Hollywood Rounds – Pt. 2

It’s become  a yearly tradition. The Top 24  is chosen in a nail-biter of an episode called  “The Green Mile”.   The nickname is derived from the long walk the kids have to take from the holding room, up the elevator and down a long hallway to the judges room.

Some refer the  Top 24 elimination episode as  the “chair episode”.  The judges are seated in  a  row with a single chair facing them.   The contestant is invited to take a seat and  learn their fate.  The  elimination  takes place  at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium during the course of what seems to be a very long day.

As each contestant meets the judges, I ask myself, “How many ways can Simon Cowell awkwardly phrase a fake-out?”   Let me count the ways:

  • “Unfortunately, you’ve made it through,  You haven’t failed…you’ve made it.”
  •  “We have decided not to exclude you.”
  • “I am sorry to tell you, sweetheart, you’re going to be seeing a lot of us, you made it through”
  • “You may be surprised…when I tell you…that you are good enough to stand at the front of the stage and you are through to the next round.”

Simon is also uncharacteristically sweet to the contestants as he lets them down or gives them good news–congratulating singers and/or  nurturing the singers with encouraging words like,  “You made it through because you are a good singer.” and “Well done.”  

Despite Simon’s kindnesses, it still  stinks for the 16 contestants who are eliminated tonight.

Sanjaya Malakar –  Sanjaya talks about his bittersweet success as he advanced to the Top 40 and his sister was cut in the rooms.   He’s a sweet kid with a sweet voice.  He sings  “Some Kind of Wonderful”  for his final audition.  However, I suspect at only 16, he’ll fold under the pressure.

Anna KearnsEliminated.  Anna can’t quite believe that her gimmick–that she’s something like 6′ 7″ tall in heels–isn’t advancing her into the Top 24.  She argues with the  judges a bit.   Simon says, quite  ironically as we shall see, that it’s about the singing, not her gimmick. Anna’s  original audition was average and  shouty.   Her elimination is no loss.

Bernard WilliamsEliminated.   Bernard was a standout when he auditioned in Birmingham.   There’s a gasp of surprise from the room when he tells the waiting auditioners that he’s cut.

Eric DavisEliminated.   Eric has a giant backstory.   For reasons, we’ll  never know, TPTB decided not to reveal his story on the show.   Eric had  spent  7 years  in prison where he found God.   He eventually  became a youth minister.   You can hear him sing “His Eye is on The Sparrow” and his testimony here.

Tami GosnellEliminated. This just ain’t right.  We caught a glimpse of Tami’s talent in last Wednesday’s “Best of the Rest” show when she displayed some  powerful blues/rock vocals.    Her elimination is just total crap.   Damn.   Listen to Tami sing her ass off here.   Sometimes I hate TPTB.

Melinda Doolittle – This was a no-brainer.   Melinda, the shy background singer,  impressed during her Memphis audition.  A clip of her singing “This is It” for  her final audition proves her audition was not a fluke.   Simon likes this girl.   He  even initiates a hug.    And, Melinda’s  new hair-do looks  great.

Brandon Rogers – Another no-brainer.   Brandon is not only a good singer, but he’s got charisma to spare.   Did anyone catch him smile at the camera during his performance of “When You Love a Woman”? ‘Nuff said.

Ryan appears in the waiting room to annoy the remaining contestants. “Look at these faces,  every single person in this room waiting for the verdict…with everyone who comes down and says ‘yes I made it’ that’s one less  spot for those waiting.”   Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Hey Ryan, how ’bout a nice giant cup of Shut the Eff Up?

Gina Glocksen –  We see clips of Gina getting cut in the rooms last year. She sings “If You Love a Woman” for her final audition.  She has more confidence and determination than vocal prowess.   When she gets the word she’s through, she exclaims, “SHUT UP!”. She breaks down in the elevator on her way back to the waiting room.  Gina is this year’s comeback kid.   With an audience from last year that’s already familiar with her, she could go far.

Jimmy McNealEliminated – He’s the good-natured, soulful singer from San Antonio that Simon called “a little Ruben” during his audition.   He’s dispatched with swiftly.

Errick JohnsonEliminated. Who is this guy? I guess we’ll never know.   I hate that there are folks who make it all the way to the Top 40 that we never, ever hear sing.

Haley Scarnato –  Simon and Randy put Haley through when she auditioned in San Antonio, despite finding her “boring”.   Her final audition does not really dispel that notion, but she is advanced anyway.   She’s very pretty, but hardly Top 12 material.   Haley will be an early casualty, I suspect.

