At the start of Wednesday's "American Idol" episode, Ryan Seacrest promised this would be The. Most. Dramatic. Hollywood. Week. Ever. And the hour-long broadcast did feature plenty of invasive, dramatically voiceover'd close-ups of 309 anxious golden-ticket-holders deeply exhaling, wringing their hands, wiping their brows--and, in the case of one unfortunate auditioner, the young and talented Symone Black, falling off the stage, in THE most shocking and unsettling Hollywood Week moment of probably all 11 "Idol" seasons so far.
Hollywood Week's original 309 contestants
This was meant to be a cliffhanger--Wednesday's episode heart-stoppingly concluded with Symone lying helpless and motionless on the auditorium floor, and producer Nigel Lythgoe calling out for a "MEDIC!"--but sorry, Nigel, your secret has been spoiled. Thanks to the E! News clip above, viewers can all deeply exhale themselves, knowing that Symone is okay. But we will all still have to wait until Thursday to find out if she actually made it through to the next "Idol" round. Either way, she certainly made an impression in Hollywood. And hopefully this poor 16-year-old isn't too traumatized that the most awkward epic-fail moment of her life will undoubtedly now be played and replayed on YouTube, and featured in "Idol" blooper reels, for years to come.
Symone, before the fall
Anyhoo, while Symone was the only memorable "Idol" contestant who took a literal fall this Wednesday, many others proverbially stumbled. During the show, one contestant after another performed a cappella, and virtually feedback-free, for the judges, and an incredible 68 of them were axed on the first day of Hollywood Week alone. Half of them were gone by the end of Wednesday's episode. Among the more surprising cuts were second-chance auditioner Travis Orlando (aka Shelter Kid), Jason Hamlin (the "Wolf"-Man), Jenni Schick (Sexy Teacher), Ramiro Garcia (No-Ears Guy), and Jim Carrey's songstress daughter, Jane Carrey.
Some memorable contestants go home
Among the early-standout Season 11 boys who did advance during this lightning round were the adorably awkward Heejun Han, even though he was nervous singing after all-American hunk Johnny Keyser ("I realize the guy before me was the one Jennifer Lopez fell in love with!"); Johnny Keyser, of course; another obvious cougar-bait heartthrob, Phillip Phillips; sassy busker Creighton Fraker (who won me over with his fearless Queen cover); returning Season 10 contestant Aaron Marcellus; diminutive wannabe ladies' man David Leathers Jr.; and totally unhinged comic/singer Reed Grimm, who auditioned back in Pittsburgh with the "Family Matters" theme and this time amazingly and amusingly warbled the Hollywood Week-appropriate "I've Got A Golden Ticket" from the Willy Wonka movie.
Heejun Han makes it through!
Among the girls left still in the running were Jessica Phillips (the Blige-style diva with the stroke-victim-boyfriend sob story) and purple-haired Broadway baby Angie Zeiderman, along with a bevy of blondes: recovering addict Hallie Day, foxy cheerleader Brittany Kerr, returning Season 6 alum Baylie Brown, Amazonian teenager Shannon Magrane, shouty family-band wedding singer Lauren Gray, and my beloved peroxided rock chicks, Elise Testone and Erika Van Pelt.
Angie Zeiderman makes the cut!
Also through to the next round was some bluesy showboater named Adam Brock who described himself as sounding like he had a "large black woman trapped inside his body." (Ouch!) I was not hugely impressed by Adam's Hollywood Week performance--he kind of sounded more like he had Danny Gokey trapped inside his body, actually. And some of the other contestants, mentioned above, who got through didn't get me too excited either. However, the greenlighting of Heejun, Reed, Creighton, Angie, Jessica, Elise, and Erika gave me hope for Season 11.
Adam Brock sings "Walking In Memphis" at J.Lo's request
But where was my much-adored bespectacled indie girl, Brittany Zika?