After weeks of auditions on Season 13 of “American Idol,” it’s finally time to learn which contestant this season lost the most weight.
I mean, Hollywood Week is apparently beginning with a twist, but it probably won’t be a weight-lost twist.
What will it be?
Let’s find out.
7:59 p.m. ET. Hollywood Week is the hardest “American Idol” week to live-blog. It’s lots of singers we don’t know being mentioned by name, but not identified by name with on-screen chyrons. So I apologize in advance for all of the names I’m about to butcher.
8:01 p.m. Hollywood! People are leaving snow and cats and heading for Los Angeles. There are still 212 of them. And they don’t know the shock that’s in store. But Ryan Seacrest does. The buses are taking the kids to an “incredible hangar,” where they’re either going to advance, or they’re heading straight home. The judges have reviewed each auditions and some of the contestants will have to sing FOR THEIR LIVES. Or at least to stay in Hollywood.
8:03 p.m. The judges enter. “There will be cuts made today,” Harry Connick Jr. warns them. “The judges just dropped the gauntlet,” Ryan says.
8:05 p.m. The first person to sing is Johnny Newcomb, who I vaguely remember as teen with an affected voice and a guitar. He does “Pumped Up Kicks” with a bit less gruffness than in his original interview. It’s still a voice that seems totally at odds with the image he presents, but he’s not bad and teenage girls may like him. “I don’t feel like I want to see that,” Harry says. Keith says, however, that he has a great voice.
8:06 p.m. Up next is Connor Zwetsch, who has a headband and a guitar. I don’t think we saw her before. Or maybe I just don’t remember her. My Slingbox skips and i return in the middle of a mediocre acoustic cover of “Toxic.” I don’t know who she is and she’s not bad, but she’s also not as good as J-Lo pretends. I’ll ask again: Can’t we just stop doing acoustic covers of Britney Spears songs? Been there. Done that. Move on. Then it’s straight on to Caitlin Johnson, who is a shout-y 16-year-old. “I don’t know what we saw in her,” Harry says.
8:08 p.m. Lots of people struggle under pressure. We don’t even identify the guy with the brutal, painful falsetto. Remember the guy I thought did Tuvan throat singing? Adam something? Adam Roth! He kinda plays the keyboard for a mewling cover of “Radioactive.” Keith finds the piano playing to have been excruciating, but J-Lo doesn’t care, because he “has something going on.”
8:14 p.m. It’s weird that we’re pretending this is a new format. Didn’t Hollywood Week always start with solos and culling of the herd? Is this just new because they’re in a shed?
8:15 p.m. It’s Nikki McKibbin’s son Tristan Langley. I like this performance more than his original audition, but the only reason to keep him around is to make people feel old. He’s not especially good at playing the guitar and could use another couple years of seasoning. Time to move on to Morgan Deplitch, who goes with the piano and her version of “Brave” is almost certain to get her sent home. She’s bad. Patriots’ Cheerleader Stephanie Petronelli isn’t in uniform tonight. Boo. I’m so disappointed by her outfit that I can’t be bothered to pay attention to the guy who follows her. He’s bad. He should go home, too. The judges warn the contestants to step up.
8:19 p.m. Will Eric Wood step up? Yes. He’s good. Very good. Alyssa Siebken is decent. Neco Starr just doesn’t work for me, but he works for J-Lo.
8:20 p.m. The last singer of the day is weirdly accented Khristian D’avis. I’m not going to bother learning the peculiarities of her name, so they might as well send her home. Harry says she’s really into the sound of her own voice.
8:21 p.m. The people who weren’t asked to sing are are good to go.
8:22 p.m. 52 singers are left waiting for results and the judges say vague things. They’re divided into two groups. Group 1 clearly has the people who stink, while Group 2 has Eric Wood and Neco Starr and a few other people. Nobody’s telling them where they’re going, though. This is kinda sadistic. There are two buses. One is going to a hotel in Hollywood. The other one is going to LAX.
8:23 p.m. “There’s some good talent on here,” says some guy on Bus 1, hopefully. Oh no. Bus 2 has Adam Roth. That would scare me.
8:24 p.m. Bus 1 arrives at the airport. Some guy says he isn’t going to give up, but tears are shed. Caitlin knows that her nerves got the best of her, but vows to return. Meanwhile, Bus 2 isn’t forced to do any geographic recognition. They’re told they’re going to Hollywood and they park at the Hollywood & Highland mall.
8:26 p.m. So that was the twist. Now? Hollywood as usual! Except that America gets to decide something at the end.
8:31 p.m. Day Two!
8:32 p.m. We’re at the Dolby Theatre, where “Idol” used to hold finales til they stopped.
