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'American Idol': And the band played on

February 18, 2011 |  1:36 pm

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And now there are 50.

Hollywood Week came to a close with the judges making the always difficult (Jennifer Lopez said it was the worst part) decision of cutting down roomfuls of contestants to bring them from triple digits to 50.

Although we won’t be spending too much time writing about who didn’t make the cut as the show progresses (you can get that on our sister blog Show Tracker) the contestants took to the stage, solo, for “one final shot, on the final day of Hollywood,” as host Ryan Seacrest put it.

Seacrest and judge Randy Jackson said the crop was the best talent they had seen in the show's history and we won't even try to argue that.

The final day of Hollywood Week allowed the contestants to introduce instruments to their live showings -- but viewers beware, we’ve already been told by show producers the series won’t be as heavy on troubadours since instruments will become limited once live nights kick off. 

Hopefuls were also backed by a full band -- or allowed to sing a cappella if they so choose. It didn’t take too long for some contestants -- possibly used to singing a cappella or in their own bands -- to lose their footing and stumble when backed by a set of strangers they hadn’t vibed with before their audition (both Jackson and rocker Steven Tyler forced some contestants to start over; others begged for the mercy of the judges). 

Contestants tackled well-knowns such as “God Bless the Child” and “Georgia on My Mind” (one hopeful even played the latter on a stand-up bass -- an instrument a contestant had never used on the show before). The classics worked for some, though half the contestants were still sent packing. 

With the show getting closer to chopping down the new crop of hopefuls to the top 24, next week will prove to separate the rookies from the pros when they take on Beatles songs in Las Vegas -- lets hope they all made use of the Fab Four finally being available on iTunes as they will only have 24 hours to learn their song. 

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

twitter.com/gerrickkennedy

Photo: Left to right, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson at Hollywood Week. Credit: Michael Becker / FOX.

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