only are there because they are a certain gender, but by doing what they did last year it allowed us to really focus in on the bad from the good from the great. This episode gave us almost too much that it was too all over the place.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I thought Johnny Newcomb did make it through. didn’t he sing “Last Kiss” for his original audition? I remember it because I commented the song was older than dirt (and no, it’s not called “Oh where oh Where Can my Baby Be?” and it wasn’t originally an Eddie Vedder song).

        • JM says:

          I may be wrong, but I could’ve sworn he was on the first bus that went home.

          It’s funny how the judges comment and say a song is ‘Eddie Vedder’s’ when it’s really much older. They do that a lot.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Well, I’ve been wrong before.
            When he auditioned to “Last Kiss” I said, “Good grief, that song is older than DIRT”, to which my husband replied, “Hey, MY BAND PLAYED THAT SONG”.
            Thanks for making my point, dear.
            I’ve got the show recorded. I can go back and check.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            You’re correct, JM, Johnny Newcomb was on the first bus that went home. I believe I also spotted Ryan Nisbett (sp?), one of Mr. Slezak’s picks.

          • Sufad says:

            Darcy, I went back to look for Ryan Nisbett on those busses and did not see him anywhere. Unless he gained back the pounds, I think he was mysteriously invisible the whole ep. It would have been nice to know if he even made the trip Big bummer if he got cut without getting a second song snipped on television

          • Jen says:

            I think it was the kid that said he was doing “Last Kiss by Eddie Vedder.” I’d like to think that at least Harry and Keith know that it was an older song than that – I think Vedder came up because the kid was trying to sound exactly like him.

          • Stormy says:

            Last Kiss was by Wayne Cochran in 1962. One of my Mom’s faves.

          • Jeremiah says:

            Nisbit actually shows up very briefly during the group rounds. Right after the guy who had been in a group with Jessica Meuse (Clark something) quits the competition, the camera cuts to Nisbit (wearing a red shirt and red hat) in a group with Adam Roth (sound healer guy). It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance. Wish we had been able to see his performance. He was definitely a stand-out during the auditions.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Okay, a few things – as it turns out the song “Last Kiss” is NOT older than me! Wow, I wrote that like it was a good thing, LOL. And yes, it was Johnny Newcomb that said “Last Kiss” was Eddie Vedder’s song.
            Re: Ryan Nisbett – I saw a guy on the first bus that looked a lot like Ryan Nisbett but his hair was slightly different (the top was more curly rather than in a pompadour). I froze the screen , looked at him closely, and thought it was him – the guy that looked like Nisbett was looking at a cell phone and they were interviewing the guy next to him (to his left). The glasses were the same and the shape of the face was the same. Hair color was the same. If anyone DVRed the show and goes back and watches those scenes you’ll spot the guy and understand how I made the mistake.

          • Sufad says:

            Jeremiah, you are good people. Thank you for winning at the game of “Where’s Nisbett”, I was able to track him down with your help.

          • MelC says:

            Ryan Nisbett actually got cut during the group round. Bummer that we didn’t get to hear his performance.

      • Mary says:

        It was cruel but sorry I enjoyed it. Why waste our time and their time when in reality they had no chance of making the top 30. I will say some should not have made it that far; however, they were given another chance to shine and they failed. It is possible to have a off audition and nail it the next time.

    • Julie Gordon says:

      Really? They flew all the way there, excited to be in Hollywood and you brought them to a hanger and drove them back to the airport! That was sooo very cruel and degrading. It broke my heart. Couldn’t they at least have spent one night in a hotel and then be auditioned the next day and then sent home? Then instead you tortured them by loading them into a bus and not even telling them where they were going!! All I could think of was how humiliated they must have felt getting home at 3:00 am, calling their family to pick them up, hauling their carefully packed suitcases behind them with no stories of the fun they had in Hollywood – only feelings of failure. I love American Idol, but I hope you don’t do this again next year. I was truly shocked and saddened by the cruelty!!!!!!

      • Ginger says:

        It was very cruel to bring them to Hollywood and take them to a hanger and then load them onto busses, nasty and humiliating. To degrade those kids to create drama and ratings, what crap. I’m so through with Idol.

    • Ben says:

      The simple reality is – the guys who made it through the hangar round didn’t have to sing again until group, so the new round was exactly the same as the old round (or indeed, if you like, what we saw as the second round) – simply done in a different format. About the same number went through as usual, and about the same number were cut before groups as usual.

  3. Justin A. says:

    Not given CJ Harris enough credit for one of the best performances of the night.

    • Atlgal2013 says:

      Thank you! I read this whole recap like damn is CJ going to get some props? His raspy performance was so simple and beautiful. What a revelation tonight….. My fave of the night!

