‘American Idol’ Recap: Hollywood Week Begins with Genre Challenge, Special Guests
American Idol Season 20 returned on Monday night for the first round of Hollywood Week, as the contestants who earned Golden Tickets in their auditions gathered for the Genre Challenge. Each singer competed against others in their genre, and they were mentored by some special guests.
Previous Idol contestants Lauren Alaina, Ruben Studdard, Lee DeWyze, David Cook, Haley Reinhart, and Jordin Sparks were on hand to offer advice to contestants. Last season’s winner Chayce Beckham also made an appearance to sing his song “23.”
After narrowing down the competition, the judges announced a twist going into the Duets round. It involves this season’s three Platinum Ticket winners.
Kelsie Dolin Overcomes Nerves in ‘American Idol’ Hollywood Week
Although some contestants this season have years of performing experience under their belts, others are new to being on stage. Take Kelsie Dolin, who shared her nerves about competing against more experienced singers.
Even though her audition made mentor Lauren Alaina cry, Kelsie still said she felt like the side dish at dinner. When she walked on stage, she was shaking and teary-eyed. Her fellow contestants looked nervous for her, and the judges tried to calm her down.
It seemed like she might not be able to pull herself together, but she managed to control her nerves long enough to sing “Things a Man Oughta Know” by Lainey Wilson. Afterward, judge Katy Perry expressed how worried she was for her. But it all worked out, because Kelsie made it through to the next round.
Leah Marlene Sings a Unique Avril Lavigne Cover
One of the most original performances of the night came from Leah Marlene, who put her own unique spin on “Sk8er Boi” by Avril Lavigne in the Indie Folk category. Mentor Lee DeWyze advised her to “explore that chorus” that everyone knows, and she did just that.
Leah slowed down the song while strumming her guitar in this genre challenge. She earned a standing ovation from the judges, with Lionel Richie saying she brought “character” to the performance and Perry complimenting her vibrato.
Other standout performances from this round included former America’s Got Talent Golden Buzzer Christian Guardino, who stunned the judges and his fellow contestants with a performance of “My Future” by Billie Eilish in the Soul category.
Another knockout Billie Eilish cover came from Nicolina Bozzo, who sang “everything i wanted.” She brought incredible emotion to the performance, and her fellow contestants gave her a standing ovation. Leah, Christian, and Nicolina all made it through.
Katy Perry Rips Her Pants During ‘Teenage Dream’ Sing-along
Hollywood Week is infamous for putting singers through the wringer, but there was still some levity during Monday’s episode, as the contestants joined Perry to sing along to her song “Teenage Dream.”
Appropriately, when Perry got to the lyric about “skintight jeans,” she actually ripped her pants. The show censored things as the contestants laughed and Perry asked for some assistance. Luke Bryan helped the crew use yellow tape to cover the rip, and they got on with the show.
The episode ended with a performance of “Don’t Stop Believin'” from the three Platinum Ticket winners — Huntergirl, Jay, and Kenedi Anderson. They got to skip the Genre Challenge, but they were still there watching from the balcony.
As the judges revealed to the remaining contestants, the Platinum Ticket holders will get to choose which singer they want to be paired with for the Duets round. Otherwise, the judges will choose which contestants get teamed up.
That should make for an interesting episode when American Idol returns next Sunday night for the second part of Hollywood Week.