Photo Credit: Michael Becker / FOX
Welcome to Hollywood, American Idol fans! This week and next, we'll see the 276 golden-ticket-wielding contestants compete for spots in the Top 40. It's gentlemen first, so tune in Wednesday (Fox, 8 p.m. ET) to see the guys endure those three stressful test rounds: a cappella, group and solo.
Like the audition episodes, the Hollywood rounds have already been filmed. “With the boys, there were real standouts,” producer Nigel Lythgoe told Entertainment Weekly. As for the ladies, whose episode will air next Wednesday (February 13th), Lythgoe says: "It was tougher with the girls, who are all very strong voices." Well, naturally!
This will be the first time we'll see many of the contestants. Fact is, some of the best Hollywood round picks weren't even featured in the initial audition shows. “We’re going back and telling the producers, ‘Find out where this kid was standing in the line,'" Lythgoe admitted. "'Find out where they were in the auditorium, in the football stadium. Dig up that footage.'" Of course the producers will also follow up with some of the most memorable stories that have emerged so far. Here are some of the contestants we're looking forward to catching up with. They're the ones we think are bound to nail their Hollywood round audtions, too!
Curtis Finch Jr.
Nicki Minaj might have given him a cheesy nickname ("Finchy"), but she also called his audition a divine appointment. "I really believe God wanted you to sing that for us today," she said. Then she went back to fighting with Mariah Carey. (It was a nice moment while it lasted, though.) If he can bring a minute's peace to this group of judges, he can do anything in Hollywood!
"I think you are really, really special," Minaj told Arthur, the contestant Randy Jackson called "a young LeAnn Rimes." "And you already seem like a star, which is really hard to come by," Minaj added. Oh yeah, this dixie chick's a shoe-in.
You know a contestant has potential when the first question out of Minaj's mouth is: "Do you have girlfriend?" But in his audition, Keyser even wowed the male judges. "You're not gonna be girlfriend-less for long," Keith Urban said. See you in Hollywood, Johnny!
This mild-mannered contestant received some seriously over-the-top praise from the judges. "Best audition I heard so far this season!" cried Jackson, and Carey agreed. "I'm obsessed with you!" said Minaj. With such a standout voice, Glover seems destined to be the next Jennifer Hudson. Hopefully, she'll fare better on this show than Hudson did!
This smiling contestant, who went to Camp Mariah when she was little, somehow managed to hold herself together despite being in the presence of her long-standing idol. Then she nailed her audition. "If we could have somebody like this come out of this moment of Idol 12, I would be personally very proud," said Carey. We predict big things for Torres -- a big-voiced girl like Mariah -- during the Hollywood rounds, too.
This Austin native (and huge Mariah fan) cheekily reminded Jackson that the last time he tried out, Jackson slowly drained his Coke before declaring that he was sending Powell home. This time, the judge's reaction was much more positive. "I could only imagine what a gospel CD from you would do," said Minaj. "I'm not gonna critique it other than saying that was fantastic," said Carey. And even Randy, who thankfully wasn't as thirsty this time, sent him on to Hollywood!