  4. Malaya Watson was incredible. I didn’t remember her from auditions. I want to see more of her!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      My husband and I thought she sort of “shouted” her way through the song. I’d like to hear her sing something else – dare I say it, perhaps a ballad?

      • mike hollingworth says:

        hey det, mostly curious as to your thoughts, although the more you repetitively include your husbands “Shakespearean asides” I then wonder, “What does your boyfriend think.” A fan.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          LOL. No boyfriend, mike. My husband hasn’t really followed Idol except for the season hometown boy David Cook was on there. He’s just been commenting more this year for some reason.

  5. Josh says:

    Kristen O’Connor really rocked tonight. I think she’s going to be a dark horse.

  6. LeahKittyS says:

    See Mike, this is why I don’t invest this early on. You never know who’s going to come out the other end. And I knew Kenzie would impress you one of these days! She, Jena, Briana, Majesty, Sam, and Dexter all shown bright tonight. But I also liked Austin Wolfe, Spencer Lloyd, Alex Preston, Briston Maroney, Kristen O’Connor, Emily Piriz, Malcom Allen, and (don’t judge me) Emmanuel Zidor. Also, hello George Lovett! We missed you during the auditions, but you left a mark tonight, sir. Man, this is going to be a fun season.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      Oh, and add CJ Harris to my favorites list. And Malaya Watson.

    • LeahKittyS says:

      One last thing: I don’t have a problem with them pushing the “daddy angle” for Casey and Maurice. It’s not like they don’t have the talent to back it up.

      • mike hollingworth says:

        Leah………………………………………………………calm down

      • catlover04 says:

        It’s okay, Leah. I, for one, am impressed that you can remember so many details. I think I’m going to have to wait till it gets down to a smaller group of people before I start picking real favorites. I hate getting myself in the corner of a contestant only to have them get eliminated before I want them to…Johnny Keyser anyone. The only one that really disappointed me last night was Brian Watt. I really wanted him to go through and thought he was a lot better then some of the ones that DID go through. :-}}

    • Danny says:

      Kenzie, she’s the one that sped up her singing, correct? The little blonde girl? If that’s the one, she was awesome.

  7. Stormy says:

    Not particularly whelmed [over or under] so far. But I really wanted to hear the entire “He Stopped Loving Her Today” number. That truly is the best country song, ever.

  8. jay says:

    ‘Scream and Shout’ was pretty good too

  9. Danny says:

    For certain people I’d like to have em say something like “you’re voice is good, but you’ve gotta lose the guitar.” Sam Wolf comes to mind. There’s plenty of others too though. If they make it to the live shows, some of these people need to let Ricky Minor play the guitar while they sing.

    I notice some of ya’s already have your favorite picked out from other posts. I’m sort of rounding my favs up as we go along. I still don’t know all the names, but getting better. The guy from Grand Rapids, MI is one I like a lot. I also like Jessica, though it seemed like she had some challenges with her group. I also like all 3 guys in the one group who formed pretty quickly. Majesty was real good. Right now I’ve got about 15 I really like.

    Out of those 15, I already know whoever turns out to be my favorite has pretty much no chance of winning. Even w/ a big list like I’ve got, the only winner I’ve ever picked out was David Cook.
    Generic Q for anyone who’d care to reply. What’s the best your way early fav has ever done and who was it?

    • JM says:

      Adam Lambert, finished 2nd. (Should have won, though).

      • Stormy says:

        I blame power voters for skewing the competition. Having said that, I’ve picked Kelly C, Clay A [finished 2nd] Carrie U, Jordin S, David Cook, Adam L [2nd] and Scotty M.. So, 7 out of 12 made it to the finale and 5 won. IMO there was no winner in season 9 [Lee & Crystal].

    • tealeaves says:

      I have learned not to get too invested until the voting rounds. So many promising auditioners sadly never make it to the voting rounds.
      Personally, I need to hear at least a few different performances that I like before I decide I really like a contestant. There are a lot of contestants where I love one or two performances, but then they never measure up to that again. So while it is awesome that they gave me that memorable performance or two, I end up supporting someone else later in the season.

    • LizzieB says:

      Haha. I see what you’re saying about Sam. That last clip at the end showed him in his group and he already looks awkwardly adorkable without the guitar. Kinda like the Philip Philips syndrome I guess but a milder case.

    • Ben says:

      I have had my favourite from the audition’ person win once. That was Scotty McCreery. Although to be fair I sort of had two horses that season because I also really loved Casey Abrams. I had a top 2 in mind. I liked that they both made the top 12.

