With all the people we've seen being told they're going to Hollywood over the past few weeks, I suppose it's inevitable that we're starting off this phase of the competition with a video montage of people actually going to Hollywood; or, more accurately, leaving their homes to go to Hollywood and all that entails, with the packing and the heading to the airport and the flying and the LAX, et cetera. Ryan lets us know that the 212 golden ticket holders are in for a shock; after they land, deplane and board the American Idol buses, they're not going to the hotel, they're going straight into an airplane hangar for a new round of the competition! And after that's over, some of them will just have to get right back on a plane and go home this very day! Ryan does a pretty decent job of selling this as a shocking twist rather than a cost-saving measure to avoid having to put up all 212 people in a Los Angeles hotel for even one night.
Enter the judges, including Keith with his new reverse-mullet haircut. They alert the contestants that the singing will be starting now, and there will be cuts made right away. They take their places at a judges' table that's been rolled into place for the purpose and call up Johnny Newcomb, one of the teenagers who didn't impress Harry so much with his prematurely whiny emo delivery. Today he accompanies himself on his guitar to sing "Pumped Up Kicks," and then goes to sit down to wait. The judges debate briefly, but Johnny isn't going to find out anything soon. And we probably won't either.
Connor Zwetsch, 20, is someone we didn't see during the audition episodes, so while she's singing and playing, we flash back to Harry warning her that he wasn't sure her vocals alone would cut it. He seems to be thawing a bit towards her now, though. And Ali Jane Henderson, 16, is doing a slow, acoustic version of "Toxic" like the one that got Alex & Sierra to Hollywood on The X Factor last fall. Caitlin Johnson got a no from Harry at her initial audition, but she's the first one going a cappella here in Hollywood, and probably one of the first ones to go home. Additional contestants are shown vocally face-planting, though they're spared the humiliation of having their names on the screen. The judges mutter among each other about how they were on the fence about all of them initially, and that does indeed seem to be the one thing they all have in common. It does make sense that we're wasting a minimal amount of time (and accommodations) on them. Now we're getting reintroduced to "sound healer" Adam Roth, who is shouting a version of "Radioactive" over some piano playing that's so bad it has Harry rolling his chair over to bitch to Keith about it, though Jennifer's willing to cut him slack for his decent vocals. It's like she's terrified of being nicknamed "J. No" and is doing everything possible to avoid it.