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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Hollywood Round 3

The drama level was at high alert on “Idol” tonight as the singers had done all they could possibly do in Hollywood, with their fates now resting solely with the judges. And proving that the producers love to torture their contestants, they once again funneled the remaining 71 singers into the dreaded “holding rooms.”

This year there were three rooms, among which our diverse groups of singers were divided. But whose room would move to the next level and which ones would be cut?

Would it be group number one, which included:
-Jermaine Sellers, who scolded the backup band for not playing the right notes
-Siobhan Magnus, the strong-voiced glass-blowing apprentice
-Crystal Bowersox, who belted a Sheryl Crow song while playing a harmonica and guitar
-Alex Lambert, who endured Simon saying he had no spark and was called the weakest link by rock-mom Mary Powers
-Andrew Garcia, who made Paula Abdul covers cool again
-Casey James, the blues-rocker who took his shirt off for Kara
-Michael Lynche, the weightlifting new dad who sang “I’m Yours” while playing guitar
-Todrick Hall, who put an R&B twist on “I’m Yours”
-Thaddeus Johnson, whose mom has been cheering for him every step of the way

Or would it be group number two, which featured:
-Charity Vance, the 17-year-old from Chicago
-Tasha Layton, the worship pastor from L.A.
-Mary Powers, the rocker mom who yelled at her group during group day
-Lloyd Thomas, the dock working family man
-Brian Walker, the singing policeman from Atlanta
-Hope Johnson, the Dallas singer who grew up poor and sang “I’m Going Home”

But what about group number three, which spotlighted:
-Didi Benami, who sings for her lost friend and wowed the judges at her first audition with “Hey Jude”
-Jessica Furney, who was cut in Hollywood in Season 8
-Shelby Dressel, who showed the judges it doesn’t matter if you have a disability
-Aaron Kelly, the singer whose aunt and uncle adopted him and could be the second coming of David Archuleta
-Ashley Rodriguez, who belted a Jordin Sparks song on her last day
-Lee Dewyze, who was partially successful channeling The Fray
-Haeley Vaughn, the pop-country princess who attempted a Jason Mraz song

The quartet of judges deliberated deep into the night (well, actually only until 9 p.m., but that’s really late for judges to stay up) and with the careful positioning of a bunch of Polaroids, they made their decisions. I was pretty confident Room Number One was sticking around, and I was correct. But what about the other two rooms? As it turns out, the judges weren’t really feeling Mary Powers or her group, and they sent all of Room Number Two packing. (Strange side note: Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins was outside to console Mary Powers. Oh wait, that was just her husband? My bad….) The news wasn’t so bad for Room Number Three, and those contestants lived to sing another day.

The 46 remaining contestants rejoiced in the hallways, happy they weren’t going home. But that happiness was short lived, because the judges were already set to whittle again. Pretty soon the singers were headed back to another “holding room” to await the results of the judges’ picks for the Top 24!

Tonight we were only treated to nine results, so here’s how it went down:
1) First up was new dad Michael Lynche. Simon toyed with his emotions, asking him if he really believed he could win. But in the end, the judges elected Michael as the first guy to sail through to the Top 24. (Now I’m wondering if the rumors are true that Michael’s dad got him eliminated from the Top 24 by blabbing about the results too early. I guess we’ll find out soon enough if Michael will stick around.)
2) Didi Benami was next. Simon said she wasn’t consistent, but when she was good, she was really good. They gave her the first female spot.
3) Katelyn Epperly began the journey strong with a Duffy ditty, but had highs and lows in Hollywood. This time Ellen messed with her head before granting her a pass to the Top 24.
4) Shelby Dressel was next, and even though Randy said she showed growth, she was the first to be sent home. Simon disagreed with that decision.
5) Casey James, the guy who was once in a motorcycle accident and told he would never play the guitar again, became the next guy in to the Top 24. I think it was just an excuse for Kara to hug him.
6) Aaron Kelly, the innocent kid who channels David Archuleta while wearing Lance Bass’ mid-90s wardrobe, somehow earned a spot in the semifinals. I’m not sure if he’s strong enough, but the producers are probably counting on that tween-girl vote.
7) Lee Dewyze, who had a rough week and who Kara said had a lack of confidence, also earned a spot. This one’s a head-scratcher to me; especially since his performances (what little we saw of them) didn’t seem very solid.
8) Todrick Hall, the guy who starred with Fantasia in The Color Purple, also made it through.
9) Jessica Furney, the girl with the glasses who spoke up for her turn to sing in the group round, didn’t take the judges’ decision lying down. They told her no and she kept on pleading. And begging. And disagreeing. And she kept it up until she became so annoying, Simon had to send her on her way. Ellen tried to console her, but Jessica wasn’t having it. And she made sure to tell everyone on the way, including her family waiting outside, Ryan Seacrest and the crowd outside the theater. Um, Jessica, have you ever heard of losing gracefully?

And that was all we were going to learn tonight. Did you agree with the judges on their first seven picks for the Top 24? How about their first two rejections? Are you worried about the fates of some of your favorites? Is anyone as confused as I am by the additions of Aaron Kelly and Lee Dewyze? And was Jessica Furney justified in her rant, or should she have just faded gracefully into the night? Feel free to post your comments below and tune in Wednesday night for the reveal of the rest of this year’s Top 24! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on February 17, 2010 10:03 AM
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