      As for my worst burn out (that I remember) – Arianna Afsar I loved in her audition, she made the top 36, and was easily the worst one there.

    • J. May says:

      Crystal Bowersox was a frontrunner in my eyes. For me, Adam lambert didn’t become viable until he performed Ring of Fire. I suppose I could just check the spoilers concerning who has actually been chosen, but what’s the point? Either my favorites are there or they aren’t. In any case, it could hardly be as bad a train wreck as last season (except for Candice Glover and Angie Miller).

    • Lana says:

      Adam and Clay both should have won, but I’m happy to say I’ve always picked one of the top three or four or…. I loved the show and I like “hectic” as long as its not my life that is hectic. I also wanted the kid who did George Jones to sing longer, however those three boys are awesome to me, I can’t wait to hear them on group night. Danny, I still don’t know the names or remember but there were quite a few that I was more impressed with tonight than at the auditions. I love that. The bus thing didn’t bother me because I always expect Idol to keep me guessing, even with these great new producers they still need to keep everyone guessing.
      I {now I indent?} really enjoyed these two hours but my favorite is group rounds cause you get to see some interesting personalities. It amazes me when I see such jerks during this time and one’s who don’t care that they are screwing with other people. I don’t understand that kind of ugly. I’m hoping that Jessica? was not hurt by her edited scenes. The problem is she is a real professional singer and she is trying to work with children who don’t yet know what working on a career is like. This is her job, not just a dream while I’m doing something else. And Lord don’t get me started on the pushy Mama looking out for her ‘baby’ parents should only be allowed as chaperones but not allowed to be at the group tryouts bossing everyone else around.

      • Stormy says:

        I got a vibe I didn’t like from Jessica that said “I know what I’m doing and you don’t.”. At the risk of angering Michael S, she had a bit of what made me dislike Haley R. If she [Jessica] is so well seasoned a performer, maybe she should be on The Voice rather than Idol.
        I agree about Mother Hens. If your baby can’t stand alone, maybe they shouldn’t be there. In a case like this the training wheels need to come off. Look what happens when babies hit the big time [Beiber, Britney, Miley, Amanda, LiLo etc.] And the parents had a lot to do with those outcomes. JMO

    • gemapet says:

      Fantasia. Snipet during ‘hollywood week’.

    • Mary says:

      I am happy to say that I have picked well over the years. Kelly Clarkson, Carrie, David Cook and Kris Allen. Right from the start there was something about these guys that I liked. None of the other seasons really excited me till after the top ten were picked. I will say that I have enjoyed music from many of the top ten contestants.

    • catlover04 says:

      Hmm…..I admit I haven’t watched every season but….some of you will disagree but I was one of those that loved Phillip Phillips from the get go and was HAPPY to see him win. If Ricky Minor is that great guitarist that always does idol, I agree he’s terrific and I hope we get to see a lot of him. However, I love guys and gals with guitars so I love to see them play their own instrument without needing someone to accompany them. :-}}

      • Danny says:

        Cat- I like it when they play the guitars too. With one caveat, they’ve got to be good, or at least decent. Some of these people have good voices but can’t play the guitar very well. One tip off is if they’re always looking at it while playing. Those are the ones I think would be better off if they let Ricky handle it.

  10. Kaba says:

    I’m incredibly upset with how they made Jessica Meuse look tonight.
    I like her and I understand why she’s upset, but that never translates properly to an audience. All they’ll see is “oh she’s just a drama queen” when I believe the reality is:
    She’s a musician that’s been trying her hardest, is frustrated, see’s a chance, and doesn’t want anything ruining it for her aside from herself.
    I just need them to give me more MK Nobilette. She’s amazing

    • LeahKittyS says:

      I agree with this entire post. Shame this site does not have an “up vote” button.

      • mike hollingworth says:

        I’m thinking………..You are either 12 years old or 62 years old, any age in between would confuse me.

        • LeahKittyS says:

          You are correct, Mike. I am 20 years old, a sophomore in college. I go to the same school as Alex Preston (who sang “Scream and Shout” tonight).

          • LeahKittyS says:

            Never mind Mike, that makes you wrong. I thought your comment said I was between 12 and 62 years old. But neither of those are right.

    • JM says:

      Hey Kaba, I’m with you on Jessica. You can tell that this means a lot to her, and I completely empathize.

    • Robin says:

      Her audition was one of my top favorites, so I was upset to see her being portrayed the way she was. I couldn’t agree more with your interpretation of her behavior tonight.

      HOWEVER, I think it might help her in some ways. Contestants like her (more mature, alternative look, rockier music) sometimes come across like they’re too good for the show or seem a little detached from the whole shebang that is Idol. I think tonight demonstrated to the audience that she really wants to be there and is taking the show seriously.

