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‘American Idol’ Recap: Hollywood Week Part 1, Guys Only!

'American Idol'
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Tonight’s episode of ‘American Idol’ (Feb. 6) was the season’s first Hollywood installment, and no girls were allowed. That’s right, only the male contestants competed tonight, and it proved to be an interesting and very messy ride.

“It’s a little bit like ‘The Hunger Games,’ so we’ll see who gets to the weaponry first,” joked ‘Idol’ judge Keith Urban. “You have to sing like your life depends on it today – this is your shot!” proclaimed Randy Jackson. “I’m rooting for each and every one of you,” said Mariah Carey.

The evening was filled with drama; the performances were all over the map, ranging from stunningly good to abysmal. The episode also proved that the endless Nicki Minaj vs. Mariah Carey dispute has not been put to rest.

The two women came to yet another disagreement following Cortez Shaw’s performance of Whitney Houston‘s ‘I Will Always Love You.’ “I personally enjoyed you a lot,” began Carey, but Minaj spoke right on top of her, cutting in with, “Can I say what I thought about you? Because I honestly thought you did a poor job at that song and I was very, very disgusted by it.” Jackson was quick to agree. “You ain’t Whitney … We deliberated – it wasn’t unanimous, but congratulations, you got another shot.”

Brian Rittenberry, on the other hand, wasn’t quite so lucky. Despite the moving story of his wife overcoming cancer, his performance of Brian McKnight’s ‘Back at One’ didn’t impress the panelists enough to send him on to the next round. “It wasn’t a unanimous decision here, but it just seems that for now, the whirlwind has to end here,” said the judges.

The real fun began when the ‘Idol’ finalists were divided into groups. Some rehearsals went smoothly, and others were thick with tension; certain personalities went hand-in-hand together, while others clashed.

There was a staggering amount of mistakes in the various performances. It seemed that every other team fell prey to extreme anxiety and nerves. The group featuring Johnny Keyser and Kareem Clark chose to sing ‘Reach Out (I’ll Be There)’ by the Four Tops, but both singers botched up the lyrics pretty badly. Keyser then admitted that he hadn’t even heard the song before! He somehow managed to scrape by – probably due to Minaj’s evident crush on him – but Clark was sent home.

The group named Country Queen – featuring JDA, Lee Pritchard, Joel Wayman and Sgt. Trevor Blakney – also stumbled quite a few times, barely making it through their rendition of ‘More Than Words.’ “I think today was a really challenging, rough day for every single one of you up there,” observed Carey. On that note, Pritchard and Blakney were sent home, while the other two were given the green light.

When Frankie Ford, Papa Peachez, Adam Sanders and Charles Allen took the stage to sing Estelle’s ‘American Boy,’ it was a disaster from the getgo. When Peachez was asked how he felt about working with his teammates, he said, “I enjoyed it for what it is, which is a hot mess.” Thanks to Minaj’s vote and the fact that she clearly feels a close connection with the eccentric, soulful blonde, he’s moving on to the next leg of the competition.

However, despite all of the “hot messes,” there were a few standout performances, including Charlie Askew’s team. Click here to check out their take on Bruno Mars’ ‘The Lazy Song.’ Another highlight was Queen‘s ‘Somebody to Love,’ performed by Nick Boddington, Mathenee Treco, Matheus Fernandes and Gabe Brown.

The youngest group of the night tugged on the judges’ heartstrings with their spirited delivery of ‘For the Longest Time.’ It was hard not to be swayed by the foursome’s youthful vigor and winning smiles, but two of them were sent home. The most surprising cut was Kayden Stephenson, who suffers from cystic fibrosis but rose above his illness to pursue his dream of becoming a singer. “If you give me a second chance, I promise you I can be better,” he pleaded earnestly. But in the end, his subpar vocal performance is what sealed the deal. “If you go on just the voice, we made the right decision,” said Minaj.

Be sure to tune in to ‘American Idol’ tomorrow night (Feb. 7) for more Hollywood performances!

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