When "American Idol" kicked off the Hollywood round of season nine Tuesday, viewers got a glimpse of Ellen DeGeneres' judging abilities as well as some likely contenders for this season's top 24.
The verdict on DeGeneres? No major casualities. Early in the show, she promised contestants, "I do know what it's like to stand on stage and try to please a room full of people."
Her comments were mainly constructive, including "don't frighten your audience." If Ellen let her inner comedienne show, those moments were carefully edited by producers. Well, unless you count the time when she made contestants perform a complicated lineup charade before informing them they'd all advanced.
Tuesday's show had singers perform individually in a sudden death setup. Ninety-five singers advanced past the first round of Hollywood, host Ryan Seacrest said. They started with a pool of 181 contestants.
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We lost some early favorites, like teenager Maddy Curtis, who bored the judges by choosing the wrong song in Hollywood. Also gone: Vanessa Wolfe, the country girl who charmed viewers with her stories of jumping off bridges and shopping at Walmart.
Oh, and for what it's worth, "Barney" alum/dominatrix Erica Rhodes is also gone.
But at the same time, some serious top 24 contenders emerged. The night's top singers seemed to take a cue from Kris Allen by creating acoustic versions of popular songs.
Andrew Garcia, a dad whose back story involves his parents' history with gangs, wowed the panel with a standout acoustic version of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up."
Crystal Bowersox, a single mom, got rave reviews for her acoustic version of "Natural Woman." And Janell Wheeler, who has been romantically linked to Tim Tebow, impressed the panel with her acoustic take on "American Boy."
What did you think of Tuesday's show? Get a full recap of the episode by visiting our "American Idol" blog.