      • catlover04 says:

        And the thing to remember is they don’t always dismiss everyone in an entire group, even if the group is bad. If she can pull herself really together and perform well even if the group dynamic is bad she should be okay. I remember really liking her initial audition too though I haven’t really picked favorites yet.

        The group I’m really looking forward to hearing is the three country guys who formed quickly and seemed to work well together right away. They might be a good group.

  11. DAG says:

    Casey Thrasher was amazing on his Geoge Jones cover. Slezak – you’re made of stone if that footage of his little boy crying his eyes out didn’t tear you up just a little bit!

  12. Kaba says:

    Majesty <3 sing Queen
    Spencer Lloyd = yes

  13. tealeaves says:

    I agree with all your worst moments. Why on earth was JLo so confused that a guy was singing Beyonce’s If I Were a Boy? It is hardly the first time a contestant has sung a song from the opposite gender as a way of standing out and maybe causing someone to rethink the song itself. Keith London jumped up a couple notches on my list of contestants to watch because of that.
    I would like to know what happened to Jade. Maybe they decided she is too young and it would be better for her to come back a different year?
    “And while we’re on the subject, isn’t it possible that single, childless contestants want better lives, too?” YES! Thank you!

    • S. says:

      I totally called it with Jade so I don’t share Michael’s distress. She wasn’t ready for a very specific reason. I thought it was ridiculous to put her as the top audition. Michael and initially the judges thought she was all that, but the girl was mimicking Amy Winehouse in her audition. She was no better than those other contestants Harry criticized for trying to sound like other singers, e.g. Eddie Vedder. That was not her natural tone, it was fake. She liked the sound and she was trying to be that which (again as Harry told that other kid) isn’t a bad thing. It just indicates inexperience and lack of understanding who you are as an artist. That’s just who you want to be in your head, but that tone doesn’t happen when you open your mouth and sing a random song. At some point she might’ve been found out when she tried a different kind of song. She’s got an underlying voice that’s strong so I really hope we see her back next year.

      • darcy the slutty twin says:

        Thank you. She was imitating Amy Winehouse. I never understood why Michael was so into her. The same Michael who is all up in arms when he thinks a contestant doesn’t change song arrangement enough.

      • joey says:

        Just agree with you completely. Her audition was Karaoke. I wasn’t surprised she was cut.

    • Jake says:

      It was Harry who was bothered by it and was troubled and was talking to jennifer about it

      • Dave in Long Beach says:

        I don’t think that’s quite true. Jennifer seemed to be bothered by it and was talking to Harry who said it was “cute” or something but no big deal. What bothered me about the whole thing was that it seemed to be Jennifer’s problem but then she had Harry speak up for her. It made Jennifer look weak (and vaguely unimaginative) and made Harry look like he was the bad guy.

  14. darcy's evil twin says:

    About 45 minutes into the program my husband finally asked me, “GOOD GRIEF, IS EVERYBODY JONI MITCHELL?????”

    Yes, honey. This season everyone’s a folk singer with a plaid shirt and a guitar.
    Mr. Slezak, you are the kiss of death. You also got Sara Sellars sent home a few seasons ago by touting her as the #1 Contestant to Watch!
    Tristian Langley should have been sent home. That whiny voice was grating – reminded me of Neil Young.
    Does anyone know if Stephanie Petronelli, the girl that sang a totally awful rendition of the Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post”, made it through? What in the world possessed her to sing that song?
    Kenzie Hall was very good but I’m not sure I’d want to listen to an entire concert of her voice. I liked Keri Lynn Roche, Savion Wright, Casey Thrasher, Dexter Roberts, and Brandy Neelly.


  15. g says:

    Of the 21 singers that Michael wanted to see more of, 7 of them were prominently featured in this episode. Given that there are 3 more episodes from Hollywood week, I say you got to see some of your favorites and you have a good chance to see the rest.

    Of the 12 singers you mentioned, 6 are in the top 31. In typical Idol fashion, they are introducing you to the producers’ favorites early. That still leaves 25 to see, so those of you who are watching. That’s still 80% of the top 31 to come.

    • JM says:

      Thanks for the spoiler (heavily sarcastic) and without a warning that it’s a SPOILER!!!

      • g says:

        And where exactly did I mention who the top 31 are? You have to do some heavy mind-reading to figure that out. OR peak at The Idol Pad. Which means you spoiled it yourself.
        BTW, there are some from the top 31 that were in this episode that Michael didn’t mention.

    • tealeaves says:

      Please no spoilers! I enjoy watching as the season unfolds.

