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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 28 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 #3

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.

Tonight, Idol’s group night came to a close and, with it, the hopes and dreams of some of the early Idol hopefuls who showed promise. But, at the same time, we saw some talent emerge from familiar faces and the judges showed us an interesting shift in the priorities once again compared to several seasons ago. So let’s break all that down:

Sal’s Gals (Sal, Alexis, Jax, Kellie and Kaitlyn) singing “Drive By” by Train – Honesty, I was a little shocked when the judges chose to send home Sal. His personality alone made him a likeable guy but his Sinatra-esque tone just seemed to translate so well to modern songs that I expected him to a sure bet. But I’m glad the judges chose to keep Alexis, even after her anxiety attack, and the ever-talented Jax.

3 to 1 Brunettes (Riley, Keri Lynn, Emily and Jake) singing “With A Little Help From My Friends” by the Beatles – The only thing I really want to talk about in this group is Riley Bria who, up until this point, I had taken for granted but his voice really shone through in this performance and made me see what the judges had seen in him thus far.

Boulevard (Cody, Ravyon, Piper and Kellyeanne) singing “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson – I’m still not sold that Cody is anything more than a pretty voice. I get no emotion from him when he sings, despite his ability to hit all the notes well and I think, when it comes time to pick just 12 of these talented guys for the finals, he could be left out in the cold for that reason. Rayvon, on the other hand, gave me life with his falsetto in this song and handled it beautifully. He’s becoming one of my favorites because everything he steps on the stage, he brings something really unexpected.

LKYCO performs “Story of My Life”. [Credit: FOX Entertainment]

LKYCO or “Ladies Keep Your Clothes On” (Daniel, Savion, Qaasim and Trevor) singing “Story of My Life” by One Direction –This was the first group of the night where I really felt like there wasn’t a weak link. I think Trevor needs to distance himself from predictable song choices like this one, because that is what set Alex Preston apart last season. I still think Daniel has a lot of potential, but I’m not sure if he needs a little time to develop his talent before taking the big stage. Savion, on the other hand, is just pure talent and has gotten better since he first auditioned and Qaasim, like Rayvon, surprises me every time with what he’s capable of. He’s definitely an exciting contestant to watch.

JKL (Lovey, Kory, Jess and Karla) singing “All About That Bass” by Megan Trainor – Honestly, I can’t fathom why the judges sent Kory home after this performance, his voice dominated those harmonies and his audition is one that sticks out in my mind. True, I agree that Lovey and Jess ought to have been put through based on their power vocals alone, but I would have given up one more spot for Kory.

Soul Connection (Sarina-Joi, Erika, Adrianna, Heatherle) singing “Grenade” by Bruno Mars – Quick aside, if I never have to hear Grenade during Idol’s group round again, it will be too soon. This song has been done to death. That being said, I kind of felt like it was a nice bit of karma when everyone in the group made it except attempted quitter Heatherle. It was nice to see Sarina-Joi again for the first time since her audition and she sound as good as ever, if not even better. I personally would not have advanced Adrianna based on what I heard in this performance, but maybe the judges had more to go by.

The Violet Vixens perform “Somebody to Love”. [Credit: FOX Entertainment]

Violet Vixens (Shannon, Joey, Naomi, Krista) singing “Somebody to Love” by Queen – JLo was right when she said the harmonies in this song was a great way to start the performance but it quickly derailed when Joey forgot her lyrics and Shannon’s lack of practiced due to a late alarm showed just a little. That said, the judges showed a different side than previous panels have by forgiving Joey’s slip by a quick recovery that allowed her to still show off her talent. I personally preferred this approach because it’s clear that the girl is likeable and has talent, so why let one break be her downfall?

Those were the highlights, but in the midst of all that, we also lost some key players like blind guitarist Garrett Miles, who I thought sounded pretty good, and Amber Kelechi, who seemed to take the news better than I expected.

Tomorrow night, the remaining contestants perform their hearts out in solos that could send them to the final round of cuts in Detroit, MI. I’ll be back with another recap on Friday at 11AM, but until then, let me know what you thought of last night’s episode in the comments.

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