“American Idol” kicked off this season’s Hollywood round Wednesday, but the biggest moment of the night had nothing to do with singing.
Sixteen-year-old Symone Black had a great audition singing Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay.” As she talked with the judges after the performance, Symone stumbled off the stage and hit her head. A medic was called, and the “Idol” producers decided to capitalize on the drama. Viewers will have to wait until Thursday night’s episode to see what happened to the teenage girl.
Judging from executive producer Nigel Lythgoe’s sardonic humor — he tweeted, “It’s not a “cliffhanger.” She didn’t hang, she fell,” during Wednesday’s show — it’s unlikely Black was seriously hurt.
“I know you’re all going crazy,” Lythgoe tweeted Wednesday night. “You’ll have to wait until tomorrow. That’s why I’m a mean producer.”
But on a conference call to reporters, Lythgoe explained just how scary the situation was: “You literally see a wobble and her eyes dropping to the back of her head, and she falls. The camera man, bless him, tries to dive to catch her because he’s on the floor on his knees, and he doesn’t get there and knocks his camera that falls on top of him.
“So it’s a complete, ‘Oh, my God, this is terrible’. I’m shouting for medics and it’s scary, to be frank,” Lythgoe said.
Lythgoe previously told his Twitter followers that five contestants collapsed or fainted during season 11′s Hollywood Week, which the judges have described as the “most intense and brutal” ever.
The rest of Wednesday’s episode didn’t stray too far from the “Idol” formula. The 309 contestants took the stage in groups of 10 to sing a song of their choosing a capella in a sudden-death round.
Judges Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez didn’t give any feedback for this round, and half the contestants would be sent packing based on this performance.
The majority of the contestants profiled survived the cut Wednesday night. The confident Johnny, who impressed the judges in St. Louis, and the very nervous Heejun from New York were up first.
Johnny impressed with his audition, singing “Dreamin’” by Amos Lee, and Jennifer loved Heejun and his rendition of Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live With You.” They both survived the sudden death elimination.
Baylie Brown auditioned with Faith Hill’s “If I’m Not in Love,” and Hallie tried to beat sudden death with Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” They both made it.
Jen from Agora Hills, Calif., sang Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain,” and really blew it out of the water. Lauren from Arkansas got so caught up singing Adele’s “One and Only,” she missed Randy telling her to stop singing. Both Jen and Lauren survived the first day.
Georgia native Phil Phillips impressed the judges back in Savannah with his spin on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” but Phil hadn’t auditioned without his guitar yet. He sang the James Brown staple, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” in the audition, and made it to the next round.
Reed from Wisconsin grew up on the stage singing with his family. His selection of “I Got a Golden Ticket” from “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” drew a laugh from the other contestants, but Reed pulled it off with a few jazz licks thrown in that earned him another day in competition.
Adam Brock has been told there’s a large, black woman trapped in his body since he sings so soulfully. He wowed in Pittsburgh with the standard “Stormy Weather.” Jennifer commented then that she’d love to hear him sing Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis,” so Adam sang it for this round. Jennifer said it was “beautiful,” and the judges are keeping him in the “Idol” race.
Seventeen-year-old David Leathers, who once beat last year’s champ Scotty McCreery in a talent show, exuded confidence in Hollywood. He took on Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” and really knocked the judges out.
Shannon Magrane is the teenage girl that Steven awkwardly called “hot, humid and happening” during the Savannah audition. She tried out with “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys and pulled it off with a big vocal performance.
Jessica Phillips, who is caring for her boyfriend, Angelo, following a stroke last year, sang Whitney Houston’s “All the Man I Need” for her audition. Steven had a smile on his face during her performance. David, Shannon and Jessica all made it to the next round.
Mobile DJ Erika Van Pelt gave a powerful delivery of Pink’s “Glitter in the Air.” Creighton Fraker from New York also made a big impression with Queen’s “Somebody to Love.” Music teacher Aaron Marcellus was also a judges’ favorite, and he joined Erika and Creighton in advancing in the competition.
Others had a rough go of it. Heather had a really rough time singing Heart’s “Crazy on You,” and Candice fell flat singing Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It.” Travis Orlando was sent home from the Hollywood round last year, but the stakes were higher for him this year since he’s dropped out of high school to chase his “Idol” dream. Travis auditioned with “All I Do” by Stevie Wonder, but he got cut for the second year in a row.
Jim Carrey’s daughter, Jane, tried out with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Lookin’ Out My Back Door,” but she didn’t advance to the next round. Jane blamed her lackluster performance on nerves, but she said her dad was comforting on the phone, telling her rejection is just a part of the entertainment business.
Lauren Mink uses music in her work with developmentally challenged people. Lauren tried out with “Alone” by Heart, and Jennifer seemed concerned that Lauren had changed keys during the performance.
Jeremy Rosado works as the front desk of a doctor’s office specializing in infectious diseases, but he’s a self-professed germaphobe. He tried out with Luther Vandross’s version of “Superstar.” They’re in same group with Symone, the teen who fell off the stage, so we’ll have to wait until Thursday night’s episode to see if they make it.
The Hollywood round continues Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.