After five weeks of auditions, American Idol has finally begun airing its Hollywood week episodes. The first of such was Monday night’s, which showed the contestants who all advanced from Hollywood taking on a new genre-themed challenge. Each singer was tasked with deciding what genre they wanted to perform for the round, and choosing a song from their list of options to impress the judges.
The pop round saw stand-outs in Louis Knight, who did a new arrangement on Ain’t No Mountain High Enough that personally reminded me of Clark Beckham back in season 14; Shannon Gibbons, whose performance of Kodaline’s All I Want continued the raspy blues voice we heard from her audition; and Nick Merico, who took on I’ll Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know.
Jovin Webb‘s performance of Make It Rain was the highlight of the Soul round to me, while Arthur Gunn was a highlight of the singer/songwriter round with his performance of Hard to Handle. That was, of course, originally made famous by Otis Redding, but is perhaps nowadays most remembered for its cover by The Black Crowes.
With so much focus tonight being on the pop round, it’s clear what the producers of American Idol are looking for this season. We’ll see if it comes true for them.