Six weeks after “American Idol” kicked off season 4 on ABC on Valentine’s Day we are now at one of the most fun stages of the competition, Hollywood Week. Night 6, which airs March 21, sees judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie taking a second look at the 150 contestants who got a golden ticket. At the end of those seven days, only 40 will make the cut.
Those two score of contestants will then take turns performing on their own and with celebrity guests. Only half of this Top 40 will move on in the competition. And from these Top 20, just 14 contestants will get put through to the live shows, which begin in early April. At that point, you will be able to predict the outcome of each episode in our predictions center.
Below, follow along with all the action in our live blog of the Night 6 Season 19 episode of “American Idol.”
8:00 p.m. — “All You Need is Love.” That’s what “American Idol” judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry sang anyways before kicking off Hollywood Week on Season 4 of the ABC incarnation of the classic reality TV competition series. Everyone who received their golden tickets to Hollywood have gathered together for some tough love from the judges and will begin to be winnowed down to a select few who compete for America’s vote. Let’s get started!
8:12 p.m. — Tonight begins with the genre challenge, where each contestant has been asked to choose one of six genres: indie-folk, pop, rock, R&B, soul and country. The singers choose their own genre and song and will compete head-to-head against singers in the same genre. This challenge will help the judges to compare and make cuts, but there are no quotas. Bobby Bones has returned to mentor the contestants. Aspiring pop stars are up first and we begin with 17-year old Liahona Olayan jamming out on the keyboard. The judges are impressed off the bat with Lionel stating, “I was not ready for that!” Next up is Liahona’s older brother Ammon Olayan, who sings with his guitar in hand and impresses as well. Liv Grace Blue, Laila Mach and Ava August prove age is nothing but a number as the teenagers bring the heat in this first round of Hollywood week. But sadly, Ammon is eliminated, leaving his younger sister Liahona to compete by herself for the duration of the competition.
8:22 p.m. — Country crooners are up next, beginning with Season 2 returner Drake McCain and the husky-voiced mulleteer, Caleb Kennedy. Caleb is a particularly impressive 16-year old and I can see him going the distance. Next Mignon and Mason Picks each appear to receive nods of approval from Idol’s resident country judge, Luke. Meanwhile, Alex Miller is developing a crush on Cameron McGhar, for whom he crafted a handmade belt buckle. But although Cameron does okay in her audition, Alex is looking like a fast-rising star who has that X-factor that’s impossible to forget. He’s a star!
8:30 p.m. — Cecil Ray is in the middle of crashing and burning as we return to the country auditions. His nerves are just taking over and after missing his intro, he shakes through the remainder of his performance. Katy cheers him on, but it just wasn’t good. Despite my feelings, the judges push Cecil forward along with the previously mentioned country singers. All but Cameron that is, who was cut from the competition before she was even able to snap on her new belt buckle from Alex.
8:40 p.m. — Things are about to get soulful, as the soul singers hit the stage for the next round of performances. Re’H is up first, giving a much more subdued performance than her initial audition. Celeste Butler is also up in this round, hoping to get over Katy’s initial comments that she sounds like a cruise ship singer. Katy still doesn’t look terribly impressed, but I think Celeste has a unique tone that sets her apart from some of her competitors. Xavier Washington is a 22-year old Yale student who wakes the room up with his rousing rendition of “Gravity,” after which Lionel screams, “Let the congregation say Amen!” Next up are two of the most memorable auditionees, Grace Kinstler and DJ Johnson. Grace is an undeniable powerhouse, but DJ struggles with her confidence and it’s apparent when she sings, which his distracting. With these soul singers finished, Celeste and DJ are cut while their counterparts will move on to the next round.
8:55 p.m. — Indie-folk singers up up next, beginning with Christina Daugherty. I don’t remember her initial audition, but I’m loving her smoky voice. Christina auditioned to appease her students (she’s a high school English teacher) but quickly realized this has always been her dream. Next is Hunter Metts, a software coder who quit his job to pursue his music career. Katy thought he had potential to go Top 10 after his initial audition, but she didn’t look so impressed this time around. Also failing to rivet the judges is Graham Defranco, a pilot who Lionel says forgot the “entertaining” part of being an entertainer. Ouch! Next up is an artist who gave one of Luke’s favorite auditions, Cassandra Coleman. The coffee shop manager is overcome with nerves, but pulls it all together for a performance before running off stage as quickly as she can. Following these indie-folk performances, Lionel pushes this entire group forward with no cuts.
