Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hollywood Round Part 4

Welcome Back. After last week's rather crazy, tumultuous, and all round emotional couple of rounds, tonight is the beginning of narrowing down the remaining 61 contestants.

With that being said, the contestants first stop is Las Vegas. There they will be performing hits from The Beatles. They will be grouped in pairs of 2 or 3 and be guided with some mentors. They will then immediately learn if they get to move on or are cut, and then they will sing another song to learn and perform in front of the judges to get to the Top 24. We will get to all that along the way, so as we always say, let's get to it:

Duos or Trios?: The contestants either pair up or find a group of 3 to perform a Beatles song that they randomly select via a box. Who their partner is, what their song they chose was, and how they sound will all factor into if they stay or if they go.

Rehearsals: Vocal coach Peggi Blu is all kinds of awesome. She tells the contestants how it is straight out. If the contestants don't know the song then they are done. Ken Stacey is also a vocal coach. He gets to help judges favorite Lauren Alaina. She doesn't want to disappoint and starts to breakdown during her first rehearsal. Messing up Beatles songs is not a good idea and she knows that.

Overall there are several vocal coaches but Peggi Blu stands out. She yells at the contestants and makes the 15-year-olds cry. Normally I wouldn't be a proponent of making little girls cry but they way she does it is hysterical.

Any contestant that says they don't know The Beatles(and there are quite a few) needs to be sent home right away. You can't be in the music business and not know the Beatles. It's like being a baseball player and not knowing about Babe Ruth. Singing is one thing but knowing the music business to able to survive is another.

Pre-Performance: Long time music producer/executive Jimmy Iovine is the new integral component to American Idol. He will eventually be mentoring the Top 12(or Top 10) during the competition. Tonight he will be listening to the groups with a whole bunch of other music producers and determining if they are doing a good enough job to be able to handle being in front of the judges.

Jimmy Iovine and some other producers first tell Lauren Alaina's group that she needs to choose another song. I thought they had to randomly draw from a box which song they are to perform, but maybe for judge favorite Lauren she is allowed to pick a new one.

He is brutally honest with the contestants. The only relief the contestants get is they get to see "The Beatles:Love Cirque Soleil". Now that they got a little time to get away it's time for them to bring on the judges.

How Were The Contestants?:

Day 1:

*First up is Stefano Langone and James Durbin. Durbin is a lot to take with that very high pitched voice. They both sound decent enough. The judges dig the both of them, I personally wasn't that impressed.

*MySpace contestant Karen Rodriguez and Pia Toscano are next up. I really enjoy Pia's voice, much more than Karen's. Pia's voice has a nice tone to it and stands out, Karen's not so much.

*"You can't over sing every time" Jimmy Iovine tells this to Jacob Lusk(pictured left). You might remember him putting it all out there last round and really breaking down crying after his performance. Jacob needs to learn how to balance it out a little and control his voice. Also in this group is Haley Reinhart and Naima Adedapo. We haven't seen much of Naima in a few weeks, but we now remember how good she really was. Jacob ends up doing a lot with the song and putting tons of emotion, but looks to have listened to Jimmy's advice. J.Lo loved the whole performance, Steven Tyler thought it was over the top in a good way. Randy didn't really listen to Jimmy because he tells Jacob to lay it all out there. We will see which path he chooses later on.

*Rachel Zevita's group sings "Elenor Rigby", they sounded nice. As does Lauren Turner's group. She and her group-mates sing Let it Be in a very interesting cool way.

*Tim Halperin, whom we haven't seen since his audition round teams up with Julie Zorrilla(pictured left). This was a perfect match. They both play piano and sound really well together and seperately. Tim sounds a lot better then he did during his audition. I really didn't enjoy him before, but I kind of do know.

*Jerome Bell, Lakeisha Lewis and Tatynisa Wilson sound great together. None of them were incredibly outstanding but together they sounded pretty nice. Randy wasn't impressed with Jerome, J.Lo thought Lakeisha was holding back and didn't like Tatynisa at all. Steven Tyler thought that they nailed it. Mixed reviews for sure.

*Next up is duo Kendra Chantelle and Paul McDonald. I haven't heard or seen Paul before but he has such a different voice and it's really soft and beautiful. They sounded perfect together, like they performed together before. Steven Tyler thought that Paul has been hit or miss but tonight he hit.

*We then see a mix of groups that are unnamed but there are a few identifiable people like Clint Jun Gamboa and John Wayne Schultz.

***Ashley Sullivan is getting married did ya hear? No, well maybe that's because this is American Idol and not Bridezilla or Who Wants To Be a Wife, or whatever cheesy reality wedding show. Ashley actually ends up getting married on the show. I thought this might have been a singing show but for a few minutes not so much. Good luck to the couple I guess.

Day 2:

*Thia Megia and Melinda Ademi who were "advised/scared" by Peggi Blu are next up. Peggi was not impressed after listening to the 2 of them. J.Lo thought it was cute but wasn't really impressed. Steven Tyler wasn't really either. It doesn't look too promising for the 2 of them.

