alycewilson (alycewilson) wrote,

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The Final Cut

In the next stage of Hollywood Week, the 71 remaining hopefuls took the stage one final time to prove themselves. Afterwards, they were split into three rooms by the judges, to learn their fate. As the show began, we saw them waiting in those rooms, and then we got to see glimpses of their performances.

Jessica Furney auditions

Jessica Furney

Angela Martin, whose mother went missing right before Hollywood week, sang a jazzy number version of "American Boy," wearing a one-shoulder blouse with brown batik designs. She seemed very confident and owned the stage, although she fell apart a little on the chorus, right as Simon Cowell cut her off.

Casey James, who had done well on group day despite being nervous about dancing, sang Colbie Cailat's "Bubbly" while playing guitar. He still seemed a little nervous, but it was a good song for his voice.

Jermaine Purifoy, who had stood out at the Orlando auditions, sang the funk standard, "Brickhouse" by the Commodores. At first, this seemed like an odd choice, but he made it sound contemporary.

Room by room, we saw some highlights of the final performances, starting with Room 1.

Jermaine Sellers made a bad song choice with Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror." Wearing a black fedora and baggy jeans, he struggled to sing the song, which was out of his range. In addition, he had his eyes closed the whole time, which is really poor stage technique. And to cap it off, at the end he blamed the band for continuing to play the end of the song, even though he'd cut it out in the rehearsal! This clearly irritated judge Kara DioGuardi.

Siobhan Magnus, who had been told by judge Ellen DeGeneres early in the week, "You're 19, you seem very, very heavy and serious," decided to find the fun. Wearing gray legwarmers, a silky ruffled dress, and a jean vest, she let loose on "In The City" by Stevie Wonder, showing her vocal strength.

Crystal Bowersox made me love her even more by playing both harmonica and guitar, then delivering Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes You Happy" in a mellow voice. During the performance, Ellen was all smiles. The performance gave me goosebumps!

On the first day of Hollywood Week, Alex Lambert had received a harsh critique from Simon, who told him there was "zero spark." Then, on group day, he'd run into trouble with his fellow group members, including Mary Powers. But on his final day to shine, he had a lot of fun on the ukelele, performing the Jason Mraz song "I'm Yours." It was good, but would it be enough?

"Big Mike" Lynche, whose Hollywood Week included his wife giving birth to their daughter, did the same tune, also playing guitar. He gave it a different flavor, a little bit Motown, but also had fun with it. He seems to be a hat man, and this time he wore a black fedora instead of a baseball cap.

Also performing "I'm Yours" was Todrick Hall, who gave his version a soul vibe. He went higher with the song and was showing off, putting a lot of emotion into it and making Kara dance along. He wore gray jeans, a white T-shirt, and a black jacket, with suspenders hanging down.

Thaddeus Johnson had a little trouble at first when the band started to play the wrong song. "I'm not 'Bubbly.' I'm 'Man in the Mirror,' he said, "But I'm a bubbly person." He seems to understand music better than some other contestants and was able to give them the key, E flat. As he performed, doing much better than Jermaine Sellers, his Mom was in the audience cheering for him and Ellen was smiling. He really got down with it and had no trouble hitting the high note at the end.

Next came some highlights from Room 2.

Charity Vance, who wore a gray-and-black striped top with a black miniskirt and black tights, sang the Sara Bareilles song, "Gravity," which was a very old-sounding song for her. Her lackluster performance reminded me of a high school talent show.

While we didn't get to see worship pastor Tasha Layton's final performance, we saw a clip of her performing "The Scientist" by Coldplay on day one, where she seemed fairly comfortable.

Mary Powers sang "Hot and Cold" by Katy Perry, wearing a black sparkly dress. She tried to rock out with it but just looked angry the whole time.

Lloyd Thomas, wearing a mustard-yellow button-down shirt, also went with "Man in the Mirror." His version was just sort of OK, especially compared to Thaddeus Johnson.

Bryan Walker, a police officer from Atlanta, was also in group 2 and said he was confident with his final performance. Sadly, though, we didn't get to see it.

Also in group 2 were Jermaine Purifoy (see above) and Hope Johnson. She sang "Home" by Daughtry, which seemed out of range for her, and she struggled to stay in tune. She wore a white tunic with charcoal gray patterns, a black belt, and black leggings.

Then we got a glimpse of contestants from Room 3.

Shelby Dressel, whose back story of having a partially paralyzed face was featured at the Orlando auditions, had bigger problems during the audition, having trouble remembering her lyrics during rehearsal. She did "More Than a Feeling" by Boston, doing a weird grabby thing with the microphone and sounding a little harsh. She wore chocolate-brown leggings, boots, and a khaki tunic with a black belt. Although she remembered the lyrics, it wasn't great.

Aaron Kelly attempted "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan but forgot the lyrics.

Ashley Rodriguez, wearing a black shimmery top and black leggings, hammed it up a little with hand gestures as she sang "Battlefield" by Jordin Sparks. I also found it odd that she was smiling when it wasn't appropriate to the lyrics. Still, she sounded very professional.

Lee Dewyze, who hasn't been featured much so far, wore a blue T-shirt and knit cap and played guitar as he sang "You Found Me" by the Fray. He had kind of a smokey voice, which fit the song.

As Jose Munoz performed "Man in the Mirror," wearing a gray button-down, Simon looked bored.

Haeley Vaughn had a really quirky outfit on, consisting of a multicolored dress with a long scarf, a flower in her hair, and cowboy boots. She performed with her guitar, for the first time not visiting her country wheelhouse. I found her last phrase harsh, but Kara proclaimed her "Awesome."

