Entertainment Weekly reveals details of what we can expect in the Hollywood Round that pretty much confirms what we reported back in December.
The boys and girls auditioned separately in Hollywood–well, actually, the auditions took place at the Valley Performance Arts Center in Northridge, CA in mid-December. More at Entertainment Weekly
- The Hollywood round has 3 parts – a cappella solos, group rounds and solos with the band. “There are kids who’ve walked out of here devastated who could quite legitimately have been in the Top 10 or even more,” said producer, Ken Warwick.
- For the first time, producers chose the groups. “Voices — we [arranged the groups] with voices. We did it with the keys that they were in,” said producer, Nigel Lythgoe. “There’s one couple who share a room, and the big guy snores, and the little guy didn’t get any sleep — so we made sure we put them together.” (Pretty certain those roommates were Matheus Fernandes and Gabe Brown.)
- Each group chose it’s own song from a group of 20. “A lot of them don’t know the songs, which is really important to us,” said Nigel. “Because when you do ‘Music from the Movies,’ normally most of these kids don’t know songs from five years ago. If you’re in a part of the country where the radio stations don’t actually play that kind of music, you’re at a terrible disadvantage. So it’s fascinating.”
- During the solo round, the kids were instructed NOT to play an instrument unless it was second nature to do so.
A couple more tidbits:
- Sometimes personality and charisma were the determining factor when whittling down the girls, says Nigel, “It was tougher with the girls, who are all very strong voices,” he said. “With the boys, there were real standouts.”
- “There are kids who were not in the audition shows who are turning out to be fabulous,” said Ken. “We’re going back and telling the producers, ‘Find out where this kid was standing in the line. Find out where they were in the auditorium, in the football stadium. Dig up that footage. Let’s find out what – because we interview every kid that comes in before the judges – find out where there first interview was, what they’re about, what’s their story, is there a story? Is there not a story?”
- Also, if the judges were split on a contestant, and it’s someone with a “big story,” Nigel would jump in and fight for the person. It occasionally becomes a “casting vote” says Ken. Hm. I heard that Nigel conferred with the judges quite a bit during Hollywood. The producers have more of a say in who gets cast than they will ever let on, methinks…
- The American Idol Hollywood Rounds begin today. The guys compete this week, with a 2 hour episode tonight beginning at 8 pm and a 1 hour episode tomorrow on FOX. It’s the girls’ turn next week.
Hollywood Round Photo Gallery