8:33 p.m. It’s the same as the last round, only they’re doing their solos in line. Up first is Majesty Rose York, who has a beautiful voice, but maybe shouldn’t play the guitar in the future. She seems to be concentrating too hard on her instrument with very little impact. Fortunately, again, her voice is lovely. Samantha Calmes is better with the guitar, but she made better song choices in her first audition. John Fox doesn’t need no stinking guitar tonight. He’s just got a big rock voice. Finally, Brandy Neelly closes the line. I don’t think I loved her in her first audition either. From that group, Samantha is going home along with several anonymous people.
8:36 p.m. I think Spencer Lloyd has a decent voice and he’ll play well with the ladies. His singing faces make me laugh. But his voice grows on me as he performs. He’s advancing. Nobody else in his group matters. “I can’t wait to give everything I have to the world,” Spencer stays.
8:38 p.m. Teen mall girl Austin Wolfe doesn’t quite have the voice to sing Adele, but she has an interesting voice and a good look. She could be on “Glee.” Bria Anai has a much bigger voice. Selena Moreno, the twin I didn’t think should have advanced from San Francisco, not that I thought her sister was all that great. She’s no better here. She oversings badly, cracks in the middle and stops. The crowd urges her to get it together. Will she? Will it matter? She wasn’t good enough to advance anyway, but now we have to see ads before finding out.
8:44 p.m. We’re back to Selena Moreno. She insists she’s got it. She does not. Even when she pulls it together, she’s not good. But will she advance anyway? Austin and Bria advance, as does Jessica Muse. Selena does not, but her sister still loves her. We also lose that girl who was trying to be tough, but wasn’t very good.
8:46 p.m. Sam Woolf is very good. He was good in his first audition in Boston and he’s good here. He’s got guitar skills and nice vocal touches. Keri Lynn Roche is a professional. Ayla Stackhouse has a diva voice and we need more of those in this season of guitar-pickers. J-Lo flirts with C.J. Harris, who has a big smile and he’s one of those contestants whose guitar-playing may outstrip his singing, but he does decent work with “Trouble” and I continue to like him as a personality. Ayla is the person from that group going home. Ok well. I didn’t think she was great. I just thought she sounded different.
8:51 p.m. I don’t think Alex Preston has clear star magnetism, but he’s a super guitar player and a good singer. If he gets into the “Idol” pipeline and matures and develops, he has a ton of potential. I don’t get who gets their names on-screen versus the people who go unidentified. Brian Watt isn’t identified, but I remember him as being both too old, but also really polished. Brian is going home, along with Jade and Sydney, whoever they are. Alex is advancing, though, which is what matters.
8:58 p.m. Madeline Patterson is advancing.
8:59 p.m. I think Kenzie Hall is a real contender, with her lilting little-girl voice and her anime eyes. She’s really terrific. Definitely one of my favorites. Quaid Edwards‘ mom knew Keith, but he’s not good in this audition. So it makes sense that Kenzie is advancing and Quaid is not.
9:00 p.m. The day progresses. Ben Briley isn’t made for this competition, but he’s talented enough for it. Briston Maroney does a decent version of “Royals.” Dexter Roberts, like Ben, isn’t going to be getting any votes based on aesthetic presentation, but he could get votes based on his juke-joint voice. Keith Urban seems talented, especially with the guitar. He may advance. All three guys go on to the next round.
9:03 p.m. Did we meet Rachel Rolleri before? I may be forgetting. She’s good enough that Keith wants to sing harmony with her. She’s in the same group as Casey Thrasher and Maurice Townsend, who also got lots of previous screentime. Maurice makes J-Lo want to sing with him, while Keith sings with Casey. They’re all going through.
9:05 p.m. Let’s rush through some other people advancing. George Lovett and Tiquila Wilson and Emily Piriz and Malcolm Allen are all going through.
9:10 p.m. You need to have a “good reason” to be the next Idol. And you need to “dress the part.” You’ve got to be “dedicated.” I’m not sure if this is a funny clip segment. And since I don’t know who these people are, I’m not sure if it’s making me like them more.
9:12 p.m. I’d vote for Munfarid Zaidi‘s loud father. You may remember that Harry cradled him in his audition. Munfarid is fun. I’m not sure how serious he is about this, but I like a sweet-singing joke contestant every once in a while. Ethan Thompson is more likely to advance, because he’s got cheekbones and a guitar. Austin Percario‘s momager is gone, but he’s pretty forgettable. They’re all moving on, as you do.
9:14 p.m. We’ve heard people like Caleb Johnson before, but he’s still good. Stephanie Hanvey is a pretty mature 16. But maybe that’s just a hat. Kristen O’Connor was the hot nurse and I’d like to see and hear more about her. They’re all advancing, of course.
