After five episodes of “American Idol” focused on auditions, the show shifted to Hollywood week on March 16. 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 three episodes devoted to Hollywood Week (the others airs next Sunday and Monday) 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 29.
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. Once the live playoffs of “American Idol” season 18 begin, you will be able to predict the outcome of each episode in our predictions center.
Below, follow along with all the action on the Night 6 episode of “American Idol.”
8:00 p.m. — It’s Hollywood week and that means some artists will rise to the occasion while others will be sent home in tears. Who will advance? And who will be sent packing early? Hollywood week is unlike any before and the first new round starts now!
8:15 p.m. — In this first round singers will have to choose their genre. This helps the judges identify which type of artists they want to be. They’ll be pitted against their competition in genres such as pop, soul, R&B, country, singer/songwriter, etc. On Day 1, all 167 contestants sang and we catch up with them in the holding room. First to hear their fate are the singer/songwriters including Julia Gargano, Marna Michele and Arthur Gunn. They all gave pretty solid performances, but Arthur really impressed the judges and brought them to their feet. When the judges deliver their verdicts, Julia and Arthur were moved ahead but sadly Marna was eliminated.
8:25 p.m. — The largest pool of artists fall into the pop genre and they’re the next to hear their fate. Some of the memorable contestants we saw in the auditions competing in this genre include Louis Knight, Genavieve Linkowski and Robert Taylor. Katy thought Louis could have used a little more fire in his performance, but he reminds her of Harry Styles. They all seemed to enjoy Genavieve but it was Robert who blew them away with “Natural Woman,” sticking it to any haters who don’t think he can sing this anthem. All three advanced to the next round.
8:35 p.m. — Luke confesses to overdoing it in the manscaping department so while he goes to get some powder, we see the next crop of contestants to take the stage. Kay Genyse is up first and although she’s full of energy, she sounds absolutely awful. Bilaal Avaz is up next singing “Stone Cold” and this Pakistani-American has converted his parents to pop music fans and it appears the judges are fans of him as well. Shannon Gibbons‘ earthy vocals cut right to the emotion of her performance and she nails her first round song without any issues. Lauren Spencer-Smith had 15 minutes of fame when a video of her singing in her car went viral, but now she’s hoping to launch her career and prove she’s a serious musician. Shannon, Bilaal and Lauren moved forward while Kay was deservedly dismissed.
8:50 p.m. — Next we’re checking in with some R&B singers including teenage standout Cyniah Elise singing “All I Ask.” This youngster walks out on stage like she owns it and blows the judges and her competitors away with her powerful voice. Following her standing ovation it was time to hear another teenager, Makayla Phillips sing “And I Am Telling You.” This song is a huge undertaking, but she pulls it off in her own Ariana Grande-ish way. The girl knows how to run a note into the ground without sounding obnoxious. Finally it’s time for memorable subway singer Just Sam. She gives a powerful, emotional performance that keeps Lionel grinning for ear to ear. When it’s over he can’t stop himself from running on stage with the other judges and dropping some money in Just Sam’s signature tip box. Cyniah, Makayla and Just Sam all advance to the next round with a handful of other R&B standouts.
9:15 p.m. — We’re checking back in with the singer/songwriter genre as Sofia Schuster proves to be an impressive and captivating 15-year old. Adam Curry also surprises the judges with his performance and other contestants are starting to get intimidated. Nerves are kicking in! One person feeling especially anxious is Francisco Martin who is singing “Hold Back the River.” He holds it together brilliantly but still wishes he had performed better. Meanwhile, Jonny West is sick to his stomach with intimidation and his girlfriend Margie Mays is trying to hold him together. Despite his fears, Jonny sits down at the keyboard and nails the vocal even if he may not be the greatest showman. We also see Dillon James as he continues his journey of redemption out of drug addiction. All of them sounded good, but will they move forward? Yes! They’re all in the next round.
9:30 p.m. — Now that her boyfriend has moved forward, Margie Mays is back for her second attempt at “American Idol.” She’s competing in the pop genre singing “The Voice Within” and Katy doesn’t look impressed. Meanwhile, Nick Merico is seeking redemption with his second attempt as well. Lionel gave him some tough love at his initial audition this season and told him to check his ego at the door. Nick sounds pretty good tonight, but will it be enough to get through? We’ll have to wait to find out. Next up is Kimmy Gabriela who had one of the best auditions this season and she’s continuing the hot streak with her performance of “Say Something.” Following Kimmy’s performance Katy walked away saying, “The show’s over.” After the judges compare notes they’ve decided Margie, Nick and Kimmy will all move to the next round!
9:40 p.m. — Country artists are next to take the stage beginning with Lauren Mascitti who wasn’t flawless but impressed the judges nonetheless. Up next is recovering addict Hannah Prestridge who shared her emotional story at the Savannah auditions. She’s a less polished but more passionate singer who manages to get the audience on their feet. Hot on Hannah’s heels is Grace Leer who hopes her classic country sound helps her stand out. Unfortunately her classic sound felt a little flat. When it came time to deliver the results to the contestants, Luke informed them they all advanced.
9:59 p.m. — We’ve got soul singers in the hot seat now including Amber Fiedler who just gave birth three weeks ago. She gave the baby up for adoption and is now pursuing her dreams in hopes of a better life. She’s singing “Rise Up” and she’s got this interesting voice that’s soulful, yet theatrical. There’s a certain “IT” factor about her that just feels like a star. Next up is Sophia Wackerman who has one of the most unique voices this season. She also impresses the judges and she got a standing ovation for her rendition of “Let it Be.” Also in this group is Jovin Webb, one of the most passionate singers this season who is slaying the stage with “Make it Rain.” Closing out tonight’s episode is the most viral auditioner this season, garbage man Doug Kiker who knows nothing about singing, he just knows he loves it. The crowd certainly loves him, but honestly he didn’t sound good at all. He was off key and screamed half the lyrics. Unfortunately, Doug has been cut from the competition but Amber, Sophia and Jovin advanced to the next round. That’s a wrap for Night 1 of Hollywood week.