This room seemed like a shoe in because there were so many judges’ favorites here.
One of these was Mary Powers, the resident female rocker of the season, especially after the loss of Danelle Hayes. Even though she always seemed a little manufactured to be a true rocker, she did bring more than adequate vocal chops to the stage. Her final song choice of “Hot and Cold,” though, didn’t really show off anything. Why not sing something by Pat Benetar or Heart, something actually powerful? (Because the producers gave the contestants a list of boring, non-showy songs for this round, as always.)
Also present was Hope Johnson, the girl who was raised in a family so poor that she would bring home bits of her school lunch so that her brother could have dinner. Hope’s voice has always sounded thin and weak, but her strong likeability factor has kept her hanging in. Hope told the audience that she thinks she’s a natural on stage, but her performance of Daughtry’s “Home” said otherwise. She paced around and made very awkward hand gestures as she sang, looking quite the opposite of what she thought she did.
Jermaine Purifory was split from former group member Casey James, and Idol played up the drama – which of the two would make it? Jermaine’s final performance was big and smiley, and he highlighted his happy and easygoing personality. Footage of previous rounds showed nary a flaw from Jermaine #2.
Charity Vance gave a soft rendition of “Gravity” by Sarah Bareilles. She showed a definite style, but would that be enough to keep her in the competition?
But I was especially holding out hope for Room 2 because of lovable Lloyd Thomas. Lloyd captured my attention with his quirkily optimistic take on life and held it with his sweet, pure voice. We got to see a quick clip of Lloyd singing “Man in the Mirror” and a bit of him crying because of how much he missed his wife and daughter.
At the top of the show, Ryan noted that Casey James, Jermaine Purifory, and Angela Martin were in separate rooms, meaning that one of them would have to be cut. For her sanity’s sake, I was very much hoping that this wouldn’t be Angela, kept waiting in Room 3. Both of Angela’s previous Hollywood weeks have been tragic; her father died shortly before her first shot, and she was forced to leave early last year to serve six days in jail because of a traffic violation. This year, her mother went missing just before she left for Hollywood. She could really use a break! Luckily for Angela, her difficult situations didn’t seem to have affected her voice at all, unless they’d made it better. Her funky last round performance of Estelle’s “American Boy” was original and powerful.
Janelle Wheeler had desperately hoped to impress with her final Hollywood performance of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story.” However, she worried that her voice, which had weakened substantially throughout the week, would betray her. Indeed, this performance wasn’t as strong as her previous ones. She sounded more like she was marking through an audition for a show than giving it her all. “I think I blew it,” she told the cameras afterwards. “I’m so disappointed in myself.”
Aaron Kelly was also afraid of his fate after forgetting a substantial amount of words to Sarah MacLachlan’s “Angels.” However, at least Aaron has an interesting, strong voice to fall back on. He is also probably the most believably amateur kid in the running. He looks like a plain old 16 year old student who loves to sing and happens to be good at it. That’s one of the best gigs he’s got going.
Shelby Dressel had had a rough audition with the band that morning since she was also forgetting her lyrics. However, when she stepped on the stage, she absolutely nailed her performance of “More Than a Feeling.” Ellen was already in her corner, having told her that she loved her voice and confidence.
Finally, the judges visited each room individually to deliver their verdicts. The room that ended up not making the cut was Room 2. When looking at the talent in Rooms 1 and 3, this room would have been the most educated guess for elimination. Goodbye, diva Mary Powers, pure hearted Jermaine Purifory, and adorably innocent Lloyd Thomas. You all brought something to the show, and you’ll all be missed.
Now the Top 71 was cut to a Top 46.
But this, which would have been the logical conclusion of the show, turned out not to be the end of the episode! Instead, Idol taunted viewers with another first: Some of the Top 24 would now be announced. While this was fun, it seemed mostly like a ploy to keep ratings up for both nights – stay tuned tonight for some results, and tune in tomorrow for the rest.
For more on Season 9’s Hollywood Week, click here!