'American Idol': Contestant Pool Cut in Half During First Round of Hollywood Week

American Idol XV Hollywood Week 1 - H 2016
Courtesy of FOX

With the last of American Idol’s auditions over, season 15 headed into Hollywood Week tonight. All of the artists who were lucky enough to be handed golden tickets traveled to the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, where the competition always heats up. Hollywood Week is notoriously the most grueling stage of every season, with the judges having to make major cuts after each round. “You guys are the best of the best, and that’s why you’re here,” Keith Urban told the contestants.

Tonight, the lines of 10 round began, with Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick Jr. warning the singers that half of them would be going home after this round. The contestants came out in groups of 10 and only had one shot at proving why they should stay in the competition. 

Singing in the very first line of 10 was Jordan Sasser, who originally auditioned with his wife, who did not make it to Hollywood. He survived the round. Dalton Rapattoni and Jaci Butler, rivals who once went up against each other in a battle of the bands, also advanced from the first group. 

They were joined by Jenn Blosil, Olivia Rox and Thomas Stringfellow from the next line. Rox noted that in the time leading up to Hollywood Week, she has been training her voice tirelessly.

Jessica Cabral, who Lopez compared to Kelly Clarkson in her initial audition, sang in the next line, which also included Melanie Tierce. She was followed Sonika Vaid, who Connick said was one of the first contestants he could see winning the season when she auditioned in San Francisco. Tierce did not advance, but Cabral and Vaid are on to the next round.

Single mom La’Porsha Renae sang Katy Perry’s “Roar” in the next line, and she showcased impressive vocal control and confidence. She advanced to the group round.

Next, some of the boys stepped center stage. Hollywood Week’s biggest flirts Harrison Cohen, Daniel Farmer, and Manny Torres all sang to stay in the competition. Torres’ rendition of The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” was particularly impressive. Farmer and Torres advanced, but Cohen is heading home.

In the next line, Melany Huber was the only contestant the judges eliminated. Lee Jean and Shelbie Z were among those who moved forward.

Starting off the second day of the lines of 10 round was Jeneve Rose Mitchell, the young girl who auditioned in Denver and lives off the grid on Saddle Mountain. She brought her cello along for the round, and she was the only member of her line to advance.

First up in the next line was Gianna Isabella, the daughter of 1980s singer Brenda K. Starr. She was followed by Tristan McIntosh, who received a surprise visit from her mom during her audition earlier this season. Both Isabella and McIntosh made it to the next round.

The next line included two lifelong fans of the show: 16-year-olds Michelle Marie and Kyrsti Jewel. Marie sang first, followed by Jewel, whose family considers themselves the biggest Idol fans around. Marie advanced, but Jewel did not.

Despite having strong auditions on the road, Kerry Courtney, Brooke Sample, Usen Isong, Reanna Molinaro, Ethan Kuntz and Jake Dillon cracked under the pressure of Hollywood Week and did not make it past the lines of 10 round.

Just 20 minutes before he had to sing, Trent Harmon found out that he had mono, but he sang anyway. Also in his line was Miranda “Poh” Scott, the younger sister of last season’s Shi Scott. She was followed by country singer Emily Brooke, who made it to top 48 last season before getting cut. The judges messed with them a bit, but Harmon, Scott, and Brooke are all through to the group round.

Tomorrow night, Hollywood Week continues with the group round, which always brings plenty of drama. Who are your favorites after tonight?