It’s time for Hollywood Week, or as I like to call it, “Sobby Sobby Sad Time We Need Puppies Adversity Challenge!” Week, mostly because everyone has a “painful secret” or a “dark tragic history” or a “festering sore” that must be talked about over slow piano music and slo-mo footage of the contestant walking and looking down a lot.

One thing should be noted first. HOLLYWOOD WEEK IS BORING. Boring boring boring. All the weirdos and funny people are gone, and it’s just a lot of nervous teenagers singing 3 seconds of a song in a quiet auditorium while people shuffle paper and whisper. It’s like a international banking symposium, but with a few notes of “Here And Now” thrown in.

For the first time, we get all the contestants who made it through the auditions on one stage. To sing the same song over and over and over and OVER AND OVER AND OVER again. Which means it is quite literally impossible to tell one person from the next, that is if you haven’t been driven insane from the repetitive music and still care. So they come out in lines of 10, sing acapella and get no feedback. It’s “Sudden Death”. you’re in or you’re out. Period. This whole process takes about 15 minutes in real time (if you’ve done a lot of auditions, you know exactly what I’m talking about). AI drags it out for an hour. Oh joy.

Up first is Bret Lowenstein, who is like a Shrinky-Dink version CarrotTop. He looks like Bon Scott’s younger, shorter, much more effeminate brother. His long sad slow motion video, reveals his secret trauma of being picked on in school, where bullies tormented him for being different. You don’t say?

But all those losers can suck it now because Brett made it through, ha! Which means he gets to give an impassioned speech to those “tried to bully me, bring me down, back stab me…whatever, no negativity anymore. I am done feeling like a victim. Now I’m going to shine out and shine!” Yeah, that showed them.

Next is Rachel Zevita, from New York and Thia Megia, a 15-yea-old from California duke it out in the next round. Muppet Seth Rogen is back, channeling John Popper again, and all three of them sail through to the next round as well.

Victoria Huggins,15, comes with 1200 bags, her mother and a twang worse than Minnie Pearl. Which the judges must be sick of hearing already, because they ax her. She cries and her mother tells her it’s going to be fine. Because that’s what mother’s do. They lie, and tell you that everything is going to be fine, that it doesn’t matter that you lost the big game or that you didn’t get the scholarship to the good school…when deep down inside they know that if you don’t get your shit together, you’re going to end up working the graveyard shift at a Dairy Queen married to a trucker on meth who’s sleeping with your best friend.

Could Hollywood please stop using Simon and Garfunkel’s “Only Living Boy In New York” song in commercials and these corny video montages? I was OK with it in Garden State. But now, every time I turn around, I hear the immortal lyrics of Paul Simon being used to shill everything from cars to this show.  Isn’t a song about loneliness and isolation that tries to convey the real pain of an impending break-up really the best way to sell a Honda Accord?  What, doesn’t Shakira have some slow songs about her hips that you could use?  Seriously.

Next up is The King of Misery, James Durbin, 21. Remember him, from yesterday? He had the dead dad and the new baby and the Ausberger’s AND the Turrets AND HE WAS POOR? So much adversity and hardship! He has inexplicably experienced more adversity and hardship since the adversity and hardship he faced last week. He begins to cry, because this adversity and hardship is nothing compared to th adversity and hardship he’s going to have to face next week, well all that adversity and hardship he’s been so worried about finally shows up. Before the judges put him through, Ryan says “He’s used to facing adversity”, in case we forgot about all the adversity and hardship he’s facing.

Also singing with Sad Sack Harry are Paris Tassin, 23, cries because her daughter has hearing problems. She tackles “My Heart Will Go On”, a song that will make everyone wish they were deaf. Lauren Alaina, 15, who is really, really, really freakishly good, belts out “Unchained Melody”. Holy crap she is so good. They all get through, because of course.

Chris Medina is the contestant who you’ll remember brought his paraplegic, wheel-chair bound fiance to his audition in what is now one of the most infamous auditions of all time. Did Idol invite her into the room to milk some cheap emotions from the audience? Did he bring her to curry sympathy and boost himself out of the pack? Or is everyone just trying to highlight that Chris is a really nice dude who really loves his fiance despite everything? Chris says he uses thoughts of Juliana as an “inspiration” for him through everything and it’s hard not to get a little choked up at pictures of them in easier times. Either way, Chris gets through, which means we’ll have lots and lots more time to debate all of this.

“Jaycee Badeux” 15, but looks 11, Robbie Rosen 16, and Holli Cavanaugh, 17, all sing in the next group. They are giddy when they get through, because they know it brings them one step closer to missing more school for this.

Next is the accountant who looks like Will Ferrell, Steve Beghun, 27. He doesn’t make it, because Idol producers know that if he stands next to all these high school girls he’s going to look 50, and they don’t want to have deal with all the pervy jokes bloggers would make.

Then there’s a miserable montage of people getting refected and crying and being miserable and breaking down because without this show they “have nothing! Nothing!!!”, like they’re belting out a Whitney Houston song  from “The Bodyguard”. After the commercial break, producers wipe up the dead bodies of everyone that killed themselves after they were rejected, because no one wants to see a bunch of dead bodies during the morning auditions. But we can’t get to that until we have the obligatory Ford Focus Free For All. Good Lord, so much crappy mid-priced automobile product placement.

Oops, now we get the montage of everyone screwing up lyrics, missing the notes, and just generally being horrible. Oh my ears. But at least it’s better than another Celine Dion song.

Nick Find, 19, and the thing he loves most in the world his shiny jacket girlfriend, Jacquelin Dunford, 22, are up next. Besides wearing one of those shitty over-sized stupid flowers on her head, she does great, nailing Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me”. Yay, they are such a happy perfect not-fake-at-all couple. But oh no! What’s this? While Jacqueline gets through…Nick doesn’t!! Oh no!! This is awful!! WHAT HORRORS HAS THIS REALITY SHOW UNLEASHED UPON THEIR LOVE! THIS IS A TRAVESTY OF EPIC PROPORTIONS! Poor Nick is left reeling from the shock. How will he live without his beard girlfriend?? There is no justice in the world today.

Before Nick leaves, he begs the judges to reconsider, even belting out a few notes as he’s walking out Oh no. This is the audition equivalent of showing up at your ex-girlfriend’s job to beg her to give you another chance on your knees, swearing you’ll be a better boyfriend. Both involve security showing up to escort you out of the building.

So it’s on to the last segment of the show, Tiffany Rios, 21, who says she’s “Tired of seeing people try to do what I know I can.” Oh. Snap. Apparently, she saw a lot of people doing crazy runs, over-singing notes and dropping to their knees. She makes it, but Travis Orlando, 17, belts out a jazz-y version of Maroon 5, has to go home. Over some heartbreaking music, he gets a long montage about how he’s not going to give up on his dreams. We get everything, from grainy footage of him and his dad to Travis walking around his neighborhood, to Travis hugging his friends and crying. American Idol, for crying out loud, HE DIDN’T DIE.

Thankfully, next week we get onto the groups, where everyone always flips the Bitch Switch, argues about song choice and starts crying about their choreography and inevitably forgets their lyrics and gets yelled at by the judges about how “professionals” handle themselves. Awesome!!

See you next week.