Hooray for Hollywood on 'Idol'

It's a day I was starting to think might never come--after three long, back-breaking weeks of watching American Idol auditions, we finally arrive at Hollywood Week, where the good-enough-to-make-it-to-Hollywood-but-too-mediocre-to-make-it-to-the-finals are weeded out and the best of the best are left standing. Well, that's the idea, anyway. It doesn't quite always work out that way, though, does it (Taylor Hicks, anyone?)

This season, Idol producers instituted a "twist" (which, as far as twists go, is the most boring twist in the history of anything ever), wherein the 147 auditioners who made it to Hollywood are split up into groups of eight and asked to sing a song of their choosing acapella. If you screw up, you're immediately sent packing. Unless, of course, you're a judge favorite, in which case, screw up all you want and you'll still get sent onto the next round. Score!

Such was the case for Phoenix auditioner Emily Wynne-Hughes, who was prepared (i.e. had practiced) "I've Put a Spell On You" to sing for the judges, but at the last minute decided to sing a song she had obviously not practiced, No Doubt's "Excuse Me Mister." More like, excuse me, Emily Wynne-Hughes, you sucked. But the judges loved her original audition, so they put her through to the next round. Which seems to contradict the whole idea of the stupid "twist," but whatever.

Basically, the whole episode consists of quickly blowing through two-second snippets from people who were featured prominently during the auditions.

From the Kansas City auditions, Lil Rounds (who I personally thought sucked, but who Kara called "bold and brave") is in, Dennis Brigham (who left the stage with the obligatory, "y'all suck as judges line") is out. From the Phoenix auditions, Scott Manintyre is in (yay, hometown boy!) and Sharon Wilbur, the annoying chick with the stupid dog from the Jacksonville auditions, is out.

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The whole thing is a pretty giant snoozefest...and then in steps Nathaniel Marshall from the New York auditions, like a fabulously gay beacon of light, to make up for the lack of excitement with the most ridiculous, campy monologue I think I've ever heard on Idol. Which is saying a lot. He sings some song about an anchor, and he sounds pretty good, but the song itself makes me want to stab myself in the face with a sharp object. When the judges ask him why he picked it he proceeds to say (cue violins), "I'm one of those kids whose been through a lot. Music keeps me from freaking out. I want this more than anything. It's on my skin. It bursts out of me everytime I'm onstage." Um...dude. If what you say is true, it sounds like what you have isn't a love for music, but a virulent strain of Chlamydia. You might want to get that checked out. No matter, though, Nathaniel Marshall, you're through to the next round. Whoop-de-doo.

Other notables who made it through: Adam "Jazz Hands" Lambert, Ann Marie "I Have No Confidence Which Makes Me Al The More Likable and Charming" Boskovich, Jackie "Amanda Overmyer wannabe" Tohn and Steven "Awesome Fro" Fowler.

According to the American Idol Web site, there were eight Arizona auditioners who made it to Hollywood Week (Asijah Adolph from Chandler; Brianna Quijada from Tempe; Derek Drake from Phoenix; James Harris from Phoenix; Justin Williams from Mesa; Otto Malone from Tucson; Perrie Cataldo from Phoenix; and Scott Macintyre from Scottsdale) though it was tough to tell from the episode who made it through and who got cut, other than the aforementioned Mcintyre (who we are told made it through but who we didn't get to hear sing). Let's just keep our fingers crossed that at least one more Arizonan makes it through so we have a couple of horses in the race, shall we?

Sidenote: Perry Cataldo looked familiar to me when I saw his mug on the Idol site, and then I realized he tried out last year and didn't make it. He was the one with the adorable son who looked like a little girl, remember?

Tonight, we get to see the next round of Hollywood Week and (finally, Sweet Jesus, finally!) who will make up the Top 36. Or, you can just visit VotefortheWorst.com and see who they claim are sent on to the next round and skip watching tonight altogether. Might not be a bad idea.

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