Hollywood group cut to 40 by the judges with the sound of fake applause and cheering

A singer who signed a seven-album deal with David Foster and the woman who sung alongside Justin Timberlake at the Grammys were both among the casualties on last night’s episode of American Idol 6, the first and only Hollywood round episode.

The first group–including “the next Alanis Morissette” Jory Steinberg and Grammy contest winner Robyn Troup–was told by Simon Cowell, “You’re going home. None of you are any good; it was an absolutely terrible start to the day. Sorry. No originality.” And that was one of the happier moments.

Tonight, the judges cut the remaining 40 contestants down to 24, 12 women and 12 men, although without hearing them sing again; instead, as Ryan Seacrest said, “judges will review the tapes” to make their final decisions. In other words, it’s a completely unnecessary step designed to just create another episode with an increased chance of drama, one that involves every contestant taking the elevator to the big empty room and sitting in front of the judges as if being interrogated.

At least that might be somewhat interesting to watch. Last night’s episode was so boring that the editors apparently felt the need to augment the performances with fake applause and cheering. The clapping that followed both the individual and group performances was disproportionately loud, and the audio didn’t match the video.

After each woman performed during the first round, there was applause and cheering, yet beneath the judges’ table, one could clearly see that the audience wasn’t moving, clapping, or yelling. At one point, the men were shown clapping gently, and the audio was of wild cheering and applause, even though none of them appeared to be opening their mouths. It seems that the contestants, too, were underwhelmed.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.