Idol Recap: Hollywood You Rather

American Idol Cancelled

You can’t love ’em all — or, wait, can you?

American Idol‘s Season 14 Hollywood Week kicked off with what the great philosopher Fergie refers to as “that boom-boom-pow.” Seriously, the one-hour installment featured so many triumphant vocal performances I felt like my TV set should’ve been perched atop Katy Perry’s mechanical lion and marching into wherever it was they held the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Sure, standout auditioner Tara Honda was sent to the guillotine without so much as a trial in the court of public opinion — in other words, she got cut without us getting to hear a single note — and producers once again pressed “mute” on multi-season hopeful David Oliver Willis. But if I’m only registering two “Aw Hell Nos!” over the course of 60 minutes, you know something’s going right in The House That Still Owes Apologies to Mishavonna Henson and Lisa Leuschner. #NeverForget #ShouldaBeenWildCards

I’ll let you pause for a second while you ponder me serving you an Idol recap without a side order of delicious BMC sauce (that’s “bitch, moan and complain,” and yes, it’s only 60 calories per tablespoon). In the interim, I’ll give you my rundown of the best and worst of Season 14 Hollywood Week — Episode 1.

1. Jax’s cover of “Toxic” | Unlike so many twee acoustic rearrangements, this piano-driven cover twisted the Britney track’s tempo into a pretzel, and rendered it utterly hypnotic.

2. Savion Wright’s “Get Lucky” | The returning contestant’s acoustic reimagining of the ubiquitous dance track was delivered with deeply soulful vocals and serious rock-star swagger. Yes, the extra year of experience did the man some good!

3. Producers eschewing Season 13’s hideous “Airport Hangar of Doom” — and instead front-loading Round 1 of Hollywood Week with encores from the judges’ 38 most memorable auditioners. THIS is how you engage your audience! Maybe the live shows will stop saving all the best for last, too?

FM1_5108_hires14. Garrett Miles’ “To Make You Feel My Love” | This confident blind fella didn’t reinvent the wheel — or his Bob Dylan ditty — but his sweet, straightforward vocal was a refreshing reminder that sometimes less can be more.

5. Jaq Mackenzie’s “Cool Kids” | I didn’t love love love her audition, but this cooler-than-any-of-us-were-at-her-age 15-year-old brought a lovely nuance to her jam — and proved she can belt when it’s needed, too.

6. Adam Lasher’s “Wicked Game” | There’s something about this gruff guitarist’s tone that reminds me of the late, great Michael Johns.

7. Tyanna Jones’ “Dance With Me Tonight” | Nope, it wasn’t pitch-perfect, but Tyanna’s Olly Murs jam was so packed with personality, it almost spilled out the seams!

1. Adam Ezegelian’s “Demons” | J.Lo chalked up his pitch problems to nervousness, but how is this dude going to be any more relaxed when he’s singing live for 12 million viewer votes?

2. Michael Simeon’s “Warrior” | Kid who danced with J.Lo at his audition put way too much “breathy boy band effect” on his Demi Lovato cover. I can’t go for that — no can do.

3. Hollywood Anderson’s “Someone Like You” | Dude, where’s Adele’s melody!? As J.Lo noted, this is how you throw away a spot in the Top 24.

4. Shannon Berthiaume’s “Sir Duke” | OK, her home number is probably 1-800-Blu-Eyed-Soul, but she doesn’t know the meaning of restraint — and she botched her lyrics, too. I stand by my audition round assertion that girl needs another two years of seasoning before she’s ready to be thrown on the Idol grill.

1. Sal Valentinetti inviting J.Lo to his hotel room | Yes, she’s starring in a movie where she has an affair with a teenage boy, but that is fiction. In real life, it’s 2014, and Ms. Lopez shouldn’t have to smile politely as some hormonal goon invites her to his hotel room and tells her he’s turned on by Latinas. That shoulda been an automatic DQ, not the basis for an entire “boy contestants are hot for J.Lo” segment!

2. Trevor Douglas, “I See Fire” | Bespectacled teenager seems like a nice kid, but I fear I’ll be biting the inside of my cheek to distract myself from his drama-club theatrics for the next three months.

