For the first time, some contestants were asked to perform for their lives before they were either sent to Hollywood Week or sent home

By Wade Rouse
February 06, 2014 06:30 AM
Credit: Rex USA; WireImage

American Idol‘s Hollywood Week featured a big twist this year – after touching down in L.A., all of the contestants were gathered in a airport hangar, where either their talent soared or they flew home.

A total of 52 singers, who the judges were on the fence about, were asked to sing a song of their choice to survive.

Following their impromptu performances, they were divided into groups and asked to get on one of two buses without knowing their final destination: A Hollywood hotel or the departure lounge. In the end 20 of those singers made it through – but the drama was just beginning.

On Day Two of Hollywood Week, all of the contestants sang for their lives, and some shined in the spotlight.

Preschool teacher Majesty York, 21, sang “1234,” a performance that prompted Jennifer Lopez to say, “I love her.”

Spencer Lloyd, 19, whose good looks impressed Lopez in his first audition, continued to impress, singing “Say Something” and playing the keyboard.

“He knows who he is,” said Keith Urban, while Lopez remarked, “You’re here to stay.”

Savion Wright, 21, sang an original song in memory of his late brother, who died just weeks ago.

“It’s just like breathing underwater,” the emotional Wright sang.

Alex Preston, 22, and Kenzie Hall, 17, put unique twists on unusual song choices, with Preston changing up “Scream & Shout” and Hall overhauling “Can’t Hold Us.”

C.J. Harris, 22, turned in a powerful performance, singing “Trouble” and playing the guitar, while 22-year-old farmhand Dexter Roberts rocked “Barton Hollow” before handing over his guitar to Urban, who brought the Dolby Theatre to its feet after jamming on it, prompting Harry Connick Jr. to say, “Just another day at the office.”

And Munfarid Zaidi, 19, who Connick cradled like a baby during his initial audition, performed an over-the-top version of “Proud Mary” that carried him to the next round and earned another cradle – this time from his fellow contestants.

Idol continues Thursday at 8 p.m. on Fox with the always-dramatic Group Day, or “Hell Day” as one contestant put it, a term that seems appropriate after Lopez announced that half the contestants would be eliminated by the end of the group performances.