Phil Stacey –  He’s the Memphis auditioner whose  daughter was born the day he auditioned.   His wife is a saint.  Just sayin’.  His performance of  “When You Love a Woman” is more impressive than his initial audition.   However, Phil has to just say no to  Jason Mraz-like cockeyed ball caps.   Thanks a bunch, Phil.

And now, it’s time for some FOX cross promotion!   Did you know that the Simpson’s movie will premiere July 27th, 2007?   Ya do now.   The guys got to see a preview and visit the show’s California studios during Hollywood Week.

Chris Sligh – Chris walks into the judges room and says “You guys are probably wondering why I called this meeting today.”   Hee hee!  Simon tells Chris that he’s popular, but “doesn’t have the best voice.”   Errr, is that because  he sings with some subtly rather than  oversinging horribly like so many of these contestants?   I breath a sigh of relief as Chris is told he’s made the cut.

Blake Lewis – We know that Blake can do that whole crazy human beatbox thing, but can he sing?  Since Blake advances, we’ll be finding out shortly.   However, we’ll have to wait until the Top 24 to find out.   Beyond his initial audition, we have yet to hear Blake actually sing.

Thomas LoweEliminated.   He’s the incredibly good-looking British boy-bander and Harvard grad.   He gets just enough screen-time to be told “adios” by the judges.

Rudy Cardenes –  He oversings  “Georgia” a bit for his final audition. Simon says, “I wasn’t crazy about your first audition, I thought you had an OK week for your Hollywood round…” Then we cut to the waiting room where Rudy enters, triumphant.  I guess that’s a “You suck, but we advanced you.”

Paul Kim –  Thank you Paul, for handing us snarkers this bit of useful information:  “Every time I’m on the show…I will be barefoot, no matter what…if I’m wearing a pin-stripe suit, if I”m wearing jeans…that’s my ‘thing’ from here on in…”   Gah.  The only thing worse than a stupid gimmick is one that’s self-consciously announced by the contestant. Ugh, just no.  And then, he ventures into TMI territory–“…I also got a pair of underwear that I wear on every cut day…and I haven’t got cut yet, so I still wear it every time I  get on…”  NOOOO.   He  performs “How Deep is You Love” for his final audition, and it’s filled with the kind of trite over-singing that gives AI a bad reputation.   His initial audition was much better.

Jordin Sparks – This Seattle auditioner is the daughter of football player Felipe Sparks.  That connection got Jordin through the door, I’m sure.   Randy mentions that she fell apart “kind of” during Hollywood week.  She sings a serviceable  “Some Kind of Wonderful” for her final audition and makes the cut.

Olivia Quiba-HurstEliminated.   I feel especially bad for contestants, like Olivia,  who make the Top 40/44, but then are left on the cutting room floor when the audition episodes are put together.   If they don’t make the Top 24, they can’t come back and try again.   So, we never hear them sing, and never WILL hear them sing.   At least not on Idol.

Tatiana McConnicoEliminated. Tatiana was the little girl with the great big voice from the Birmingham auditions.   She was very good.  Too bad her dad isn’t a football player.    

Monique VierasEliminated. See Quiba-Hurst, Olivia

A. J.    Tabaldo –  The fifth time is the charm for A.J.   His final audition of “If  You Come Back to Me”  displays a light-weight falsetto.   He’s one of the unpimped, and I expect that, coupled with his unremarkable talent, will  result in an  early elimination.

Stephanie Edwards – Stephanie’s final audition, “‘Til You Come Back to Me” is also unremarkable.   And, like AJ, she got no screen time during the auditions.  Count on Stephanie to be another early casualty.

Leslie  Hunt – Leslie also had very little screen time during the auditions.   However, check out her music here, here  and here. She sings in a jazzy, acoustic style that usually doesn’t make the cut on Idol.  If she fulfills the promise of her  recorded music, she could be a dark horse.  I hope so.  She  reveals her musical chops on her final audition,  “If You Come Back to Me”.

Nicholas Pedro – Nicholas vies with Gina Glocksen  for the comeback kid of Season 6.   He quit abruptly during the Hollywood Rounds Season 5.   He comes back this year and makes the cut to the Top 24.   He’s got to step it up if he’s going to make it to the Top 12.   His final audition–“To Really Love a Woman” is pretty bland.