3. Cat Girl gets through, but Tara Honda is cut — and we don’t hear any singing evidence as to why? Plus, we get more David Oliver Willis glimpses without ANY singing? Blerg!

That’s my take on Hollywood Week, Night One. How about you? Sound off with your raves and rants below, and keep following me on Twitter for all my Idol recaps, news, interviews and exclusives!

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. Gailer says:

    Am I crazy or is idol pretty good this season? I like it!

  2. Mike says:

    So happy for Jax & Savion!

    • says:

      I loved Savion last year, but this season he sounds better, looks better and is much more confident. I think Jaq is easily the best female artist on the show. There is great talent but she is at the top.

  3. Wesley says:

    Wait….so Trevor is the worst of the night?!?! I’m sorry???? Michael c’mon now, you know that’s some bull.

    • Kate says:

      A-gree. His was the one call back that had me saying day-um dude you are good. Really looking fwd to seeing him again.

    • S. says:

      Trevor started rough but he’s gonna rock this. One of the better ones tonight.

    • sg54 says:

      I agree! I feel like he’s a great young one!

    • MA says:

      Right?! He was great!

    • Kelli says:

      Exactly. I like that I’m seeing a couple young kids with some spunk and personality with the vocals to back it up. Not perfect no but can definitely grow.

    • Ben says:

      Completely agree. Trevor was fantastic. Loved his performance.

    • will says:

      Agreed! I loved Trevor’s performance, and it was so musically interesting. I detected vocal hints of Angie Miller on that, especially in his fi-i-i-i-ire modulating, and I loooved me some Angie Miller so that’s a great thing for me!

      Also, shout out to Erica Washington since Michael didn’t give her one. She didn’t reinvent Girl on Fire but man she’s got such a clear tone and a great belt range. I hope she can be more creative with her song choices and stand out like Candice did, because she’s got some real potential

    • He got me at the Flamenco guitar chords. Yes, I’m old but me likey

  4. Chris says:

    My thoughts:
    Jax- Not only did my favorite make
    it through, but she nailed her song.
    Savion- Don’t love the song, but totally love him.
    Shannon- Yikes!
    Trever- Oversung & not really good
    Garret- (*yawn)
    Joey- Potential dark horse
    Amber- Lover her, but not her voice
    I would have also loved to hear Sarina Joi Crowe, David Oliver Willis, & Maddie Walker

  5. Have A Nice Day says:

    I have to say, I disagree with the assessment on Trevor Douglas. Yes it was pretty dramatic, but he carried it with flair in my opinion, part of the charm in my opinion. And no mention of Erica Washington turning in another triumphant vocal?! Shame Michael. SHAME! :)

    • darcy's evil twin says:


    • LG says:

      Trevor was fantastic! Michael must have been distracted by his Haley R. CD. I don’t get the love for Tyanna. She sang a straight forward pop song in several different keys, and was pitchy.

    • Jill Moy says:


      Made mistake….pee pants and toilet boy same person! I meant J I the diaper but! She was so overrated! Well hopefully one of mine will win or be runner up like every year! Season 6 I had Melinda winning, Sparks second. First time my top person didn’t make top 2! Melinda was robbed for sure. She, I feel was best Idol singer ever. People held he looks against her, saying she looked like Shrek, etc., etc. She can sing. When is she gonna appear on A I to perform?

    • will says:

      You voiced my exact thoughts!

  6. danin says:

    Mannn,I don’t like that too cool for school 15 year old,Jaq or whatever her name is.I don’t like her attitude. And I did like the girl w/the bluesy voice who forgt her words.At least she didn’t flip the f out like that last “I’mma win this whole thing&this is why ” girl Hahaha.And I thought Trevor was one of the best.And who is cat girl?

  7. ben says:

    So did Daniel Seavey make it throug? He is the young kid who sang Halleluia

    • Chris says:

      They didn’t air him, so we don’t know.

    • Temperance says:

      They didn’t show him, but he’s the third solo from the Top 24 video, so…

      • deedee says:

        Another spoiler for those of us trying to avoid them? Thanks!

        • Temperance says:

          Then don’t read a spoiler site. Besides, I’m guessing from the video.