9:16 p.m. Ramp-agent Emmanuel Zador had a great voice, but a show-y voice. He’ll have the judges saying things about “taking them to church” and whatnot. And America will vote him out really early. If he advances that far.
9:21 p.m. Briana Oakley is much better than she was last year. And she’s definitely good enough to be in the Top 12-or-whatever this season. Jesse Cline is in a tough category, because how many awkward White Guys With Guitars are REALLY gonna advance?
9:22 p.m. Time for people to suck. It’s about time. We’ve had too many good people. But why aren’t we identifying these bad people? I want names? I want to mock the bleating girl! That the “I’m Sailing Away” guy!
9:23 p.m. Hoping to be memorable is Keith London. He does a gender-swapped version of “If I Were a Girl.” The judges don’t think he was being edgy. But also, his guitar was out of tune. They ask him to sing another song, but he tries arguing that he had a good reason. He puts the guitar down and his solo is a bit better. He’s still not great and I can’t imagine he’s got a long run in him. He still goes through for whatever reason.
9:30 p.m. Last line? Already?
9:30 p.m. They’re all playing keyboard. Malaya Watson has an absurdly big voice for a 16-year-old. Jena Ascuitto has some weird, distracting affectations, but she’s also talented. Savion Wright is doing an original song about his brother, who died two weeks earlier. Yikes. They’re all going through.
9:34 p.m. There are still 104 singers remaining. Group Day is coming up. They’re looking for choreography, harmony and unique performances. They have to form groups of three or four.
9:34 p.m. Pressure mounts. “Buckle up. It is going to be a bumpy ride,” Ryan Seacrest says. Oh right, Seacrest. Way to slightly misquote Margo Channing, just to throw us off.
9:40 p.m. It’s hard to find a group! Just like it is every year! Casey Thrasher, Dexter Roberts and Ben Briley are an obvious group. But Malaya Watson is in a group of five and she doesn’t want to leave anybody. Savion, Ryan, Madeline and… some other guy are The Rangers, forming the first full group and going to the vocal coaches. There are only a few vocal coaches and that leads to hostilities. Matthew Hamill, Jessica Muse and Clark King are a group, but Clark is losing his voice and Jessica doesn’t remember Matthew’s name. Jessica feels like her group isn’t performed and it’s screwing her. Whine whine whine. Don’t be that person, Jessica!
9:40 p.m. Malaya ended up in a group called Loud & Fierce and they’re living up to both sides of that name. Carmen Del Gina and Terrica Curry don’t have a group, but they get taken in by M.K. Nobelette and Emmanuel Zador. OK. Whoever.
9:40 p.m. Jessica gets to be The Nightmare Shrew of Group Night. “You don’t understand how hard it is to be a broke-ass musician,” she cries. Jessica wants out of her group and Clark is too sick to sing and this is becoming a disaster for poor Matthew. Clark decides to drop out of the competition, but he makes sure to hug Jessica before going, hopefully to pass along his germs. Down to a pair, Jessica tells Matthew to go off on his own. But who will want either of them? After all, everybody else is happy.
9:46 p.m. The Backstreet Cowboys is the name of Dexter, Casey and Ben’s group. They want to no part of Jessica. Matthew, however, hooks up with Caleb Johnson and C.J. Harris in a group that’s almost certainly better for him.
9:48 p.m. Love’s Angels, featuring Carmen and Emmanuel, is having issues. M.K. is off to find a different group, while Terrica also disappears. And suddenly Love’s Angels is just two people. DRAMA!
9:52 p.m. Sleepy people. You know, there are a lot of early favorites we haven’t seen at all tonight, other than in the background of shots. That’s too bad.
9:52 p.m. Meanwhile, Emmanuel and Carmen are wondering if they still have a group. Will they find Terrica? Will I ever get a proper spelling for Terryca’s name? Tyrica? Their missing third is unrepentant about her absence and figures that without her, they don’t have a group. Oh goodie.
9:54 p.m. The coaches are unimpressed. Are we heading for disaster? Probably in some cases! But we won’t find out til tomorrow, I suspect. We’ll be left to wait a full day to find out if Loud & Fierce will be able to remember their lyrics. Oh, the tension!
9:56 p.m. Was that Stephanie Petronelli? She advanced this far? That’s nice. Go Patriots!
9:57 p.m. Jessica found a new group, Sparkles. This group includes Stephanie Hanvey, with her hat, and Stephanie’s mom, who isn’t treating Jessica like a grown-up. We, of course, know that Jessica is a child, but how did Stephanie’s mom find out?
9:57 p.m. A group called Clarity has a member who went to go ask the judges for “a day off,” because her voice is tired. Really? A day off? Poor Munfarid.
We’ll be back tomorrow!
Who’d you like tonight? Got any early favorites?