‘American Idol’ recap: Hollywood thins the herd


I suppose it’s saying something about an episode of “American Idol” when the highlight of the whole thing may have been watching Ryan Seacrest do a few pushups without realizing the camera was on.

OK, maybe that wasn’t the highlight, but the point is, excitement was in short supply on Wednesday night’s Hollywood elimination round. Yeah. Yawn.

The “first night” of Hollywood Week (which actually spanned at least two days, enough time for Jennifer Lopez to trade a soft, attractive outfit to an outlandish one and for some of the contestants to wander near a One Direction sound check and freak out) was a businesslike affair in which we saw a quick thinning of the herd. Each of the 190 singers who’d received golden tickets lined up onstage in groups of 10, stepped forward individually to sing for the judges, and then either was either waved through to the coveted/dreaded group round or sent home shy of it. Half would be sent home.


Those whom the judges deemed worthy of sticking around included …

Jordan Sasser, the guy who’d auditioned in Atlanta with his wife -- and made it to Hollywood when she did not.

Dalton Rapattoni, the guy who made “The Phantom of the Opera” sound like a singer-songwriter hit during auditions, and his apparent former rival, green-haired band frontwoman Jaci Butler. (They’ve known each other since they were 11 and once faced off during a battle of the bands, we learned Wednesday night; she won.)

Endearing Brooklynite Jenn Blosil (fun fact: Her brother calls her “J.Blo”), adorable Thomas Stringfellow and appealing Olivia Rox (whose father is professional jazz saxophonist Warren Hill).

Lush-voiced Jessica Cabral and Sonika Vaid, whom Harry Connick Jr. called a potential winner during her audition, but not Melanie Tierce, whom Connick had also initially adored (so much that he walked out during her audition).

Fabulous-haired mom (of what really must be among the cutest 10-month-old daughters ever to grace our TV screens) La’Porsha Renae.

JLo fans Daniel Farmer and Manny Torres, but not, alas, Harrison Cohen, the 17-year-old New Yorker with the “foxy grandpa,” who had wisely, yet futilely advised young Harrison to be “sincere” and “energetic.”


Cute Lee Jean, whose “Idol” run has been inspired by his late older brother, and “The Voice” veteran Shelbie Z; not cancer survivor Melanie Huber.

Off-the-grid-living cello player Jeneve Rose Mitchell, who had never been on a plane with “three seats on each side” before; Gianna Isabella, who called her former pop star mom, Brenda K. Starr, her “momager,” “hair stylist,” “clothing stylist,” “makeup stylist” and “pain in the butt” (motherhood, a thankless task); and Tristan McIntosh, whose military mom had come in to surprise her during auditions.

Big-time, lifelong “American Idol” fan Michelle Marie, but not big-time, lifelong “American Idol” fan Kyrsti Jewel. Button-cute Marie was psyched. Jewel and her even-more-“Idol”-obsessed parents (“Fifteen years we’ve waited for this, honey, 15 years,” her father told his wife before their daughter took her turn onstage) were crushed. It didn’t help that the bad news arrived on her 16th birthday.

Other contestants whose auditions had seen airtime who were sent home in Hollywood: Kerry Courtney, Brook Sample, Usen Isong (the “background actor”), Reanna Molinaro (who’d been compelled to handcuff Connick), Ethan Kuntz, Jake Dillon.

Trent Harmon made it through, even though he had just been diagnosed with “full-blown mono.”

Miranda “Poh” Scott advanced by singing a song dedicated to her sister, “Shi,” who’d competed on “Idol” with moderate success last season.

Returnee Emily Brooke, who’d made it to last season’s top 48 before being cut, also made it through.

There you go. On to the group rounds, where we will likely see poor Trent Harmon freak out his fellow contestants with his fever sweats and shivers.

“I guess I’ll have to practice from afar,” he said. Good idea.