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Recapping 'American Idol' Hollywood Week part 1: the ten spot

By RODNEY HO/, originally filed Wednesday,  January 27, 2016

Hollywood Week is difficult to recap in a readable way. There are a flurry of names of folks you or may not remember from the previous three weeks. Some will stay, many won't.

The 190 contestants are placed through 19 lines of 10 each. They sing a snippet of a song, then stay or get cut. About half a gone after this round. Supposedly. Actually, at this point, we don't really know how many made the cut. It's probably a little more than half.

Not surprisingly, since "Idol" already knows who is in the top 24 when the auditions begin to air, we see plenty of the ones who make it to the top 51 or so. And like most past years, there were more women than guys. That's not unusual, actually, but the producers make this sound like it's unusual.

Like the original auditions, in Hollywood, the singers can opt to play instruments or have a piano accompaniment. In the early years, it was pure a capella.

Some folks who sounded okay to me based on what little we heard were snipped immediately, proving how tough it can be. We really didn't hear anybody who flamed out badly except in the shortest of bits.

Ultimately, "Idol" gave clips of 21 people who made it through this hour. Of those, 16 will make it into the Spoiler 24. (Check them out here if you dare.)

Anyone below in bold face got to group round. Those who are referenced otherwise are out.

First round folks who make it through: Jordan Sasser, the earnest worship leader dad identified with Raleigh but now in Atlanta with his wife (who didn't make the cut), is the first one heard and gets through, along with two rockers who were part of a Battle of the Bands back in the day: Green Day lookalike Dalton Rapattoni and orange-haired Jaci Butler. I think Jordan is okay. I really like Dalton. Jaci's voice? Grating. Ditto with that cutesy Jenn Blosil's vocal style. Blech. I do enjoy pretty boy Thomas Stringfellow and blonde Olivia Rox but we only heart snippets.

Dalton's "California Dreamin' ":

I'm still a big fan of Jessica Cabral, who had one of the best auditions of the season:

Melanie Tieres seemed to sound okay after a notably charming audition (which HCJ was so impressed, he walked away). But surprise! She's the first prominent auditioner to get cut.

Sonika Vaid was also an HCJ favorite early on. She doesn't disappoint in the first round. Then LaPorsha Renae, the mom with the big hair, brings on a fine slowed up version of Katy Perry's "Roar" which makes Keith Urban smile.

Charmers Manny Torres, Daniel Farmer and Harrison Cohen are grouped purposely in the same ten. Harrison (the one with the horny grandpa) seemed fine. I enjoyed Daniel's swagger. Manny was too mannered. Harrison misses the cut. The other two make it.

More auditions: Lee Jean, Melany Huber, Shelbie Z all sound solid in snippets. Melany was out.

Onto day two, Jeneve Mitchell, the teen with braces and a big hat who lives truly off the grid, charms everyone in the crowd with a speedy version of "Boondocks." (In her line is someone who uses a bongo drum. We never hear her.)

Gianna Isabella is the R&B singer whose mom is Brenda K Starr. Great voice but I don't know if she really has compelling star power. Tristan McIntosh, who had the mom who showed up from active duty to surprise her daughter, has a powerful voice and earns a move to the group round.

Then we meet two "Idol" obsessives: Michelle Marie, the first singer we heard on January 6 who almost named the first 14 winners correctly, and Kyrsti Jewel, whose parents are actually even bigger fans and turned 16 that day. Michelle is annoyingly spunky. Kyrsti seems to be trying a wee bit too hard. (Her parents get teary.) Michelle survives. Kyrsti? Nope. Not a great birthday present.

Those who wash out in montage form in which we hear them momentarily: Kerry Courtney, Brook Sample, Usen Isong. Nice knowing you! Others are just namedropped: Reanna Molinario, Ethan Kuntz and Jake Dylan.

In the final minutes:

Waiter Trent Harmon, 24, Amory MS, is suffering from mono. He has a fever and he's shaking. But he manages to pull of an exceptionally good performance. He makes it.

Miranda "Poh" Scott, whose sister Shi Scott made it to top 24 a year ago, does a bit of Rihanna. And previous "Idol" hopeful Emily Brooke (top 48, season 14) tries again. Both sound just fine, good enough to move forward.

The judges pull a fast one by pulling the front five, telling them they're going through. The back five think they're gone. But then they go through, too!

Tomorrow? Group round.





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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.