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Drama, table for 309?
That was the number of contestants who arrived for the Fox contest’s Hollywood rounds, nervous yet hopeful to make it through to the semi-finals. (Only 24 of them do.) In this stage of the competition, anxiety is high and the pressure is on.
For hopeful Symone Black, it all got to be too much: the 16-year-old singer from California collapsed and fell off the stage following her performance of Otis Redding‘s “(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay.” The incident, an American Idol first, spurred a frenzy as producer Nigel Lythgoe, host Ryan Seacrest and other rushed to Black’s side as she lay motionless on the ground after falling and hitting her head.
Judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson sat in stunned disbelief. Also in the audience: Black’s so-called stage father, George, who was no doubt worried sick. Thursday’s episode will fill viewers in on what happened to Black, whose fainting spell ended in a cliffhanger on Wednesday.
Another dramatic — and far less horrifying — moment occurred when Jim Carrey‘s daughter, Jane, a single mom and dead ringer for Marie Osmond, took her turn onstage. The 24-year-old performed a solid cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Looking Out My Back Door,” but did not make the cut in the end.
“I freaked out when I was there, so I was really, really shaky,” she said afterward, tearing up. “And I know I can do way better than that. And so I’m really disappointed with myself.”
She then called up her famous father, who comforted her with stories of his own past rejections on the road to success.
Also on the chopping block: Romiro Garcia, a standout from the Texas auditions who was born without ears, and Travis Orlando, the Bronx teenager who failed to get past the Hollywood pressure-cooker for the second year in a row.
“I have to go back to nothing — to nothing at all!,” he cried to the camera.
But it wasn’t all bad: several memorable standouts breezed through with effortless aplomb, thanks to raw talent and charm.
There was blue-eyed, square-jawed Johnny Keyser, 23, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, who visibly wooed Lopez with his bluesy vocals on an Amos Lee song; Reed Grimm, a nanny from Wisconsin, received a standing ovation following his rendition of the Willa Wonka song “(I’ve Got A) Golden Ticket”; Tampa teen Shannon Magrane, a Tyler favorite, brought down the house with her cover of Alicia Keys‘ “Fallin.'”
But the strongest performer — and probably the best we’ve seen on season 11 thus far — was 17-year-old phenom David Leathers Jr.
The North Carolina singer, who looks much younger than his years (much like Justin Bieber), sang the living daylights out of Celine Dion‘s “Because You Loved Me.” It was nothing short of divine.
“How does that happen? I have ties older than you,” Tyler remarked.
Meanwhile, the jury’s up on the fate of Symone Black: will her faiting scare send her home, or will she remain in the competition. As always on Idol, we’ll find out … after the commercial break. Or, in the case, the next episode.
See video of her fall below.
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