      • g says:

        Again, I mentioned no names. But if you’re an Idol veteran you know how the game is played.

        • tealeaves says:

          I know there are places with spoilers and I avoid them. This is not one of the places I should need to avoid. Thank you for your consideration. I get that once you read spoilers it’s hard to hold your tongue, but there are others that do avoid them and want to avoid them.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            It’s ironic your name is “tealeaves”. ;-)

          • g says:

            And again, I have mentioned no names. Michael mentioned 12 singers. Any one of those 12 singers could be on that list.

            And WOULDN’T you think it strange that we’ve reached Hollywood week and they aren’t showing the top 31? When exactly did you think they would start mentioning them?

          • tealeaves says:

            lol darcy’s twin

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            “g” really didn’t mention names. There were several people we did not see tonight – Paisley VanPatten, David Oliver Willis, Tessa Kate, Jillian Jensen, Paula Hunt, Marialle Sellars and David Luning. And remember, I don’t think we saw David Cook until Group Night.

          • darcy the slutty twin says:

            There was no Group rounds during David Cook’s season and I believe we were shown his audition. Most people from that season who made top 24 were already shown on or before Hollywood week. I remember Jason Castro, Jason Yeager, Colton Berry and Garrett Haley weren’t shown before the top 24 reveal.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            I didn’t think we saw David’s audition broadcast at the time the program was on – we’ve seen it since, though.

    • With all due respect, in regards to the comment about “producer’s faves” … I think an alternative interpretation is that the producers, in editing the prerecorded rounds, are trying to include/feature as many of the singers who will make the live voting rounds as possible, which I personally think is an excellent approach. Otherwise, we end up with a few who have been featured (and therefore potentially given a chance to connect/build up fan bases) competing against singers who the voters barely know. As long as many (ideally most) are given amble screen time before the live shows, I’m fine with it.

  16. Rmd1064 says:

    If I was on the bus to the airport, I damn well would have got off ASAP and say, dammit, I am at least going to spend a few days exploring LA!

  17. Becky says:

    Cutting people quickly is cost effective. It is also a common practice in large corporations. It is done daily in the real world. And isn’t that what Hollywood week suppose to be a dose of reality.

    • g says:

      OTH, if JLo would learn to say No, they could probably cut the number of people invited to Hollywood in half.

      If this show were on a strict budget, they wouldn’t bring so many to Hollywood in the first place.

      • Sweden's finest says:

        I agree that they did send too many people through to Hollywood but it’s hardly fair to blame one judge for it. After all, it takes a yes from two judges for someone to make it to Hollywood…

  18. Del Rhea says:

    Weird question here….I’m trying to track down the name of one of the background songs as they led to commercial. It was right around the second hour or so. Very pop sounding, couldn’t determine male or female, single or group, so it might not have had words. Reminded me of Republica’s “ready to go”, but wasn’t. I know not much to go on.

    • LizzieB says:

      If you recorded the episode, you can Shazam the part where it plays ;) hopefully Ryan hasn’t dubbed over it though.

      • Del Rhea says:

        Hey, thanks for the reply. After thinking about this til my brain bleeds, I think it was Fitz and the Tantrums’ The Walker.

        • tealeaves says:

          I think you are right. At about 6 minutes into the second hour, they are playing The Walker by Fitz and the Tantrums. So that was probably the music they were playing 5-10 minutes earlier. It does sound a bit like Ready to Go, too.

    • McKenzie says:

      They played Ben Rector’s “When a Heart Breaks” as the contestants going home saw the “departure” sign for the airport. It’s a beautiful song. I don’t know if that’s what you’re looking for. If not, look him up anyway. He’s amazing!

      • Del Rhea says:

        Thanks! One of the perks of watching Idol, and actually other shows like The Voice, is that someone of a certain age–like me!–gets introduced to wonderful new songs that I otherwise might not know. I’ll check it out!

  19. Amanda says:

    There is just something about Majesty that I think is so special. There are so many amazing, talented singers on these talent shows, but rarely do I think a contestant has “it”, even when it’s contestants I love. But Majesty- there’s just something about her that screamed “she’s special” from the moment she opened her mouth at the auditions. I thought she was great again tonight.

    • tealeaves says:

      I have to agree about Majesty. I just commented above that I don’t pick favorites early on. But she has a real presence and I love her performances. At this point I will be surprised if she does not make it very far.

  20. Sara says:

    I still f***ing hate group day. Unnecessary and infuriating to watch. I would have preferred to see all the crappy auditions again rather than watch group day. Just the worst part of the audition process.

