Nearly American Idol hopefuls qualified for the Hollywood Round, labeled "Hell Week" by the producers of the show.  And, last night, we got to see Round One and it was brutal!  In fact, we lost approximately 200 contestants as Steven Tyler, J. Lo. and Randy Jackson narrowed the field to 168.  Some of the early favorites sailed through, others bit the proverbial dust!  Our Idol expert Steve Thompson has all the play by play for you. 

From Steve Thompson: 

Welcome to the bloodbath.

327 folks began in round one of Hollywood and in two days they were narrowed down to 168.  I'm not sure if I saw anybody different tonight-- but I may have a better bead on what the best are bringing to the table.

By the way, and I realize some folks only start watching once Hollywood begins...  But do we have to have a complete retelling of all the melodramatic back stories?  It's getting so you can't tell the singer without learning they had millions of obstacles to overcome.  The only real obstacle that matters at this point is getting a fickle and jaded Idol audience to vote for you when the time comes.

Brett Lowenstern kicked the evening off with a fine version of "Let It Be."  I liked this kid singing the Beatles much more than I liked his version of Queen at his first audition.  Do I think he has a chance?  Well, as Sir Elton might say: he's still standing.

We then saw Rachel Zevita, Thea Megia and Casey Abrams advance to round two as well.  I think Casey might be a surprise contender if he keeps going like he has so far-- the other two?  I'm not feeling it.

Then we see Victoria Huggins.  A little of this girl went a long way in her first audition, but I was afraid we would have to put up with her for the rest of the season.  Thankfully, we won't have her to kick around anymore (this year.)  I fear she will be back-- her kind always come back...

Random thought: If there's a radio station called The Beaver, would a radio station with BBR in its call letters be called the Bieber? 

In our next segment, we see Paris Tassin sing a strained version of "My Heart Will Go On."  Titanic is just so last century, don't you think?  I keep waiting to hear someone sing the song from Avatar.

James Durbin gets to tell everybody about his massive backstory again.  I swear this kid has had more problems than Erica Kane.  He does a decent version of "Oh Darling," but he needs to control his voice and stop his infernal shouting.

Lauren Alaina does a nice job on "Unchained Melody."  She's not nearly as annoying to me as long as I forget the producers keep trying to pimp her as the winner.

Stormy Henley sings a karaoke lite version of "Stay" and is the one of the four who gets to go home early.  Interesting that she's one of the girls Randy and Steven liked-- but JLo said no.

I wasn't as taken by Chris Medina this time.  Yes, seeing the bit where Steven Tyler met Julie still can get a lump in my throat-- but I didn't care for his vocal.  The only redeeming part of this was the faint strains of "Fix You" by Coldplay playing in the background.

Next, we saw Holly Cavanaugh sing much better in Hollywood (or, to coin a phrase, you knew Holly would in Hollywood.)  And Robbie Rosen, the kid who reminds me of a cross between Adrian Brody and Jerry Seinfeld, also sang well.  But this kid Jacee-- he does a great job on "God Bless the Broken Road."

No real shock here, but Steve Beghun didn't make the cut to round two.  Accountant deleted.  Also saying goodbye: Sarah Sellers, Jacqueline Dupree, and Heidi Kazam.

On day two, we are shown the exes again.  Rob Bolin does a nice take on "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and his ex girlfriend Chelsee Oaks also makes the cut.  Nick Fink, the kid who loks like a background singer from Glee, does a horrid song while his supposed girl friend Jacqueline Dunford does a righteous take on "Bring It On Home."  (TMZ said they weren't really a couple.  Would Harvey lie?  I think not.)

An interesting trend.  We are shown three singers who reprise their audition songs in Hollywood.  This strikes me as a good idea-- if you think it's your best song and you know you might be kicked to the curb, why not sing your best song?

Scotty McCreery does his best Josh Turner, Jackie Wilson does her best Aretha, and Jerome Bell seems to be a little bit better than his first take on Marvin Gaye.

Something to consider, or, what you learn from watching commercials...

Never ever give a dragon a Coke.

Tiffany Rios, she of the outlandish personality who probably rubs everybody the wrong way, actually sings fairly well.  Travis Orlando, on the other hand, won't ever have to tell us about living in a homeless shelter again.  Let's face it-- his Maroon 5 seemed more marooned than ever.  Tiffany, if she isn't knifed by a shive, will probably be the person everybody hates.

So what did we learn on tonight's show, Steve?  Well, buddy, I'm glad you asked...

Even with all the changes on Idol, Hollywood week is still when the soup hits the fan.  (Yes.  I said 'soup'.  There might be kids reading this-- which may or may not speak well of the kid, but I digress.)  The group round is shown next week-- and that's usually filled with complete and utter breakdowns and a few shocks as more early favorites bite the dust.

Of tonight's contestants, I think I liked the three that repeated their audition songs the best.  As always, it will be nice to hear them sing something else.

See you Wednesday!

@February 10, 2011   Stephen W Thompson