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'American Idol': The cuts keep on coming

Hollywood Week continues tonight, as all the 71 remaining American Idol contestants get one more chance to sing for the judges and make their mark.

Weirdly, the time frame of the episode keeps jumping around -- first it's the end of the day when the cuts are made, then it's 7 in the morning that day, then it's 8 that night.

So do we get to see these Top 71 sing or not?

Next, they show the contestants getting separated into rooms. 

Finally, they go back in time again and start to show these final auditions.

Angela Martin sings "American Boy" with full backing band, and she's phenomenal, but part of the schtick of this round is no feedback from the judges. 

Casey James takes a risk with "Bubbly," a rather girly song, but he figured no other dudes would be singing it.

Jermaine Purifory sings "Brick House," and the audience rocks out.  They were in the same group and worked together, but they end up in different rooms.

After the break, the judges are deliberating, and Ryan tells us for the 400th time that the contestants are in three rooms. Does this have some kind of DaVinci Code extra level of meaning? 

Jermain Sellers sings "Man in the Mirror" and asks to say something -- that in rehearsal he cut out the last part, so that last part "wasn't right." He's totally blaming the band. Diva move!

Siobhan Magnus ended her week on a high note, Ryan says.

Crystal Bowersox plays guitar and harmonica and sings Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes You Happy." She's got a good voice and is so natural on stage.

Alex Lambert had a rough time during the initial rounds -- he played ukulele poorly and with no spark and was in the drama group with Mary, but he survived. He plays uke again and sings Jason Mraz. 

Big Mike Lynche also sings the Mraz song, and he's playing the guitar, but he's so big, the guitar almost looks like a ukulele!

Todrick Hall sings it, too, but he mixes it up into a whole different song. 

Thaddeus Johnson's mom gets some airtime and is front and center when he performs. The band starts playing "Bubbly," but he stops them and tells them he's "Man in the Mirror." They cut to Thaddeus' mom again, and the woman sitting next to her is actually covering her ears.

This is the most annoyingly organized episode of American Idol ever. Like ever EVER.

Charity Vance has a really interesting voice, but I feel like she's stronger than our quirky friend Megan Joy from last season.

Tasha Leighton gave a lovely performance, too. But now she is in one of the THREE ROOMS.

Mary Powers is very confident, but I don't think she's quite as phenomenal as she thinks she is. Simon whispers to the other judges that "she's interesting because she's older."

Lloyd Thomas sings "Man in the Mirror," and he changes it up a bit, but it sounds kind of weird to me, but Simon says he likes him (under his breath, to Ellen).

Singing police officer Bryan Walker was confident after his audition, which we don't get to see. We do see Simon give him finger-guns. Back in one of the THREE ROOMS, he starts getting nervous.

Hope Johnson sings "Home," and she seems OK. In one of the THREE ROOMS, she is waiting and wondering.

It's about this time that I mention to frequent guest blogger John-John that I feel like I'm stuck on the island in Lost when they were getting shoved back and forth in time. Now it's the afternoon! Now it's 8 p.m. and the judges are deliberating! Now it's the morning! Now it's late at night and they're in the THREE ROOMS! Somebody help us! Juliet? Can you help us?

Shelby Dressel was having trouble remembering her lyrics during rehearsal (which also happened to her at her first audition). But finally, she remembered the words. But Aaron Kelly, who is sitting next to her in one of the THREE ROOMS, did forget his lyrics. He's the kid who was raised by his aunt and uncle.

Ashley Rodriguez has a strong final performance with "Battlefield."  Lee Dewyze, Joe Munoz and Haeley Vaughn also end well. And now they are waiting, too.

Janell Wheeler had a rough last day because her voice was worn out from the whole process. But her audition goes OK, though Kara whispers to the other judges, "Wrong song, wrong song." Janell thinks she blew it.

Now I don't even know what time it is on that final day, but the judges are going to tell which of the THREE ROOMS is getting cut. I'm glad because even I realize this THREE ROOMS thing in this entry is getting old. I'm sorry, I can't seem to stop. 