    • It’s the worst part because American Idol isn’t about groups, it’s about finding 1 singer. The judges shouldn’t put any stock into how a person does in a group with choreography, it’s never been about that. Sure the better contestants will shine no matter where you put them, but how one does with a group and how they handle drama is crazy. They only group people at this point because they still have a ton of contestants and it’s easier to see 30 or 40 groups rather than 100 solo contestants.

      • kcostell says:

        Even if they find that one singer though, he or she is going to have to work with producers, instrumentalists, songwriters, and backup singers.

        • Sara says:

          There’s a huge difference between a team and a group though. And it’s not something that will get thrown together in 24 hours. They put these people through hell by putting them in singing groups when that’s not why they’re there. They aren’t there to make it as a group, and sometimes truly good people get screwed over because of the group drama – something that is out of their control unless they’re the ones causing it. And it means some people will skate through because they happened to get a good group and the next time you see them, they’re awful. I agree, they will need to work with people, but it’s an entirely different matter.

      • tealeaves says:

        To get thru the season, they are going to have to perform in group numbers every week, work with each other, and sometimes learn one or more new songs in a week. So there is some logic to using the group round to eliminate some contestants who fall apart.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I hate to admit it but I love the whole group thing. It separates the wheat from the chaff. Some of these kids have never sung in a church choir or a high school choir. They’ve never had to sing harmony and it shows. I’m normally not a fan of drama but I LOVE the groups.

  21. JM says:

    Didn’t write down the names this time as the episode was too fast-paced. However, I’m wondering why some singers are still there (daughter of famous singer, she’s in that 2-person group who had to go wake up the girl in her hotel room). And I’m wondering where some singers are that haven’t been shown at all (like Keith Sanders).

    Favs from this episode: Kenzie, Savion, Casey, Majesty, Dexter, Alex, Austin, Keri Lynn and the guy who Harry cradled while he sang in the auditions–forgot his name.

  22. james says:

    Loved this episode! Per Blankens knows what’s up.

  23. Kaba says:

    How was this episode too fast paced for people? I thought it was great. I got tired of the 1st round taking practically the entire week and then group week taking the same useless amount of time. I just want to hear people sing, we can get “personality” in Vegas night. Right now I just want the platters I’m being served to be the best they can be musically.

  24. LeahKittyS says:

    Regarding the “Hollywood or Home” bit with the buses: I can only imagine how nerve-wracking it was for the contestants. I might have had a panic attack if I had been one of them. But that part of me that likes America’s Funniest Home Videos (the part that laughs when people get hurt doing stupid things) enjoyed it.
    Regarding the “rushed” episode: I agree, it went by really fast. And it may have been especially fast for me, since I was watching while reading other things online. But we got to see a lot of talented contenders as a result. So producers, keep doing what you’re doing.

  25. Kaba says:

    I just want. to hear. MK Nobilette serenade my ears more.
    After I found this video I’m absolutely obsessed with her:

    Can’t believe she ended up in the hollywood or home thing. But at least she made it through

  26. kcostell says:

    FYI: I believe Dexter’s song was actually The Civil Wars’ “Barton Hallow”.

  27. Timmah says:

    Love Kenzie Hall. That is all.

  28. Jim Welker says:

    Well, my 2 persons I picked out of all the singers from day one were very early auditions near the start of the season….#1, Briana Oakley…#2, Melanie Porras! I saw my fav Oakley go therough, however I never saw Porras anywhere! I Didn’t see her sing or get eliminated! I’m not sure she even showed up! She was the girl who had looked somewhat like Haley Reinhart! If anyone saw her, please let me know! Also, Jessica was a big compainer throughout the groups session! WHINE, WHINE, WHINE! I thought she was overrated to begin with!

  29. danin says:

    Off the top I loved Majesty,Cj, Rachel Rolderi(?), a couple of dark haired girls. There really are so many excellent singers& dsre I say real artists it’s gonna be tough tough tough this year if Idol doesn’t eff it up.

    • Timmah says:

      I’ve noticed too that there seems to be more of an emphasis on artistry this season rather than just people who can belt out big notes while sweating profusely. It’s a good development.

      • danin says:

        I’m thinking Harry&Keith wouldn’t have it any other way. Also think thete is a proliferation of guitars& some keyboards across race&gender to level the playing field….hopefully broaden the WGWG thing, expand America’s consciousness

      • marie says:

        It is a FABULOUS thing!!!

  30. Idol says:

    I agree!! We should ahave heard a lot more of Megan Miller!!! In the episode alone we saw her like 10 times but only heard her like once!!!