          • deedee says:

            I’m not reading the spoiler site, I’m reading you. You keep telling us who you saw in the Top 24 video. Please stop – it’s bad form and just plain d-baggery.

          • Ben says:

            The show opened it’s entire run with a video of the top 24. I don’t agree that it is spoilers to speculate on who the people in that video were. I haven’t looked at the spoilers, but I do know who a few in the top 24 are from paying attention to the first three minutes of the season.

          • Temperance says:

            Wow, another boring year of deedee being her usual lame. Sorry, chickie, not happening. And this is a spoiler site – the Top 24 video aired, and discussing guesses of who was in the video is totally fair game.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Please – no spoilers.

        • Temperance says:

          Guesses aren’t spoilers, and this is a spoiler site. Don’t read along if you don’t want spoilers, because here be dragons.

          • Kate says:

            This is NOT a spoiler site, Temperance. You are completely mistaken. This is a recap/TV news site. You’re clearly new.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Thank you Kate. If this were a spoiler site Mr. Slezak would have announced the Top 24 long ago. So, you folks with your spoiler news – can it!

          • Temperance says:

            Yes, it is… in fact, it was founded on Ausiello’s spoiler column. And the top 24 aired, so guesses as to who is in the top 24 based on that are totally fair game. So, not my problem and not going to stop. (Oh, and I’ve been here since week one, so that’s a non-starter, Kate.)

        • Jomarch says:

          It’s a recap article; it’s nothing but spoilers. I don’t get your comment at all. Unless someone works for the show or is a psychic, commenting on the recap is not a spoiler. Look up the word.

        • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

          If there’s an issue with someone blatantly posting unlabeled spoilers in comments, please drop us a note at the CONTACT US link below, and we’ll investigate/take action as warranted. The posting habits of the one or the few should not disrupt the enjoyment of the many. Thank you!

  8. Bob Bobby says:

    You guys do NOT like Tyanna, she is wonderful!!!!

    • Chris says:

      Personally, I loved her, but I think she could use a few more years, but that’s just me.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      What I like about Tyanna is she’s just a good old fashioned singer. yes, she’s a little rough around the edges, but so was Carrie Underwood.
      There are no weird affectations in Tyana’s voice. That’s the problem I have with Jax. I’m kind of over that sound. People keep saying she’s unique – but it seems like there are a lot of these young singers that have that sound. It started with Natalie Maines and has continued.

      • deedee says:

        Thank you, DET! I can’t stand Jax’s affectations and pretentiousness. Tyanna is a breath of fresh air, even if not a perfect singer.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Whew, thanks deedee. I was preparing to get flamed!

          • deedee says:

            Glad I have one ally. Seems like the whole Idolverse is mesmerized by Jax for some reason. It’s gonna be you and me against the world, DET.

        • B says:

          I agree. I’m not keen on her at all. Everyone is in love with her. I don’t get it. She and Qisaam (spelling) are equally annoying and bad on my ears.

  9. TrueConfessions says:

    Awww so where was Rayvon Owens?? – I just bought his single “sweatshirt” on iTunes – so good!!

  10. Runner says:

    Michael, Trevor was dope.

  11. MAB says:

    This was so much better than the first episode of Hollywood week last year. It set the tone on a downer right from the start. I really loved Jax. She is unique and not you carbon copy singer. I think she is someone to watch.

    • Temperance says:

      I’m pretty certain that she’s the fourth solo from the Top 24 video.

      • deedee says:

        Thanks again, Temperance! You’re on a roll!

        • Temperance says:

          Hopefully, yes (because I’m guessing). Be prepared for more, since you’re on a spoiler site!

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Temperance, I hope Mr. Slezak and TV Line remove you from this site. It is NOT a spoiler site!

          • deedee says:

            Temperence, you’ve been posting here for years and know better than that.

          • I an just going to say that this year those stupid spoilers were up the first week it aired and I accidently ran across them. So I dont think its is anyones fault. Also they basically showed that film of the top 24 in the beginning and gave it all away! You would have to be blind not to recognize 3 or 4 of them in that performance. You can tell by certain hair on contestants and some of their “size”. Come on, so dont get mad at some of these people who are talking about it. Maybe we should all be mad at spoilers listed WAY too early and showing that performance too early also. Also contestants are already tweeting on social media if they made it. I dont remember these spoiler things last year, especially this early in the show!

