After a couple of weeks of auditions, American Idol began its Hollywood Week on Wednesday night. In a new wrinkle to the format, the 200-plus contestants who had earned golden tickets were brought to an airplane hangar for a "Hollywood or Home" knockout round.
Judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. selected some of the hopefuls to sing for the chance to advance.
-- Johnny Newcomb, who performed "Pumped Up Kicks," by Foster the People.
-- Connor Zwetsch.
-- Ali Jane Henderson, who delivered an acoustic rendition of Britney Spears' dance-pop hit "Toxic."
-- Adam Roth, the sound healer, who tackled "Radioactive," by Imagine Dragons.
-- Tristen Langley, a.k.a. the son of season-one contestant Nikki McKibbin.
-- Morgan Deplitch, who sang the Sara Bareilles hit "Brave."
-- Stephanie Petronelli.
-- Rich LaFleur.
At this point, Keith and Harry stopped the proceedings and urged the contestants to take the knockout round more seriously. Their advice was followed by performances from Eric Wood, Alyssa Siebken, Neco Starr and Khristian D'avis.
J-Lo informed the 160 contestants who had not participated in the round that they were safe. They promptly left the hangar. The rest were separated into two groups who each boarded different buses. One left for the airport, signaling their elimination, and the other for the contestants' hotel. The groups weren't told beforehand where they were going.
Caitlin Johnson was among those who were dismissed. Eric Wood and Neco Starr were members of the group that was safe.
"Hollywood Week" then continued at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, where contestants sang in another elimination round. Majesty Rose York performed the Feist hit "1234." She was followed by Samantha Calmes, John Fox and Brandy Neelly. Samantha was given the hook, while Majesty, John and Brandy advanced.
Next up was Spencer Lloyd, who remains in the competition. Then came Austin Wolfe, who sang an Adele tune; Bria Anai; and Selena Moreno. Selena was one-half of the twin sisters who auditioned together. She messed up during her latest performance and didn't make the cut. Bria and Austin did.
Sam Woolf chose John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change." We then saw Keri Lynn Roche, Ayla Stackhouse, and C.J. Harris, the latter of whom impressed with Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble." Ayla is out; Sam, Keri Lynn, and C.J. moved on.
Over the next few segments, Alex Preston, Maurice Townsend and Kenzie Hall stayed alive, while Bryan Watt and Quaid Edwards were told goodbye. Kenzie delivered a great acoustic version of the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis song "Can't Hold Us."
Munfarid Zarid offered an unusual take on "Proud Mary" that had the judges smiling. He advanced.
Keith London brought along his acoustic guitar for his take on the Beyoncé song "If I Were a Boy." Harry said the song choice was a distraction, then gave him a chance to try another tune. Keith -- who justified his initial choice by saying he wanted to send a message to not judge others -- then tried Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' "Same Love." He ultimately was sent through to the next round.
Malaya Watson, Jena Asciutto and Savion Wright also made the cut.
The 104 remaining contestants divided into groups of three and four. There was the usual drama: some singers disappearing, some yelling at teammates, one needing a day to rest her voice. We'll see how they fare in front of the judges when Hollywood Week resumes Thursday night on Fox at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
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