Posted: 6:15 pm Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

‘American Idol’ recap: Hollywood rounds, part 1 

By Rodney Ho

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Contestants compete in the all-new "Hollywood or Home" episode of AMERICAN IDOL XIII airing Wednesday, Feb. 5 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX BROADCASTING.

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: Contestants compete in the all-new “Hollywood or Home” episode of AMERICAN IDOL XIII airing Wednesday, Feb. 5 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX BROADCASTING.

[Ratings update: "Idol" saw a slight uptick in ratings over last Wednesday, a good sign that the show has stabilized. Last season, ratings dropped steadily throughout the season.]

The new “American Idol” producers want to get to the live shows as quickly as possible.

So that means on night one of the Hollywood rounds, we saw 212 people cut down and cut down by more than half.

They added the “Hollywood or Home” round so that almost one quarter of the contestants don’t even make it to their hotel rooms. Instead, they go from the airport to an airport hangar, where many who the judges were originally on the fence about sing for their lives.

Quite a few who received only two out of three votes in the first place are cut after proving they weren’t all that good. Among those that went meh: that sound healer Adam Roth whose singing was indeed “Radioactive” and teen Morgan Deplitch (“Roar”? More like a whimper.) Season one finalist Nikki McKibbin‘s son Tristan didn’t make the cut either. He just isn’t ready yet.

A busload of about 50 folks end up going back to LAX and a ticket back home. The smaller crew of 20 survivors on another bus go to the hotel. This includes oil field worker Eric Wood and a confident Atlanta singer Neco Starr.

About 160 total go to the hotels and survive to the next day.

This leads to the traditional solo rounds, then a bit of the group singing.

Here are bits of the solo round, including Majesty Rose York, the preschool teacher who does a very pretty Feist:

Singer-songwriter Samantha Calmes sounds great to me but is cut. Worship leader John Fox and torch singer Brandy Neelly get through.

Spencer Lloyd, another worship leader, gets a lot of airtime emoting “Say Something.”

Austin Wolfe tackles Adele and shines. Bria Anai (her last name is gone!) from Lithonia is very stylized. Jessica Meuse, too, makes the cut. Both are in. Twin Selena Moreno didn’t impress me in her initial audition and still comes across as insincere to me. Then she can’t hit a high note. So she’s out.

Sam Woolf, who was absolutely stupendous in Boston auditions, does an okay John Mayer. Harry Connick seems impressed. Keri Lynn Roche is excellent. Ayla Stackhouse from Detroit does a solid R&B but is out. Alabama crooner C.J. Harris, who is sweet, has finalist written all over him. (J. Lo gives him a standing o.) The other three are through to group.

Alex Preston is quirky, doing “Scream and Shout” and goes through, along with Jesse Roach. Madeline Patterson is given the “will she or won’t she?” test as a commercial break.

Then there’s Kenzie Hall, who does a memorable Ryan & Macklemore. She’s through for sure.

Ben Briley, the server from Indiana I saw at Atlanta auditions, has an interesting tone to his voice as he does Grace Potter. Briston Maroney opts for Lorde. Dexter Roberts, the dog trainer/farm trainer, brings some bluesy flavor, then gets Keith to play his guitar.

Rachel Rolleri sounds stupendous. HCJ is rapt. Maurice Townsend and Casey Thrasher, two dads, are up next. Maurice is all gospel. Casey goes for the heartstrings. George Lovett, Tiquila Wilson, Emily Piriz and Malcolm Allen all get a few moments and a ticket to the group round.

And the kid Munfarid Zaldi who was cradled by Harry Connick Jr.. He is entertaining to say the least, causing the judges to laugh.

Ethan Thompson and Austin Percario (Justin Bieber redux) make it through along with Munfarid.

Returnee Caleb Johnson, a rocker from North Carolina, and Stephanie Purvey from Jersey are both excellent. We also see Kristen O’Connor, who I saw in Atlanta, and she is better than I remember her from her audition. All go through.

Atlanta’s Emmanuel Zidor, a Delta ramp agent, is all personality and smiles and moves on. We have the emotive ones, Brianna Oakley and Jesse Cline, celebrate. Keith London tries Beyonce “If I Were a Boy,” which befuddles J. Lo and HCJ and were so distracted, they ask him to sing something else. He does ‘Same Love” and survives. I like the dude.