Alaina Alexander – Alaina auditioned in LA.   She was the last chance gal.   On the verge of giving up show business, she saw Idol as her last shot.  Her vocals are average, but she is a looker, and Simon had taken an obvious shine to her during the auditions. She makes it through.  But in the end, talent always triumphs over eye candy.   She won’t make it past the first or second week. Her final audition, “I Can’t Live”  is painful.

Chris Richardson – Speaking of eye candy–Chris is a cute kid, but his final audition is horribly oversung beyond the fact that he sounds like he took a shot of helium before the audition.   Not good.   He should be an early casualty, but the ‘tween set might carry him through.

Sabrina Sloan – Another one of the unpimped.  She sings “Some Kind of Wonderful” and she’s good.   She’ll probably suffer from a lack of screen time, however.

Jerome ChismEliminated.   Never saw him, never will.   Have fun in oblivion, dude.

Joelle JamesEliminated. Ditto, poor Joelle

Matthew BucksteinEliminated. Last year’s singing cowboy, Matthew Buckstein, loses the comeback kid sweepstakes to Gina and Nicholas.  When he steps back into the waiting room, he says, “No Country this year, I guess.”   Which is true–there’s nary a country singer in the Top 24 this year.   Matthew is gone,  and unlike last year,  it’s highly unlikely he’ll return to sing on the finale.

Princess Johnson – Eliminated.   Who?

Lakisha Jones – Lakisha’s got a backstory about being a single mom that’s sure to get some mileage.  She  tells the judges  that she’ll go back to working at the bank if she’s not put through. She’s this year’s big-voiced diva, and if she continues to bring it like she did during her final audition,  “If You Come Back to Me”, she could go far.      

Nicole Tranquillo  – We see Nicole for the first time in her final audition singing “This Is it”.   Nicole, who is pretty good,  enters the land of the unpimped.   Unless she hits it out of the box in the coming weeks, she’s a goner.

Jared Cotter – Like Nicole, pretty good (his final audition is “Cupid”) but zero camera time so far will more than likely lead to a  brief Idol run.

Amy Krebs – More of the unpimped.   Poor Amy (sings “‘Til You Come Back to Me) is so nondescript, she doesn’t stand a chance.

Four contestants are left.   The last two boys and last two girls  go up the elevator and down the long hall to the judges room together to find out their respective fates.    

Marisa RhodesEliminated   We see Marisa  perform for the first and last time.   After  her final audition, Simon says “She’s the best that we’ve heard today.” And it’s a shame, because she has a killer voice.  Marisa’s audition is awesome. Marisa, already a crying mess is shocked and upset by her boot.  She should be.  If she had been advanced, she woulda been a major contender.  Maybe that’s why she’s eliminated…

And

Antonella Barba –  We see Antonella sing “‘Til You Come Back to Me” for her final audition, and she completely blows it, forgetting the words. However, she’s put though.  Why?   Because she’s young and has nice long legs?   Who knows.   But unless she steps it up in the coming weeks, she’s toast.   Lucky for Antonella, she’s had plenty of screen time and has already developed a following.  That will help her.

Tommy and Sundance take the elevator together.   Tommy goofs around–breaking up the tension.

Tommy DanielsEliminated   Tommy auditioned in Seattle.   He had a sweet, warm unusual tone.   He disappeared in Hollywood, and we aren’t shown his final audition here. Plus, TMZ revealed some past legal trouble  that TPTB may or may not have known about.  Still, the judges toot his horn, but then inexplicably  cut him.

On the other hand….

Sundance Head – Sundance revealed a strong voice in his initial audition.   In Hollywood, the suckage never seemed to stop, as we see again in a little montage here.   We don’t see his final audition.  Simon says, “You had one of the better early auditions, but you were weak through the Hollywood Rounds…”    However, just as inexplicably as Tommy’s dismissal, the judges put Sundance through.

Back in the waiting room, Sundance tells Tommy that when he makes it big, he’ll hire Tommy as a bodyguard.   FOR REAL, peeps, he actually says that. Either this crap is scripted, or Sundance is a dumb-ass as well as an eff-up.   I get this funny feeling we are all being set up to hate Sundance.  Congratulations, TPTB–it’s working.

The show ends with the traditional dance off/introduction of YOUR NEW Top 24.   Interesting–the girls dance to Katharine McPhee’s “I’m Not Ur Girl” and the boys boogie to Bo Bice’s “Vehicle”.

About mj santilli 34998 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!