American Idol Review: Hollywood or Bust!

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From Atlanta to Austin to Boston to Salt Lake City to Omaha, American Idol has traveled the country looking for the best and brightest talents the country has to offer. Now, 212 hopefuls will descend on Hollywood hoping to make it to the next round.

For some, this week is the last chance. For others, this is only the beginning. 

For one, tonight will lead to a dream come true.

Who will emerge as the frontrunners in this year's competition? Who will hear "it's the end of the road"? Let's get ready to find out!

American Idol Hollywood or Home Week

Tonight's Hollywood round is a new twist on an old competition. Contestants are ushered into an airplane hangar for what is called Hollywood or Home. 

Some of these singers will never make it to the stage to perform. Or even to the inside of a hotel room to sleep.

The judges have reviewed their audition tapes over the past weeks and need a second look at some contestants. They might make it through, or they might be sent home. 

Johnny Newcomb from Salt Lake City is the first one up. He chooses "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People for his on the spot second audition. In auditions, Harry said he didn't think Johnny's voice was really his voice. 

Connor Swetsch chooses "Let Her Go." Keith likes her artistry and Keith's comment that perhaps she needs a better song would help her. Harry calls that a persuasive argument.

Ali Jane Henderson slows Britney's "Toxic" way down. She got the comment that her first audition was "sleepy." This one is too. J.Lo loved it.

Caitlin Johnson is the first up without a guitar and she completely chokes in front of everyone. Harry says he doesn't know what they saw in her and Caitlin tells the cameras that she has really bad stage fright. Uhhh, she did know that this thing required her to get on the stage, right?

Quite a few contestants who got two out of three yes votes during their first round of auditions are totally choking. The judges all realize that these were the contestants who probably shouldn't have made it this far in the first place.

Sound healer Adam Roth does an odd rendition of "Radioactive" on a keyboard. His piano playing is terrible, but there's something interesting about his voice. Adam says he sang from his heart. J.Lo argues for him and drops some F-bombs at Harry and Keith who both want to cut Adam.

Nikki McKibben's son Tristen Langley, a second generation Idol, gets called for a second audition. He gives me goosies. I hope he sticks around.

Morgan Deplitch, whom Harry criticized for singing lyrics that were too adult, sings Sara Bareilles "Brave" for her second chance. It's not great. Stephanie Petronelli, who auditioned in her cheerleading uniform also isn't great. Neither is Rich LeFleur, whom we didn't see the first time around.

After Rich sings, Keith tells them to "commit to this moment" because it feels like they're not taking things seriously. Harry tells them to bring their A-game and that this audition, this moment right here, has to be great. Then he wishes the next contestant good luck as a hush falls over the room after the judges' scolding.

Eric Wood steps up with his guitar and takes it seriously. So does Alyssa Siebkin. Neco Starr gives it his best.

After the first day, the judges watched over 50 people sing and then called Khrisian D'avis, famous for her disappearing accent, back up to the microphone. She chooses an Adele number and doesn't impress the judges. She impresses herself though.

They release the 160 contestants who did not sing and keep the 52 who sang behind. They separate the singers into two groups, one of which is safe and one of which is not. 

Two buses wait outside the airplane hangar, 1 to the hotel and 1 to the airport. They don't know which bus is going where.

Bus 1 goes to the airport. Bus 2 goes to the next round.

The second day of Hollywood Week looks like the contest we're used to. Contestants will come out in groups of 10 and be asked to sing. Then they'll be divided and accepted or eliminated.

Majesty Rose York, who auditioned in Atlanta, says she's the next American Idol because she has the passion to represpent evertthing that is good in this world. There's something effortless about her. And throwback glamorous. I like her.

Samanta Calmes, wearer of the fanny pack, is in her group. She plays what might be an original song. It has about 5 words. John Fox from Austin is also in their group. He's unremarkable. But Brandy Neelly, who's on her second time through Hollywood week, seems a little more comfortable.

Samantha Calmes goes home while Majesty, John, and Brandy move forward.

Spencer Lloyd sits behind a keyboard. If Nicki Minaj were still a judge she would have very inappropriate yet accurate things to say about this beautiful dude. His song choice is perfect and the judges let him sing quite a bit of it before stopping him. The entire audience of contestants stand up and applaud him. He's safe.

Austin Wolfe, 17, is the next American Idol because she wants to sing in front of people who want to see her. That's...not a self-serving answer at all. She sings Adele's "Take It All." She's in love with the sound of her own voice. Bria Anai, with her sparkly lipstick, sings loud.

Selena Moreno, who auditioned with her twin sister, is there to sing for the both of them. She chokes. And then she restarts and chokes again. She takes another deep breath and chokes again. She doesn't make it through.

Jessica Meuse, Austin Wolfe, and Bria Anai advance.

Sam Woolf picks a John Mayer number that I cannot dissociate from Sanjaya Malakar no matter how hard I try. ("Waiting On the World to Change," if you were wondering.) It's not great.

