We’re back for more of the same as Hollywood Week continues on “American Idol.”
Last week, we got solos and Group Night. Does that mean we’ve got even more solos still to come tonight?
Will we begin the process of unveiling the season’s Top 30?
What excitement is in store?
Click through for two full hours of live-blogging excitement!
8:01 p.m. ET. Harry Connick Jr. is sick of excuses about people being sick. Harry Connick Jr. has been sick before and did he make excuses? No! HE DID NOT!
8:03 p.m. Oh. We’re revealing the Top 30 tonight? All of it? Most of it? Then what the heck is happening tomorrow night? It appears that we’re doing The Holding Room and The Green Mile and The Chair of Doom tonight. For everybody?
8:04 p.m. Up first? Emily Piriz. I’d never thought much of her, but her final solo, featuring a keyboard, is easily the best she’s been to date. The judges were certainly impressed. Yeah, I’d never given Emily a second’s thought, but that’s a good solo and it’s not like we’re starting the show with somebody who didn’t make the Top 30, because what would be the point in that? Moment of Truth for Emily. The judges want to discuss her heritage. It turns out that she’s Cuban. Well. Enough small talk, then! EMILY PIRIZ is the first person in the Top 15 Girls. J-Lo is pleased that they have a Latina in the Top 30. “This has been my dream since I was little,” says the 17-year-old Emily.
8:08 p.m. Our first guy to face The Chair is Spencer Lloyd. He’s pretty. That’s pretty much all that matters. He’s also a reasonably good vocalist, if you pay no attention to his Constipated Singing Face. Spencer did an awful original for his final solo. Why did he do that? Does he think he’s the first person to do a song about telling people to be themselves because their beautiful? Ugh. Awful original, though it shows that Spencer plays both piano and the guitar. What is his fate? Well, you’re gonna have to wait.
8:13 p.m. We’re back to Spencer. Let’s not forget that Spencer pulled that douche move in Group Night where he picked a song the other members of his group didn’t know and then upstaged them. Despite the original song and the Group Night thing, SPENCER LLOYD is still in the Top 30.
8:15 p.m. Remember “X Factor” contestant Jillian Jensen? We saw her audition, but we haven’t spotted her at all in Hollywood. She sang an original for her last solo. It’s much better than Spencer’s original. I’m really glad that Jillian has overcome her “X Factor” insecurity. That was such a major part of her brief journey on that show, but she’s relatively confident here. Harry tells Jillian that putting together the Top 30 was one of the hardest things he’s been a part of. As Harry rambles, you can see Jillian’s composure starting to crack. Shut up before Jillian starts bawling, Harry! And it’s just silly torture, because JILLIAN JENSEN is in the Top 30. I’d wonder if her “X Factor” background will have any impact on her “Idol” vote totals. But nobody watched “X Factor.”
8:18 p.m. Our next singer is the frequently forgettable Madelyn Patterson. She’s popped up a couple times previously and I remember nothing about her other than that she’s prone to crying. Her final solo was was pretty decent. She’s got a big voice and she’s pretty, but she just isn’t memorable. Keith Urban tells her that making this decision was difficult. That’s it for Madelyn, who isn’t without talent. She just wasn’t ever gonna get votes. She’s our first disappointed contestant of the night and she handles it gracefully and without tears. Awww. See, now I like Madelyn.
8:21 p.m. Michael Simeon isn’t advancing. LeBryant Crew is done. Who is Sabrina Lantini? This isn’t her year. Sorry, “Idol.” You’re gonna have to work harder to make me care.
8:22 p.m. I think George Lovett is good, possibly very good, but I’m not sure he’s especially memorable either. Without hesitation, though, GEORGE LOVETT joins the Top 30.
8:28 p.m. I keep forgetting Connor Zwetsch, but now I’m going to remember her as the girl who rewrote “Sweet Home Alabama” and called it an original.
8:29 p.m. So many people trying to do originals. Sam Woolf from Boston wrote his song about his mother moving away. I don’t especially love the original song — earnestness, thy name is “American Idol” Originals — but I like how it showcases Sam’s voice and his guitar skills. He was one of the very first contestants we saw this season and I’m thinking he could be around for a while. Who’s afraid of the big bad Woolf? The other contestants should be, because SAM WOOLF is in the Top 30. Or the Top 15. Or whatever we’re calling it. Sam lives with his grandparents and his happiness makes J-Lo happy.
