‘American Idol’ at Hollywood Week — all aboard the Heejun Han train!

A pleasant surprise.

As a reporter, the “American Idol” shows in Hollywood Week are not the easiest to cover — mostly because it’s like the first day of college when you have to meet about 200 new people when you only have a couple of buddies by your side. But even with this, we have to admit that they are a blast — mostly because the people we are getting to know are often so much better than who we meet in the audition rounds.

While it’s impossible to focus on just about every face that stands before Steven “that was beautiful” Tyler and the other judges, we do have a number of people that we were bright lights in the midst of people fainting, singing out of key, and begging for one final note when they were already underwhelming to begin with.

Johnny Keyser – While he already reminds us of the football hero who can’t shut up about how amazing he is, Johnny is a pretty fantastic singer.

Baylie Brown – Despite being hyped up to ridiculous levels at times, this season 6 alum is worth all of the attention.

Heejun Han – We can’t say enough about Heejun. The guy is a legend. He is hilarious, awkward, and unlike just about any contestant we have ever seen on this show. He’s the new Michael Bolton! Please make the top 24, if for no other reason than that we can see your awkward dance moves some more.

Hallie Day – Remember her? With her story of addiction and struggle in Pittsburgh, she is to “Idol” what Chris Rene was to “X Factor.”

Jen Hirsh – We don’t remember Jen from Galveston, and she could be the classic case of someone who rises from show obscurity (think Pia Toscano) and manages to still shine.


Lauren Gray: still a powerhouse.

Lauren Gray – Lauren, on the other hand, has been far from obscure to this point — she was hyped as the “next big thing” at the end of the St. Louis auditions, but we only saw a few seconds of her this time.

Phillip Phillips – Despite all of his talent, we learned Wednesday that Phillip has never been on an airplane before except for skydiving. Yes, it’s possible that he is in the same vein of Kris Allen or Lee DeWyze — but the show really can’t eliminate someone simply for being similar to other people.

Reed Grimm – This guy seriously went on stage and sang “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” — but we’re now convinced that he could make the alphabet song both amazing and incredibly and annoying at the same time.

Adam Brock – We want to like the whole “I’m a dad missing my daughter” angle, but there’s something about Adam’s whole taking requests from Jennifer that makes him come across as far from humble.

Jane Carrey – For the first time, we actually realized that Jane has the same exact smile as Jane — and that was the best thing we could say about her performance this week. She was screechy, out of tune, and she also came into the performance really expecting to be there a while. Now, she and Travis Orlando are the two notable exits.

David Leathers – He talks like Astro from “The X Factor,” except that he thinks that he is even more of a ladies’ man. We’re still shocked that he beat Scotty McCreery in a talent show, but he can hit some serious high notes.

Shannon Magrane – Remember her? She barely sang this week, but we were reminded yet again that she was is still a teenager — but Steven Tyler still decided to hit on her during her first audition.

Erika Van Pelt – She’s the dark horse of the season. She’s got a great voice, even if we’re not necessarily loving the plaid.

Creighton Fraker – No thanks. His voice is too nasally, and he really doesn’t have much of a stage presence besides a few poses. If Steven Tyler has to prompt you to applaud, there’s a problem.

Aaron Marcellus – What a voice! How did Aaron not make it through last season?

Lauren Mink – Who is she? She’s forgettable — and the fact that she sang Heart’s “Alone” really didn’t help.

Jeremy Rosado – We learned that Jeremy’s nickname is “dirty” since he learned at an infectious disease clinic — and he has one of the best male voices we have seen so far.

Symone Black – Before this episode, we really just knew Symone as the girl who fell off stage — and that’s unfortunate since the teenager really had a fantastic voice. We heard Nigel Lythgoe’s voice for the first time on the show asking for a medic, and as the credits rolled this episode turned into “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Who was your favorite from Hollywood Week? Feel free to take our handy poll to the left, and brace yourself for the always-interesting Group Round taking place Thursday night.

Photo: Fox


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