‘American Idol’ Season 15 Epiosde 9 Recap: Hollywood Week Solo Round Shows Huge Talents
The stakes were high for 75 contestants on last night’s final day of Hollywood Week. The solo round requires contestants to learn a song in one night and rehearse with the band to perform for the judges the following day. This is the first time in the competition where judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. hear the singers with a full band.
Following their performance, there is no immediate feedback. Instead contestants are split into three rooms and must anxiously wait to hear whether they will go further in this competition or go home.
“Many contestants start to second guess their performances,” host Ryan Seacrest said.
The young adults were the ones that seemed to impress the judges.
Some daring contestants even performed an original song, and it paid off. Olivia Rox, 16, sang with confidence. Her voice was strong and her songwriting skills were even stronger. Mackenzie Bourg, 23, sang an original song called, “Roses.” It’s easy to imagine him as a singer-songwriter with his sweet sound and his guitar. Urban had to be reminded that it was an original song in which he replied, “Are you kidding?” It was that good. “It’s like the lost Ed Sheeran track,” Urban said.
Shelbie Z, 23, came out strong and performed “Alone” by Heart. She’s a hairdresser, but once you hear her powerhouse voice you’ll understand she is where she’s supposed to be.
Surprisingly, we didn’t hear any contestants that didn’t have a good voice. Usually American Idol tends to showcase the horrible singers in segments, but in this final season they really narrow down their air time to the quality performers.
The judges look for singers that truly perform and stand out among the rest. Some had great voices but just chose the wrong song. Kory Wheeler, 27, sang “Fix You” by Coldplay and the tempo was too slow for this kind of final performance. As he was playing his guitar, the song just dragged on.
Tristan McIntosh’s story is one filled with strength. In her audition, the 15-year-old was shocked when her mother, who serves overseas as a Major in the Army, came to deliver her ticket to Hollywood.
Last night, she performed “What Hurts The Most” by Cascada. You can feel the strength within Tristan’s mature sound. If you close your eyes, you would never guess this girl is 15. “It’s a girls’ season, my word,” Urban said following her performance.
Sonika Vaid, 20, sang “One Last Time” by Ariana Grande. The performance seemed a little awkward in the beginning but once she got to the chorus of the song it all fell into place. Her voice is beautifully smooth and strong just like Grande herself. The judges agreed that she had the “prettiest tone.”
Through all the trials and tribulations of Hollywood week, friendships were formed. The episode showcased the cute friendship of Lee Jean and Sara Sturm. Lee Jean, 16, gave a cute performance of “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes. He may just be the new Justin Bieber. Sturm, 18, gave a raw performance of “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane. The talented friends both made it to the next round.
Every season, there is always that time of Hollywood week where everyone starts feeling the pressure and sickness sets in. Some contestants completely exhaust their voices and some contract illnesses like laryngitis.
Jessica Cabral, 21, is one of many that overcame sickness during Hollywood week. She performed a soulful rendition of “Up To The Mountain” by Patty Griffin. Her voice sounds effortless. In a way, she reminds me of the talented singer, Tori Kelly.
The last contestant of the night, Dalton Rapattoni, 19, admits that group night was the worst for him. As expected, group night, always seems to be the hardest each season where many contestants spend their time trying to find a group, song, and plan for the performance. He sang a passionate rendition of “Hopelessly Devoted to You” by Olivia Newton-John in Grease.
The judges go through headshots to try and determine who does and doesn’t go through to the next round. The 75 contestants are divided into three rooms where two out of the three received their opportunity to continue their journey on American Idol.
Performers face their next challenge tonight where they will perform in front of a live audience. The current 51 contestants will be cut down even further into the top 24. Tune in to the final season of American Idol Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on FOX.