After five episodes of “American Idol” focused on auditions, the show shifted to Hollywood week on March 24. Expect plenty of fireworks 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.
Over the course of the two episodes devoted to Hollywood Week (the second airs on Monday, March 25) the contestants sing in three rounds: lines of 10, groups, and solos. The judges will winnow the list down to just 40 who will sing in a showcase set to air on Sunday, March 31. (Spoilers: The men and women who made the Top 40.)
Those contenders will be culled down to just half that number and that Top 20 will be judged on both solo performances and celebrity duets over the course of three episodes starting Monday, April 1. Once the live playoffs of “American Idol” season 17 begin on April 14, 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.
Refresh this page for our live blog updates.
Below, follow along with all the action on the Night 6 episode of “American Idol.”
8:00 p.m. – All of those golden ticket recipients are about to get a taste of Hollywood as each of them takes the stage again to perform for the judges. Hollywood week is a grueling training week for “American Idol” hopefuls and only 40 will survive. Let’s get started!
8:10 p.m. – First up is Laci Kaye Booth, who we first saw in the Denver auditions. She’s putting her own country twist on “Natural Woman.” She toned it down quite a bit with her airy tone and Katy was so excited she threw her chair off the stage and said, “I can’t stop dreaming about that girl!” Up next is LA standout Alejandro Aranda. He dazzled viewers in what some considered the greatest audition of all time. He still have self-doubts, but feels comfortable once the music starts flowing. Alejandro is singing “Sorry” and within seconds I already never want to hear the Justin Bieber version again. Lionel says, “I could watch him all day,” and his guitar skills are absolutely genius. Does he already own this competition? With the announcement of the first cuts, Laci Kay and Alejandro are both through to the next round. Katy warns them they could win, but if they don’t believe in themselves, they’re never going to get there.
8:15 p.m. – Group two includes an emotional Courtney Penry, who bursts into tears as soon as she walks on stage. Katy walks up to calm her down and hand her a tissue, but Lionel and Luke look visibly annoyed with the dramatics. Finally Courtney bursts into song, screaming and talking gibberish as she forgets half of the lyrics. Get rid of her! Thankfully the judges had some sense and sent her packing so we won’t have to endure that again.
8:25 p.m. – The next group includes Madison Vandenburg, who was compared to “American Idol” legend Kelly Clarkson following her New York audition. She’s singing Clarkson’s hit “Already Gone” while playing guitar and she is flooring the judges once again with her powerful vocals. It was a little screamy for me, but I get the point. She’s a contender! Katy was so impressed she ran out of the room. Next is Margie Mays, who first annoyed me, or I mean, auditioned in Los Angeles. Tonight she’s singing “Lay Me Down” and she actually sounds good so if she would just tone down her personality I might actually become a fan. Also in this group we see snippets of country singer Tyler Mitchell (who was average) and 10-month sober Logan Johnson (who sounded beautiful). All of them made it to the next round!
8:30 p.m. – Like every Hollywood week, a bunch of artists end up getting sick and ruining everyone’s fun. Break out the tea, humidifiers and Theraflu. One of those ill contestants is Eddie Island, who has been throwing up all day. Will his worst nightmare come true? Is he about to barf on Katy Perry? We’ll find out soon!
8:40 p.m. – Despite his weak stomach and unfortunate leopard-print pants, Eddie sounds great on stage and has Katy singing along. He’s heading to the next round! In the next group, the soulful Shawn Robinson is putting his spin on “A Change Is Gonna Come.” Shawn has an one of those voices that can hit crazy runs that go up and down the scale and are completely unpredictable. Some people overrun their songs, but when you have a talent like Shawn’s, it’s fine by me. Up next is the charismatic farmer who was abandoned by his mother, Colby Swift. He’s never had singing lessons before and he’s just being himself. He breaks into song, but the guitar is distracting Luke so he sets it down. Colby finishes things off in Spanish and I’m officially impressed! What an improvement from his audition. Colby leaves the stage in tears after the entire audience gives him a standing ovation. Luke whispers to Katy and Lionel that both of his boots have holes in the bottoms. When it comes time to make cuts, Luke gives Colby the boots off his own feet. To make things even better, Shawn and Colby are both headed to the next round!
8:45 p.m. – The next group includes 20-year old Ashton Gill, who showed up to her audition with last year’s contestant Laine Hardy. Ashton is singing “I Can’t Make You Love Me” a Capella and her voice is crystal clear, but sounds a bit shaky from nerves. In contrast, Laine has never looked more confident on stage and his new confidence has officially put him into heartthrob territory. Katy is in love. When it comes time to make a decision, Laine moves forward, but it’s the end of the line for Ashton.
8:55 p.m. – Up next is Jade Flores, who hopes to become the first female Hispanic country singer. Would she really be the first? Anyways, I like her voice and her stage presence. Everything comes natural for Jade and she just confidently strums her guitar while hitting all kinds of beautiful notes. She just killed “Unchained Melody.” Some members of the audience were actually in tears and Katy was shocked. The next to perform is Myra Tran, who grew up in Vietnam idolizing Whitney Houston. Now she wants to prove she’s the next big diva, singing “Chandelier.” Unfortunately, Myra started off in the wrong key and this song is WAY to high for her. She screeched her way through it and sounded awful, but somehow Lionel still thought it was good. Finally, it’s time for openly gay preacher’s kid/janitor Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon. Jeremiah is determined to prove that he may not be accepted by members of his family or congregation, but he can still be an “American Idol.” Jeremiah floored the judges once again with “Beautiful” by Carole King. Jade, Myra and Jeremiah are all through to the next round!