Wait, sorry, now we're back to "Earlier" according to the caption on the screen, and the judges are deliberating vaguely, not showing us any real information. 

Now it's ... later again, I guess. And they're back to the THREE ROOMS.

But fakeout, time to see auditions again. Tory Kelly, Lilly Scott, Andrew Garcia are shown briefly. Then back to the holding rooms. WHAT YEAR IS IT? Jack? Kate? Are you there? Locke?

The judges head into Room 1. Ellen DeGeneres comes in and says this is her first time, "and this is the room they give me," making them think that they are cut. But they aren't. Room 1 makes it and cheers, freaking out the other two rooms appropriately.

Next, they visit Room 2. Simon asks how they are, and the answer is they are freaked. He tells them some of them have done better than they expected, but still ... bad news. They are cut. This includes Hope Johnson, the singing police officer and a shocked Mary Powers. Charity Vance is out, too. 

So Room 3 isn't sure what's going on. Randy tells them they put in a lot of hard work, but there are never enough slots. Kara says they started out strong, and there were problems, "and it's hard to tell you guys this, but you're going to stay!" Mean. 

Now the judges have to cut this Top 46 to the Top 24, who will perform on the live show. The judges review the tape of all their performances and then make these cuts.

Now it's time for the final judges' cuts -- Cue "The Final Countdown"! The contestants are called in to the theater one by one to learn their fates. (By the way, my husband cued up this video and kept hitting play every time the dramatic music came up on Idol, and it was hilarious. Added some entertainment to an episode that was sorely lacking in that.)

Big Mike Lynche is first. He's the one whose wife went into labor during the early days of Hollywood Week. He tells the judges he feels like he's done well this week but that he has the toughest time with the waiting game. Simon tells him they aren't 100 percent sure he is sure he can win this thing, though he showed improvement in the past couple of days. They draw it out for 400 years, but he is in, unanimously.

Didi Benami, who dedicated her auditions to her best friend, who passed away. Simon asks her how well she did. She thinks she did well and says she tried really hard. Then she cries. But she is in the Top 24.

Katelyn Epperly wanted to bring some positivity to her family (her father recently left her mother). Ellen draws it out for a while with jokey comments about how it's wrong to make her wait, etc. etc. Anyway, she is in.

Shelby Dressel showed a lot of growth through the week, Randy tells her, but she is cut. They encourage her to come back next year. 

Casey James is in the Top 24, and he jumps around like a crazy person. Can you blame him?

Aaron Kelly is so quiet and shy that I think he's got no shot, but I'm wrong. He's in the Top 24.

Lee Dewyze thinks he's done well all week, though the footage they show seems kind of mixed.  But Kara says they've seen a lack of confidence from him when he's on stage. He disagrees. But anyway, he makes the cut.

Todrick Hall (who sang the funny song about the judges in his initial audition and who performed in Broadway in The Color Purple with Fantasia) awaits his fate. Kara just looks at him and then just says, "yes."

Jessica Furney got rejected in season 8 and was determined to make it this year. Her group was losing the words on "Sweet Escape," and she made them give her a chance to sing after Simon shut them down, and then she nailed the crazy chorus. Randy says he won't delay it and that it's been tough. Then he just looks at her and tells her she didn't make it. She tells them she has it and that they "have no idea what I can do." She says she knows it's pathetic to beg, but she can't stop herself. I also see that she appears to have stolen Randy's glasses. She goes on and on and on, and she just can't seem to grasp it. She stops and asks them to tell her what she did wrong. Simon tells her straight up she didn't sing as well as the others. She says that the others didn't deal with losing their voices, and they say they did. They try to give her encouragement, that it's not over, but she doesn't seem to want to take it. She lays it at the feet of her group and doesn't take responsibility for it at all.

Anyway, we've learned seven of the Top 24, but the last 17 will be revealed tomorrow night.

Oh, good, let's draw this out some more.




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