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'American Idol' Season 15 Recap/Review: Hollywood Week Introduces Lines of 10, Massive Cuts

by Carolyn Menyes   Jan 27, 2016 21:55 PM EST

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American Idol has been a television institution for 15 years, and all throughout its history, the show has lined up its contestants during the first round of Hollywood Week, made them sing solo in groups of 10 and called the winners out of the line. Never before had this phase had a title, but enter the farewell season where we get the phrase "Lines of Ten Round."

Giving this phase a title is neither here not there - it's just a curious decision for a show on its last legs.

Likely because of Idol's shortened episode order and the fact that the Wednesday renditions are just one hour (as opposed to the two-hour Thursday extravaganzas), this episode felt heavily edited and truncated. With commercials, we got roughly 43 minutes of show and over 30 performances - do the math, and with stories, the occasional judging and some chatter from Ryan Seacrest, and it was really hard to latch on to one particular performance or moment.

American Idol claims Hollywood Week is where stars are made, and if that's true, it's not going to happen in season 15. We barely saw anything of anyone.

Of course, there were a few producers' favorites who got some moments in the spotlight. Jordan Sasser opened up the show with a take on Tori Kelly's "Should Have Been Us." Jordan gained some fame because he and his wife tried out together, and when he got a golden ticket and she did not, it seemed like their marriage was about to implode. Apparently they're still happily married, and while his performance of Kelly's breakout single only seemed to muddle who he potentially could be as an artist, he made it through to the group round.

Like this season has been setting up, the real stars of the night were the ladies. Favorites from the auditions including Jenn Blosil, La'Porsha Renae, Shelbie Z, Gianna Isabella, Tristan McIntosh, Miranda "Poh" Scott and Emily Brooke all performed beyond a set standard and easily slipped in to the group rounds.

But, because the girls are so superior this season, that just means the competition is all that harder fr the women. Solid contenders like Melanie Tierce and Melany Huber were sent home.

That doesn't mean the judges weren't mildly misguided, mistaking an intriguing story for a future superstar. Jeneve Rose Mitchell, who you may best know for literally not having electricity on her farm, gave an audition with Little Big Town's "Boondocks," and her cello overwhelmed her vocals. But, she's from a family that apparently only turns on their generator to watch Idol. You know a producer can't resist that gold.

There's also Idol superfan Michelle Marie, who idolizes Carrie Underwood in particular. She's really not a great singer and there's something about her personality that really gets on my nerves, but I guess her show obsession makes for nice television, so her awkward rendition of Blake Shelton's "Dibs" got her through to the next round.

But will it be enough to get her into the top 24? In my opinion, it shouldn't. But the judges and producers seemed charmed, and that goes a long way. But, let's see how she and everyone else does in group rounds (arguably the best round of Idol). Get excited!

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