Day two of Hollywood week kicked off Wednesday night with new American Idol judge Ellen DeGeneres at the judges’ table.
Of the 96 who made it to day two, just 71 made it through to the next level. For those who survived, the pressure was on as contestants hit the Kodak Theater stage in groups, hoping to impress the judges with their collaborative choreography and harmonies.
There were tears, but even more cheers, as several groups impressed the judges with their performances.
Donning what’s sure to become her signature judging black glasses, Ellen sent two groups through to the next round—both singing renditions of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.
The group Middle C was a favorite, sending Casey James, Janell Wheeler and Jermaine Purifory through to the next round. Andrew Garcia, 17-year-old Katie Stevens and J.B. Ahfua also made it through with flying colors.
Going home were three people from the Denver auditions, Mark Labriola, Kimberly Kerbow and Danny Jones.
Perhaps the hardest song to sing for the contestants was Gwen Stefani’s Sweet Escape. “You’re the first person all night long who’s gotten that chorus right,” Ellen told one contestant amid cheers. Another group, including Matt Lawrence and theater student Amanda Schectman, were not so lucky. “It was so horrific. You’re all in the same boat. It’s the end,” Simon Cowell told the group Big Dreams. For Leah Laurenti, Dave Pitman and Kimberly Carver, it was also the end of the road.