Watch The ‘American Idol’ Hopefuls Sing For Their Lives During Hollywood Week [VIDEO]

February 9, 2012 10:22 am

Three weeks of auditions and a whole lot of twitching later, a total of 309 crooning hopefuls sat in the Hollywood auditorium ready to continue their efforts towards becoming the next “American Idol.

Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler had their work cut out for them– within the first round alone, they are responsible for cutting half of the singers, all of whom are talented enough to have made it this far. They tried to get the crowd pumped up– Steven even quoted The Wizard of Oz: “What makes the sphinx the 7th wonder? Courage!”– but most of the contestants were still extremely nervous. The biggest debut of the night was the Coca-Cola cup with the all-new bigger logo, shown here with Ryan:

Ryan and Coca Cola Cup


Ryan Seacrest explained that round one works as follows: ten singers at a time are on stage, and one by one they sing a song of their choice without accompaniment. Then the judges will announce who is cut and who makes it through, but won’t give any feedback.

Johnny Keyser and Hee-jun Han both had memorable auditions, but Johnny was super confident while Hee-Jun worried that he wasn’t pretty or talented enough to be in Hollywood at all. Johnny absolutely rocked, leaving Hee-Jun even more shaky than usual. He re-sang the song from his first audition (“How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” by Michael Bolton) and both the judges and the crowd went wild. “Guess who’s really pretty now?” Hee-Jun joked as he walked off the stage. Both he and Johnny will live to see another day of Hollywood week.

Vocal coach Elise Testone, second-timer Baylie Brown, and reformed bad-girl Hallie Day were all impressive and easily made it through to the next round, but none gave me goosebumps like Jen Hirsh.

Though Randy called Jen a “pro” after her first appearance in Galveston, she seemed so shaken leading up to her Hollywood debut. I was nervous that she would bomb, but her cover was one of the best vocals of the day– smooth, controlled and powerful. She was followed by Lauren Gray, St. Louis favorite. Lauren sang the same Adele song from last week, but was too in the moment to realize that Randy was signaling her to stop. Not surprisingly, both Jen and Lauren made it through this round.

Ryan shared some pitiable moments with us as girl after girl begged for a chance to just sing one more note. Luckily, Phillip Phillips’s performance came up next. The Georgia native had never flown on a plane before (“flown, but never landed”) and looked shaky without his guitar. We’ve seen instrument-dependant contestants make it far on “Idol” before, but the judges looked nervous right after Phil sang. Reed Grimm delivered a funny performance of “I’ve Got A Golden Ticket” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, in the style of Jason Mraz (did you see the resemblance?) Travis Orlando had high hopes, despite being eliminated at this point last year and then watching his home life fall apart completely. Phillip and Reed made it through with their unique performances, but perhaps Travis’ tone was too standard for the judges, because he got sent home.

Also on their way out the door were Ramiro Garcia (who was born without ears,) lovable mechanic Wolf, and the perpetually excited Jenny Shick. With 68 gone by the end of day one, the judges “only” had to let go of another 87 the next day in order to cut half of the original batch.

“I have been told that there is a large black woman trapped inside of my body,” says Adam Brock, who sang “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn at JLo’s request. Jane Carrey– who, in case you didn’t know, is Jim Carrey’s daughter– lacked the vocal control to make it through to the next round, but Adam Brock got enough yes’s to continue on.

More familiar faces rolled in. 16-year-old Shannon Magrane rocked Alicia Keys’Fallin‘” and DavidSteal Ya GirlLeathers, Jr. didn’t disappoint after his remarkable first audition. Also returning to the stage was Jessica Phillips, who is not only an amazing singer but has been strong enough to help her boyfriend heal after his stroke. All three of these superstars made it through to the next round.

DJ Erika Van Pelt rocked the house with a Pink song. Creighton Fraker brought his unique voice back to the stage and Aaron Marcellus sang his heart out for JLo and the ladies. “This is going to be good,” said Jenny from the Block. And it was!

Next up was Lauren Mink, who changed keys in the middle of her Heart solo. Despite that, she had a great sound and didn’t seem to even need the mic. Jeremy Rosado was remarkable for a 19-year-old, breezing through “Superstar” by Luther Vandross. JLo was so amped that she got “goosies.”

The night was not complete without Symone Black hitting a downfall (literally!) upon losing consciousness and falling off the stage. Symone is very young, but she’s got her stage dad cheering her on. She crooned “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay” by Otis Redding but her nerves took her overboard when the judges joked that she had called them old. Even though I knew it was coming the whole episode, it was horrible to watch the 16-year-old tumble over the edge of the stage. Her fate for continuing onto the next round has not been revealed yet. Symone’s voice is obviously amazing, so if her health is no issue I’m betting she makes it through. However, this may be a sign that younger singers are not always prepared for the emotional, mental, and physical stress of “American Idol.”

Do you hope Symone recovers and makes it through to the next round? What about Lauren Mink and Jeremy Rosado? Check back here tomorrow night for the recap of Thursday’s episode, including the famously difficult group challenge!