  31. SoozinCA says:

    What happened to Paisley Van Patten? Is she even there in Hollywood? She was one of my favorites during auditions and they played up her story then, but don’t think I saw her at all tonight. That’s why I hate getting interested in anyone too early,

  32. Karrah says:

    Ok, when Keith London said he chose “If I Were a Boy” for a reason, I honestly thought he was going to say he was transgender. Am I crazy?

    • marie says:

      He did make a comment about “not knowing where (people) started out,” which gave me the same thought.

      • Doug Dallas says:

        Yes exactly what I think will be a BIG surprise in the not so distant future. He looks to be possibly transgender. How stupid the judges played it when they gi t his response indicates that it’s known. Why wouldn’t they seek some clarification. And more so how convenient for them to have their focus and ours on the song choice when no one else got that kind of edit!

        • Owen says:

          As Dave Holmes said in today’s Vulture Idol recap, the producers do extensive background checks. They know and so did JLo and Harry (Holmes also noted JLo and Harry’s reaction to the song seemed at odds with their personalities).

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      IMO the judges should just be quiet and let them sing. I think it’s fine to make comments about a song being too old for a 15 year old. It’s also okay to suggest a different song, i.e., something with fewer runs, something that challenges their range a little more, something they can connect with, etc.
      I was a bit surprised by what I thought was an overreaction from Harry and J-Lo. Seriously? you’re in the entertainment business and this distracts you?

  33. Carla says:

    Was missing Jillian Jensen! Also, agree with everyone on Majesty. She doesn’t even have to TRY, she just has it all. She’s smart, poised and has one of the most pleasing voices I’ve ever heard.

  34. Justin says:

    Its funny to see the people on the AI facebook page complain about how “cruel” the Hollywood or Home Round was.

    Its good tv, and those who were sent home are alive and well today I’m sure.

  35. Justin says:

    Oh yeah, and they didn’t even show Marrialle singing tonight. Maybe she isn’t the favorite after all?

  36. Teeny Bikini says:

    It was pretty clear that the people sent home shouldn’t have been sent to Hollywood in the first place. Case in point – McKibbin’s kid is as cute as a button, but he needs a good 2 – 3 years to even become worth hearing. Michael, I never get attached until the top 10 at the very least. There is no point in that – but geez, Majesty Rose is seriously making me happy :)

  37. cmkramer87 says:

    Michael, it’s BUSES.

  38. Toffee says:

    I have a feeling Majesty would be “Bennet-ed” – in reference to Paris Bennet of Season 5. Extremely good talent who had a tendency to peak very early in the competition.

    Still not convinced about Spencer Lloyd, felt he was getting through the next round more on his “star power” than the actual strength of his vocals.

    • Mary says:

      I don’t know I actually liked him tonight, not so much his audition. Maybe it was the song, love it, we will see what he is made up of in Hollywood week.

  39. DavidSask says:

    It fn’ infuriates me that the show does NOT tell the viewer what the name of the song is they are singing and or original artist. They paid to use the song yes, but if we don’t know who it is how is this a plus?! This is proven when Keith says never heard that song I want to go download it now, which was what song?!

    • DavidSask says:

      Video Games- Lana Del Rey

    • Stormy says:

      i don’t think they are required to “clear” songs for auditions or pay royalties. Since there is no band and the performer is not a paid performer it’s equivalent to a guy in the street or on the subway singing. Again JMO.

    • JM says:

      I agree. It would be nice to know the song and artist they are singing, including if it’s an original. I love to find new artists and songs.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I believe that’s correct – they don’t have to pay royalties for songs used in audition rounds because they aren’t earning any money from the performance. It would be nice if they would flash the name of the song and the artist on the screen along with the contestant’s name, hometown, and where they auditioned. And leave it up there for more than half a second, please. Sometimes I hear a song and just can’t place it immediately.

  40. marie says:

    I mostly loved this show. Personally, I thought the pacing was perfect; didn’t feel rushed to me. Didn’t mind at all that there wasn’t much suspense in that they showed only the performances of those who advanced to groups. There are some very strong contestants this year.
    I thought it was a brilliant move to group the iffy contestants and sort through them first thing, but heck, it was a little cruel not to give them even one night to savor being in Hollywood before shuttling them right back to the airport. And it was VERY cruel to load them onto those “buses to nowhere” – hated that on the kids ‘ behalf.
    And WHAT was that nonsense about that guy’s choice to sing “If I Were a Boy”? It’s not like we haven’t ever seen contestants choose songs with – I guess you could call it “the wrong pronouns,” but even if we hadn’t, I just found the judges’ reaction in 2014 bizarre.
    And since you ask: I do NOT like Keith’s new hairstyle. Not flattering. But it’s just hair; I’ll get used to it.

  41. Pete says:

    Yes, I’m pretty sure Keirh London is transgendered from the comments he made. When he sang “Same Love” as his 2nd choice, that confirmed it for me.

