After spending the last two weeks watching losers, weirdos, and people who just want to get on TV, we finally get down to business. Ryan Seacrest tells us that 172 people total made it to Hollywood, and that there were twice as many girls than guys. This group will eventually be whittled down to 12 girls and 12 guys.
It's ladies first as they took the stage on day one of the Hollywood auditions, which were held at the Orpheum Theater. I presume that the guys went off sightseeing, though surprisingly the cameras didn't follow them this time around. Darn, and I was so hoping to see the contestants putting their hands in the handprints in front of the Mann Chinese Theater, going to Beverly Hills, and splashing at the beach. NOT.
For this first round of auditions, the ladies were placed into groups of six and performed a 30-second snippet one at a time. Afterward, all six were brought out on stage and the judges told them who's in and out. Naturally, this was done in a sadistic, A Chorus Line fashion: those whom the judges told to step forward were not necessarily the ones who will make it to the next round. The ladies experienced cold, harsh reality very early on, as everyone in the first group was given the boot. Looks like dressing exactly like Paula didn't help Jory Steinberg any. Admittedly though, none of these contestants were very good. Simon called them unoriginal, and in my opinion he was right.
We soon see several more familiar faces get the chopping block. Ashlyn Carr (got a second chance), Sarah Burgess (lied to her parents), Porcelana (lost weight to get on the show), and Rachel Jenkins (soldier woman) are all gone. Oddly enough, Perla Meneses was still around, as she did her best Shakira impression for the judges. Simon told her point blank that her strength lies in her personality rather than her vocal skills. He is so spot on.
Overall, out of the 114 girls, 58 made it to the next round. So ends day one. How will the guys fare on day two?
Same as the ladies, the guys were in groups of six and performed one by one. Contrary to the girls, many familiar faces get through: Matt Sato (overly sensitive gay teen), Sundance Head (goateed son of oldies singer Roy Head), Shawn Michelle (Fidel Castro look-alike), Chris Sligh (Jack Osborne lookalike), and Phil Stacy (missed birth of child to audition). Unfortunately, Navy man Jarrod Fowler of the U.S.S. Ronald Regan did not make the cut. That's okay Jarrod, you still won Regan Idol. Overall, 34 guys were spared.
The second half of the Hollywood rounds were the infamous, dreaded, Group Auditions. Contestants form groups of three or four, pick one out of nine songs, and perform as a group. I love this round because you get to see the ugly side of many of the contestants. You see the whiners, the bitches, the slackers, and those who keep cool under pressure. Friendships are broken, enemies are made, and lots of heated arguments ensue the night of rehearsals.
Baylie Brown (blonde, teen country singer) instantly regretted teaming up with best friends Amanda and Antonella, who spent a lot of time bickering about their song choice before getting down to actually rehearsing. As someone who was put in a dorm with two girls who were friends, I totally can relate to her. In the wee hours of the night, Amanda gave up and started flirting with some of the male contestants. Antonella and Baylie went to bed. Meanwhile, returnee Gina Glockson (rocker chick with a Simon crush) teamed up with Perla, and two other girls I don't know. Gina and co. were concerned that Perla was not hitting the right notes. Perla is not surprisingly frustrated and tension arises between her and them.
After spending nearly all night practicing, the contestants face the judges. Simon sternly warned all of them not to forget the lyrics, or they get the shaft. True to his words, those who caught a brain fart onstage are shown the door. Matt and Baylie were given their walking papers. Oddly enough, Amanda also forgot some of the words but was spared for some reason. Baylie was of course upset since she actually worked hard during rehearsals while Amanda left to flirt with guys. Amanda actually had the gall to comment that "God allowed only good people" to go through. Man, I wanted to see this little bitch go down in flames after she said that.
Naturally, there were also people who were cut because they just weren't good enough. Perla easily was the weakest link in her group and was shown the door, as was Shawn. The Idol stylists must be disappointed that they won't be able to give him a makeover. Paula gave Sundance a pass, though Simon tells her, "You were too generous to that guy." Indeed, even Sundance commented to the cameras that he hasn't brought his A-game so far.
The Group Auditions whittle down the number of contestants to 56. Of this number, 40 were chosen to fight another day. The contestants were separated into three groups and told to wait in different rooms. Room 1 contained cool people like Chris and Gina, so I wasn't too surprised that they had made it. Room 2 contained Sanjaya Malakar (Indian sibling #1) and Antonella, while Room 3 contained Sanjaya's sister Shyamali (Indian sibling #2) and Amanda. Man, it was like Sophie's Choice. Room 2 made it, but Antonella and Sanjaya don't celebrate. Hehe, so I guess God does allow only good people through the next round, eh Amanda?
The butchering continues tomorrow night as the judges make their final decisions on the Top 24.