This is Number Four

My DVR informed me tonight that the episode is labeled “Hollywood #4”. It’s as good a title as any, given that this round has not ever existed before, right?

I’m kinda excited, actually. The auditions and Hollywood week thus far has given me some faith in these newbie (and one oldie but goodie) judges and I feel much more confident with the fate of these contestants in the panel’s hands than in the unpredictable grasp of “America”.

All these fresh-faced Idol-ites have to do is learn a Beatles song in 24 hours and then perform it for the judges in pairs or trios. Sounds simple, right? *Facepalm* C’mon, now. Have we so quickly forgotten the drama that swarms around group aspects of this show like bees at an outdoor cafe?

And as the beginning of this debut round unfolded in front of me, the purpose of this section of the competition became clear. They’re trying to scare the snot out of each and every person on an Idol “journey” in the hopes that only those that are the best will rise to the top. Not a bad strategy, producers, not a bad strategy. And while you couldn’t pay me a thousand dollars to trade places with any one of them, a tiny seed of hope that this season will not go the path of last season (Lilly Scott! Katelyn Epperly! Alex Lambert!) began to form.

A few things:

– I’ve never seen American Idol make the vocal coaches as prominent as they were last night. I think in the past they’ve wanted us to think that the contestants did it “all on their own”. Smile.

– I was kind of appalled at the Beatles ignorance. After all, I’m no Beatles aficionado, but I know all the most popular stuff. And the fact that they were polling a very targeted group of people who want to make a career of their music? You’d think, at the very least, if they hadn’t heard a Beatles song they would lie! HELLO! (goodbye).

– How ’bout that panel that they brought in to “pre-judge” the songs? Whew. If nothing else, it underlines how serious this rebooted season is about finding true talent and not glossing over any of the harshness of the biz.

– Jacob Lusk’s vibrato makes me want to claw my eyes out.

– There’s a lot of really talented people in this round. There wasn’t nearly as much drama as I was expecting and most performances were passable (though some of the interpretations were a little…shall we say…unique?).

– I appreciated that J. Lo and SteTy disagreed at one point and neither backed down from their position.

– Ashley Sullivan is clearly certifiable! Britney Spears is her hero? For the biggest opportunity of her singing career she decides to focus on getting married? She calls her boyfriend “my precious”? RUN DAVID, RUN!

First round! Three of my favorites make it through – Lauren Alaina, Thia Megia, Robbie Rosen.

Second round! Carson Higgins leaves us. I’ll miss his personality. 😦

Third round! Sianara, Ashley! Not sorry to see you go.

And we’re off to LA! One last chance to sing. The tears will be flowing like rain in Seattle…and I’m not immune. 🙂

In the Top 24 so far:

Naima Adedapo

The good news is that if she gets cut early on, she has a future as a flamenco dancer…or at least has the outfit for it.

Clint Jun Gamboa

I’m not super excited about this ego maniac going through, but I’m guessing he won’t be around long if he continues showing that side of himself to “America”. We tend to like our winners humble and unassuming.

Haley Reinhart

Don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited that she made it through. But watching the recap of her past Hollywood performances made me wonder if she’s a bit of a mumbler. Some of the words got lost in her stylings…that could get annoying but I’m going to choose to give her the benefit of the doubt at this point.

Paul McDonald

Had a farm…If he can keep things on the edge, I think he’ll mix it up in a good way. If all the songs start to sound the same, we might have a problem on our hands. (Did anyone else notice that he kind of looks a little bit like Bradley Cooper?)

Ashton Jones

Eh. Okay. J. Lo hasn’t lead me wrong yet, so I’ll go with it.

Headed Home:

Hollie Cavanagh  – Here’s where I paused to retrieve my Kleenex box from my room. Yes, I do realize that this was the first rejected person they showed. So sue me.

Lakeisha Lewis – I felt that she deserved Ashton’s spot, but since I’d seen 3 seconds of her through the competition, I was willing to let go.

Alex Ryan – Who?

Deandre Brackensick (aka Jason Castro reboot) – I remember him from group week, but shed nary a tear when he left.

Chris Medina – Okay, How brutal was it that J. Lo had to break the news? Watching J. Lo lose it after letting Chris go made me cry crocodile tears, even though I’d been crossing my fingers that they wouldn’t put him through all episode. At one point, I looked down and saw that I had mascara from my eyes smeared all across my wrist. How did that happen? No idea.

And that’s where we left it. Ryan’s voiceover asking if J. Lo would be able to continue made me roll my eyes…of course she will. She’s a consummate professional. And it’s good that she has the in-house counseling team of SteTy and RaJax to console her…though I don’t know if they’d be my first choice for a therapy session.

Until next time, I’ll be searching for my very own Paul McDonald inspired jacket…

Haddock out!

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