American Idol settled in Hollywood last night, where 212 Golden Ticket recipients touched down at LAX… and were immediately whisked to an airport hanger to perform.
Of those selected for this round, 52 were considered the weakest and forced to sing for their Season 13 lives in front of Keith, J. Lo and Harry. Talk about pressure!
Who crumbled from it? Who rose to the occasion?
Kenzie Hall’s put an acoustic spin on Macklemore’s "Can’t Hold Us." Tiquila Wilson and Jena Asciuto also performed admirably.
Following the Solo auditions, though, it was on to the Group round, an exercise in forced drama and editing that never produces quality music.
In this case, Jessica Meuse was made to look like a drama queen for wanting her partner to hit his harmony; while Connick Jr. and Lopez went nuts of Keith London choosing to sing "If I Were a Boy."
Fairly lame times all around.
Did any new front-runners emerge? It's impossible to say, considering Jade Lathan auditioned with a tremendous “You Know I’m No Good" a couple weeks ago... and was then cut in Hollywood with no real explanation given.
So while we wait for finalists to be announced and the competition to truly begin, let's relive some of the top contestants from past American Idol seasons:
1. Kelly Clarkson
All hail queen Kelly! The original AI winner has a powerhouse voice and hits galore.
2. Phillip Phillips
Season 11's victor Phillip Phillips not only has the same first and last name, his song home is the best-selling American Idol single!
3. Fantasia Barrino
Fantasia has starred on Broadway numerous times and can call herself a Grammy winner.
4. Paul McDonald
Season 11's folk-rock crooner Paul is a mega-talent. Plus, he married Twilight star Nicki Reed...
5. Kellie Pickler
Country cutie Kellie Pickler giggled her way into America's hearts on season 5. She is also a Dancing With The Stars winner!
6. David Cook
Season 7's David Cook was a fan favorite and the ultimate winner, besting David Archuleta.
7. Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert was the runner-up to Kris Allen, but earned a legion of fans he has kept with him to this day.
8. Jordin Sparks
Hi, Jordin Sparks! The former American Idol champion arrives here at the 2013 American Music Awards.
9. David Archuleta
Who doesn't adore David Archuleta? The former runner-up attended the season 10 finale of American Idol.
10. Chris Daughtry
Chris Daughtry is one of the best-selling Idol artists in history. He also looks great shirtless.
11. Katharine McPhee
Amazingly, neither the smoldering Katharine McPhee or Chris Daughtry won their season. Taylor Hicks outlasted them both.
12. Clay Aiken
Clay Aiken has gone on to have a successful post-American Idol career. He's starred in Broadway and released a number of albums.
13. Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson is the only American Idol alum to claim this title: Oscar winner.