‘American Idol’ Hollywood Week concludes on Night 8 of Season 18 [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

The third of three episodes of “American Idol” showcasing Hollywood Week airs on March 23. Over the course of the three episodes devoted to Hollywood Week (the others aired last Monday and this Sunday) 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 next Sunday and Monday.

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 8 episode of “American Idol.”

8:00 p.m. — It’s the last night of Hollywood week as the remaining contestants take the stage in the solo round. They will perform with the band and must show the judges they can hold the room. Who will rise and who will fall? Let’s get started!

8:10 p.m. — To give the contestants some advice, last year’s runner-up Alejandro Aranda stopped by to offer his knowledge to this year’s hopefuls. Up first is Kimmy Gabriela, who has felt the pressure since her audition when the judges told her she was Top 10 material. She wasn’t thrilled with her duet round and hopes to redeem herself with “I’m Here” from “The Color Purple” musical. Katy looks gobsmacked by the performance and leaps to her feet screaming “Oh my God!” Next up is Genavieve Linkwoski who was cut in this round two years ago. She’s singing “In My Blood” and has the judges proudly smiling from ear to ear. She gets another standing ovation from Katy!

8:20 p.m.Jovin Webb is comfortable singing with a band and he absolutely slays the vocal to “Parachute” and definitely stands out as a front man. Perrin York quickly follows that up with a fun performance of  “Good as Hell” that had some shaky moments but the judges seemed to appreciate her song choice. Faith Becnal has performed with bands since she was 10 years old and she’s giving a soulful performance that gets a positive reaction from the judges as well. Meanwhile, Jeb Vanderbruegge gives a more sentimental performance with “Rocket Man” that instigates yet another standing ovation! At this rate it looks like nobody will be eliminated. In fact, Arthur Gunn re-imagined “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” with the band in mind. Unfortunately, the band wasn’t able to accommodate him so he’ll have to go it alone with just his guitar. Lionel loved it so much he started to cry.

8:30 p.m.Robert Taylor is singing an original song that fell completely flat for the judges. Next, Amelia gave a stinker of a performance of her original and Julia Gargano could barely even remember the name of her own song. Jimmy Levy was so bad Luke put his palm to his forehead and these singer/songwriters are failing badly! Not swayed, Lauren Mascitti showed them how it’s done with her song “God Made a Woman,” which she penned about her grandmother. The judges loved her song and we’re back to standing ovations!

8:40 p.m. — Best friends Sophia Wackerman and Sarah Isen are both performing next and hoping they’ll be able to advance together. Their duet in the last round was a disaster, so both need to step it up. Sophia nailed it with “Somewhere” but Sarah was less convincing with “Leave the Light On.” They’ll have to sit and wait with everyone else to find out if they move forward. Meanwhile, Kat Luna is charging forward solo after her boyfriend was cut in the last round and although the judges are smiling throughout the performance, she sounds totally off to me. Franklin Boone wraps things up in this segment and brings true artistry back to the stage, impressing the judges.

9:00 p.m.Just Sam is desperate to move forward but her voice has been hoarse for two days. Determined to give it her all regardless of her circumstances, she nervously takes the stage and absolutely slays the judges with “I’m Here.” The soul and passion with which she performs is goose bump-inducing! The judges are on their feet by the middle of the song. Marcus Tinsley is another nervous contestant, but doesn’t hold up to the pressure as well. He asks to restart his song and keeps forgetting the lyrics. Train wreck! Sheniel Maisonet also crashes and burns to epic proportions, but not to be outdone, Talin Everett forgets the words so he starts singing about how off key he is. Ouch! Nick Merico went from heartthrob to cringe-worthy gimmick while Ari Saage made everyone question how she even passed her initial audition. It gets so rough that Katy runs backstage to talk some sense into those who remain. Luke exclaims, “We might only have 20 in Hawaii!”

9:10 p.m.Makayla Brownlee gets prepared to sing “Rainbow,” but as soon as the music begins she runs off stage and looks ready to faint. Backstage we see her collapsed on the floor while the production team surrounds her to make sure she’s alright. We find out she has a rare heart condition that causes her to react to stress harshly and it can even cause seizures. But the show must go on with Camryn Leigh Smith who impresses the judges by showing the them another side of herself as a performer. Devon Alexander hasn’t been prominent thus far, but seems to be making an impact on the judges with this song even though his falsetto is extremely weak. Lauren Spencer-Smith takes a chance with “The Joke,” which she’s never sang before and it looks like it pays off with Lionel but Katy seems more reserved with her reaction. Finally Makayla returns and decides to sit on a stool this time while singing “Rainbow.” Katy is in tears watching the performance and Makayla receives a standing ovation when it’s over.

9:20 p.m.Dillon James has decided to perform an original song and he’s got a cool folksy, rock/country vibe that stands out in the competition. The coaches look satisfied with the effort and next up is Louis Knight. His doting parents are sobbing in the audience and likely realize he’s nailing this. Louis is bubbling over with potential to be the pop heartthrob this season.

9:35 p.m. Cyniah Elise, Geena, YZThasinger and Olivia Ximines were all showed as a montage singing Whitney Houston’s, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Cyniah probably sounded the best, but it’s a tough song to cover. Makayla Phillips chooses a more current, playful song in Lizzo‘s “Cuz I Love You.” It was all over the place vocally and although she shows off her power, it sounds more like yelling at this point.

9:45 p.m. — After scraping by in the duets round, couple Margie Mays and Jonny West have something to prove. Jonny sits down at the keyboard to perform an original and sounds fine. Margie is more emotional in her performance knowing she needs to focus on her dreams right now and stop worrying about her boyfriend’s progress. As she exits the stage, Margie is filled with insecurity over the judges’ less than stellar reaction. At last the solo round has concluded! Now the contestants will wait on edge until they hear the judges’ verdict.

9:59 p.m. — The idol singers have been divided into three rooms. Each room awaits the judges’ verdict. Two rooms get good news while the third is told their journey has ended. Notable names we lost tonight include Margie Mays, YZThasinger, Jimmy Levi, Kat Luna and Ari Saage. Next week we will see the Top 40 be taken to task in Hawaii! They may be celebrating tonight, but half of them will be cut in the next round.

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