'American Idol' recap: Symone Black's fall and 4 other surprises
Hooray! We've finally made it to Hollywood Week on "American Idol," Season 11. But so far the proceedings seem pretty chill, even if the show's lead-in promised "the most intense Hollywood Week ever."
Unless, of course, you count the clip of a fainting contestant falling off the stage that was shown over and over and over again, only to end as a cliffhanger as the credits rolled.
Would 16-year-old Symone Black, who only moments before was singing a very pretty rendition of "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay," be OK? The lip of the stage wasn't actually that high off the ground, and it's not like she fell into an orchestra pit or anything, but she didn't look too great, either, in the clips we saw, as someone called for a medic. At some point, I'm pretty sure we heard Steven Tyler say something about her hitting her head, too. (Tyler knows a thing or two about sustaining injuries by falling off a stage.)
Still, Black's fall was not the only surprise in store in our first Hollywood Week elimination round, in which half the contestants will ultimately be sent home.
Other unexpected happenings:
2. Homeless Bronx teen Travis Orlando had his heart broken yet again -- sent home in the same round he got cut last year. This year he really thought he had it nailed, and I thought he did a pretty good job, too. But apparently he failed to impress the judges for the second year running. "I have to go back to nothing," he said afterward. "To nothing at all." I'm a little worried about the kid. I hope he hangs in there OK.
3. Ramiro Garcia, the Houston worship leader who made us cry with the story how he'd been born with no ears and had been diagnosed as deaf and mute, only to make a remarkable recovery (thanks to a lot of surgery), was also sent home unceremoniously. Of course, a guy who has surmounted so many roadblocks isn't going to let a simple no from a few celebrity judges stop him from pursuing his dream. And for that I am thankful.
4. Jane Carrey, daughter of movie star Jim Carrey, who said she planned to stick around a while and gave the judges a cutesy "Hi" after singing a so-so "Looking Out My Back Door," was actually sent home. Phew! Our faith in "Idol" has been restored, because seriously, offspring of the rich and famous should feel free to exploit their connections, but not on a show that claims to be all about searching the country for talented people who would not otherwise have a chance to step into the spotlight.
Other, less surprising, survivors of Hollywood's first round included Johnny Keyser (the good-looking student/waiter from Florida who impressed Lopez as "sexy" during auditions), someone named Gabby, Elise Testone (who was pretty good, though I don't remember seeing her before), "Idol" Season 6 returnee Baylie Brown, former runaway Hallie Day, Jen Hirsch, bluesy-voiced wedding band singer Lauren Gray, Phillip Phillips (the guy whose family owns a pawn shop who made an impression playing guitar and singing "Thriller" during his audition), scat-singing Reed Grimm, new dad Adam Brock, David Leathers Jr. (the kid who says he beat Scotty McCreery in a local talent competition), baseball star offspring Shannon Magrane, Jessica Phillips (the one helping her boyfriend recover from a stroke), mobile-DJ Erika Van Pelt, New York free spirit Creighton Fraker, music teacher Aaron Marcellus … and it's not clear who else, in part because of that cliff-hanging stage fall.
Those we were sort of sad to see go included Seacrest-kissing auto mechanic Jason "Wolf" Hamlin and Tyler-kissing Jenny Schick. Perhaps star-kissing is on the list of things not to do to make it past this stage of "Idol"?
What did you think of the first Hollywood Week episode?
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: Ryan Seacrest with the "American Idol" Season 11's Hollywood Week contestants. Credit: Michael Becker / Fox