8:32 p.m. Farewell, female contestant Ryan Seacrest didn’t even identify. I guess I didn’t care about you. Nor did I care about you, other female contestant the show didn’t identify.
8:33 p.m. We’re saying Keri Lynn Roche’s name, so she’s probably advancing. Her slinky version of “I Would Rather Go Blind,” her last solo, is full of gruff soul. J-Lo tells her that their decision was close. Nope. Keri is heading home. She was talented and polished and, frankly, there was zero chance America was going to vote for her. So that was a tough call, but not necessarily a wrong call.
8:40 p.m. There are 25 slots remaining in the Top 30.
8:40 p.m. Let’s not kid. We all know Malaya Watson is going to the Top 30. We’re going to get to go on a journey with her orthodonture. Malaya, it turns out, had a rough final solo. She was singing in a different key from the one the band was playing in. Harry stopped and got everybody on the same page and then Malaya was great again. I get the feeling she’s going to go full on “She’s All That” on us, makeover-wise. MALAYA WATSON is gonna be in the Top 30. Duh-doy. Malaya’s happy dance is very amusing and Harry attempts to recapture it, with only limited success. Anyway, I like Malaya. She’s a goofball.
8:44 p.m. I’m certain that Maurice Townsend is talented. I’m also sure he won’t get votes. He’s old. He has strange singing mannerisms. His final solo on “Wrecking Ball” is good and distinctive. The judges tell Maurice that he’s a good singer, but they need other things as well. MAURICE TOWNSEND is in the Top 30. He’s gonna need to blow America away next week. He’s excited to go home to tell his wife and babies that he made it.
8:46 p.m. Holy cow! It’s TV’s Randy Jackson! He decided to drop by to remind people that he’s alive. Harry and Keith decide to audition for Randy with an off-the-cuff version of “(Big Chief Like Plenty Of) Fire Water.” They’re not advancing.
8:52 p.m. We’re on to the excitable Bria Anai, who had a fantastic final solo on “This Is a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” And it’s enough. BRIA ANAI is in the Top 30.
8:53 p.m. I really don’t want Jessica Meuse to advance. She was annoying on Group Night and I don’t think she’s anywhere near talented enough to make people vote her her despite that. She did an original for her last solo. It’s repetitive, but it’s not an awful original, but I don’t think “Idol” is really the right vehicle for her. For some reason, Jessica is being paired with Jesse Roach. I think that Jesse Roach has a much better sense of who she is as an artist, but her last solo pretty weak. America will vote for neither of them, but there’s a better chance they’ll vote for Jessica, I think. The judges tell Jesse and Jessica that they ran into trouble with the two of them. Their solution? SING-OFF!
9:02 p.m. Jessica solos first. She’s croak-y and rough. Meh. Jesse is kinda flat and bland, but bluesy. Why must we take either one of them? Harry likes Jessica. J-Lo disagrees. If they’re not more sure, maybe they shouldn’t take either of them. I’m not sure why all this deliberation is going on. If there’s this much doubt? Neither. Neither one of them is “extraordinarily talented,” no matter what Harry tries claiming. Anyway, the next person in the Top 30 is… JESSICA MEUSE. “I don’t know how else we could have decided,” J-Lo says. I have an answer for that…
9:07 p.m. I really, really like Dexter Roberts. He’s got a great voice and a great guitar hand. He’s 100 percent authentic, 100 percent farm boy. Is he the next American Idol? Well… No. “You can’t be all hat, no cattle,” Keith Urban tells him. It’s hard to read Dexter’s initial emotional response, but it’s much easier to get the meaning of his whoop when he gets off of the elevator. DEXTER ROBERTS is in the Top 30. But what does that mean for the other members of his somewhat interchangeable Group Night trio?
9:09 p.m. I’ve already predicted Emmanuel Zidor’s path. He’s got maybe one spectacular week in him, with the judges praising him into the next round. Then he’ll do a Luther Vandross song — “A House Is Not a Home,” of course — and America will send him home. It’s perilously close to inevitable. He’s got an instrument that few can compete with and a style that only a few will embrace. Emmanuel is already crying when he sits down. Of course, he can’t be shockingly eliminated if he doesn’t advance. EMMANUEL ZIDOR is in the Top 30.
