‘American Idol’ Hollywood Week Gets Off To A Cutthroat Start

Jane Carrey and Ramiro Garcia were among the 68 contestants sent home at the end of day one.

When it comes to “American Idol,” everyone wants to go to Hollywood. But the euphoria from that Golden Ticket doesn’t last long for contestants, as the slash-and-burn process of the notoriously cutthroat Hollywood Week takes hold.

This year, 309 contestants made it through to Hollywood, and the whittling-down process started immediately. Wednesday’s (February 8) “Idol” focused on the beginning of Hollywood Week, when 68 contestants were shown the door by the end of day one.

Among those going home was Jane Carrey, daughter of actor Jim Carrey, who failed to make much of an impression with her timid take on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.” Because of her family ties, Carrey was one of the most noteworthy contestants from the audition episodes, but the 24-year-old didn’t make it far before feeling the wrath of Hollywood Week.

Also cut was 28-year-old Ramiro Garcia, who was born without ears and whose version of “Amazing Grace” was a standout in the Galveston, Texas, auditions. He was dismissed along with 18-year-old Travis Orlando, the Bronx native who was cut at the same point in Hollywood Week a year ago.

Standouts in Wednesday’s episode included 23-year-old Johnny Keyser of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who had Randy Jackson shouting, “Amen! Amen! Amen!” after his version of Amos Lee’s “Dreamin’ “; ladies man David Leathers Jr., the 17-year-old from Fayetteville, North Carolina, who doesn’t look a day over 12 but had the judges and his peers alike applauding his impressive version of Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me”; Lauren Gray, the 23-year-old star of the St. Louis auditions who brought the house down with her version of Adele’s “One and Only”; the unforgettably named Phillip Phillips, the 21-year-old who busted out “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and moved one step closer to immortality; and 26-year-old Jessica Phillips — no relation to Phillip, at least as far as we know — who had the gall to do Whitney Houston’s “All the Man That I Need” and pulled it off admirably.

Other singers advancing included 22-year-old Heejun Han, who made up for the lack of confidence in his looks with his strong vocals on Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”; 16-year-old Shannon Magrane of Tampa, Florida, daughter of former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Magrane, whom Steven Tyler awkwardly dubbed “hot, humid and happening” during her initial audition; and 26-year-old Reed Grimm of Ellsworth, Wisconsin, who’s been performing on stage all his life and showed it with a campy version of “I Got a Golden Ticket” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

The episode ended with a cliffhanger after 16-year-old Symone Black of Rancho Cucamonga, California, got woozy and took a scary spill off the front of the stage following her rendition of Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” Hollywood Week has enough drama without people collapsing off the stage, but “Idol” is making us tune in Thursday to find out what happens to Black and see if she makes it to the utter ruthlessness known as Group Round.

What did you think of the beginning of Hollywood Week? Let us know in the comments!

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