This is when it all starts to get really exciting on American Idol. Once the contestants get to Hollywood, we see if their good auditions were a fluke, or if they really have the chops to pull this off. And this time, that applies to the judging panel just as much as it does the contestants.
There are twice as many contestants at the beginning of Hollywood week as there normally are. Jennifer Lopez believes this will separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls. Randy Jackson thinks they need to bring it hard or forget about it. Steven Tyler is anticipating the contestants begging, and is just hoping they did their homework.
The first group of ten walks out to sudden-death. They’re in or out with no feedback. In this group is Brett Loewenstern, 16, of Boca Raton, FL. He notes this could change his life today. He tells the judges he’s “shaking in my pants. I’m not going to lie.” Jennifer tells him to take a deep breath. Brett sings Let It Be, and Steven seems to be loving it. He makes it through, as does Symphony. Brett says afterward he’s been bullied, but there’s no negativity any more, and he’s just appreciative of the opportunity.
Sailing right through the process are Rachel Zevita, 23, a singer from NYC. She sings Warwick Avenue, and shows some range. Thia Megia, 15, of Mountain House, CA sings Summertime, something I think she’s too young to sing. Casey Abrams, 19, a film camp worker from Idyllwild, CA, sings Lullaby of Birdland. They all three make it through.
Victoria Huggins, 17, of Lumberton, NC, is here with her mom and is excited about everything in front of her. She ogles the mountains from her hotel room. In front of the judges, she sings My Hallelujah Song, and blasts it, but is more like an annoying 15-year-old than she was before. She doesn’t make it through. She feels special and knows North Carolina will be proud of her. She takes all eleven bags that she brought there with her back home.
James Durbin, 21, of Santa Cruz, CA, and Paris Tassin, 23, a medical assistant from New Orelans, are up next, and are both doing this to provide better lives for their kids. He notes he got laid off, and it’s been tough. She’s up first, singing My Heart Will Go On, but seems to struggle with the melody. She bit off more than she can chew. He steps up and sings Oh Darlin’, and is as fantastic as he was last night.
Lauren Alaina, 15, of Rossville, GA, is in this line as well, as is Stormi Henley, 20, former Miss Teen USA, from Crossville, TN, The latter sings Stay, with some bad breathing as she tries to belt it. Lauren sings Unchained Melody, Simon Cowell’s favorite. James, Lauren, and Paris make it through. Stormi’s headed home. She figures she didn’t have much hope, as she doesn’t have a really spectacular voice.
Chris Medina, 27, a barista/caretaker from Oak Forest, IL, is up out of the next line, and Steven asks how Julie is. That’s his fiancée who had the accident. He claims she’s getting better every day. He wants this for her and his entire family. He sings You and I Both, but struggles with the melody and pitch. Surprisingly, he makes it through. He cries afterwards and just says, “It’s awesome, Man.”
After several people mess up their words or freeze, Steven steps up and tells everyone to just sing their best song now, because it hurts the judges’ hearts for someone to sing something they can’t do anything about. They understand, being singers as well. Hollie Cavanaugh, 17, of McKinney, TX, struggled with nerves in her audition, while Jacee Badeaux, 15, of Lafayette, LA, won them over in his. Robbie Rosen, 16, of Merrick, NY, has wanted this since he was seven.
Jacee sings Broken Road with the clearest voice you’ve ever heard, but needs some help with phrasing. Robbie sings Moody’s Mood for Love, which is known as Elliott Yamin’s song in these parts. He does well with it after a a rough beginning. Hollie struggles with a high note and the melody on When I Look at You. They all made it through, with Robbie saying it’s the coolest thing he’s ever done.