          • Mr Slezak even said on reality check that he had heard it could be Daniel seen in the top 24 performance film.

          • Ben says:

            For goodness sake – anyone who says TVLine isn’t a spoiler site clearly only comes here for idol. It spoils things all the time. But despite that, temperance is talking about what HAS aired on the show. That means speculation on that video is not a spoiler. If you have an issue with idol playing that top 24 video at the top of the season, take it out on idol not temperance.

          • Puchinsmom says:

            Please just preface your guesses with a spoiler alert note so we can skip over if we want. There seems to be enough of us who politely are asking not to discuss this stuff. It seems there is a difference of opinion on what is right for the site. So can’t we compromise and put a warning on those comments that will spoil things for some of us?

          • deedee says:

            Ok, Ben, that’s fine. I’ve been reading here for years (yes, only Idol stuff during the season), and have never noticed it to be a spoiler site. But now that I’ve been informed that is acceptable to discuss spoilers, I will just try to be careful and skip over all of Temperence’s and Calebswackofan’s posts because they seem to be the ones who most enjoy revealing who makes it past Hollywood week.

          • Ben I am agreeing with Temperance because it is no ones fault that we are getting the information very early on. So I dont know if you were responding to me, but I even said that people should not be mad at anyone.

          • Temperance says:

            Oh, deedee, one could only hope that you do that this year! It’d be an improvement from the half-million anti-Phillip Phillips posts…

          • Temperance says:

            caleb – Exactly. Not only was the previewed aired (which is sufficient), but Slezak brought up guesses in the video. It’s fair game.

  12. Z says:

    Alex & Sierra did a much better cover of Toxic on X-factor did a lot better

  13. Lynn Venhaus says:

    You always make my Idol night, Michael Slezak!

  14. MA says:

    I thought Hollywood Anderson was fantastic!

  15. Mike says:

    Did I miss something? Didn’t they look like they likeed Priscilla? I know I did. Still confused on some of their decisions.

  16. Puchinsmom says:

    I really was impressed with the talent tonight. Here’s another vote for Trevor. He’s a bit manic, but I think he’s talented. I love Adam too. He’s one of my favorites. And I hope Tyanna can hold it together because she’s just a joy to watch. Please Temperance and whoever else, stop giving us the top 24! Or at least label it with a spoiler sign. I like to be surprised.

  17. JMay says:

    Michael, didn’t you just say something in Reality Check about Tara Honda getting cut without us hearing so much as a note from her? I think you have been watching this show too long.

  18. Kaba says:

    Liked shannon, aside from botched lyrics it’s not like she really did anything wrong and quite honestly she was better than plenty of Hollywood solos we’ve seen in the past.
    Duh Trevors stage presence, his voice will definitely be an acquired taste, but I dig.
    Love me some Tyana, I heard you equated her to Malaya, we’ve had strong teenagers before Malaya plenty of times, just because she didn’t do amazingly doesn’t sound fair to assess all teenagers based on last seasons scale.
    Jax, loved it. Probably my favorite performance of Toxic I’ve seen.
    String so far, nobody I thoroughly dislike… Or care about enough to dislike. Shannons tone makes me want her to be awesome.

  19. Simon says:

    I don’t know what you were smoking, but Trevor was easily my favorite performance of the night. He definitely just jumped to the top of my list with Savion, Tyanna, Jax, and Clark Beckham (even though we didn’t see him tonight).

    Jax is my favorite female voice this year, but I’m not loving her interpretations of songs. She played the wrong chords in both of her performances so far, and in some spots it didn’t work at all with the melody. I’ll bet you guys anything Harry is gonna call her out on that at some point.

  20. Timmah says:

    I think Jaq Mackenzie is the one that needs to come back in a few years, not Shannon. She just screams of someone who is totally polished but has zero emotional depth. Go back and get some life experience, kid, and stay away from Fame school. But my early candidate for contestant who is going to annoy me the most is Michael Simeon, hands down.

