This year’s Hollywood week of American Idol was different for any number of reasons. First, the singers were allowed to use instruments, which more often than not resulted in disaster. Second, there were no groups, which was an even bigger disaster because they’re the best part of the Hollywood week. And third, the way they chosen the top 50 was even more convoluted than it usually is.

First, all 164 finalists got to sing, either by themselves or with an instrument. If the judges approved, they got an instant bye to the final round. If not, it wasn’t over, because this is a double-elimination style American Idol. The non-winners lined up and each got to sing a few seconds a cappella, and from that, the judges selected who would go to the final round with the original winners. In the finals, each singer got to perform with a band and back-up singers, after which the judges immediately voted on whether the singer made the top 50.

There were no individual groups herded into rooms with misleading speeches from the judges. There were no interpersonal conflicts between group members. What Ryan Seacrest repeatedly referred to as the most emotional and dramatic Hollywood week ever was, in fact, the most boring Hollywood week ever.

Since there are a whole lot of people, let’s focus on the ones we actually know.

Brooke White: She initially sang “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera while playing her keyboard. The judges loved it, but after that, I’m not sure what happened to her. Also, when voicing her approval, Paula Abdul raised the roof. It was so pathetic, it was awesome.

Amy Flynn: This was the cheerleader/abstinence enthusiast who famously said “Whatev.” Her first song isn’t so good. Later, in the second round, she also fails and is sent home.,

Jake Mellema: I’ve never seen him before, but he sings while playing the drums. The judges are mercilessly cruel to him.

David Hernandez and Amanda Overmyer: He’s a Latino heartthrob, she’s a rock ‘n’ roll nurse. The judges go nuts for both of them in the first round. This is the first and last we see of them.

Ghalbe Emachah: This is that weird Egyptian dude from Miami who had no right making it to Hollywood. He proves us all right by butchering a Bryan Adams song. Speaking of whom, about a thousand other people sing Bryan Adams songs tonight. When did he become cool again?

Josiah Leming: We all remember this sweet kid who lives in his car and sings with a British accent. He sits down at his keyboard and does an awesome rendition of Mika’s “Grace Kelly.” Actually, I think it’s the song that’s awesome, not him, but it’s hard to tell. He goes to the final round, where he’s tired and whiny. He fails to rehearse with the band the night before because he’s a diva, and on stage, he dismisses the band and decides to do the final audition a cappella. It’s “Stand By Me,” and it’s pretty bloody awful. However, due entirely to past performances, they put him through to the top 50. Also, Simon Cowell says something mean to him, but then he genuinely feels bad about it.

Carly Smithson and Michael Johns: She’s the Irish tattooed chick, he’s the Australian rocker. They’re both very good and get lots of praise. I kind of hate both of them for no discernible reason other than they’re not my idea of an American Idol. That’s right, I’m a bit of a xenophobe.

Kyle Ensley: This is that nerdy kid who wants to be president, who had no right making it to Hollywood. In the first audition, he’s horrible. Yet somehow, he makes it through the second round. In the finals, he sings Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up.” I’m not impressed, but somehow the judges are, and he makes the top 50. No, seriously. Did the judges learn nothing from Jon Peter Lewis?

Kristy Lee Cook and Angela Martin: These two are vaguely recognizable from the early auditions. Cook makes it through, but Angela Martin is cut.

Jeffrey Lampkin: The incredibly energetic big fat black dude who auditioned with his sister is back, and effervescent as always. He tries to sing “A Whole New World,” and no amount of energy can save him from the way he butchered that song.

David Archuleta: The adorable 16-year-old kid with vocal paralysis, he comes out and nails his final audition, easily making the top 50.

Syesha Mercado and Asia’h Epperson: Both good, both in the top 50, both with very weird first names.

And that’s more or less the entire Hollywood episode. Tomorrow night, the top 50 is narrowed down to the top 24 and we see who America gets to vote for next week.

-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of FOX)

Read’s take on this episode of American Idol

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.