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American Idol: An inside look at Hollywood Week

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American Idol Hollywood Week for Season 13 is currently underway in Los Angeles. Contestants from all across the country were flowned into Hollywood over the weekend. This week they performed for the judges for the first time since being put through to Hollywood Week after their intial auditions in front of the judges this fall.

According to most contestants who have been through this process, this is the hardest part of the competition as every performance could be their last. Their luggage is waiting in the theatre lobby during the rounds in case they get cut from the competition.

American Idol returns to Fox for Season 13 on January 15th for a two hour premiere. The judges for the season will be Keith Urban who is the only judge to return from last season, Jennifer Lopez who returns from a one season hitatus and Harry Connick Jr. who joins the judges chair for the first time after performing and mentoring a few times on show.

LA Music Examiner was invited to get an exclusive look at the behind the scenes during Tuesday's competition round. We got a look at various groups of 10 giving their all to the judges. We can not at this time give out the names of the contestants who made it through auditions to Wednesday's group rounds, but here is a glimpse of what we saw on Tuesday. The judges chemistry is defintely more noticable so far then last year. Lopez, who is seated in the middle of Urban and Connick, chatted with each other during the breaks. Urban, who is nursing a cold, laughed and consulted with the judges more in the time we were there than we could see from last year. Urban also talked a lot more than remembered, greeting contestants and even stopping one contestants to start over once their guitar was out of tune.

Lopez greeted contestants, made comments to the ones that she instantly remembered, even asking a few about their family members. Contestants had family members there sitting in the mezzanine to cheer them on as they auditioned, while their fellow contestants sat watching from the audience until their group was announced to join the stage.

Connick is very funny and added a great comical relief and more than likely some less stress to the waiting contestants on stage.

Groups of 10 contestants were lead to the stage at once. Each one took to the microphone. They stated their name, what they were performing and why they felt they were the next American Idol. Responses included "I'm different", " I am role model for my generation", " Because there had not been a girl win and now that Candice Glover won, we need woman to keep women winning", "there has yet to be a Latino winner" to "I want it, I need it" which promoted Connick to joke "wouldn't it be so refreshing for someone to come up and just be completely honest and just say.. Keith, Jennifer and Harry, I want to be famous, a big star and I want to make lots of money".

The contestants sang acapella to a song of their choice ranging from one to two minutes. We did see over a handful of constestants performing with their guitars and one on piano. Song choices appeared to be more current than in the past years during Hollywood Week. There were a few versions of "The House of The Rising Sun" by The Animals, and a few traditional country songs were thrown in the mix, but the majority of songs we heard were very currently release songs which included Beyonce, Keith Urban and various songs by Jessie J, John Legend and Bruno Mars.

The elimination process then took place as contestants were later called back on stage in their groups of 10 to hear their status. The last group we saw, were judged right after their performances. Connick, Lopez and Urban took turns addressing each group to tell them their fate. Certain contestants were called to stepped forward, the ones who did were either saved or sent home. The eliminations were tense as expected even including a "Chorus Line" moment when Lopez called a contestant to step forward, then quickly stated "sorry that was a mistake, step back".

Check back for more reports from Hollywood Week.

For more information on American Idol: www.americanidol.com

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