Malaya Watson hits the keyboards and soars. Jena Asciutto, the one with odd intonations, is still bracing.

Savion Wright, whose brother just died before the Hollywood auditions, does an original song in homage. He’s through, of course, along with Malaya and Jena.

The 160 are cut down to 104. Now on to group day!

Jessica Meuse of Atlanta gets annoyed by another contestant Matthew’s inability to do harmonies. Another person from her group quits. So she and Matthew seeks new homes. Emmanuel Zidel, another Atlantan, cuts loose with one group and joins another.

Then there is more of the usual drama that isn’t all that relevant to anything.

243 comments
Sam-A1
Sam-A1

It's been great seeing all these "good samaritan" stories - glad this disasterous weather even really brought out the best in most people. However, a lady who works with my sister had to abandon her car on the side of the road (a side street, not the highway) and walk home with her 2 daughters. When she went back for the car Thursday, it had been hit, and there was no note from the culprit. When she took it to the shop, they found that actually 2 different cars had run into her car, so there are 2 not very nice people floating around out there.

Enjoy the show tonight.  And fingers crossed for NO Precip tonight or tomorrow!

MercedesS
MercedesS

At doctor's appt yesterday his assistant Stacey told me about her Tuesday nightmare last week.  Even though she left work early,  it took her nine hours to drive 4 miles. She managed to get off the highway, found herself in an unknown neighborhood where good people had put up signs by their houses, offering food, shelter and the use of bathrooms.   She knocked on the door to one of the houses and was talked into spending the night. It was 18 degrees outside and she had no winter clothing. The next morning her hosts drove her the remaining miles home.  


That's Atlanta for you! 

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

My son reports that many people are leaving work early in Dallas(where it is snowing) because they don't want to be "another Atlanta".

RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

Good news: "Idol" ratings moved up last night over last Wednesday, a sign the show has finally stabilized at around 12 to 13 million. Last season, the numbers kept on dropping at this point as people got sick of the Nicki/Mariah crapola.

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Mercedes: just went back and saw your "Monuments Men" comments. Yeah - sounds good to me. Looking forward to it tomorrow afternoon or Sunday morning.

Speaking of Sunday am, Deirdre: did you happen to catch the nice, long Beatles feature last Sunday on CBS Sunday Morning? It was great - had lots of Beatles + some of the "British Invasion" groups, et al. Loved it. I'm really looking forward to Sunday night's Beatles Grammy Tribute.

zekeI
zekeI

Ridiculous show! Nothing reality about it! The most talented never wins! How absurd! No wonder TV networks are losing viewers by the millions!!!

DanJohn
DanJohn

God bless those who post spoilers! It does prepare us somewhat especially when certain contestants are portrayed in a negative light. My one complaint is I wish Idol would place contestants in groups or have them draw numbers like a lottery. Stop with all the picking and joining groups. Too much confusion IMO. A lottery IE 100 contestants and numbers 1-25 groups could create some interesting groups. The group idea anyway is to see who stands out and how cohesive they can work as a group. More than anything it gives insight into their work ethic and THEIR talent compared to those in the group. The last 15-20 minutes was mass confusion! 

Woodpappy
Woodpappy

I got locked out yesterday too.  Tried to sign in and comment but to no avail.  Glad it's all fixed now.  There really are some talented kids out there this time. It was awful the way that IDOL set magenta girl up to be the evil woman.  We will see tonight if she can overcome the "spotlight".

RodneyHo
RodneyHo moderator

The group portion helps us least when it comes to deciding who is going to really shine down the road. But it's purely for entertainment purposes. The final 20 minutes in which Jessica Meuse of Atlanta gets an absurd amount of airtime is indeed being played as the villain, so to speak, though she isn't really that bad in my mind.


DeirdreC
DeirdreC

My favorite last night by far was Cradle Boy.  The guy that Harry held in his arms during preliminary auditions.  I think his name is Munfarid.  He's featured in one of Rodney's videos above.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

See, Mercedes now has an opinion of Jessica Meuse(magenta girl) based on an edited tape of what happened.  Who knows what anyone else said to her to elicit any of her responses because Idol has picked her to be the "bad girl".  She's been set up basically to create a story....it's the same as the sob story stuff that they used to do.  

