Hollywood Week: American Idol giving us half the effort

This abbreviated bullshit needs to stop.

Listen, it was great that the American Idol producers finally got it through their thick skulls that nobody wanted to see the crazies during audition weeks. It was even better to not see the close calls who didn’t make it. Auditions had run their course, especially with The Voice changing the game on how auditions are done (really the only watchable part of an unwatchable show). Idol needed to do it to gain an audience, but didn’t need to overdo it.

But how dare you fuck with Hollywood Week.

Hollywood Week is arguably the best part of American Idol. I could watch weeks of Hollywood Week auditions just to analyze WTF is going on.

But one hour? Like I’m just getting settled in, laughing maniacally as people struggle under pressure, wishing I could taste their tears of disappointment when they get sent home after half of a song.

Last year’s Hollywood Week was the balls. A bunch of people got eliminated before shit would have went down. While I would have been pissed, it would have been awesome at the same time if tonight the Idol judges had 24 people sing and sent the rest home.

Instead, we got a great look who we should assume are the 38 best performers. I know at most, 23 of them are going in (one of the dreadlocked kids, whose silhouette was easily recognizable in the season opener, didn’t perform) and we’ve probably – check that, have – seen the winner of Season 14. (PS It’s Adam Lasher).

So why are we seeing them sing again? They’re your top 38 and based on the order in the edit, I’d say they sent them out in order. It’s no coincidence Jax, Mark Andrews, Emily Brooke, Sal Valentinetti and Adam Ezegelian led off tonight. Those are probably the judges’ Top 5 and it’s a Top 5 you could 100 percent see happening.

But wouldn’t it have been better if, in tonight’s abbreviated show, we saw the judges rip off those 38 names and say “You guys are through, you’re the Top 38, the rest of you are singing for your lives and for the chance to beat one of them.”

What a hell of a twist that would have been for the viewing audience and a “holy shit I gotta perform my balls off” moment for those waiting to sing.

Now that’s not saying I didn’t enjoy what I saw. So many of these Top 38 performances were really good to see just to remember how much I enjoyed the performers.

The editing? Eh, it wasn’t great. I’ve had the WrightStuff since last year, but I didn’t like the aggressive end cut they showed for my man Savion Wright. Would have liked more tender Savion and less screaming Savion. (PS If they test for PEDs, my man is cooked. He’s a monster – gotta be 6-3, 220 of straight diesel).

I really didn’t like the “look at these idiots fuck up the instruments” cut, especially after I saw this tweet from my Hipster Best Friend Kory Wheeler.

That cut made him look like a chump and it’s bullshit, because the Wheelhouse is a solid performer.

I don’t know how much we learned from the performances. The voices we saw, we knew were good. I was a little surprised by the exit of Priscilla Barker, but there wasn’t much else that shocked me. The cliffhanger is overrated, because based on Shannon Berthiaume – who I think has an awesome voice but would have been kicked out if Simon was still a judge – Gabby is going to be just fine. She’s too good not to.

Let’s review some of the performances.


She basically just tossed her name in the hat as the girl to beat. She’s No. 1 on my list of guaranteed singers to cover Adele in the live shows, especially since her into to Toxic was a balls-on replica of the start to “Rolling In the Deep.” She’s gonna be TOUGH to beat. Plus, smokeshow + face tat = scary boner.

Mark Andrew
I have no idea what song he sang but the dude with kids wins my heart.

Emily Brooke
I hate country but she’s awesome and I refuse to believe she’s 15.

Sal Valentinetti
Super pumped we’re not going with Salvatore but there’s a zero percent chance I’m spelling Valentinetti right all season. He should just go by Sal Valentine. Plus, he trumped Michael Simeon’s slow dance invite by basically asking J-Lo back to his hotel room. Kid’s got BALLS. I hate that I love him.

Adam Ezegelian
This is sacrilege, but this kid is a fat Adam Lambert. I really believe he can win. I wish he would ditch Team Puffy and come up with a hashtag for his fans that isn’t lame. Plus I know he’s top 24 because I saw his giant body and bigger Armenian-fro (my dad used to have one) in the silhouette.

