Hollywood, Round 1

Let us – and by “us” I mean “me” – muse about Round 1 in Hollywood. But first, let’s represent for Kool and the Gang and their classic Hollywood Swinging:

So here I am, here I am in this Hollywood city
The city of the stars, movies, women and cars
Well I guess, I guess I have to stay . . .

And stay is what the YOU’RE GOING TO HOLLYWOOD! Idolists hope to do.

I liked the concept of the Idolists choosing what they want to improve upon: confidence, songwriting, or stage presence. Confidence and stage presence is about their present. It’s a TV show and to go far, they will have to appeal to a television audience. I stress television for the present because, in the future, they’ll be taking their presence and confidence to TikTok and Instagram to build their post-Idol careers

Songwriting points to the Idolists’ futures and it is especially important. I do like the singer-songwriter vibe that Idol is finally making prominent. This isn’t your grandparent’s Idol anymore, where the winner would get Clive Davis’ star-making power unleashed on their behalf which would start with him harnessing top songwriters to write the radio-ready hit songs for the blessed Idolists. In today’s music business – and by the business I mean the industry – Idolists will be competing with over 100,000 songs being uploaded each day to digital streaming services. Almost all of those songs are uploaded by the artists who wrote those songs, and they are all hoping that some playlist algorithm rather than an all-powerful executive will get their songs heard.

I always like seeing alumni Idolists return as coaches. Who better to serve than those who have survived the rigors of the show? So shout-outs to Clay Aiken and David Archuleta (confidence coaches); Jordin Sparks and Justin Guarini (stage presence); and P2 aka Phillip Phillps and Catie Turner (songwriting). Especially Catie Turner, who finished 7th in the season won by Maddie Poppe but really won by Gabby Barrett who has gone on to stardom. For that season’s Finale, I wrote this: “It’s too bad Catie is so awkward (that sounds harsh but I don’t know what else to call it) because she may have been the best pure singer in the competition.” Catie is a great example of using Idol as a learning experience rather than a launching pad. Since her time on Idol, she “got hot” (her words), got better, and got over 1.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

There was the matter of giving out a fourth coveted Platinum ticket. I had previously groused about some very talented Idolists not getting one so I was gratified that someone I had singled out, Elijah McCormick, was given a Platty. I had written this about Elijah: “This is my new new new favorite audition of the season so far. He’s Top 24. Should be Top 10.” That said, I’m not convinced that skipping the solo round in Hollywood is that big of an advantage.

One lament that I have is the lack of data. Specifically, I like knowing how many Idolists got to Hollywood and how many were cut in Round 1. Perhaps that will come in Round 2. I always like numbers LOL but I appreciate having some perspective of how many Idolists the Evil Genius Producers and judges let in and how many were then cut out.

Finally, here is who jumped out at me in Round 1. There is a LOT more they have to do and a LOT more Idolists we need to see, so I’m just listing names for now. I’ve linked to those I have previously mused on.

Really Jumped Out: Hannah Nicholaisen, We’ Ani, Emma Busse, Megan Danielle.

Jumped Out: Colin Stough, Marybeth Byrd (did poorly but had a great audition, so I wasn’t surprised the judges cut her a break this time); Oliver Steele, Matt Wilson, Dawson Wayne, Tongi.

As always, these evaluations are not my predictions of future results and are constantly subject to re-evaluation under the light of my withering musings.

I’m excited for Round 2 with the duets – and drama. I love the drama. 🙂

See you soon.

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