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You're out! 'Idol' makes huge cuts in Hollywood

The show brought about twice as many singers to Hollywood as it has in the past, so the first two days there were devoted to getting rid of the folks who shouldn’t have advanced in the first place.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

“American Idol” brought about twice as many singers to Hollywood as it has in the past. So no surprise, the first two days in Tinseltown were devoted to getting rid of the people who shouldn’t have advanced in the first place.

Sad, but true. There were very few shockers in the one-and-done portion of this round, in which everyone got to go up on stage with a small group of their rivals to sing one song. Some stepped forward, some stepped back, the judges made their selections … and pretty much everyone we care about moved on.

James Durbin, Paris Tassin, Chris Medina … no way the producers and editors would spend all that time on their sad stories to send them home so early. Better to let the drama build so that it makes us even sadder when their dreams are rudely shattered later in the competition.

But note the “everyone we cared about” part. That doesn’t mean Victoria Huggins, the teen who made Disney Channel stars look taciturn by comparison. Though a lot of her fellow teens got good news from the judges, she became the first of the hopefuls whose extended audition airtime was intended only as an audience tease.

She handled it well, however, as did Sarah Sellers. Sellers was the one came to her first audition with Randy Jackson’s high-school football coach. He didn’t make the flight to Hollywood, however, and apparently, he was the key to her success.

“My uncle couldn’t save me on this one. Too bad, Uncle Jerry. Maybe next year,” she said.

Unhappy couples rule the day
“Idol’s” favorite exes, Chelsee Oaks and Rob Belin, both made it through to the next round. They didn’t get back together, contrary to the judges’ hopes, but they did share a sink at some point during the evening.

“How will we ever move on from this relationship if we continue to use the same sink,” host Ryan Seacrest sagely noted. Somewhere out there, Oaks’ current boyfriend was nodding his head vigorously in agreement.

“Idol’s” favorite couple, on the other hand, got split up. Jacqueline Dunford moved on, but Nick Fink did not, and a few rounds of pleading weren’t enough to change the judges’ minds.

“I want to continue with my baby. I’m so happy for her. But I just wish you guys would let me sing a little bit more,” Fink begged.

“We said ‘one shot,’ ” Randy Jackson snapped back.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Randy, Enemy of Love.

Good luck, groupmates!
One minor surprise was Tiffany Rios. She laid down the hammer when she first stepped onstage, saying, “I’ll be honest. I’m tired of seeing people trying to do what I know I can.” That’s often a sign that the editors are offering a heavy dose of hubris before a devastating exit.

Instead, Rios yelled her way into the next round. The judges liked her brashness. We’ll see if her partners in her group sing feel the same way.

Pace that emotion!
Ashley Sullivan was shown in the trailers sobbing so hard it could flood the auditorium. But no, she wasn't shown the door, as viewers might have surmised from her tears. In fact, the New Jersey auditioner was celebrating, which led to this phone call home:

“Mom. I made it!”

“Then why are you crying?”

“Because I’m so happy!”

Ashley, Ashley, Ashley. This was just the first stage! Save some of that drama for next week!

Twice the cliché
Kudos to J.Lo, who celebrated the supersized Hollywood round by doubling up on the motivational sayings.

“This is where you separate the men from the boys, the women from the girls,” she said, and then added, “The best of the best are here.” If only she had followed that with something like, “I hope they all just do their best and step it up a notch because this is where the going gets tough and the tough get going,” she’d have won her round of cliché bingo with a single quote.

Craig Berman is a writer in Washington. Follow him , where he live tweets each "Idol" show.