‘Hollywood Week’ brings ‘Genre Challenge’ and Judge Curveball (RECAP)


the american idol the hopefuls packed their bags and headed to “Hollywood Week.” It was there that they were greeted by familiar faces from the show’s 20-year history who served as mentors. Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Lauren Alaina, Ruben Studdard, Chayce Beckham, Lee DeWyze and Haley Reinhart met contestants who prepared to take the stage for the “Gender Challenge”.

Each Idol Hopeful was tasked with identifying who they are as an artist, choosing from indie-folk, pop, rock, R&B, soul and country bands. Then these talented singers choose a song to perform one-on-one. And those platinum ticket holders Jay, HunterGirl and Kenedi Anderson were able to spot their competition from the comfort of the balcony seats above. Although this is not the only purpose (more details below).

Who impressed Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie enough to qualify for the ‘Duets Challenge’ round? Let’s unpack.

The country

ABC/Eric McCandless

Who better to frame this band than 2011 Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina and defending winner Chayce Beckham. Mike Parker kicked things off on a high with Cam’s “Burning House.” Viewers may recall that the 27-year-old carpenter was able to present the initial golden ticket to his mother, who continues to battle leukemia. Raleigh, 23, Kaylin Robertson also wowed the judges with Brett Young’s “Mercy.” Olivia Faye and Sarahbeth Taite followed suit.

Alaina was in tears watching Kelsea Dolan’s audition. The 18-year-old from Boone County, West Virginia had never really sung in front of an audience. She was visibly shaking as she walked towards the microphone, but those nerves melted as she performed Lainey Wilson’s “Things A Man Oughta Know.” The band were all sent off, as were teenagers Ryleigh Madison and Noah Thompson. It was nice to see Beckham on the Idol perform on stage and show the audience what their future could be.



ABC/Eric McCandless

The 2003 winner Ruben Studdard gave this group valuable advice. The first was Zareh, daughter of Idol former Nadia Turner. She had difficulty at first keeping up with the piano. Tobias, 26, did a little better performing “Back at One” by Brian McKnight. Homeless support host Katyrah Love, 23, channeled her inner Whitney to “Saving All My Love For You”. Katyrah and Tobias will live to fight another day as it turned out to be the end of the road for Zareh.

indie folk


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2010 winner Lee DeWyze helped out the quirky oddballs in the competition. Leah Marlene started things off for the band with a cool cover of Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi”. Fritz Hager III was determined to win Luke over this time around with The X Ambassadors’ “Unsteady.” The two were among those chosen to continue on “Hollywood Week.”


Christian Guardino

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Season 10’s Haley Reinhart brought some uplifting words to the crew. Danielle Finn thought of her grandfather, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, while singing “Easy on Me” by Adele. She received a standing ovation. New Yorker Christian Guardino went out of his way to shake nerves for his rendition of Billie Eilish’s “My Future.” Their efforts were enough to qualify for the next round.

Later, Kevin Gullage energized the tired judges after a long day. Cadence Baker, a little town girl, shone singing a bit of Tori Kelly while fellow teenaged Tristen Gressett pulled out some James Brown. The trio have done enough to stay in the competition.


Cole Hallman

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David Cook was a welcome sight for candidates like Cole Hallman. The 22-year-old said in 2008 Idol winning that it was his song that got him onto his iPod as a kid. He took it the old fashioned way with “Vienna” by Billy Joel. The Manasquan, New Jersey, surf shop associates received another yes from the judges.



ABC/Eric McCandless

Many representatives of pop were still in their high school years. Something guest mentor Jordin Sparks knows something about, winning the competition in 2007 at age 17. The same age as Morgan Gruber, who did well in his audition. Emyrson Flora, 16, of Cleveland was looking to turn heads on her rendition of Adele’s “Love In The Dark.” They were both sent.

The twenties were next with Sir Blayke, 28, showing off his ‘True Colours’ with Cyndi Lauper’s hit. Ava Maybee, 20, has proven to be more than the daughter of Red Hot Chilli Peppers drummer Chad Smith. She sang “Roxanne” from The Police. Sam Finelli, 28, inspired viewers with his first audition. Unfortunately, he was sent home while Sir Blayke and Aav moved on to the next round.

The final line of performers for the day included Jacob Moran, Douglas Mills Jr., Danielle Clavell and Nicolina. It was Toronto’s Nicolina who delivered a powerful rendition of Billie Eilish’s “All I Wanted” that left everyone standing in the theater. The whole row did.

The curve ball

Platinum Winners

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The platinum ticket holders ended up teaming up singing “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey. Katy then mentioned how life was all about curve balls. The judges then explained that the duet part would see them choose the partners. Well, not all of them. Platinums actually get first picks to choose who they want to duet with next round. That was the real reason they were there watching. Good game Idolbut who will they choose?

american idolSunday and Monday, 8/7c, ABC


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