9:17 p.m. I’m not sure. Did I miss anybody? Or was MK Nobilette next? MK was another person who didn’t look great on Group Night. And I’m not sure that was a very good final solo, even if J-Lo is rocking back and forth happily. She’s very low-key, which isn’t bad, but also doesn’t get votes. There’s an interesting serenity to her voice and her presence, but who ever said, “Damn, I love her serenity!” “I’m very obviously gay,” MK says, admitting that some people out there will obviously hate, but that others will not, because the world is changing. MK NOBILETTE is in the Top 30 and “Idol” just made it clear that if you don’t like MK, it’s because you don’t like change. This makes me really uncomfortable. Nothing about MK makes me uncomfortable, mind you. What makes me uncomfortable is the suggestion that people who don’t like her will be people who are behind the times. Sigh.
9:21 p.m. I’ve liked pouty nurse Kristen O’Connor in the past, so I’m willing to forgive a really boring final solo. She’s been better than that previously, so I’m not worried about her. Kristen admits she didn’t like her Group Night performance, but she felt good about the other performances. I’m assuming Kristen is in the Top 30, but I’m not confident enough to tweet about it.
9:28 p.m. Did you tweet about Kristen? Guess what? KRISTEN O’CONNOR is in the Top 30. She’s very happy. No pouting at all. Yeah, she’s pretty.
9:30 p.m. Seven girls have taken Top 15 slots. And six guys have taken Top 15 slots.
9:28 p.m. I remember confident 15-year-old Jordan Brisbane. He vowed to shut the show down. I think he’s got oodles of potential. Me, I’d tell him to mature and grow for two or three years. Nobody cares what I think. Oh! Wait. It’s Jordan’s 16th birthday. They aren’t going to send him home on his birthday. JORDAN BRISBANE is in the Top 15.
9:30 p.m. Have I ever seen Casey McQuillen before? Really? She’s sure that she’s ready, but she’s wrong. She’s not going on, even if Harry is proud of her for perfecting her craft. Farewell, Nica Nashae.
9:32 p.m. Time for another Sing-Off. We’ve got Leah Guerrero, with quirky person style, and Andrina Brogden, who is kinda a giant. Unlike the previous Sing-Off, I can see some reason to advance either of these two, but Andrina would be my preference, I guess. Oh. It’s not a Sing-Off. Leah is heading home and ANDRINA BROGDEN is in the Top 30. They didn’t do a very good job of showing why they were placed head-to-head other than to prevent Andrina from enjoying the experience.
9:40 p.m. I can get behind Malcolm Allen. He’s got a bit of style and a smooth, New Jack swing kinda voice. I wish a bit more of the personality from his fashion choices translated to his face when he’s singing. He’s got kinda dead eyes and rarely shows any expression. With coaching, you could probably get something good out of Malcolm. In his final solo, he had Keith singing along with him. Harry talks in circles for a little bit, but MALCOLM ALLEN is in the Top 30.
9:45 p.m. Alex Preston is yet another one of this season’s genuine musicians who may not fit into the “American Idol” mold. He’s a great guitarist and a fine vocalist. I wonder if the “Idol” stylists could do anything with him. I mean, Lee DeWyze won “American Idol” and this guy is better than Lee DeWyze. Plus, his original songs are worthwhile. Even if this show only keeps him around til the Top 10, that would be a nice boon for his career. ALEX PRESTON is in the Top 30. That’s good. It speaks to the show’s credibility, even if he goes home next week.
9:53 p.m. Uh-oh. CJ Harris and Casey Thrasher are being paired together. This is the opposite of the Jesse/Jessica sing-off. I want both CJ and Casey to advance! CJ would be my preference, especially after watching the final solos. They’re both dads from Alabama and they both do country. Harry wants them to fight for it. He helpfully clarifies, “with your voices.” Based on the time, I’m not sure we’re gonna be able to get results tonight. Cliffhanger?
9:56 p.m. The Sing-Off is interesting, because CJ is a super guitar player and he’s doing this version of “Whipping Post” a cappella. I think he did enough, with a challenging song. Casey is good too, though. And Casey’s got the White Boy With Guitar thing that may get girls to vote. It’s too bad that we’re gonna have to choose. I’d take both!
9:58 p.m. The judges deliberate, while the two guys agree that they’re very similar. “It’s just so hard to pick,” Harry says. We’ll have to check back in tomorrow!
What do you think of tonight’s choices?