Over the course of the season, the American Idol judges (Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj) gave out 295 Golden tickets.
This week, all of the contestants have descended to Hollywood for the next round of competition.
In an Idol first, the contestants have been divided by gender. The ladies will be facing the judges next week so it was the men’s turn to try to impress the panel.
During the first round of the competition, each of the contestants had one chance to impress the judges in the Sudden Elimination round. Several Idol standouts including Micah Johnson, Nate Tao, Gabe Brown and the Turbinator shined while Karl Skinner, Dustin Watts and Dr. Calvin Peters were sent home.
However, there was one contestant that divided the judges. 22-year-old Cortez Shaw, a sales clerk from Dallas, delivered an intriguing cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” While it was impressive vocally, it was astonished Mariah but appalled Nicki. Nicki stated she would have sent him home but Cortez was sent through to the next round.
Chicago standout Lazaro Arbos came to Hollywood Week with a lot to prove. While he still stuttered through his opening, Lazaro delivered a fiery cover of Robbie Williams’ “Angels” that stunned the judges and received a standing ovation from his fellow contestants. Keith stated that he would be going through unanimously.
After surviving day one of Hollywood Week, the guys must face the infamous group round. For this season, the Executive Producers (Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe) decided to form the groups. However, each of these groups faced different problems including song selection, choreography and group bonding,
Ready or not, these groups had to present to the judges. The groups had to perform with the American Idol band for the first time and they were judged individually as well. Up first to face the judges was the Mac Heads (Nick Boddington, Brown, Matheus Fernandes and Mathenee Treco), who blew everyone away with their impressive cover of Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” All four of them were safe and headed on to the solos round.
The remainder of the groups was plagued with numerous problems. Normal Hills forgot the words that dragged the group down when they failed to deliver the Four Tops’ “Reach Out! I’ll Be There.” However, Johnny Keyser scrapped by the skin of his teeth. Other groups shined as Curtis Finch, Jr. and Charlie Askew’s group took Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song” to church and Micah Johnson’s “The Four Tones” wowed the judges with their cover of “Hold On! I’m Coming.”
Unfortunately, lyric problems plagued dozens of groups. The B-Tones forgot the words to Maroon 5’s “Payphone” and the judges even stated that Adam Levine would be spinning in his grave. However, all four of the judges gave them a slap on the wrist and told them that need to be better in the solo round.
Super 55 had to overcome a lot of problems. Some of Lazaro’s group members thought that he held them back but during showtime, Lazaro proved himself worthy as they tackled the Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t Be Nice.” Mariah stated that it was a little bit inconsistent from all of them but Lazaro and Christian were the last two standing from their group.
The last group of the night was Oz. Unfortunately, the group had dueled within, as Frankie Ford seemed like the odd man out compared to the three remaining members, who were musicians. It seemed like this group was falling apart onstage. The judges noticed that the group was horrible as well. Nicki stated that she was disappointed in Frankie and Papa Peachez admitted that it was a hot mess. The judges decided to send Frankie home. After a passionate diatribe, a tearful Frankie vowed to return next season.
Tomorrow night, the Solo Round will determine who will form the Boys’ Top 20.