  21. Tom22 says:

    I like Shannon too. Reminds me of Elizabeth McGoverns character in the Hunger games. It’s boring as heck watching people not willing to show some spine on stage. It might be petty but I don’t like watching guys with no-chins either.

    We need less plain and polite people on Idol and more cocky people with deviant personalities most artists have. (ok that was an overstatement but my essays conveying how that relates to San Francisco attitudes and free spirits keeps getting lost when I try to post it)

  22. Kate says:

    Michael, perhaps if you loved Garrett — perhaps one glass Sauv Blanc too many? He was out of tune and dull. Please no CJ Harris Part Deux.

  23. darcy's evil twin says:

    So THAT’s what Hollywood was singing! Someone Like You. I looked at my husband and said “I have no idea what song that was”. I felt the same way about Adam Lasher’s “Wicked Game”, although it was slightly more recognizable.
    Mr. Slezak I can’t believe you didn’t mention Erica’s performance. She was quite good. And I enjoyed Trevor Douglas. He reminded me of Buddy Holly.
    The girl from the Hard Side of Memphis should have been sent packing, and so should Adam, the guy that sang “Demons”.
    nevermind Shannon Berthlaume forgetting the words – you couldn’t understand her anyway.

    • Colton Smith says:

      there is couple of examples of great contestants who were nervous at the begining but the judges give them a chance based on potential which turn out to be right, like who i can think of – haley reinhart
      so i think adam and shanon definately deserved to go through
      both have great voices, shannon has a potential ,she’s only 16.17 and she could
      learn to restrain

  24. Tanya says:

    That whole boys wanting JLo’s phone number segment was just plain creepy. Show some respect children! She’s a judge, not a piece of meat. Despite what her Booty music video says.

  25. Bohr says:

    Umm, I think we’re hearing & seeing different things because Trevor was actually my favorite performance of the night. Oh and your Reality Check premonition on (my) Tara Honda (don’t) totally came true. lol.

  26. Pete says:

    Thanks for the Lisa Leuscher comment. Still haven’t gotten over that. Be right back…have to watch “Sweet Thing” onYouTube now.

  27. Who do think will be eliminated today? I DON’T want it to be Loren, Clark, Cody, Piper, Naomi, Or Hunter!!! :)

  28. Harry_Wild says:

    I caught Wednesday episode of Hollywood screening with 200 contestants while channel surfing and watch the hour long show! I was an A.I. fanatic back in 2002-2009. This episode left me wanting A.I. to get canceled. I looks to me that it pretty heavily scripted and has a lot of post production in the episode. The singers were not as good as I remember “The Voice” contestants and the older A.I. had more entertainment value then the scripted A.I.

    I just hope Fox make this the last season! Ugh!

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      You want Fox to cancel the show because you didn’t like what you saw?
      Makes total sense.

    • deedee says:

      Or you can invest in a good remote control!

    • Tom22 says:

      A show that almost exclusively was focused on singing would be the last episode I would call scripted. Unless you mean having a series of singers scripted… as in planned?. Comment makes no sense in regards to this epsisode. As the others have said too, what would possibly motivate you to call for a cancelation of a show instead of watching something else ? Bitterness and a desire not to have people enjoy what you don’t enjoy?

    • HTGR says:

      yeah it has gone from somewhat scripted to uber over the top scripted ever since the 2011 season. It really got to be pretty sickening. And they really haven’t reigned it in much since then even though ever since the debacle of the filthy machinations of S10 the ratings have been on a straight downward spiral. I’ve skipped at least half of every season since then and even what you do watch is best on DVR so you can at least past a lot of it. There is still some cool stuff, but you really have to try to keep in mind to not take anything they say or how they plot it out seriously in the least since it’s 80% fake and manipulated.

  29. Jen says:

    Hollywood (Anderson) disappointed me. J Lo was right. He will not break the top 24 if he reinvents the melody to every song.

  30. Jess says:

    I liked how they had all of the stand outs sing, let the others know that they need to step up, and didn’t cut anyone in the 1st half. So far my fav. is Adam Lasher. Jax is good also. So happy we are in Hollywood Week :)

  31. dan the critic says:

    Jax & Jaq – both great. Let’s see what young Daniel does tonight.