9:05 p.m. – We get right back into things with Walker Burroughs at the piano, crooning his way into the judges hearts. This kid has pipes and is a serious keyboard player. Standing ovation! Keeping the hot streak going is Nate Walker, a church friend of last year’s finalist Gabby Barrett. Singing “I Believe in You and Me” at the piano, Nate is singing the STANK out of this song. Lionel is loving it (trivia: Lionel played the piano in the film “The Preacher’s Wife” while Whitney Houston was singing this song). Both Walker and Nate moved forward!
9:10 p.m. – A couple of contestants with tragic stories, Lauren Engle and Nick Townsend, are up next. Will they get some light at the end of their dark tunnels? Lauren lost her husband in a car accident and Nick lost both of his brothers to suicide. Nick sounded great and sent tears streaming down his sister’s face in the audience. Things didn’t go quite as smoothly for Lauren who veered way off key during the chorus of “Jesus Take the Wheel.” Nick moved on while Lauren was sent home.
9:15 p.m. – Husky-voiced Wade Cota is up on stage impressing the judges for the second time. The soulful crooner survived horrific physical abuse from his father growing up, but now he’s belting it out and getting a standing ovation from the judges. Next up is Dimitrius Graham, singing “Wind Beneath My Wings,” to his mother who is joining via Facetime because she has an upcoming surgery. Katy begins sobbing as she holds the phone while Dimitrius sings. Both Wade and Dimitrius moved on to the next round.
9:25 p.m. – After an epic day of performances, it’s time for everyone’s worst nightmare: Group Rounds! The contestants work themselves into a frenzy trying to find who they will team up with, hoping to end up with not only singers that compliment them, but ones they get along with. Harmonizing isn’t exactly everyone’s strength and plenty of people have egos that are just too much to deal with. Team Diversity is up first, whose members include Myra, Jade, Moriah Formica and Juan Pablo. Juan is struggling with the group’s dynamic and seems to regret joining three women. They think he’s bossing them around and he thinks they’re too sensitive. Just before their performance, Juan disappears! Oh, the drama! Where’s Juan Pablo?
9:35 p.m. – The search continues for Juan Pablo and Diversity is about to take the stage. It turns out Juan was just in the janitor’s closet rehearsing. Will they be able to pull it together? Singing “Stronger,” Jade kicks things off in formidable fashion and Moriah takes it from there, hitting the high notes with ease. Juan earns a “so-so” nod from Katy and then Myra brings it home, going completely over the top as she seems to do every time. Katy instructs Juan to be “authentico” and not “queso.” The judges are on the fence about Juan Pablo, but give him another chance along with Myra and Moriah. Sadly, Jade was the only group member sent home.
9:45 p.m. – Group rounds continue and the Idol vocal coaches have plenty of commentary as each team rehearses. The judges have nothing on these ruthless vocal mentors! I love them! “Go away and make it better!” That’s about as fun as it gets! Diamond Dixies appear to be an all-star group consisting of Katie Bell, Laci Kay Booth, Laine Hardy and Colby Swift. As they take the stage, Laine already forgot the name of the song they’re performing. It’s “Grenade.” Colby does a nice little dance move before he gets to his part, but then forgets the words. He rebounds with help from the group, but will it hurt his chances to move forward? Unfortunately yes, it’s the end of the road for Colby. Katie, Laci and Laine moved forward. I just figured out who Laine reminds me of: Scotty McCreery‘s face with Phillip Phillips‘ voice. That double-winning combination could send him to the winner’s circle this year.
9:50 p.m. – Victoria’s Secret is the next group, featuring strawberry farmer Kason Lester and standout Wade Cota. T hey’re singing “California Dreamin,'” a song Wade has never heard! What?! Sure enough, when it’s his time to sing, he is completely lost. The rest of the group helps him along and he does his best, but Katy doesn’t look amused. Lucky for Wade, he along with Kason and a couple others advanced to the next round.
9:59 p.m. – The next group to perform is Unexpected Vibe, featuring Shae, who the legally blind contestant who won America’s hearts during her first audition. Shae had a breakdown during rehearsals because she couldn’t see the lyrics to their song, “I Want it That Way.” The group rallied behind her and are determined to help her. Finally, Shae’s mother is enlisted to help her learn the lyrics. After an hour with her mom, Shae returns to the group with newfound confidence. The group also features Dimitrius Graham, Assata Renay and William Oliver Jr. They absolutely nailed the harmonies and each member sounded great during their solos. For added support, the group members all wore special glasses in honor of Shae. In a heartbreaking finish, all moved forward except William. Last up is the group Ain’t Goin’ Home. Featured in this group is Nate Walker, who is getting sick and struggling with his vocals. They’re performing “For the Longest Time,” and during rehearsals, Nate thinks he has to take the key down and feels like the weak link. His head began pounding and his stomach began to hurt until finally Nate collapsed and was taken to the hospital. Will he recover and be able to continue in the competition? We’ll find out tomorrow! That’s a wrap for tonight.