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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 30 year old lawyer living in Ottawa. Besides legal jargon, his brain capacity is taken up by reality show trivia, video game walk-throughs and room escape strategies. Andrew is also happily in a long-term, long-distance relationship. Follow him on Twitter as @sublymonal.

American Idol XIV: Hollywood Week #1

Our writer and Idol expert, Andrew Rogers is back this season covering the popular FOX reality show, “American Idol“. The pressure is on and the stakes are high as the musical competition searches for a real superstar in its fourteenth year. With weekly recaps discussing the contestants’ performances and choices, Rogers looks ahead at what’s in-store each week in his exclusive Idol recap series.

Hollywood Week started off with a bang as the cold open before the credits reminded us of past Idol success stories: Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Phillip Phillips.  Hollywood Week is the trial-by-fire where dark horses rise up and the true front runners shine. So let’s talk highlights. The judges started Hollywood Week differently this season by letting the 38 best auditioners (hopefully) prove themselves for a second time. Some of the people that rose to the occasion were:

Jax sings “Toxic” [Credit: FOX Entertainment]

Jax singing “Toxic” (Britney Spears) – Jax was just as good as I remember, if not even better and more current. Her voice has that husky, smoky tone that makes her sound more mature than her actual age and her skills on the piano make me thing she could be another Jena Irene.

Tyanna Jones singing “Dance With Me Tonight” (Olly Murs) – Tyanna also reminds me of a contestant from last year – specifically Majesty Rose. She’s got a bit of that cute tomboyish quality to her and that old school voice that seemed to make new songs seem like classics. Her performance during tonight’s episode was playful, but also perfect to show of that she is definitely one the other contestant’s should be watching.

Adam Lasher singing “Wicked Game” (Chris Isaak) – When Adam finished, Harry declared him a superstar. I don’t know if I would go that far considering his performance was something ripped from the pages of a few other artists, but his interpretation and the vocally delicacy with which he handled it definitely made me think he could be this year’s token “cool older rocker” type.

Trevor Douglas sings “I See Fire” [Credit: FOX Entertainment]

Trevor Douglas singing “I See Fire” (Ed Sheeran) – I’m trying not to get too excited about Trevor because he reminds me of Sam Woolf from last year, who’s personality vanished the moment the live rounds started, but Trevor seems to have that geek-chic thing coming out of his pores and his scat-tastic version of Sheeran’s hit from The Hobbit made me think he’s got a little creative streak in him. But can he do anything but Ed Sheeran?

In the end, all 38 contestants advanced despite some slip-ups by Hollywood Anderson (who stripped Adele’s “Someone Like You” of it’s original melody and, as a result, it’s emotional drive) and Amber Kelechi (who’s passion to stay alive cause her cover of Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive” to go haywire).

On day two, the remaining 175 contestants were called upon to perform in groups of 10, where 5 would be cut and 5 would advance. In the end, only half of them would remain. Some of the highlights from that day thus far included:

Jaq Mackenzie singing “Cool Kids” (Echosmith) – I wasn’t fully sold on Jaq’s Paramore-esque voice back during her audition but her take on cool kids showed off all kinds of range and let her settle into a more comfortable pocket than her original song. This performance revealed the potential that the judge’s saw in her in the auditions, so I’m glad we got to see it.

Erica Washington singing “Girl on Fire” (Alicia Keys) – Erica’s powerhouse vocals were back in full force during her performance and even her fellow contestants were cheering her on. She’s got a maturity and experience about her that put her ahead of the pack for me, but I’d love to see her dial it back and do something a little softer. Maybe some Emilé Sande?

Ron “Big Sexy” Wilson singing “A Song For You” (Donny Hathaway) – Of the two guys “vying for JLo’s affection” tonight, I have to say that Ron delivered far and away the better performance. He, like Erica, suffers from a case of the shouts, but his soul and gospel roots shine clearly when he sings and I think those could go a long way to propelling him further in this competition.

Other than that, there were no major cuts to report, but the episode did end on a dramatic note as Gabby Z froze in the middle of her cover of Delta Rae’s “Bottom of the River”. I guess we’ll see tomorrow whether she can recover and survive another day in the competition.

But for now, let me know what you thought of tonight’s episode and which performances were your favorites in the comments below.

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One Comment on “American Idol XIV: Hollywood Week #1”

  1. Elizabeth Rosalyn The February 5, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    I loved Jax’s rendition of “Toxic” a lot! I have a strong feeling she’s going to be the one to beat this season. Tyanna and Trevor were definite standouts as well. Shannon is also a real diamond in the rough. I hope she can get it together because her voice is really good. Overall, I thought it was one of the best Hollywood Week episodes in years. So much promising talent.

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