American Idol season 13 is about to kick into high gear now that the auditions are over. Hollywood Week begins airing this week and will conclude next week. But the contestants might be in for a bit of a shock when they arrive and find out there’s a twist that could result in their elimination even before they compete in the Hollywood round.

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It’s called Hollywood or Home and we’ll get a chance to see this new element on Wednesday night. In the below video, the judges explain to everyone how this round will work. As Keith Urban says, “Over the last few days, we’ve been reviewing everybody’s auditions again, and we’re going to be selecting some of you to come here and sing a song of your choice,” and some contestants will be eliminated.

Ever since this new round was announced, I’ve been assuming, and still do, that Hollywood or Home is a way for the judges to cut the singers who maybe shouldn’t have advanced past the auditions but they let through anyway. That way, we’re left with the best talent heading into Hollywood Week.

Once the judges have made those initial cuts, Hollywood Week will officially begin, with the remaining singers competing in the round that creates a lot of stress, drama and tension. FOX has released four performance previews to give us a taste for what to expect.

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First up is Munfarid Zaidi. We all remember him as the auditioner who Harry Connick, Jr. held when he sang “I just want you close…” while Keith and J-Lo (and the rest of us, for that matter) were beside themselves with laughter. When Munfarid steps on stage, he and Harry have some humorous banter when he says, “I don’t think we’ve been acquainted before,” and then performs Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary.”

Next, there’s Kenzie Hall, who delivered one of my top two favorite auditions from season 13. In Hollywood, she takes Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ hit “Can’t Hold Us” and strips it down to perform an acoustic arrangement that once again has me impressed by her talent.

Why does Majesty Rose want to be the next American Idol? She says she has “a passion to represent everything that is good and great in this world.” During her audition, she sang in a very quiet manner, which is part of what made her voice sound so special. She’s at it again, this time singing Feist’s “1234.”

Bruno Mars was the headliner the other day for the Super Bowl halftime show, so it seems fitting for Neco Starr to perform Mars’ “Gorilla.” Neco didn’t make my list of the top 35 auditions of season 13, but after hearing part of this performance, I’m impressed. The acoustics in the room help, too.

Finally, check out this promo for Hollywood Week:

Are you excited for Hollywood Week? Do any of the above performances stand out to you? And do you think the Hollywood or Home round will be a great way for the judges to eliminate singers who shouldn’t have made it this far?

American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.