American Idol 2013 Recap: Hollywood Week Round 1 – The Guys Stake Their Claim! (VIDEO)
On American Idol 2013 this week, the guys will be taking the stage to stake their claim on a place in the Top 40. Will your favorite guys survive the grueling intensity of one of the hardest phases of the competition? Tune in with us for our American Idol live recap of Hollywood Week round 1 starting right now! So far this season, we have seen some incredible talent among the men, including the guy who made Mariah Carey cry, Burnell Taylor, and singing stutterer Lazaro Arbos, who has more YouTube views of his audition video than any other contestant so far. What happens in the auditions rounds, however, doesn’t always translate when it comes to American Idol Hollywood Week. Heavy early favorites often vanish during these rounds for a variety of circumstances. Maybe they only had one great song in them. Or they end up with the wrong group and everything turns into a disaster they can’t escape. Sometimes, the voice may be there, but the personality just isn’t. American Idol judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson want a total package, not just someone with stellar vocals. American Idol 2013 producer Ken Warwick told Entertainment Weekly he saw “kids who’ve walked out of here devastated who could quite legitimately have been in the Top 10 or even more.” By the end of the American Idol Hollywood Week rounds, there are certain to be plenty of fans screaming about how their favorites got the short end of the stick. It’s always sad to see great talent go home, but not everyone can make it to the Top 40! (If you are dying to know who did, however, you can find out in our American Idol spoilers here.) Who will earn their place in Vegas Week among the guys? Our American Idol live recap of Hollywood Week round 1 kicks off at 8 p.m. So stay tuned and watch the show with us right here! Welcome to our live recap of the first round of American Idol Hollywood Week 2013! Unlike previous years, we will be having only the guys taking the stage this week. As the contestants gather in the auditorium in nervous anticipation, the judges make their arrival. Keith Urban can’t help but make a Hunger Games comment about all the guys waiting around to fight for a spot in the next round.
The guys come out in groups of ten to sing a very brief a cappella song. This will be a sudden death elimination. If the judges just aren’t feeling it, the guy will be sent home immediately with no second chances.
The first featured singer of the night is Micah Johnson, who suffered nerve damage to his throat after having his tonsils removed. He gives the judges a brief bit from “Benny and the Jets” that has them clapping and whooping. He’s looking good...
And he’s through to the next round along with several others, including Oklahoma City’s Nate Tao, Chicago’s Gabe Brown (who gets a standing ovation from Randy Jackson) and The Turbanator, Gurpreet Singh Sarin.
Not going through to the next round, unfortunately is Karl Skinner -- who fails badly on "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" -- as well as firefighter Dustin Watts, and singing doctor Calvin Peters from Fort Worth, TX.
The last contestant before lunch is Cortez Shaw from Dallas, who puts shock on the judges’ faces with “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. He says he wants to be a “light” for those like him who grew up with nothing. After the break, Nicki Minaj says she thought Cortez did a poor job and she thought it was disgusting. The other judges, however, have decided to put him through to the next phase of Hollywood Week.
Now up is Curtis Finch Jr. from St. Louis with another soul-infused performance that elicits a “big yes” from the judges.
Frankie Ford is also through with a nice performance. Next to come before the judges is Lazaro Arbos, who is afflicted with an extremely difficult stutter that makes it difficult for him to communicate verbally... except when he is singing. When he lifts up his gorgeous voice in song, you don’t even have to hear from the judges to know he’ll be moving on.
Lazaro’s yes from the judges is followed by several more guys moving through to the next part of Hollywood Week, including Trevor Blankley, Bryant Tadeo, Charles Allen. Although Nicki Minaj nearly gives Bryant a heart attack when she asks if he is tired and he says yes... to which she responds, well ‘we’re going to send you home to get some sleep.’ Thankfully for him, she was just kidding. But she tells him to never, ever, say he’s tired.
The judges are sadly not kidding when they send Brian Rittenberry packing. You might remember him as the guy who so sweetly supported his wife during her battle with cancer. He says he is happy that he is going home to a healthy wife and a beautiful son, even if he does think the judges got it wrong.
And now it's time for the most terrifying and difficult part of Hollywood Week. Groups. Some of the contestants start partnering up and choosing people they like or think they sound good with to group up. This year, however, there is a new twist. The producers are about to surprise the contestants by telling them they have all been assigned to groups. After they meet and greet, the groups will have to pick a song to do from a list of 20, plan choreography, learn lyrics and get it all down in one week.
In the first group, Cuban born Lazaro Arbus is already having trouble communicating. It isn’t just because of his stutter though. He just doesn’t know most of the songs on the list they can select from.
In one of the oddest match-ups of the evening, socially akward Charlie Askew ends up in the same group -- the Couch Potatoes -- as Curtis Finch, Jr. and Charlie Mathis. Way too many groups have decided to choose “What Makes You Beautiful” by ONe Direction. Group Normal Hills, with Johnny Keyser and Cortez Shaw, are trying for “I’ll Be There” instead. Perhaps they should have gone with the One Direction song too, because it is not sounding great.