The first time they did it was the big fight between Kimberly Caldwell and the hairdresser.  Kimberly turned out to be way more talented but the audience hated her. 

Then there was the Kat McPhee(evil dark haired girl) vs Kellie Pickler(sweet innocent blonde girl).  To this day there are people who still refuse to believe(based on what Idol chose to show them)that they became best friends.

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Thanks, Deirdre. The freeze out was really weird. I was thinking "did I say something wrong and now are banned?"

I was surprised that the cute blonde guy with guitar that JLo was so taken by in the tryouts was cut - he sounded ok to me last night, better than a number of ones that were put thru. I was hoping they'd keep the "squealer dudes" out this year, but saw on get thru - boo.

The news is now saying we "could" get a mix of snow and rain - I've had enough of bad roads, so hoping very strongly that it doesn't happen.

Sure wish poor Harriett was here to see the new features of the show - I think she'd be happy that it's moving along much faster.

D: Have you anything more to report on Linny? I do hope her treatments are going very well, and she'll get back her health soon.

MercedesS
MercedesS

I'm gonna go with "magenta". Same color as fuchsia. 

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

For a good laugh, read jeniferhopez's comment just below my first post this morning.  She only comments during shows but is hilarious and kinda hits the nail on the head with these "group dramas".

MercedesS
MercedesS

Fucsia girl's biggest problem was her diva behavior - all her issues were blamed on other people. I used to think "group" was mean entertainment but it really sorts out people with poor social skills. Will be interesting to see if she makes it or not. I wrote down the names of the "Lucky 31" but forgot if Fucsia (or is it Fuchsia?) made it or not.

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Did anyone else get totally frozen out from posting on the last thread yesterday? Looks like it affected everyone, since the last post was in the am. I couldn't type a thing in here - it was really weird.

I feel really bad for the girl from ATL with the half-black/half-fucsia hair - I remember her being pretty good, and trying to find a group was not working at all last night. I hope she found one (maybe I missed if she did and they performed - I was flipping around during commercials, and came back late a couple times).

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

I loved Majesty's voice, and she is adorable to boot. Really nice seeing someone dressed and groomed beautifully, without navel rings and tats showing. I hope she goes very far, if she keeps up her lovely sound from last night.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Morning!

I actually enjoy the group sing segment of Hollywood Week.  It was just that last night, during the last 15 minutes of the show, the drama seemed trite.  Just get to the singing, I kept thinking.  I'll get to know the good singers later.  I don't want to get a prejudice built in to me by Idol.  Ex.  Jessica Meuse(girl with black and pink hair) came across as both a pain in the patooty AND someone sincerely devoted to the craft. Then there was  that horrible, horrible girl who left to use the phone, never came back, then had to be hollered awake by her two partners, the gay ramp agent and the non-descript girl with him.  Do we not already know just by those histrionics, who's in and who's out?

jeniferhopez
jeniferhopez

well i'll sleep well tonight knowing the future of our nation is left in the hands of these resilient, tough, and hard scrabble kids...sure there were some who couldn't hack it, but I mean who wouldn't be tired after 12 hours of  you know...singing... and you guys that looked like a doubletree, they couldn't even put them in a ritz?... I mean omg, it might as well be downtown Damascus...these are true heroes...bow down

MercedesS
MercedesS

I love groups!

And it was fun "hearing" everbody's opinions...

Pitchy
Pitchy

Guys, been real good hanging with all of you as usual.  Enjoy the rest of the evening and sleep tight.  In the vein of Michael Jackson's Peter Pan stance, don't let the bed bugs bite. 

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

Groups....sigh!

Tomorrow is only an hour and I think we'll all be grateful for that!

G_
G_

Once again....too many divas and not enough grit.

TheREALWearyTraveller
TheREALWearyTraveller

Night y'all...everybody stay out of the snow tomorrow :)  I need the roads clear when I get home on Friday...

G_
G_

She doesn't feel good? Producers should kick her out NOW!

