Reviews, Television
Feb 14, 2012


It’s Hollywood Week, and 309 “Golden Ticket”, winners from across the United States have come to Hollywood to try and advance to the “Group Auditions”. In the opening round, singers are randomly placed in groups of ten with each contestant singing an acapella version of a song that they have chosen to sing. Without providing any feedback, the judges pick the contestants who will go on to the next round.

Since approximately 50% of the contestants will be eliminated in this round, the pressure to give a good performance has increased dramatically. The show can’t start without a good quote from Steven Tyler and he doesn’t disappoint. Addressing the contestants from the stage Steven shouts out, “What makes the dawn rise like thunder? What makes the Sphinx the 7th wonder? Courage!! What makes the hot in hot so hot? Who put the ape in apricot? What do they got that I ain’t got? Courage!!!”, and with those rousing words of wisdom Hollywood week officially started.

We see approximately 25 of the 300 plus acapella auditions. However, the majority of the singers highlighted in the show move onto the next round. One of the biggest moments of the night was when contestant Symone Black, fell off the stage. After singing a good version of Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay”, she appears to pass out and falls off the stage hitting her head. In perfect television timing, the show ends and viewers have to wait for the next episode to see if she is alright and if the judges have picked her to go onto the next round. I‘ll give you a hint, she made it.

Highlighted performers that moved onto the “Group Round” and what they sang included:

Johnny Keyser: “Dreamin’” by Amos Lee

Heejun Han: “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” by Michael Bolton

Elise Testone: “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai

Baylie Brown: “If I’m Not In Love With You” by Faith Hill

Hallie Day:(You Make Me Feel Like) “Natural Woman” by Aretha Franklin

Jen Hirsh: “Up To The Mountain” by Patty Griffin

Lauren Gray: “One and Only” by Adele

Phil Phillips: “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” by James Brown

Reed Grimm: “I’ve Got A Golden Ticket” from Willy Wonka

Adam Brock: “Walking in Memphis” by Marc Cohn

Shannon Magrane: “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys

David Leathers Jr.: “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion

Jessica Phillips: “All The Man That I Need” by Whitney Houston

Erika Van Pelt: “Glitter In The Air” by Pink

Creighton Fraker:” Somebody to Love” by Queen

Aaron Marcellus: “Forever For Always For Love” by Luther Vandross

Jeremy Rosado: “Superstar” by Luther Vandross

Symone Black: “Sittin’ On the Dock Of The Bay” by Otis Redding

Thursday’s show focused on the remaining 185 contestants who made it to the “Group Round”. Singers must now form groups of four or five. Groups must be a mixture of day one and day two contestants. Contestants immediately begin scrambling to form groups and plan their “Group Round”, performances. As usual it is total chaos with a wide range of emotions. Adding to the stress, multiple contestants have come down with a stomach virus/ flu-like symptoms. There is nothing worse than tired, stressed out contestants that feel like throwing up. Sounds like a lot of fun!!!

Group Round performances begin Wednesday, February 15th.