Tyanna Jones
I want to adopt this girl. My only worry for her is she’s too young. That really limits song selection because there aren’t a lot of truly legendary songs for her to show off her voice that are appropriate for her age. And that hair? I mean, I’m a white guy and we’re all infatuated with afros, but the fro is an added bonus.

Savion Wright
I hated the edit because it wasn’t Savion’s best. It didn’t show off his voice, just him hammering away at the guitar and with the added muscle, I’m SHOCKED the guitar didn’t break. We’ll see more from my man.

Hollywood Anderson
He said he was singing Adele, but the opening notes were Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So.” Youtube that shit.
If this is what Hollywood’s gonna bring to the table, I’m all in. Fuck what the judges said – this is about all about taking songs and making them you’re own. An Adele song isn’t perfect. It didn’t wreck shit. It was awesome.

Chick succumbing to the pressure
Send her home.

Shannon Berthiaume
Hearing J-LO fuck up a perfectly easy to pronounce french name was awesome. I love Shannon because she’s a real-life Juno, minus the pregnancy (I think?). Her voice is bananas and even though she fucked up Stevie, she’s gonna do some damage. However, under the old-school Simon rules, she should be gone. You forget words in Hollywood Week, good night. These judges are too kind.

Adam Lasher
He’s winning Idol. And if he plays his cards right, he can force me and my wife to fight for his love. She’s INFATUATED. It’s the hair. That’s what happens when you marry a bald man. DAMN YOU ADAM. Dude is relentless. If he doesn’t win, he turns into Chris Daugherty and becomes super famous.

Garrett Miles
Not a fan. It’s my country bias. Sorry for hating on the blind dude. Hope he gets in just to increase the chances of Ryan Seacrest repeating this.

Trevor Douglas
If anyone should sing Weezer, it’s the kid who looks like the lead singer. He’s all right. He’s gotta show me something more for me to pre-pick him for Top 24.

Joey Cook
If you were going to label me, I’m a preppy douchebag Republican, which is the exact opposite of someone who would like Joey Cook. Here’s the thing – I’m in love with her (don’t tell the wife). Watching the silhouette video from the Top 24, I’m fairly certain she makes the Top 24, which is terrific. Her voice doesn’t stand up against some head to head, but in the live show format she’s brilliant. Really has a chance to do something huge and gives me a chance to make a thousand more Squeeze Box jokes.

Amber Kelechi
Love the voice. Here’s the thing – and all you PC people need to take a breath before you read this – I don’t know how much different she sounds than every other black singer we’re given on Idol. Usually there’s three or four that are really close and they just pick the most marketable. I thought Bria Anai was the best last year and she got screwed. They won’t overload the show with “soul” singers (that’s code for black pop singers), so we might get Amber and one more, maybe two more. It’s the beast that’s Idol.


Reno Anoa’I
I love this dude. He’s a Samoan Bieber, minus the tats and drugs and booze. Love that instead of bringing out the small ukelele, he brough out a HUGE one.

Priscilla Barker
Shocked. Doesn’t make sense she got cut. Hot tho.

Jaq Mackenzie
I hate that her and Shannon Berthiaume can’t both make it because there is no way Idol producers are going to let two white high school girls be in the Top 24. I love her potential on the show because while not as demonstrative as Juno, she’s got the same IDGAF attitude. She plays what she wants, has an awesome voice and knows how to play the game. I think she could do some damage in live shows as long as producers stay the fuck away from her.

Erica Washington
Um, how was she not Top 38? More surprised she didn’t play Sunday, because after Bruce Irvin went down the Legion of Boom needed some help up front.

Michael Simeon
If Michael Simeon and Big Ron went out to a club as a pair, you know how many girls they’d get? All of them. Simeon would draw them in with the dreamy blues and Big Ron would Big Ron them. I was all in on Simeon last year and he could be Top 24 this year (in fact, based on the dude at the 2:08 mark, he is) but I didn’t like this song choice. That’s not the Simeon I remember, but I’ll give him a pass until I see more. That said, he’s the scariest competitor because Super Hunky White Dudes get votes in a hurry.

Big Ron
I can’t speak logically about Big Ron because of my obsession with BFBDWS. Hope he’s Top 24.

I’ll be back live on Twitter tomorrow night and hopefully I’ll be able to start doing some breakdowns and predictions, but that won’t happen until after group night, which better be a 2-hour episode.