Pitchy
Pitchy

When I had you to myself, I didn't want you around
Those pretty faces always made you stand out in a crowd
But someone picked you from the bunch, one glance was all it took
Now it's much too late for me to take a second look, ooh baby give me one

more chance....

easy song to learn from the 70's.

TheREALWearyTraveller
TheREALWearyTraveller

Other than the occasional surprising excellent performance, group night mcBLOWS

DanJohn
DanJohn

Terrika? Has a bad attitude

Rickster_
Rickster_

@DeirdreC What wimps! Just goes to show those high-falutin' Texas yahoos ain't man enough to spend 18 - 24 hours out in the cold!

JTesla
JTesla

@DeirdreC Forecast here is for snow, people have already commented that they don't want to be like Atlanta. Which is odd considering that year after year Portland will shut down with only an inch or two of snow.

G_
G_

@DeirdreC

The leaders in our business community need to hear that.  Primarily the governor. 

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@RodneyHo  

While the Nicki/Mariah crapola played a big part in Idol's ratings drop, the lack of any talent at all on the male side of the group smacked of obvious manipulation.  I still marvel at the people who thought it was ok as long as a wgwg didn't win. 

Add to that, the general and nearly precipitous ratings drop of most network shows and Idol had a triple play.

DanJohn
DanJohn

@RodneyHo I think the credit has to go to the producers for revamping the show. It had become a stale, boring shadow of itself the past few years. While it's had to breathe life into an old show so far the new producers have done just that. While it may not be the talk at the water cooler it could well be in the conversation.

G_
G_

@RodneyHo

I don't think it was just the Nicki/Mariah episodes (which Idol tried to promote), but the show was really getting stale. There were still millions of people that continued to watch and stick it out. 

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@RodneyHo  

That's very good news.  BBT will probably cause Idol to drop again tonight and the Olympics will certainly have an effect for the next 2 weeks but I still have hope that the good contestants and the excellent judges will bring Idol back a bit.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Sam-A1  

I have to tape the Grammy tribute because hubby is home and he would rather watch Downton.  

Rickster_
Rickster_

@zekeI And we're all a bunch of losers who need to get a life! This show is dying. It's almost pushing up the daisies.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@DanJohn  

I also like it better when Idol doesn't make picking groups a popularity contest.  People who have resisted being "personable" because they are in a competition, not a fraternity, end up getting with a group of leftovers.  

The key to group sing is to completely understand that you need to stand out.  It doesn't really matter what the others do as long as what you do is good.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@RodneyHo  

Agree.  She started out with 2 guys who were not going to make it into the semifinals.  I would have been cranky, too.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Sam-A1  

Harriett loved the "squealer dudes", Sam.  She was a real fan of the R&B singers. 

linny's treatments are rough and she has had some difficulty with the meds but she's powering through and doing ok for the moment.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Sam-A1  

Also the fushia/black haired girl found a group but we didn't see any group performances last night.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Sam-A1  

We all got frozen out, Sam, even Rodney.  He couldn't even post anything to tell us what was wrong.  A special thanks to Brian O'Shea for getting right on the problem and having the blog ready to go by the time the show started.


Pitchy
Pitchy

@DanJohn - It's evident my tv is behind all you guys.  Who doesn't freaking know the words to I Want You Back??? 

DanJohn
DanJohn

@G_ @RodneyHo The promotion of the negativity between Nicki and Mariah blew up in their faces. I think they realized too late that good chemistry attracts. Case in point The Voice although their ratings have slumped as well but not due to the mentors.  

DanJohn
DanJohn

@DeirdreC @DanJohn The way it is now I think if I were a good but not great singer I would try to join the group with mediocre singers so I would stand out. I've seen in the past where groups have imploded yet one singer survives, most often the best voice or someone who has it. Whatever IT is that the judges see. The group sing on Idol isn't some Simon Cowell concoction to proceed into the competition as a group. It's really subtraction by addition! A weeding out process.

Brian O'Shea
Brian O'Shea moderator

@DeirdreC @Sam-A1Thanks for your patience during the outage. Deirdre and Rodney get kudos for bringing the glitch to our attention.