"American Idol" starts Hollywood Week with 309 contestants -- Steven Tyler tells them "courage" is the key, Jennifer Lopez says "don't let the nerves get to you," and then, as in years past, they come out in groups of 10 and sing whatever they want.
Charming waiter Johnny Keyser in the first group, sings "Dreaming" by Amos Lee. Simple, sweet and sincere, he has an easy confidence that's gonna wear well. Gets Lopez shouting "Johnny," and Randy Jackson chiming in with "Amen!"
My fave is Heejun Han from Flushing, who's got a great deadpan sense of humor and talks on video about how nervous he is. "Everyone's so tall and pretty... even the guys are so pretty!"
On stage, he shakes himself to relax, then busts out with Michael Bolton's "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You," and is awesome; stark and heartfelt.
"Brought tears to my eyes," says Lopez.
Both are through, of course. You're looking at two possible finalists right here, with their mix of strong vocals and personality.
Elise Testone gets quickly shown for the first time; Baylie Brown is shown again, also briefly, along with Hallie Day. All three are through as well.
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