‘American Idol’ recap: Hollywood Week starts with Season 16 judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

After five nights devoted to auditions, the “American Idol” revival on ABC moves on to Hollywood week beginning with the March 26 episode. Expect some tense moments as the three judges — pop princess Katy Perry, country superstar Luke Bryan and Oscar-winning singer/songwriter Lionel Richie — decide which of the hopefuls to take forward in the competition and which will get a farewell hug from host Ryan Seacrest.

On the final season of “American Idol” on FOX, four episodes were devoted to Hollywood Week, with the contestants singing in three rounds: lines of 10, groups, and solos. Once the live playoffs of “American Idol” season 16 begin on April 22, you will be able to predict the outcome of each episode in our predictions center. You can already make forecasts for the outcomes on such reality TV shows as “Survivor,” plus the winners of the Academy of Country Music Awards and both the daytime and primetime Emmy Awards.

SEE ‘American Idol’ Winners: Where Are They Now (Seasons 1 – 15)?

Below, follow along with all the action on the March 26 episode of “American Idol.”

8:05 p.m. – It’s time to separate the singers from the superstars! Welcome to Hollywood week, where over 160 contestants gathered only to be winnowed down to 24. The judges expressed the need for the contestants to bring their A game and be themselves. One by one, contestants take the stage and sing for their life. After 10 have performed, the judges will decide which of those 10 move forward or get sent home.

8:10 p.m. – Layla Spring kicked things off with “Oh Where Can My Baby Be” and brought plenty of personality and sass to the stage. I would say the first performance was a success. Katy said, “that’s how you kick it off!” Up next singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” is Alyssa Raghu. She has a good tone, but she seemed to rush through the song. Lionel smiled throughout, which could be good news. Then, the self-described “creepy goat farmer” took the stage. Trevor McBane showed off his powerful, gritty voice. Once again, the judges were impressed. Caleb Lee Hutchinson was the last to perform in group one, and he sounded as good as any country singer I’ve heard on the radio recently. I would say he totally nailed his audition. Wow! Luke looked positively giddy. Each of them advanced to the next round while a handful of others not featured tonight were sent home.

8:20 p.m. – In the next group, alpaca enthusiast Noah Davis was up. I’m not sure what song he was singing because he used too many runs and completely lost the melody. The judges seemed to appreciate it more than I did. “I would be barfing if I was on that stage” said Katy. Next up are two of my favorites contestants this season, Milo and Julian Sposato. Both have a ton of charisma but Milo had the much better vocal tonight. Noah and Milo both made it through, but as I suspected Julian was sent home. Sadly, the twins had to be split up. Other popular singers to be sent home in the first 20 minutes were Checotah native Kenedee Rittenhouse and cowgirl Kristyn Harris.

8:30 p.m. – After proving she is the best contestant to receive a hug from, Catie Turner is up next. This girl is insanely upbeat and I can’t tell if she’s serious or putting on an act. She was all business when she took the stage though, singing “Come Together” by the Beatles. Since arriving in Hollywood, Catie struck up a bit of a showmance with Zach D’Onofrio, the resident crooner. With “Cry Me a River,” Zach shocked the crowd with his low singing voice, which differs greatly from how he speaks. I thought Zach was weak, but let’s find out what the judges think. As I predicted, Catie advanced, but was crushed when she discovered Zach was eliminated. Catie pleaded with Zach not to “ghost” her after he heads back to Tampa.

8:37 p.m.Maddie Poppie was mesmerizing on stage as she was next to serenade the judges. It’s as if we are watching an actual star now after a stream of wannabes. Lionel gave Maddie a standing ovation for that refreshing performance. Cade Foehner was next, putting his bluesy vocals to work with “The Thrill is Gone.” He’s got the pipes to become a legitimate rock star and things really seem to be heating up now. Both Maddie and Cade sailed onward.

8:41 p.m. – Hoping to put his best foot forward is college student Jonny Brenns, who sneaked away to his audition without telling a soul. Now aware of his big dream, Jonny’s mother followed him to Hollywood in support. Accompanying himself on piano, Jonny sang his heart out and let the judges know he is determined to be taken seriously. They not only believed him, they ate his performance up! It was a standing ovation for that sneaky guy. He’s moving on to the group round!

8:50 p.m. – Day one of Hollywood week continued in the Dolby Theatre with singers Jurnee and Dennis Lorenzo. Both improved upon their initial auditions. Jurnee looked like a star with funky, cool braids and Dennis shocked Luke with his powerful voice. Both will be moving forward to the next round. Dennis celebrated by doing back flips through the halls.

