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‘American Idol’ recap: Welcome to Hollywood!

ABC/Eric McCandless

ABC/Eric McCandlessWelcome to Hollywood!

They’ve got a golden ticket, now have they got what it takes to go to the next level? 

American Idol judges Katy PerryLionel RichieLuke Bryan, along with 167 contestants made their way to the west coast where the competition started to get a little more serious. 

To get things rolling, the hopefuls split into groups for the Genre Challenge — a new round for the singing competition which has the contestants choose which style of music they most identify with. The options being pop, rock, R&B, soul, and singer-songwriter. 

Although the genre challenge is a new concept, the method of elimination remained the same. The judges called out a few names and asked them to step forward, then revealed if either the front or back row made it through to the next round of the competition. 

Arthur Gunn kicked off the singer-songwriter category and got the judges up and moving with his rendition of “Hard To Handle” by The Black Crowes. Some other notable names in this genre included Louis Knight, and returning contestant Genavieve Linkowski, all of whom advanced another round. 

Robert Taylor, who considered himself as soul/pop singer, earned a standing ovation from Katy, Lionel, and Luke with his falsetto and an impressive string of high-note runs. Similarly, Makayla Phillips had the judges seeing star-status as they compared her to pop sensation Ariana Grande.

Just Sam was the only one who brought some luck on-stage with her in the form of her tip box, which she uses when performing in the subways of New York. Her vocals not only earned her a chance to advance in the competition, but she also earned a few extra dollars when the judges dropped some cash in her tip box — which all looked like $20 bills. 

Next up, Jonny West, who originally auditioned with his girlfriend and returning contestant, Margie Mays. West got to live on another day in the singer-songwriter category and Margie met the same fate in the pop genre with her moving cover of “The Voice Within” by Christina Aguilera

If it were up to Katy, the search for the next American Idol would have ended after Kimmy Gabriela‘s Hollywood audition. Her captivating presentation of “Say Something” by A Great Big World earned her a trip to the next round and even had the “Never Worn White” singer wondering if the 17-year-old was lying about her age because she sounds that good. 

Amber Fiedler, who audiences were introduced to on Sunday, made it to Hollywood, where she announced she gave birth to her daughter whom she gave up for adoption three weeks before and showed up ready to “Rise Up.” And, she did just that, as did Sophia Wackerman and Jovin Webb, who were both inspired by their families to pursue their singing dreams. They all made it to the next round.

Last, but certainly not least, was fan favorite — garbage man Doug Kiker. He got off to a rough start and started singing the wrong song but quickly got back on track. Though Katy, Lionel, and Luke admitted to liking him, that wasn’t enough to keep him moving forward.

Bubbly and energetic Kay Genyse, unfortunately, also met the same fate. 

Fans may have lost a few favorites Monday night, but they also saw some others like Cyniah EliseFrancisco MartinNick Merico, and Dillion James continue on in their journey to become the next American Idol.


American Idol continues on Sunday, March 22 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. 

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