Cast: Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Seacrest
: Fox, airs Wednesdays and Thursdays
Original Telecast: February 10, 2011

For years I’ve been covering AMERICAN IDOL, most of that time with iF Magazine and then periodically now with AssignmentX.

During my tenure as a reviewer of the show whether it be reviews, or features, or lists, or how the show could improve I have rallied for the show to provide us with a better understanding of what happens during Hollywood Week. To give us insight into why someone was chosen over someone that we, as the audience, may have thought truly deserved to be put through.

If the show really wanted to change, really wanted to focus on the talent rather than the hordes of talentless freaks, geeks, mentally unstable and TV time grabbing people, this was one way they certainly could do it.

But year-after-year, Hollywood Week was truncated into maybe two episodes and we barely got a smidgen of any of the people we liked and saw a whole bunch of people that weren’t even showcased move on and sometimes make it into the Top-24.

Thankfully, this year is different. For once, they are taking us into the Hollywood Week as it should be, giving us a bunch of meat and talent and letting us see most of the people that were originally put through the audition process. And, yes, we still get the stupid heartwarming profiles and sob stories.

And it is paying off at least in the first installment. Part One of Hollywood Week was much more in-depth, much more showcasing of the talent than it ever has been before. They took time to show us why Rachel Zevita, the returning contestant from a few seasons ago, deserved to move on. We got a look at Casey Abrams and why he probably is one of the front runners to win it all. The Adam Lambert-ish James Durbin, who was in the last auditions and has Tourettes but it goes away when he sings, proved he is definitely a viable option to winning it all and could easily win over America with his story and his voice.

But we also learned that some of the judges’ initial thoughts about some of the contestants were right. Namely, Stormi Henley, who despite being pretty and a former Miss Teen USA, just didn’t have the pipes to compete. And the annoying Victoria Huggins who somehow got a pass in the auditions was mercifully cut despite her proclamations she was the next winner.

We also learned that Ryan Seacrest is still the biggest tool on TV announcing we would see “two times the drama” and being just as annoying as ever.

Next week we get more and hopefully they will continue to deliver on providing us with more talent and insight into Hollywood Week and less about pomp and circumstance.

CLICK HERE for more AMERICAN IDOL news, interviews and reviews

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