5 Things to Expect From 'American Idol' Hollywood Rounds

The FOX show heads to Tinsel Town to trim the talent list down to the Top 40.

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American Idol Zoanette Johnson
Zoanette Johnson makes it to Hollywood. Read More »

Now that FOX's American Idol has completed its cross-country talent search, judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, and Randy Jackson are headed to Hollywood with hundreds of hopefuls on Wednesday's episode.

There, they’ll suffer through a grueling schedule of prepping for A cappellas, group numbers and solos all in hopes of making it to the Top 40 in Las Vegas. This is the time that frontrunners start to rise to the top and judges are finally forced to make truly tough decisions on who stays and who goes.

Here are five things to expect from the upcoming Hollywood round:

1. Great group audition moments. Instead of contestants forming their own groups during Hollywood Week, producers are shaking things up this season by choosing themselves. Groups will get to pick their own songs from a list of 20 options, but will be bundled based on their vocals, not their besties. With this year’s crop of unique talents, we can’t wait to see who producers will pair up. The dynamic mix of styles and personalities will make for some interesting chemistry during the dreaded group rounds.

2. Guys and girls split up. "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," producer Nigel Lythgoe revealed at a press conference last month. This week is all about separating the men from the boys and the ladies get their turn next week through Valentine’s Day. Why? Word on the street is that the women are much more talented as a group than the men. Splitting them up makes sure they don't knock the boys out early.

3. Standout Solos. As usual, hopefuls will have to brave through an A cappella round and the solo round to make it to Las Vegas. Idol contenders are infamous for forgetting lines and freezing up during this round and judges are often left frustrated and furious when their favorites blow it. With this panel’s track record, be prepared for some heated debates between the divas, especially when it’s tie-breaking time. Producers and judges seemed to favor the ladies this season, so look out for some big battles between the stronger female singers.

4. Devastating defeats. There are 269 contestants to cut down to 40 by the end of the treacherous two-week Hollywood rounds. Against those odds, there’s no doubt tons of talented contenders will be sent home in tears. Just last season, one of this year’s standout auditions, Candice Glover, 22, came face-to-face with that reality when she was sent home at the end of the week to the surprise of viewers.

5. Crazy characters. This is usually the last time we see some of our favorite cooky contestants. While many of this year’s more eccentric contenders did exhibit some serious talent, others are likely to make their Idol exits this round. Zoanette Johnson, Papa Peachez, and Halie Hilburn come to mind as fun faces we may not be seeing much more of. When judges have to cut contestants down to 20 girls and 20 guys, even the tear-jerking sob stories find themselves on the chopping block. With so many touching tales coming out of this year’s auditions, who knows which fan favorites will be sent packing. 

Which guys are you rooting for this week? What are your expectations for Hollywood?

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