  32. rick says:

    This program is such a waste of time. It should have been cancelled five years ago. Urban and Connick are so-so and Lopez is a loud, cackling, giggling moron. Bring back Cowell, Jackson and Abdul.

    • Tom22 says:

      I couldn’t tolerate Cowel Jackson and Abdul .. and Kara. The just mumbled praise or score without any information beyon. Karioke was about the most useful they got.. nothing on phrasing or pocket etc.. stuff that described actual features of the performance and where a contestant could work to improve. None of them were great singers.. I’m not sure Randy is a great versatile musician either. These judges are far far better and I don’t need a fast forward button to get by snide remarks.. gushy praise or inane stuff like “you’re in the dawg pound”

  33. I was watching this last night and my boyfriend who never watches the show walked in. Trevor came on and he proclaimed him the winner based on song choice. The last time he proclaimed a winner was David Cook based again on song choice. For me, I thought this crop of contestants sounded great but will need to wait to the live shows to pick a favorite.

  34. Lyn Jensen says:

    The cutting of Jacob (they didn’t even bother to tell us his last name, which is Tolliver) was the “H*ll No!” moment of the night. We didn’t get to hear him sing–so we don’t know if he had a bad round–but the judges have been lenient with bad rounds. Why not with him? Was J-Lo too too distracted by the “hot for J-Lo” guys in the line?

  35. deedee says:

    None of my comments are going through no matter where I try to post. Very frustrating.

    • deedee says:

      Ok, my above comment ^ ^ made it. No idea why suddenly – after trying to post some version of a comment at least a dozen times – the above one went through. Trying to have a flowing conversation in this comments system is impossible.

      • Jaszy says:

        Yeah, it’s definitely annoying. I find it easier to post shorter comments, like this one. Even still, it works only 30% of the time.

  36. LeahKittyS says:

    Sorry I’m a little late, I had a meeting last night and just watched the episode now. I agree with most of your rankings (Jax! Savion! Tyanna! No stupid airplane hangar!) and appreciate the new approach: more talent, less drama. I disagree with your disapproval, however. Hollywood rubbed me the wrong way, but I liked the others you ranked down there. Also, I have a soft spot for Trevor because that’s my boyfriend’s name and he’s also a science geek and he sang the Ed Sheeran song from “The Hobbit.” That song, when sung in tune and with feeling, is the key to my heart.
    P.S. I knew you were gonna do it at some point, but why, why did you have to invoke America’s first fallen Idol? #ImStillNotOverIt #ItsGonnaBeAWhile #RIPMichaelJohns

  37. Leticia Prado says:

    Right now, just herem, chilling and rooting for Trevor Douglas and Adam Lasher.

  38. JON says:

    I really liked the I See Fire performance!

  39. Jaszy says:

    Maddy Hudson reminds me so much of the character Jade (Liz Gillies) from the late Victorious series; however, as opposed to “Jade” Maddy seems more affable.

  40. Rainy says:

    Trevor was literally the only one that made me smile, so I have no idea what you’re on. He was great. There were others that were good, but he was the one that made me sit up and go ‘waaaaait a minute’. I’d enjoy him in the live shows.

  41. Tyler Kohrs says:

    My critique on Trevor Douglas was pretty much the same as yours, however I actually liked the beginning before he had an absolute spazz attack on stage. I give him the good comment also of his guitar skills which I personally liked, but I just think if he can hold some of himself back it could be good. I just think he needs to learn control especially over his voice. If you go back and watch his Youtube stuff, some of it is really good, but then there are some where it was a version of what he did in Hollywood week. So I think he just needs also consistency

  42. Jared says:

    I was JUST thinking of Lisa Leuschner the other day. I love how you Never Forget her Michael!

  43. T says:

    I really am looking forward to watching Adam. Haven’t liked anyone this much since David Cook and he was my #1 favorite of all time. In one article they called him Cougar Bait- have to laugh because it hit close to home :-)

  44. HTGR says:

    other than sliding someone up or down a spot or two, agree on all points

    (note on Trevor, I didn’t see that Slezak bashed his singing any (although perhaps there was the omission to point out that it was actually surprising good), but something about his act is a bit tough to take, singing was really good though)