8:52 p.m. – Up next is the dreamboat to end all dreamboats, Trevor Holmes! His initial audition has reached over 100 million views on YouTube. Katy continued her fandom, but was delivered a swift dose of reality when Trevor’s girlfriend screamed down from the balcony that she was watching her. Trevor advanced to the next round, and honestly, how can they deny someone with 100 million views on YouTube his place on the show now? I’ll be shocked if he is eliminated before the live show begins. Another popular artist, David Francisco, is up next. After being hit by car, David was paralyzed but has since regained movement. His original audition was one of the most heart-tugging. Unfortunately David was eliminated in Hollywood along with another fan favorite, Daniel Ethridge from Nashville.

8:57 p.m. – Hollywood week now continues with the group rounds! Many fan favorites made it through the earlier round, but weren’t shown including drag queen Ada Vox.

9:05 p.m. – The group round tells the judges a lot about the character of the contestants and how well they work with others. It’s also an opportunity for the real stars to set themselves apart from the crowd. On deck is God’s Diversity, a mix of soulful singers who are hoping to come together and set the bar high. Singing “Rather Be,” Michael J. Woodard started things off for the group and honestly sounded a bit weak. Thaddeus Johnson and Kourtney Smith were the standouts. As a whole, the group was impressive and brought church into the building with that number! Four out of the five members of the group moved forward. Ouch! That’s sad to be singled out like that.

9:17 p.m. – The demanding schedule of Hollywood week wreaked havoc on early morning rehearsals where the vocal coach appeared to be at the end of his rope. Hoping to stay afloat was The Gurope, which included two of L.A.’s most memorable contestants, single father Marcio Donaldson and special education teacher Maddie Zahm. Their rehearsals were a complete disaster and they’re hoping to come together once they hit the stage. Lionel reminded them this is show business and they need to hit the performance whether they’re tired or not. Just like rehearsals, the group performance was a nightmare. Maddie forgot the words but gave a decent freestyle that brought Lionel to his feet. Despite the rough performance, three of four contestants, including Marcio and Maddie, advanced.

9:25 p.m. – Up next is Taco! A group of four sassy women who claim when they finish singing, everyone will want to Taco ’bout them. Okay, cheesy but cute. This group included Catie Turner, Kyah Robinson, Alyssa Raghu and Victoria McQueen. Unfortunately, Kyah was sent home while the other three advanced.

9:30 p.m.Johnny White, Rissa Watson and Samuel Swanson were a few memorable singers this season who saw their journeys come to an end following the group round. But back in rehearsals, a stage mom is showing her teeth! Milo Sposato’s mother tried to get his group to change their song and his fellow members were rightfully annoyed. Then, moments before their performance, Milo tried to convince the group to change their arrangement. Listen, I was a fan of Milo, but I’m not into the diva antics. Boot him AND his mama! Their group name is Superdope Hotness and even as they walked on stage Milo was shouting out orders to the band with his changes. The drama!

9:40 p.m. – How will Superdope Hotness deal with Milo’s antics? It’s time to find out. Aname’ Rose started things off with Deonte Baker and Dennis Lorenzo; each of them sounded great. William Casanova continued the the momentum and finally it was time for Milo, who slowed things down and stepped out to the judges table. Overall, the performance was solid but Katy mentioned they are all better separately than they were together. In the end, Luke said there were a lot of stars in the group and they ALL advanced.

9:40 p.m. – In the next group, Ada Vox proved she is not only a powerful singer, but a talented beat-boxer as well. Kay Kay, Gabby Barrett, Christina Jones, Jurnee, and Dominique each proved to be standouts in their groups as well, advancing to the next round.

9:50 p.m. – Group round continues with The Soul 4’s, who disagreed on the song choice the night before. Laine Hardy was the only male in the group with three women and he was unhappy with the Justin Bieber song they selected. Their choreography mortified him even further. Kaitlann Runnels, Mia Desaris, Juliana Madrid started things off in grand fashion, but Laine’s discomfort was glaring when it was his time to sing. Regardless, the judges gave them a standing ovation. Luke applauded Laine’s dedication but specifically called out Kaitlann for her superior vocals. Laine and Kaitlann moved on while Mia and Juliana were eliminated.

9:59 p.m. – After a long and tiring day, it’s time for the final group, Don’t Touch. Crystal Alicea broke down during rehearsals because she felt insecure about her lack of experience. At stage rehearsals, her groupmates continued to encourage her to relax and sing. Britney Holmes, Lee Vasi and Gabbii Jones confidently kicked off the performance and Crystal did stand out for all the wrong reasons. Regardless, she pulled off the vocals. Katy then put the four girls in an awkward position. She stated that there was only room for three more artists and she needed one person to volunteer to step down. In tears, Crystal volunteered before Katy told them she was joking! Katy then asked for a round of applause for Crystal’s heart. I would call it the spirit of a quitter, but different strokes for different folks. That’s a wrap for Night 6 and group rounds! Next week, solo rounds will be the focus and the cuts will be even more brutal. Then, the Top 24 will be revealed.

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