*Bride Ashley Sullivan-Suraiva and Sophia Shorai are next. The wedding might be a great thing for Ashley's personal life but the professional life might have been hurt. They did not sound so great. The judges thought the performance was not up to par. I hope her honeymoon is nice because it looks like she'll have some time now to go on a little vacation.

*After failing to impress Jimmy Iovine, Lauren Alaina(pictured left), Scotty McCreery & Denise Jackson are next up. They ended up being able to change a song to a bit more peppier one. The performance itself was a little campier than I would have loved. J.Lo wasn't impressed with the song choice. They tried but it just didn't work. Their past performances will have to help them get through to the next round.

*Casey Abrams and Chris Medina also did a bit of a campier of a performance. I've like Casey before and have been lukewarm on Chris so we will see if they can get past this kind of crazy performance

*Last up is Robbie Rosen, Jordan Dorsey and Aaron Sanders. Robbie sounds fantastic, he has such a great voice, very pure. Jordan doesn't impress me too much. I feel I've heard his voice time and time again. Aaron is a new person to learn about this late in the game so for only hearing him once he sounded pretty decent. Randy thought they worked it out. J.Lo thought Jordan was below expectations. Steven Tyler thought Robbie was unbelievable.

Round 1 Results(Top 40):

**Thia Megia, Scotty McCreery, Jordan Dorsey, Ashthon Jones, Robbie Rosen and Lauren Alaina all make it through to the next round.

**White house intern Molly DeWolf, Carson Higgins, Jacob Cawley, Ashley Sullivan, Denise Jackson, Melinda Ademi are notable exits from the competition

**Other notable returnees Jacee Badeaux, Brett Lowenstern, Clint Jun Gamboa, John Wayne Shultz and many others will sing one more time.

24 Go On, 16 Home: Top 24 Revealed:

*Naima Adedapo gives the judges all the reasons in the world to move her on to the Top 24. We see a snippet of her final performance. The judges don't think she has been the most consistent and has dropped a little in their rankings but ultimately Naima makes it into the Top 24. Naima is in.

*Hollie Cavanagh's final performance was a mix bag, she definitely sounded better than her first audition though. Judges felt that she belongs despite her rough start. But she doesn't belong now, she goes home. J.Lo felt that Hollie deserved to be in the Top 24 but she might need a little more time to develop into an artist. Hollie is out.

*Lakeisha Lewis and Alex Ryan are also out.

*Karaoke host Clint Jun Gamboa has had an interesting journey. He sounded great at first but now is more notable for kicking out Jacee Badaeux from his group. His final performance was more controlled than some of his past performances so we'll see if he ends up getting through. The judges bag on Clint a little about kicking Jacee out of his group. Clint ends up making it into the Top 24. Clint is in.

*Haley Reinhart was pretty much unknown until the last day of Hollywood week, but has come on strong since then. In her final performance it proved that her string of good performances was far from over. The judges feel she is ready to move on to the next round, she makes it through. Haley is in.

*Deandre Brackensick might have only had one really good performance that the audience saw but his voice and look really make him stand out. The judges feel that Deandre was close but not close enough. He doesn't not make it in. Deandre is out.

*Paul McDonald had about 30 seconds to prove to the audience that he had a great voice and in his last performance at Beatles round he proved that his soft voice was really beautiful. But in his last performance he decided to sing an original song and dress up in a flower printed suit, risky move. The move paid off, Paul is in.

Ashthon Jones is also another latecomer. We learned of Ashthon relatively late in the process but I'm glad we did. I really enjoy her voice but it's not up to me, it's up to the judges. The judges feel Ashthon is the full package, Ashthon is in.

*Chris Medina has had quite a journey through learning of the tragic accident his fiancee had and also by seeing him have some ups and downs throughout the rounds. I don't feel Chris has a knockout voice, but the judges have liked him along the way. The judges give Chris a lot of credit for being a stand up man and being so hearfelt. But for singing purposes only Chris does not make it. One of the best decisions the judges have made so far. Chris is out.

**********We will learn the rest of the Top 24 tomorrow*********

How Were The Judges?:

I love Steven Tyler. When he kissed Chris Medina goodbye and started to break down I almost choked up. That was tough. He is so genuine. I love that guy. He is so different and is a great addition to this show. Jennifer Lopez breaking down after saying goodbye to Chris was also incredibly heartfelt. It was a real moment and this show needs more realness like that. Randy? Well I only heard him saw Dawg a dozen or so times so that's an improvement.

How Was The Show?:

*It was a long show but it ended up being very entertaining. The Beatles round provided some great performances and then learning the fate of some of the contestants tonight brought out some real emotions from the contestants and the judges. Overall the show was probably one of the best episodes of the season.

*On the other hand, after being a rather unlikeable contestant in group round, and not allowing certain contestants into his group, and then bailing on his group, Jordan Dorsey ends up trying to redeem his image. More than half of the contestants that came out of the judging room were hugged by Jordan. I'm not saying that he wasn't being genuine, but trying to rebuild your image definitely doesn't hurt. Smart idea, very smart.

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the results of the Top 24. Will J.Lo and Steven Tyler be able to get through cutting some of these contestants? Will there be any shocking cuts or will they all be pretty predictable? These questions and more will be answered here at I'dol Be The Judge. See you soon.

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