Keri Lynn Roche also plays the guitar. She's okay. Ayla Stackhouse, from Chicago, has spark. C.J. Harris gets a "Hello, Baby..." from J.Lo as he walks on the stage, which prompts Harry to tease them both. He sings Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble." He does weird things with his face when he sings, but I like him.

C.J. Harris, John Martin, and Ayla Stackhouse are asked to step forward. Then C.J. is asked to step back. The back row is safe.

Alex Preston has developed his own style and that style involves completely reworking rap and R&B numbers into folksy acoustic numbers. It's fantastic.

Sydney Arterrbridge has an old voice. Jessi Roach, from Austin, is okay. Brian Watt, former football star, falls out of his performance part of the way through it.

Alex and Jessi are safe. Sydney and Brian go home.

Kenzie Hall gets the judges nodding their heads. Quaid Edwards, whose mom is a former country singer, is just okay. Kenzie advances. Quaid does not.

Ben Briley, Briston Maroney, and Dexter Roberts are up next. Ben says he's here because his wife told him to go. Briston sings Lorde and butchers it. Dexter is amazing. He has an old-school Garth vibe and then asks Keith to play his guitart. Keith obliges happily.

They all move forward.

Rachel Rolleri has a sleepy face but a crystal clear voice. Maurice Townsend and Casey Thrasher are in her group. Maurice inspires J.Lo to sing along and Casey looks like he breaks her heart while Keith mouths the lyrics with him.

The whole group goes through. 

Munfarid Zaidi, the contestant Harry cradled during his audition, sings "Proud Mary." It's dramatic and fun and he dances a little too. His dad is proud.

Ethan Thompson, from Boston, could be Phil Phillips' cousin. Austin Percario went to Hollywood and left his mom at home. The boys make it on to another round along with three other members of their group.

Returning contestant Caleb Johnson says he's ready to rock and roll. He needs to open his eyes when he sings. Stephaniy Hanvey and Kristen O'Connor are also in his group. Kristen's audition is fantastic! They make it to group round.

Emmanuel Zidor says he's ready to be American Idol because he does this better than his regular job, which is helping land airplanes at the airport which is kind of important. So I hope he was joking. (Plus his performance wasn't great.)

The judges kept him anyway.

Briana Oakley, another returning contestant, has been well served by having a year off. Jesse Cline, the gas station attendant who drove all night to get to Atlanta, impresses the judges again. The two of them make it through.

And then we get a string of terrible auditions and contestants who are going home.

Keith London sings "If I Were a Boy." But he IS a boy so the judges look at him a little weirdly. J.Lo doesn't at all like that he chose that song. He had a great reason for choosing that song, but they didn't buy it. They ask him to choose another song so he sings a little bit of "Same Love."

He makes it through despite the weird song choice and the out of tune guitar.

The final set of contestants heads to the stage. Malaya Watson, 16 year old marching band member, sits behind the keyboard and doesn't stop when the judges ask her to. Jena Asciutto also plays the keyboard and has a great voice. 

Savion Wright wrote an original song and dedicated it to his brother who died 2.5 weeks before the competition. Lyrically the song is weird until the chorus, but Savion has a great voice. They advance.

Of the 160 contestants who sang that day, only 104 remain. So now it's time for group rounds. 

Uggggghhhhhh. Group Rounds. This is my least favorite part of Idol ever. EVER. 

Ben Briley, Dexter Roberts, and Casey Thrasher buddy up quick and start jamming. Malaya Watson can't find a group.

Savion Wright's group is the first to make it in to the vocal coaches, who are seeing groups on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Jessica Meuse, Clark King, and Matthew Hamel can't find any sort of harmony at all, vocally or otherwise. They can't even remember each other's names. She's kind of mean to Matthew. He walks off and later she starts crying. She cries that she doesn't want to go back to playing gigs in bars. Matthew wants to practice but she's nowhere to be found. Clark has lost his voice and quits the competition completely. They split up and go off to find new groups.

Matthew finds a new group quickly and joins Caleb Johnson. Jessica Meuse doesn't.

Carmen Delgina finds Emmanuel Zidor, Terrica, and M.K. Nobilette around midnight. M.K., however, doesn't stick with them. She heads out on her own. So does Terrica. 

The next morning they find Terrica in her hotel room and they ask if she's going to sing with them. Since they didn't find anybody else, yeah. She is. A producer asks her if she thought she caused them any unnecessary problems by disappearing.


Okay then.

Loud and Fierce, Malaya Watson's group, falls to pieces in the dress rehearsal. They can't remember their lyrics. One group member drives some of the other girls to tears and then can't remember the lyrics herself.

Group round drama is intense and ready to commence. Tomorrow.

The "new" Hollywood or Home round felt appropriately gimmicky. Aside from having contestants sing by themselves and then loading half the people in a bus and driving them directly to the airport, nothing about that portion of the competition was different than the following day's Hollywood rounds. 

I liked the airplane hangar, though. 

Group rounds are my nemesis, but I'll save my snark about that until tomorrow. 

What did you think of tonight's American Idol? Did you like the Hollywood or Home round?


Editor Rating: 3.75 / 5.0
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Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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