More than 100,000 people auditioned and out of all of them, the American Idol judges found only 193 to move ahead to Hollywood. Now comes the real intensity as they work hard to keep moving ahead. In the end, only 24 will survive to compete in the show: 12 men and 12 women.
Getting down to business
On the first day the contestants were divided into two groups. One spent the day performing; the others spent the day sightseeing and shopping. The producers sent all of the hopefuls a song list prior to their arrival in Hollywood. The list contained 12 songs for them to choose from, and then, hopefully learn the lyrics of their chosen song.
Group One highs and lows
The show begins with highlights from the Hollywood performances of farm girl Carrie Underwood, 16-year-old Jaclyn Crum, Sarah Mather from Wilmington, NC. All three make it through to the next round.
Tamesha Foote said she told her twin girls she wasn’t going to come home empty handed, but she is headed home after her shaky rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
Anthony Fedorov, the 19-year-old who doctors predicted would not be able to speak, continued to wow the judges. But Michael Luizza, the crooner from New Orleans didn’t make it through.
Rashida Johnson was in tears before her performance because a cold was affecting her voice. She sounded raspy, but still made it through. The judges gave her a unanimous yes.
Next, we see a montage of singers who all choose the song “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” And all three make it through – Amanda Avila, the showgirl from Las Vegas, Travis Tucker from Manassas, VA, and 19-year-old Lindsay Carbonale.
Every contestant must tell why they think they have what it takes to be the next American Idol. Many said they think they’ll be an “inspiration” to younger kids. We see a montage of singers all explaining why they want to be the next star.
Remember twin Richard Molfetta who got a second chance ticket to Hollywood? Well, his luck has run out. He received a unanimous no after his first Hollywood performance. Ross Williams and Sean McNeill moved ahead.
Next, we see some of the singers who chose “You are the Sunshine of My Life.” Nadia Turner, David Brown, Scott Savol and Anwar Robinson all moved ahead. Minister Jeffery Johnson was sent home.
Shunta Warthen got a nod with “Young Hearts Run Free,” followed by Melissa Figuereo and Vonzell Solomon who also receive yes votes. Regina Brooks, the woman who pawned her wedding rings to get to the first audition, left in tears when the judges told her the competition was over for her.
Group Two hits the stage
The first day of performances by group two begins with farmer Patrick Norman. He’s followed by Mario Vasquez and Franciso Torres. Mario is the only one of the three who moves ahead.
Marlea Stroman gets a unanimous yes vote but throughout the show we see clips of her meeting with producers and whining about wanting to go home. She becomes the first contestant ever to quit the American Idol competition. She said “It’s an emotional roller coaster and I do not want to be on a roller coaster. I’m not emotionally stable enough to go through this.”
Next, rockers Constantine Maroulis, Aaron Kelly and Bo Bice explode on the stage, and all get a thumbs up from the three judges. 18-year-old Briana Davis is sent home while Mikalah Gordon, Janay Castine, and Jennifer Todd all move ahead.
Next: The next performances have the contestants dividing up into groups of threes. How will they do?