After all these weeks of so-so auditions, there is only one thing to say about tonight being Hollywood night. FINALLY!
The point Ryan makes at the beginning of the night is that all these contestants there in Hollywood have seen all this before. They think they know what to expect, yet, the judges are about to tell them it will be different than they expected. Simon tells them that of the 164 of them, about 2/3 will be going home this week. They definitely look like the nerves are going to take over, but it’s going to be okay, as they’re getting a second shot in Hollywood this time, with no one going home the first two days. If they do well, they advance automatically to the last day. If they don’t, they’ll get another shot before then, instead of going straight home. There will be no group rounds, which I find both good and bad.
First up on this first day is Brooke White, 24, of Van Nuys, California. She’s the nanny that has never watched an R rated movie. Today she says her biggest obstacle is confidence, and was actually stunned by the competition in the rehearsals the night before. Since the contestants are allowed to play instruments this year in Hollywood, she decides to sing and play the piano to Beautiful. It doesn’t sound that great, and she has a huge clinker. For some reason she’s now from Mesa, Arizona. Simon tells her he really likes her, though, as she has potential with that whole Carly Simon/Carole King thing. Paula thinks the risk was worth it, and everyone agrees that she moves on to the final day in Hollywood.
Lorena Pinot, 28, of Miami, Florida sings Feel Like a Woman, and doesn’t do well. While Brooke wasn’t the best, she at least showed something different, but this was just karaoke. Simon calls it uncomfortable like a mom getting drunk and starting to dance.. That paints a picture, doesn’t it? And here’s our abstinence girl, the dance captain, Amy Flynn, 16, of Knoxville, Tennessee. She hits a bad note which shocks her, with Simon saying he agrees. She wants him to know it was all for him, and he understands, saying it’s a no. Leo Marlowe, 23, of Charlotte, Iowa, who referred to himself as the perfect homecoming queen really struggles, and Simon tells him he went from memorable to forgettable. It’s precisely what they’re not looking for.
Alicia Dixon, 18, of Manahawkin, New Jersey brings her guitar with her onstage, and is screaming really more than singing. Simon calls it “more like angry girl in her bedroom screaming on a guitar,” and that pretty much nails it. Michael Sanfilippo, 19, of South Barrington, Illinois, my neck of the woods, brings his guitar with him, singing When I Need You, and Simon tells him he doesn’t think the guitar did him any favors, as he sounded dreadful strumming away on it. Alyssa Coco, 16, of Penfield, New York, plays the keyboard, and Simon cuts her off, suggesting he wants to “take a big axe to that thing.” Shaun Barrowes, 27, Spanish Fork, Utah, plays some Billy Joel, and Simon tells him it was more like him bashing away on the keyboard.
Jake Mellema, 20, of Sand Lake, Michigan, plays the drums, and says he’s quite comfortable doing this, as he’s the drummer and lead singer in two bands. And wow, does this sound wedding bandish, and that’s being nice. Randy calls it just okay, kind of karaoke. Paula calls it not her favorite, and Simon lays it out, saying it was a horrible song choice, horrible presentation, and nothing redeeming other than them stopping it early. It’s a no from everyone, not surprisingly.
David Hernandez, 24, of Glendale, Arizona was nervous at his audition in San Diego, and is just as nervous here in Hollywood. He sounds the best of the night so far, using no instrument. Paula gives him one of her over-the-head-claps as he sings Love the One You’re With. Randy tells him it’s one of the first times he loved it from “note one.” Simon agrees and likes especially how comfortable he is up there. Everyone agrees that he should move on.
The Harley-riding nurse is back. Amanda Overmeyer, 22, of Mulberry, Indiana, returns, but just a week before Hollywood she was in a bad car accident, and it’s left her with cracked ribs and twelve staples in her head. She realizes now she might not always get a second chance. She sings us some Doors, and it sounds a little wedding bandish to me … until that Janis Joplin thing kicks in. Randy loves that she’s such a throwback to the 60s revival thing, and he loves it as it’s so unique, thinking that sound should make a comeback. Paula adores her, and Simon is glad she’s there. The only thing is he knows what everything is going to sound like, and he’d like her to change it up a little. She’s obviously through with three yeses.
It’s that “don’t forget the lyrics” part of the show, as everyone comes in forgetting their words. Buck Smith, 28, of Kingsland, California, forgets the lyrics to Stuck In the Middle With You. Cardin Lee McKinney 20, of Nashville, Tennessee, who wasn’t contemporary enough for the judges at her original audition, tries to cover it up with humming and riffs, but the judges catch on. Natashia Blach, 29, Fort Collins, Colorado completely blanks out and ends her lyrics with “Kill me now.”
Ghaleb Emachah, 27, Miami, Florida, the gypsy musician from Venezuela is back, and he seems to be here for the women as much as the music. He lets us know he speaks four languages, and talks about wanting people to find him sexy and attractive. He sings some Bryan Adams, but it falls short. Paula tells him she isn’t as impressed as she was the first time, and she’s hearing too much shouting. Simon wants it known it’s not the guitar that’s the problem, and compares him to a waiter picking up a guitar and playing, murdering Bryan Adams. He found it incredibly corny and terrible. Randy isn’t thrilled either, so Ghaleb isn’t moving on with this first phase. He’s only upset that he didn’t get a kiss from Paula like the last time.