  42. Pete says:

    Does Casey Thrasher’s kids have a mother? Where the heck is she through all of this?

    • Mary says:

      He could be a single father and maybe the mother is not in the picture. Sad as it is not all Mothers are meant for that role. I really don’t know just speculating, but it looks like he is a single Dad on his own.

  43. Jake says:

    I’m kinda shocked that Harry (not really jennifer) who was so bothered by the if I were a boy song, you’re right, are they not mature enough? This is not the first time that Harry was thrown by a song– he was bothered by a 16 year olds song choice.

    Group night tonight, wish it was two hours

    • Stormy says:

      I was thrown by the male singer on Downton Abbey singing “I’m Just Wild About Harry” So I can understand the judges wth reaction.

  44. waterbug says:

    Many folks hate group day, but it serves a very important purpose–Yes we want the person to have the singing chops, but this person must be able to collaborate also with others to become a star – backup singers, dancers, producers, promoters and the list goes on…if this person. I think choreography serves a purpose in an indirect way–but it should stay in the background and used to spotlight the true gem…voice and personality!

  45. Bohr says:

    There’s just too much talent on Idol this year. Maybe too much? We might have a tough time letting go of people come performance night. The performances I keep on going back to are Kenzi (who I also didn’t like during the auditions), Majesty (DUH! Top 3 at least!), Rachel (goosebumps!), Austin (gorgeous!) & Savion/CJ.

    I disagree with Neco. I thought he stepped up with Gorillas, he hit all the high notes spot on. I didn’t like his audition before. Btw, does anyone know where is David Oliver Willis? Was he cut?

    Keith’s ‘do: LOVE :)

    I also find it odd about their issue with Keith London’s song choice. Wasn’t it also during Harry’s mentor stint where he had the same discussion with Candice Glover re not changing pronouns on When I Was Your Man? I mean you don’t know what his intentions are of singing the song. Whether he’s gay or not or just telling a story, I think they should just not talk and be rude during the performance because we also couldn’t enjoy it with all their talking. That being said, he was better during Roar.

    Thank God I’m not alone about Alex Preston. I loved his audition but I didn’t get this one. People seem to like it though? However, I have to disagree about Briston. There’s just something about him. He caught my eye even during the auditions and even if his voice isn’t that pleasant, it’s unique and compelling enough for me that I want to hear more from him, like how he’s going to tackle a certain song. Like his unique rendition of Royals. Which makes it exciting. I don’t know maybe it’s just me?

  46. Majesty Rose, Caleb Johnson and Casey Thrasher were the standouts for me. Also loved Keith London’s dignified response to criticism & his subsequent choice to cover Mary Lambert.

  47. ChrissieK says:

    Please…someone refresh me on the Very First Audition we saw on the Very First start of Idol…in Detroit, beautiful black girl with guitar. I caught her for a split second last night during group (which is necessary because the top 12 or whatever will be doing group numbers once a week!) and it seems to me they are keeping her under wraps right now. Thanks for another great column Michael!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Her name was Marielle Sellars, I believe.

    • S. says:

      I’ll accuse Idol of a lot of things, but keeping Marielle Sellars to themselves ain’t one of them. She was the girl we saw in ads leading up to the show, she led off the show, then they repeated her entire audition on another show when they got to the city she actually auditioned in. She’s arguably been the most pimped contestant to date. They probably are trying to pull back a bit, but she needs to be on tv a little. They weren’t gonna show her in the Home or Hollywood round b/c she was safe with 3 yeses. If we don’t see her group perform, then things will get weird.

  48. takatomon says:

    I’m surprised Slezak! You didn’t like Scream and Shout rendition? It might not be vocally out there, but yet again it is a Britney song, but I thought put forth a very cool and charming way to the song.

    The one I seriously hated was the guy that did that “Royals” cover. Now THAT was horrible.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Briston Maroney was the one that did the “Royals” cover – Sweet Baby Jesus, that was AWFUL. I was surprised he was put through.

  49. How about we replace Megan Miller for “Contestant I Keep Seeing And Not Hearing” with Tony Foster Jr. Why don’t we ask Melinda Doolittle about Tony, because I’m 99% certain Tony’s first time in Hollywood was Season 5 or 6, and he’s appeared in probably 6 or 7 Hollywood Weeks since then. He’s easily the contestant who deserves the “Seen And Not Heard” award. For the uneducated, Tony Foster was standing next to CJ in his line.

  50. Frances says:

    I absolutely love your recaps of AI! By the way, all this talk about Jennifer Lopez has made me want to YouTube all her songs haha.