By Katrina Galsim
10:35 PM EST, February 8, 2012
The auditions are finally over! Hooray for the 309 singers who have made it to Hollywood, the land of dreams!
Do I seem happy? It's because we are now headed to the "drama round" of the show.
THIS! Is "American Idol"!
... except the drama is usually reserved for the group round of Hollywood Week. D'oh. That's tomorrow. Tonight is the line-up-like-a-firing-squad-and-sing-for-your-life-because-half-of-you-are-going-home kind of night as the contestants will choose a song and sing it a cappella in groups of 10.
Oh, and somebody fell off the stage. But we'll get to that later.
Nervous Heejun Han and confident Johnny Keyser make it through with their smooth performances. Johnny left J.Lo smiling and Randy saying "Amen, amen, amen..." Heejun again sang his audition song, "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You." Heejun previously had been sure that he was not going to last in Hollywood, but after getting through to the first round, he realized, "I thought everyone was too pretty for me. Well, guess who's pretty now?"
Elise Testone, Baylie Brown and Hallie Day all go through as well. Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger" is played in the background after the three girls go through, which is a coinky dink given that the last girl, Baltimore waitress Hallie, sang "Natural Woman", arguably Kelly's strongest performance on "Idol."
Jen Hirsch and Lauren Gray are through to the next round as Jen sang "Up to the Mountain" so convincingly that Steven kept saying, "Don't stop," to her. Meanwhile, Lauren was so into her song that she didn't notice Randy waving his arms helplessly to get her to stop.
Phil Phillips and Reed Grimm get the approval of the judges to advance to the next round. Phil was the guy who did a Dave Matthewesque "Thriller" in Savannah, and his performance tonight was even more shifty. But that's fine, as long as you're through. Reed, again with a clever song choice, sang "I Got a Golden Ticket" and reminded me that this guy's got charisma. He even got the crowd going. I love his Jason Mraz style.
Adam "I have been told that there's a black woman trapped inside my body" Brock delivered a strong performance of "Walking in Memphis" (J.Lo's request months earlier) and showcased his powerful voice with a hint of gruff. Love it. A dad of a baby girl, he said on video chat that "I'm not gonna be coming home tonight" because he made it through to the next round, and his daughter smiled. Aww!
Also through are these three: 17-year-old ladies man David Leathers Jr., "hot, humid, and happening" Shannon Magrane and best girlfriend in the world (remember her boyfriend suffered a stroke and she nursed him back to health?) Jessica Phillips.
A montage of girls with pitch problems. I grimace. So long, Heather Youmans, Sascha Julian, Candice Russell. Try to hit the notes next year.
Travis Orlando, who was eliminated last year in the same round, is sent home. He went through a tough year with his mom leaving his family and his dad being sick.
Ramiro Garcia, who you will remember as the guy who was born with no ears, got eliminated as well.
Jane Carrey, Jim Carrey's adorable daughter, didn't go through after she predicted that she would be there the whole week.
The "What the heck?"
Steven telling the contestants backstage "I wanna see some camaraderie go astray here." Maybe tomorrow, Steven. Maybe tomorrow.
Symone Black did a nice girly/sultry rendition of "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay," chatted with the judges a bit about her odd song choice, then fell off the stage. Shock and worry from the whole room as everybody wondered if she would be OK.
We'll find out tomorrow night as Hollywood Week brings us the group round.
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