"American Idol" Season 10, Episode 8: Hollywood Round, Day 1

2/11/2011 Posted by Admin

"American Idol" Season 10, Episode 8: Hollywood Round, Day 1

Television Review

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

Ever the supportive judge, Steven Tyler addressed the performers early on with a pep talk of sorts. He told them to sing their best song at this moment, because it hurts the judges’ heart when talented vocalists mess up at this high-pressure moment. When he said, “We’re singers too. We understand,” I understood why he was selected as a judge. This guy gets it and he cares.

Randy was more succinct with his warning to the contestants: “You have one shot. This is make it or break it.” And it was true. For the 327 contestants in Hollywood week – double what we’ve seen in past seasons – the performances were sudden death songfests. You have one shot to sing an a cappella song and remind the judges why they supported you early on.

The first contestant up was one of my early favorites, 16-year-old redheaded Brett Lowenstern, whose nerves were palpable. He sang a beautifully soulful rendition of “Let It Be” and effortlessly made it through to the next phase of Hollywood round. I like this kid’s personality and voice, and I really hope he sticks around.

A notable great decision for the ‘Idol’ judges was getting rid of Victoria Huggins while they had a chance. Her voice isn’t bad, but her personality is grating, and she was just far too boisterous for ‘Idol.’

Early favorites Paris Tassin, James Durbin and Lauren Alaina were singing in the same grouping of ten, along with the mediocre beauty queen, Stormi Henley. The results for the four should come as no shock: Paris, James, and Lauren will sing again, and Stormi was sent packing. As much as I like James, and as glad as I was to see someone do justice to “Oh, Darlin!” – a song massacred by yesterday’s rocker – I felt James did not need the vocal flourishes and ad libs at the end. He is talented enough without being over the top, and I wonder if that could ever hurt him. Lauren Alaina is still my favorite female singing in the competition.

A trio of young favorites--Jacee Badeaux, Robbie Rosen and Hollie Cavanagh--came next, and also all made it through. Out of the three, I felt Hollie’s performance was the most memorable, though I’ve always been pulling for all of them. Hollie clearly took the judges’ criticism to heart, as she came out confidently and belted out a song. I knew I heard something good in her voice during her initial audition, even when Randy was telling her no. I’m glad she killed it last night.

The couples sang next and, in true ‘Idol’ fashion, the broken up pair who still live together – Rob Bolin and Chelsee Oaks – both sang wonderfully and will be progressing together to the next stage of the Hollywood round. There is still help for matchmaker J. Lo to work her magic and rekindle their love. However, the couple that is still together, Nick Fink and Jacqueline Dunford, won’t be together in Hollywood, as Nick has been sent home. If "American Idol" were a television sitcom, this would’ve been an entirely predictable ending for both couples.

If I had a magic wand, I would reverse the fates of Tiffany Rios and Travis Orlando, one of my earliest favorites. “The very robust Tiffany Rios” walked out with a Snooki-like “Jersey’s here!” greeting and I audibly groaned. I couldn’t bring myself to objectively listen to her sing because she is so over-the-top and not likable in the slightest. I feel unless she practices some modesty, the next round might be her last.

Unfortunately, that meant the young Travis Orlando will be sent home. I could sense his nerves, as he moved too much around the stage and sang a breathy version of a Maroon 5 song. He didn’t heed the judges’ early warnings and will be going home. I still really like this kid, and just want to point out that he’s young and can still bounce back.

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