About LauraBelle

Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol, February 13th – Short and … Brutal?


This is a different Hollywood week than in the past. It was two weeks previously, now it’s one. Usually during the first night, we just see the first songs of the contestants singing one by one, and then they are all brought back out and decisions are made which to keep. Yet tonight, we watched the initial individual performances, the eliminations, the group round, more eliminations, and although we didn’t see the final individual performances, we saw them broken down into three groups after, with one group going home, and the others moving on to what will most likely be that night where they all ride up in the elevator alone, take the long walk, and sit in the lonely chair facing the judges to hear their fate. And with all of that shoved into one hour tonight, I can tell you it looked absolutely brutal.

There are 172 that made it to Hollywood. Well, 173 if you count Akron Watson, but he was unceremoniously dumped for unknown reasons, and everyone is assuming it was an arrest he had a few years back for having a little pot on him. Yet, of all the people to be arrested and appear on Idol, why is he being the one not kept? Maybe there’s something much worse that Akron isn’t admitting to.

The first day of Hollywood has all the girls doing single performances, and with a rate of twice as many girls making it to Hollywood as guys, the judges have to move swiftly through all these girls today. Two of the contestants joke in the bus on the way to the auditions about the “we’re all gonna make it” mentality, saying when you have a person on your left and a person on your right, one of the three of you are going home. Honesty and not naivety is so refreshing at this point.

Jory Steinberg was the gal who had met the Queen of England, and Simon had asked why they all couldn’t be easy auditions like hers. After we saw her on TV, it came out that she had had a seven record deal with David Foster, including one that went double platinum. She’s up first tonight, and I don’t like her any better than I did the first time. We also hear from Geri Guyer, Kelly Caruso, Lisa Morrison, Christen Tiam, and Jeromishia Lemar. They line up to see who is leaving, and it turns out all of them are. So a gal with a previous record contract is gone, proving it doesn’t make it unfair for people with previous experience to appear on the show. One of the girls says she’s going to [bleeped out] her pants.

One of the most memorable contestants from the auditions was Perla from Columbia. She’s already let success get to her head, and this is after she only made it to Hollywood. She steps off the plane saying she’s “like a superstar already. Someone looks at her getting the TV camera coverage, and asks who she is, and the reply is that she doesn’t know, why doesn’t he tell her. She tells Ryan she has the “it” factor. She makes a mistake and sings Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie after saying she didn’t want to be associated with Shakira during the audition. For me, I say don’t repeat the songs, as you don’t want to give the judges anything to compare to be able to say not as good as before.

Also in this group is Army Reservist Rachel Jenkins. She’s the one who works in a body shop, and her husband is over in Iraq. She sings Unbreak My Heart, and doesn’t sound good at all today. In the group, Perla and another girl are told to step forward, while the others stay back. The ones that stepped forward are going home. Despite the fact she made it through, Perla is told by Simon that she is personality over talent. I disagree; they’re equally grating right now. Rachel says she just wanted to get as far as she could for her husband, but he’s coming home in two weeks. Perla is still smarting a little bit from Simon’s words, and says “they” think she’s a joke, but she’s not. she can’t help that she’s bubbly. Perhaps, but she could put less emphasis on that, and more on actually singing.

We saw Baylie Brown earn her trip to Hollywod las week. She’s the girl who couldn’t wait to get off the farm. She’s the only one that gets to stay out of her group. Among those that are going home out of this group are Ashlyn Carr who got to Hollywood on her second chance last week, Porcelana Patino who had trained for the audition like she was in boot camp, and Sarah Burgess who had snuck out to New York to audition. Sarah says it’s okay, as she still has the fact her parents are now proud of her. That’s really cool, but you can’t tell me she wouldn’t give her eye teeth to switch places with Baylie right now.

By 6:00 at night, there’s only one group to perform still, and it includes Nicole Turner, whose mom and aunt flew all the way out here to support her. They keep telling her to sing Ain’t No Way, but there ain’t no way she wants to sing it. She keeps saying no way to them, but once she goes in to sing, she sings it anyway. She and someone named Ashley are told to step forward, and it is them going home out of the group. She goes off the stage, devastated, asking her mom and aunt how she was supposed to put her heart into a song she wasn’t feeling. Her mom walks onto the stage, supported by her cane, to face Paula, Randy, and Simon, and explains her daughter was singing the song for her, and Nicole then stands up and says she worked so hard for the past three years, and wasn’t able to display it, just because she picked the wrong song. Paula keeps trying to make her feel better, but Simon gets up and leaves his chair, grumbling the whole way that it wasn’t just the song.

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