After last week's singing-free edition of "American Idol," it was all singing on Wednesday's (February 15) episode, which ran through highlights of Hollywood Week's Group Night and Solo Day.
The two-hour episode began with 185 contestants divvied into 42 groups; an hour later, only 98 contestants remained. And by the end of the episode, the field had been narrowed by another quarter, and the remaining contestants were on a bus to Las Vegas.
The cuts came fast and furious, and among those dismissed during Group Night included "tent girl" Amy Brumfield, who seemed to infect everyone with whom she came in contact with some sort of illness; Symone Black, whose dramatic fall off the stage earlier in Hollywood Week provided "Idol" with a built-in cliffhanger during last week's episodes; police officer Alisha Bernhardt, who struggled to find a group to sing with during Group Night and eventually ended up in a group where everyone was dismissed; and 17-year-old Imani Handy, who collapsed three times on Group Night. (That has to be some sort of "Idol" record.)
By Solo Day, nearly every remaining contestant seemed to have Georgia on their mind, as the Ray Charles classic was belted out time and again. Standout renditions came from Jen Hirsh, 25, of Agoura Hills, California; Reed Grimm, 26, of Ellsworth, Wisconsin, who sang the song while playing drums; and 27-year-old Adam Brock, a self-described "white chocolate" singer from Washington, Pennsylvania, who ably wrapped his big pipes around the timeless anthem.
Some of the other top contestants featured during the solo round, where singers were backed by the "Idol" band, were Joshua Ledet, who earned a standing ovation from the judges for his powerful version of Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts," and 28-year-old Creighton Fraker from Queens, who too earned a standing O for his intensely soulful version of "What a Wonderful World," which stands near the top on the shortlist of best "Idol" performances so far this year.
Other notables included Shannon Magrane, the 16-year-old whose version of "What a Wonderful World" caused Jennifer Lopez to blurt, "What the hell was that!" and Skylar Laine, the 17-year-old from Brandon, Mississippi, whose take on the Band Perry's "You Lie" had J. Lo making comparisons to Reba McEntire.
So far the season's standout personality continues to be Heejun Han, the wry 22-year-old from Flushing, New York, whose running feud with Richie Law, the would-be Scotty McCreery from Centennial, Colorado, has provided some of the season's best laughs. Will these two finally have it out with each other in Las Vegas? We'll find out soon.
What did you think of Wednesday's "Idol"? Let us know in the comments!
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