Things are just getting worse as Papa Peachez tries to get his group to change songs, but they think it is far too late to be switching at this point. The group Country Queen is even more of a wreck with Trevor Blakeny getting seriously irritated because he thinks his partners care more about their dancing than their vocals.
The next morning is a chaotic mess of glaring alarms, exhausted contestants and frantic preparations for their performances. Welcome to group day! Even though the hopefuls will be performing in groups, they will be judged individually. Those who don’t impress the judges will be immediately eliminated. Those who do well will move on to the solo rounds.
In the first group, the Math Heads, we have former The Glee Project star Matheus Fernandes, who hopes his luck on this reality TV show will be than on his last one. He was eliminated in the fifth week of The Glee Project Season 1. Thankfully, they are actually sounding quite fabulous! At the end of the performance, it is judgment time for the Math Heads (Matheus, Nick Boddington, Mathenee Treco and Gabe Brown). Nicki Minaj asks all four of the guys to step forward and... they are all through to the next round.
Normal Hills is next up, featuring Nicki Minaj crush Johnny Keyser and Kareem Clark. Immediately it is obvious Johnny has seriously lost whatever it was the judges saw in him during auditions. The rest of his group is not any better at all. Amazingly, despite their performance being absolutely terrible, the whole group goes through... except for poor Kareem Clark. The only possible reason Johnny could have gotten through has to be because he's cute. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.
Now we have the oddball group of Charlie Askew, Charles Mathis, and Curtis Finch Jr. Charlie wasn’t feeling well, but manages to pull it together by the time they take the stage. This may be one of the weirdest combos of the evening, but they actually manage to do a great rendition of “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars. They all shine, even though Curtis kind of tries to take over everything. All the judges are wildly on board and the whole group of guys will get to come back for the solo round.
More groups manage to make the judges... well, if not happy, at least not abysmally unhappy, resulting in another handful of contestants moving on to the solo rounds, including Micah Johnson, Vincent Powell, Martin Calderon, David Willis, Nate Tao, Cortez Shaw, Elijah Liu and Zach Birnbaum.
Gurpreet Singh Sarin’s group all make it through. but everyone in the group Last Minute (Jason Jones, Dan Wood, Jessie Lawrence) fail to make the grade.
Group day continues with the guys and Burnell Taylor’s group is up next. He’s hoping Mariah Carey will cry again at hearing him sing like she did during his first audition, in a good way, of course. Tony Foster, Mario Jose, Burnell Taylor, and Darien Moses all do a decent job but Keith thinks Burnell was a bit shaky. Even so, he is sent through while Mario and Darien are eliminated.
Lazaro Arbus and his group are up next and they are doing a Beach Boys song. They had big problems trying to get things together and Lazaro says “sometimes when you can’t communicate well, people think you aren’t smart.” Even with all his difficulty bonding with his group, Lazaro blows them all right out of the water with his fabulous voice. From the group, Lazaro and Christian Lopez are going through, but it is the end of the road for Josh Stephens and Scott Fleenor. I find it rather petty that everyone seems to blame Lazaro for their bad performances.
Up next is Country Queen with Joel Wayman, Trevor Blakney, Josh ‘Jada’ Davila and Lee Pritchard. The combo of the good ole country boy and androgynous gender-bender Josh ‘Jada’ Davila is certainly interesting to watch but painful to listen to. They are off pitch, they forget the words and they look incredibly uncomfortable on stage.
Mariah gives them the bad news that Trevor and Lee will not be going through, but Josh “Jada” and Joel will move on. Trevor is devastated by his elimination and can’t believe he has failed for the first time in his life. I’d think if this is the first time you’ve ever failed in your life, you should count that as an amazing track record and be a pretty damn happy person.
DKSK consists of the four youngest guys left among the hopefuls and they are not shocked at being put together. How could the producers resist forming their own little boy band for the judges? David Leathers Jr., Kevin Quinn, Kayden Stephenson, and Sanni M’Mairura sound just about as adorable as they look. David is just really hopeful he will not be left behind in the dust again after being eliminated in Vegas Week last season.
The performance is nice in places and shaky in others. Not a home run by any means. David and Sanni make it through to the solo round, but Kevin and sweet, precious Kayden are sent home.
Others who were eliminated include handsome Griffin Peterson and Clifton Duffin, whose parents never heard him sing before he auditioned for American Idol 2013.
The last group of the night is finally up and it is all drama, drama, drama. Before they came in front of the judges, there were tears and craziness all over. Frankie Ford, who sings on the train, totally loses it and freaks out. It doesn’t get better once they hit the stage and it is a very weak performance at best. Nicki Minaj wants to know what went wrong and Papa Peachez calls the whole thing a “hot mess” because everyone in the group has “big personalities.”
Nicki says Keith Urban fought like hell for Frankie, but he will be heading home. She tells Papa Peachez he was just one vote from going home, but he will get another opportunity to step up. Adam Sanders and Charles Allen also get a pass through. Frankie leaves in tears and doesn’t want to talk to anyone. He just wants to go home. He says he’ll do his best to come back next year. Frankie says he didn’t come here to lose and he is going to be an American Idol winner. He is just heartbreaking as he walks away sobbing.