9:10 p.m. — Another line of pop performers are up next, determined to prove that just because they’re pop singers, it doesn’t mean they have to fit the mold. Anthony Guzman has an obnoxious superhero thing going on, but at least this week he’s just wearing a kilt rather than a full Viking ensemble. Something about him singing “Fever” gives me the creeps, but Luke really seems to be enjoying it. She Nova hits the keyboard to belt out quirky song that doesn’t seem to be striking a cord with the judges. Yurisbel sounds like a drunk karaoke singer, but Andrea Valles finally sings something worth hearing from this pop section. Erika Perry (no relation to Katy) seems more focused on finding a new boyfriend in Hollywood than becoming a pop star. Her performance is a complete disaster coupled with a fake accent and bizarre embellishments. From this group, just Anthony and Andrea will be moving forward, sending Erika into a downward spiral that’s sure to confirm her worst fears of being the laughing stock of her ex-boyfriend’s family.
9:25 p.m. — Erika seems determined that if she can’t be a pop star, she’ll do her best to become a reality TV star by throwing a temper tantrum in the lobby. Moving right along, we see another batch of country singers hoping they’ll be the next “American Idol.” James Perdue gets the competition back on track with a nice rendition of “Simple Man.” Just kidding, Luke thought it was terrible and apparently only I enjoyed it. Next is Christian McGuckian, a 21-year old maid who is singing a capella, recruiting the audience to clap along for this round. She’s a bundle of nerves and clearly has timing issues, but do the judges see a diamond in the rough? Meanwhile, Chayce Beckham doesn’t look like a typical country singer, trading in his boots for a pair of sneakers, but the heavy machinery operator has a voice that cuts through the room and his performance ends with Katy on her feet. Following this group, Chase will move forward but James and Christian have been eliminated.
9:35 p.m. — Next to the stage is Mary Jo Young, a 19-year old pop singer with virtually no experience performing. She has been afflicted by the same strange accent many seem to acquire in the pop universe, but Katy appears more pleased with Mary Jo’s performance than I was. Following her up is Colin Jamieson, a former boy band member who really improved on his initial audition with a fun performance of “Sex on Fire.” And following that up is the return of Claudia Conway, infamous daughter of Kellyanne. Her mom is at her side this week and Claudia has made some changes to her appearance, dying her hair dark brown and taking Katy’s advice to drown out the noise of social media. The 16-year old actually sounds considerably improved since her initial audition, but will it be enough to advance to the next round? Yes! Claudia advances along with Mary Jo and Colin.
9:40 p.m. — Finally we get to a few R&B singers tonight, beginning with Vahhley, a homeless mother we met last week in her initial audition. She’s still a little rough around the edges, but this performance of “Love on the Brain” was definitely an improvement on her first audition. Sadly, it isn’t enough though and Vahhley is eliminated along with other notable contestants like Tryzdin Grubbs and Brianna Collichio.
9:50 p.m. — More indie-folk singers take the stage, beginning with Wyatt Pike, a 19-year old who hopes to impress the judges with his unique vocal delivery. Luke loves him, but Katy isn’t sure. Emisunshine and Trinity Rose bring more quirky personalities to the stage, and Katy still looks bored! Perhaps Lizzy O’Very and her accordion can snap some life into Katy? Not really. Katy is convinced these artists have no idea who they are. But next is a one-of-a-kind street performer named Murphy. He gave one of my favorite auditions and I thought the judges were much too hard on him last time. Once again Lionel comments on how much gift Murphy has, but Katy still can’t connect to him. Regardless, Murphy moves forward along with Wyatt, Emisunshine and Lizzy.
9:59 p.m. — Up last tonight is the rock genre and there are only nine contestants in the mix. First up is Beane, who actually got a “no” from Luke after his initial audition. He impresses tonight with “Bennie and the Jets” and even Luke admits, “he got me!” Meanwhile, Casey Bishop got the opposite reaction from Luke after her initial audition, when he predicted she would win it all after one song. Tonight the 15-year old kept her foot on the gas and proved her initial audition was no fluke. Christian Terry and Althea Grace follow that up with a pair of formidable performances, but Christian becomes the only rocker in the group of nine to be cut at this stage. Various other singers not mentioned tonight have advanced as well, including 18-year old Amanda Mena and 21-year old Willie Spence. Hollywood week will continue on Monday night with the all important duets round!