Janell Wheeler, who is fast becoming one of my favorites, was fighting a cold as she performed "Love Story" by Taylor Swift, wearing a metallic striped top, black leggings, and black stilettos. Even though she was sick, she still sounded pretty good, but Kara seemed less than impressed.

Following these samples of the final performances, we saw a montage about the judges making their decisions.

As they headed to Room 1 to deliver the news, we got a few more glimpses of that group. Tori Kelly, who now has reddish hair, wore a gray-and-black striped shirt and performed "Hot and Cold" by Katy Perry, doing much better than Mary Powers had. Lilly Scott, wearing a black minidress, seemed very comfortable onstage as she sang "Rich Girl" by Hall and Oates. Andrew Garcia played his guitar to a mellow, easy version of "Chasing Pavements" by Adele.

Ellen clearly seemed to be setting up a fake out, starting, "This is my first time doing this, and this is the room they give me." She told them, "It's not about being a good singer; it's about star power," about "presence when you walk on stage." Then, after they sweated it out a little bit, she told them, "You're going through." In addition to Lilly Scott, Siobhan Magnus, Thaddeus Johnson, and Michael Lynche, this room also included Tyler Grady and Katie Stevens.

Simon delivered the news to Room 2, saying, "If you've watched the show, you know the score. Only two out of the three rooms go through." He told them, "Whatever happens, I want you to know most of you have been better than we thought you would be." But this time, this was no fake. He said, "It's bad news: you haven't made it." He encouraged them, however, to give themselves a round of applause. In addition to Mary Powers, Charity Vance, Bryan Walker, Lloyd Thomas, and Hope Johnson, this group included Christian Spear.

Judge Randy Jackson took the lead while delivering the news to Room 3, starting out by saying, "I think we've had the best talent we've ever, ever had." He added, "There's never that many slots in the show. ... You have some good days, some bad ones." Kara picked up, saying that "there were problems. You really started out strong and just -- it's hard to tell you guys this, but you're going to stay." Included in the room, in addition to Janell Wheeler, Ashley Rodriguez, Angela Martin, and Shelby Dressel, were Jessica Furney and John Park.

Now, the judges had to pare down those 46 to the top 24, which they did by retiring to their hotel and reviewing the tapes. For the first time, the final judgment was delivered on the stage of the Kodak Theater, rather than in a room at the hotel.

First to receive the final judgment was "Big Mike" Lynche. When Simon asked him how he was feeling, he admitted he was "freaking out." Simon told him that he's "a really nice guy" and he did improve over the last couple of days. He added, "Our problem with you is whether you feel you could actually do this." The final decision, though: "This is a very good day. You're through." Simon added it was unanimous. Mike gave each of the judges a big hug, ignoring Ellen's pleas not to pick her up, because of her bad back. He picked up Kara, as well, and did the same to host Ryan Seacrest back in the waiting room. Poor little guy.

Didi Benami, who did "Bubbly" by Colbie Callait for her final performance, broke down in tears when Simon asked her how she'd done and said, "I tried really hard." Simon told her she'd had "good moments and bad moments" and was "not one of the most consistent." Then, in a classic fake-out, he said, "Unfortunately, we only have 12 places. You're one of the 12."

Katelyn Epperly, whose mom is going through a divorce, had worn a white dress with cherries and a red belt as she'd also performed "Bubbly." Ellen toyed with her, saying, "I've done lots of auditions, so I don't want to make you wait, because it's just not fair to wonder what the answer's going to be. So for me to delay it any longer would be, I think, cruel." And then, after some more verbiage, she announced, "You're going through."

Shelby Dressel got her news from Randy, who said the judges were "trying to figure out who's got it to go all the way." Then he delivered the news: "Unfortunately for you, you did not make it this year." He told her she'd showed a lot of growth through the week and encouraged her to grow and come back. "Don't let the dream end," he told her.

Kara, who seems to have a bit of a crush on Casey James, asked him what he thought about the weather, and he said, "Cool." Playing off that, Kara told him, "I think it's pretty cool that you're going through to the next round."

Aaron Kelly, who by the way, had had trouble remembering his lyrics during group round as well as his final performance, got his news from Ellen, who was smiling the whole time. She told him he'd made it through, calling him "a nice guy." Still don't know what the judges see in him.

Kara criticized Lee Dewyze for his lack of confidence, his "lack of owning it and being a star." He protested that he did have confidence, and Kara told him, "We didn't agree until about five minutes ago. You're going through."

Todrick Hall, who has previously focused on his dancing and appeared in A Color Purple with season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino, was clearly sweating the outcome. He was understandably surprised when Kara said simply, "Yes." He's in the top 24.

Finally, we saw the results delivered to Jessica Furney. First, though, a bit of a recap, reminding us that during group day, although her group fell apart and were cut off early. She'd known the words to the difficult song and had insisted on being allowed to sing her part. Randy told her, "I won't delay this. You didn't make it this time." This was the second try for Jessica Furney and her second time being cut just before the final 24. She begged, saying, "You have no idea. I know I can do better. The passion in me and the drive is unbelievable." Simon told her, "We're not going to change our mind now." Randy tried to soften the blow: "It's a tough year. There's so much talent." Jessica asked, "Can you tell me what I did wrong?" Simon said simply, "You didn't sing as well as the others." Jessica complained that the others didn't have to deal with losing their voice, and Simon told her that some of them did. Ellen gave her some great advice that she's probably not yet ready to accept: "You will look back on this and say, 'This was one no,' and you'll be OK."

At this stage, we've seen seven of the Top 24 get their results. The rest of the Top 24 will be revealed tonight.

There are no videos with today's entry because the site where I usually get them did not post any.

Arguing really doesn't change the judges' minds.

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Tags: american idol, music, television

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