It's the week that long-suffering "American Idol" fans have been waiting for. Hollywood Week is upon us, and that means it's time to separate the men from the boys. (Or at least the good singers from the mediocre ones!)
"Idol" has already been hop-scotching across the country this season, and what a long, strange trip it's been. From New York to Chicago to the infamous pit stop in North Carolina that had new judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey spewing venom at one another; to Baton Rouge, Long Beach, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City. The result is a mish mash of talent -- everyone from a 4'9" powerhouse to a man-child who calls himself Papa Peachez.
Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has already dropped some tidbits about Season 12's Hollywood Week. In a press interview last month, he revealed, "For the first time ever, we split the weeks up and gave a week to the boys and a week to the girls, which really gave us an awful lot more focus on our talent this year."
He reveals that the gender split will continue all the way up until the Top 10 in the Las Vegas round and says of this season's talent pool: "There is more strength in the talent in the girls." (Hasn't he said it's the girls' game to lose for the past few seasons now?)
Speaking of the ladies, if one of your favorite auditioners was female, you'll have to wait until next week to see how she pans out. This week it's all about the boys, with the girls finishing out their Hollywood round on Valentine's Day. If the show follows the usual format, expect another round of a cappella singing and then the dreaded group round.
Of course, you can always count on the group round to bring a dose of drama to this singing competition. Last season, a pushy stage mom blamed another contestant for ruining her daughter's group and during Scotty McCreery's season, the future "Idol "winner was part of a group that kicked out one of their members. (McCreery later apologized for being mean to 15-year-old Jacee Badeaux.)
Hollywood Week is also good for a chuckle or two: Who can forget when an ill-prepared McCreery forgot the words to Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance," and mumbled his way through part of the song?We're still wondering what "nuts of wonder" means.
As for later in the season, Lythgoe has announced that in-house mentor Jimmy Iovine will be back, but one big change that could come about is how the show reveals the vote tally. Lythgoe has been petitioning for years to reveal the contestants' vote rankings, and it could finally happen later this season.
"It's something we've wanted to do for eight, nine years," he said. "I think it's a good move. I don't think it stops people voting; I think it makes people more passionate for their person ... I will be fighting tooth and nail [to do it]."
Of course, he may want to ask his old colleague Simon Cowell what he thinks of the idea. Cowell's show, "The X Factor," famously started showing the viewer voting results last season, and the former "Idol" judge didn't always like what he saw.
"American Idol's" Season 12 Hollywood Week kicks off on Wednesday, 2/6 at 8 PM ET on FOX.
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