Finally. No more auditions. No more screeching, tone deaf, delusional wannabes decked out in spandex hoochie-wear wasting our time. No more weirdos with bush baby eyes and nutjobs with zero talent. Can I get a hallelujah? Amen. For some reason, however, after the endless torture of auditions, the powers-that-be have decided to put the Hollywood segment into warp drive and show us a mere hour's worth of cuts tonight. And there will be some major cuts, as 172 people were given the golden ticket to Hollywood, yet only 24 will remain after Wednesday night's show. Make sense to you? No, I didn't think so.
Let The Slaughter Begin
It's day one, and everyone is understandably nervous. Twice as many girls as guys were given the pass to Hollywood. Reality sets in as they look around at each other, realizing that not many of them will make it through to the second round. The girls start it off as the three
stoogesjudges take their seats. Groups of six will come out and each hopeful will have about thirty seconds to wow (or not) the judges. The first group consists of Jory Steinberg, a judge fave from NY who wants to dress like Paula and does a decent version of Anastasia’s “I’m Out Of Love”, Geri Guyer from PA, Kelly Caruso from Jersey, Lisa Morrison from NY, Christen Item from VA, and Jeromishia Lemar from PA.
I don’t know why I bothered typing out all that info, because they’re all going home. Not a single one of them impressed. Simon even goes as far to say that none of them were any good, and they had no originality. A terrible start to the day, says Simon. Ouch. True, but ouch nonetheless. This first round is going to be brutal as the crowd gasps in disbelief. I still can’t believe they dumped Jory, but what do I know.
Hips Don’t Lie, And You Can’t Sing
Perla Meneses, a Shakira ripoff, is the next to be featured. She even sings a mediocre version of “Hips Don’t Lie” just in case you didn’t get that she’s totally trying to rip off Sharika’s style. Next is Rachel Jenkins, whose husband is in stationed overseas. Rachel performs a forgettable version of “Unbreak My Heart,” and they bring out the other four contestants to stand in front of the firing squad. The other girls must have really stunk, since we didn’t hear a peep from them. Simon speaks, and only two girls make it through - Perla is one of them, but he warns her that she’s style over substance right now. She whines that she can’t change her bubbly personality, that’s just who she is. I can’t even tell you who the second girl is, because they never gave her any screen time.
Country girl Baylie Brown, with her Tara Reid eyes, is part of the next group. She gives what I thought was a nice performance, and the judges give her praise. Out come the other five girls (man, are they rushing things through, or what?), Simon gives the word, and three of them make it through. Baylie is one of them.
Mom’s Not Always Right
Fast forward through some more performances, and we see several early favorites get the boot. Out of all the girls, you’d think we would get to see more than a handful of performances, wouldn’t you? Oh well. Nicole Turner is in the last group to perform, and she argues with her mom over what song to sing. Mom thinks a moldy oldie would do well, and Nicole disagrees, only to cave in at the last minute. She shouldn’t have, because she did terribly and got cut. Nicole’s mom goes to talk to the judges on her behalf, and explains that her daughter only chose that song to please her. Simon hollers that it wasn’t the song, it was Nicole. “Don’t you shout at me,” Nicole snarls back. They bicker, Paula tells Nicole to punch Simon eight million times (seriously, she did), and Nicole still gets booted. Out of 114 girls, 56 were sent packing. And we’re only twenty minutes into the show.
Boot Camp, Part Two
Day two, and now it’s the guy’s turn. Brian Miller starts us off, and he sings the same song he did for his audition, “A Change Is Gonna Come.” The judges nod in approval, with Randy commenting on how the guys are way ahead of the girls, talent-wise. Foreshadowing, perhaps? We’ll see. Navy man Jarrod Fowler is next, singing the sappy “You Raise Me Up.” I wasn’t impressed, and he didn’t make the cut. Pimple-faced Matt Sato gets the next segment, falling on the floor after his mom gives him a phone call of encouragement. I guess praise is a rare thing in that family. I wasn’t too thrilled with his performance, either, but Simon gives him the thumbs up. This is going to be a weird season, I tell you what. 34 guys end up making it to the next round.
Drama Queens, Unite!
Did we really just get through the guy’s round already? That took, like, 3.5 seconds. We’ve got 92 hopefuls left out of the original 172, and now it’s time for the dreaded group night. Bring on the drama! They can form a group with anyone they please, but they must choose a song from an approved list. Of course, some people can’t seem to find a group that will let them join, and are shut out. It’s high school, all over again.
The new groups head back to the hotel to practice their chosen song, but not everyone is happy with the group they’ve picked. Baylie is stuck with two dingbats that spend their time arguing (and one who wanders off to flirt with the boys), and Perla’s group is less than pleased with her inability to sing harmony. Eyes roll, lyrics are forgotten, and nasty comments are whispered behind backs. Yeah, this group is really going to be prepared for the next day.
Morning comes, and the second round begins with a stern warning from Simon to “not forget the lyrics!” I don’t think they were listening. The first group of guys flubs the words, as does the second. Matt Sato and his zits are sent home. So is Perla. Lots of bad performances here, and it’s discouraging.
A Little Bit Faster Now
Just when I’ve lost hope, a group of the guys makes it all better. Chris Sligh is among them (yay!), as is Rudy Cardenas, Thomas Lowe, and Blake Lewis. They sing “How Deep Is Your Love,” earning a standing ovation from the audience. And Paula, who seal claps in delight. They all make it through to the next round. Sundance Head (what a name) and his group are up next, and he’s nervous after his lackluster performance the night before. Simon told him he sang through his nose and was so red it looked like he’d been boiled. I’ve got to hand it to Simon, the dude can come up with some weird insults. Sundance is joined by two girls, one of whom was on the Grammy awards in a competition to sing with Justin Timberlake. I couldn’t tell you if she won, though, because I was so bored that I fell asleep. But, I digress. They perform, and I’m underwhelmed. Sundance killed some of the high notes, and not in a good way. The girls were forgettable. Sundance is the only one to make it, and he can’t believe it after that performance. I can’t either. Grammy girl gets sent home.
Baylie’s group is next, and their lack of practice shows. Baylie totally forgets the lyrics, as does boy-chaser Amanda. Basically, they sucked. The judges agree, and send Baylie home. She’s upset, thinking that she worked the hardest out of the three. Amanda makes a stupid comment about herself making it because “God likes good people,” and Baylie argues with her. So much for best friends forever.
The three stooges sit and discuss who to keep and who to dump, looking at the contestant’s photos spread out on a table. The remaining singers are divided into three rooms - and only two are “yes” rooms. Simon, Paula, and Randy head out to the first room, and give them the good news: they’ve made it! The second room also gets the thumbs up. The third room hears the happy screams from the other two rooms, and they know before the judges get there that they’ve been eliminated. Tearful goodbyes ensue as the remaining 40 contestants prepare for the next round of cuts, when there will only be 12 guys and 12 girls left standing. Hopefully we’ll get to actually see some of them perform next time.
I never thought I'd say this about a reality show, but would you guys please slow it down?! firstname.lastname@example.org