The “Hollywood Week” round is usually when I hear contestants for the first time, but this season I am happy that I watched the auditions. I felt a whole lot more informed, and knew what I was looking for as American Idol basically highlighted people who were originally shown during the audition episodes.
I have to say that this “sudden death” round as Ryan Seacrest referred to it this week was really underwhelming. I am feeling discouraged, because I didn’t feel like any of the contestants lived up to their initial audition.
Brett Loewenstern was fantastic during his audition, but for me there was something lacking in his performance of The Beatles’ “Let It Be.” It was good, but when you know he could be better and have more confidence, it just becomes kind of a letdown.
I was extremely surprised to learn about the elimination of Sarah Sellers. She was my personal favorite from the auditions, and I can’t believe that she’s already gone from the competition. And I really can’t stand that Idol didn’t show her “Hollywood Week” audition. If you’re going to eliminate someone who did fantastically during her initial audition, I want to know what went wrong with her follow-up audition.
This happened last season with Luke James. He had this great initial audition, and then we never heard from him again on the show. Not cool.
Moving on to contestants that I can’t believe survived the cut, two would be Chris Medina and James Durbin.
Hey Idol judges, Chris Medina isn’t that good of a singer. You can only let him ride out his sob story wave for so long. Just sayin’.
In my opinion, he wasn’t good enough to make it through to the next round. His rendition of Jason Mraz’s “You and I Both” was just not anywhere near as good as the original, nor was he up to par with most of the singers they showed. I hope the judges see the error of their ways before “Hollywood Week” is over.
During James Durbin’s initial audition, I thought he was excellent, but his performance during the first round of “Hollywood Week” was cringe-worthy. He went to hit a note in his upper register and sounded like he was screaming. I cannot believe the judges put him through.
The judges are definitely a lot nicer this season, but they need to not bring the contestant’s sob story into the equation. The contestants are supposed to be able to sing. If they can’t sing, they need to be sent home. End of story.
Jacee Badeaux did a lot better than I thought he was going to, although his song choice of Rascal Flatts’ “God Bless the Broken Road” was kind of predictable. I think this kid is so talented, but I worry about the stress and pressure from the show affecting him negatively.
The producer’s darling, Lauren Alaina, was good, although, singing the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” was pretty indulgent on her part. She’s so young, I would rather hear her sing something a little more age-appropriate. But, she’s trying to show that she can sing. Point taken, Lauren Alaina. You’re not going down without a fight.
Jackie Wilson stuck to the Aretha Franklin song from her initial audition. In the small clip they showed of her, it seemed that she gave a bit of a lackluster performance.
The former lovebirds Chelsee Oaks and Rob Bolin were both pretty good. I really like Bolin’s voice. I am intrigued about what he’ll bring to the next round.
Overall, this was a good first episode from “Hollywood Week.” I do think that the judges need to be a little bit tougher. I know that Steven Tyler got annoyed at one point during the episode last night, but Jennifer Lopez needs to embrace her inner “Jenny From the Block” a little more, separate her emotions that are tied to the sob stories, and find some legit talent. Half the reason that there were double the contestants in Hollywood this year was that the judges couldn’t say no to someone who was so-so during their first audition. It’s time to start being a little tougher.