'American Idol' Recap: Hollywood Week, Continued
The vaunted group round dashes dreams just as designed
Hollywood Week carries on with the group round in this supersized episode. The group round is one of my favorite times for three reasons: First, it's reminiscent of hellish high school group projects, except this time we don't have to shoulder all the work for Too-Cool-For-Tri-Folds Charlie. Second, people get catty and cry a lot. And third, the producers are forced to show us new faces we haven't seen in the auditions as the "early favorites" are lumped into groups with them. New talent! I think I will enjoy this group round in particular because lunatic Ashley Sullivan is still in it!
Seacrest promises us that all the drama will "explode on stage" and that "new stars will shine." If he's wrong about this, he owes me two hours of my life.
The remaining 168 hopefuls choose their own groups, pick a song from a list of 20, and must figure out "choreography," in one night. Some of the contestants from Day 1 tried to get a jump on the gun by forming groups and picking songs early but the jig was up. The groups had to be a mix of Day 1 and Day 2 contestants because it has to be fair!
Tiffany Rios has trouble finding a group, and this is no surprise to anyone except Tiffany. She's a professional choreographer, who wouldn't want her?! Tiffany makes a plea to Scotty McCreery, which starts a trend of everyone trying to get Scotty in their group, until no one wanted Scotty in their group. Promising young singers can be so fickle.
Basically it was nuts and it brought out the worst in people, especially Jordan Dorsey, who decided he was the newest judge. The fickle group choosing leaves Tiffany Rios and a girl named Jessica without a group, clawing-at-the-microphone Brett Loewenstern and the Sugar mamas without a Day 2 person and Jordan Dorsey with a bad 'tude. Hollywood Week, you're making me hate everyone already!
No one wants to be with Tiffany and Jessica, so a producer tells them they can do a duet. The duet that will send them home (I hope!). The groups break off to rehearse in the lobby, garage, bathrooms, or in front of their moms.
James Durbin, this year's screamer, is upset because the moms are there, or maybe because Emma Henry is in his group. He vents his frustration by spying, which makes his group, the Deep Vs, feel superior. Stop scream-singing, please.
Jacqueline, Rob, and Chelsee formed the group Three's Company and they are suffering for lack of Nick Fink. No, they're not. They're suffering because Rob isn't a big dancer. Not like Nick probably is. Ah, Nick.
Predictably, Ashley Sullivan crashes like an addict. She wants to quit and her group is like, "No, don't! But it's OK if you want to." So Ashley quits, screwing her group over royally. She freaks out in front of a producer, who is probably wishing they'd done a few psych exams before starting Hollywood Week. We'll worry about the contestants' mental state later.
Jacee got kicked out of the group because Clint is "a stickler for people holding their notes." That's a really crappy move, you guys. Jacee goes to his parents, who tell him to have fun. Aww, Jacee! Meanwhile, Jordan Dorsey has still HAD IT with everyone, so he shops around and joins a new group. This is madness!
Ashley Sullivan, my favorite crazy, un-quits and rejoins her group. The Sugar Mamas, my new favorite group, finds Jacee, and they are impossibly sweet. Jacee vows to learn Duffy's "Mercy" before the night is through. You haven't heard that song, Jacee? I guess it did come out when he was, like, ten.
The Group Performances (where Ryan Seacrest assures us some of our "favorites" will be going home)
Steven Tyler made a funny joke about addiction, but they were all too nervous to laugh. Randy Jackson warns the groups, somewhat ominously, never to forget the words.
A group of three from New York opens with "Grenade," and it was easy, breezy and beautiful, although I'd argue that Pia was the clear standout in the group. The next groups are Jordan Dorsey's former group, 440, and Four Plus One, Jordan's current group. I would love to see him eliminated. To my relief, he is not very good in his new group, singing "I Want You Back." But J.Lo thought they were all great and sent them all through to the next round. Jordan had better be eliminated soon!
I liked 440 a lot better, especially new face Lauren Turner.
After moving them around like chess pieces (Ryan Seacrest's favorite thing to do), the judges sent them all through. They will face Jordan another day!
Rebel Star (aka Tiffany and Jessica) frightens everyone as they take the stage. Well, I won't speak for everyone, but Tiffany frightens me in general, and those shorts were particularly scary. Randy Jackson cuts it short because, while it was glittery and animal print-y, it was an atrocity. Tiffany refused to believe Randy, who sends them both home. Sorry, Jessica, but you got aboard the Titanic when you joined Rebel Star.
It was a great moment when the camera crew had to go get that guy, Kevin, the missing member of Spanglish. And Kevin wasn't so bad, fresh out of bed! Sadly, not everyone was singing with the benefit of a full night's sleep. Steven wasn't judging fully awake, either. Karen Rodriguez of Myspace, and shirtless Jovany moved through.
The group Center Stage knows how to make sure their performance airs -- have Lauren Alaina in your group and sing to Steven Tyler in a chair.
I wanted to hate it, but it was too adorable and I loved how they had Steven sing along at the end. It woke him up. Only Lauren went through, and the three other group members we never met were demoted to members of the Lauren Alaina fan base.
Early favorite Matt Dillard did not do so well. Colton Dixon, who kind of looks like Chord Overstreet, was the Lauren Alaina of his group as the rest of them were eliminated. The auditions, according to editing, went downhill from there. They broke the Randy Jackson Law and forgot the words. Even though Jennifer felt personally connected to her, Paris Tassin was eliminated, along with a few other people we barely knew, and Emily Anne Reed (no!), Alyson Jados, Janelle Arthur, Courtney Penry and Aaron Gutierrez (while his brother, Mark makes it through).
Up next: The Hits (crazy Ashley's group!). To my surprise and the judges' delight, The Hits hit that Blu Cantrell song out of the park. They all made it through, having been ordained the "best harmonized group" of all. You did it, Ashley! You and your off-putting jacket are going through to the next round!
The Deep Vs are first to perform "Somebody to Love," and James Durbin scream-sang the crap out of it, while Emma Henry hid in the background. But they did it all without stage moms. James and someone named Caleb make it through. The mommies declared that The Deep Vs blew it for themselves. Just wait til you hear their babies!
The Minors, without their mothers' accompaniment, perform the same song next. OK, as much as I wanted to see them fail because of their moms, they just killed it and got a standing ovation from the judges. It was, dare I say, inspirational! They, and their moms, are all through. The mothers rush the stage, with their dreams for their children finally half-realized.
Despite a terrible performance of "Grenade," three people move forward, including Corey Levoy, who wanted to know why. Not so smart, Corey. After that confusing moment, the Night Owls chose to sing a capella. Faces we've seen before included Julie Zorilla and Casey Abrams. Julie Zorilla is still winning the Best Dressed award and Casey Abrams is still one of my favorites, and for that they are the only two moving through.
The next group, including Naima Adedapo, sings the same song, also a capella, with much better results. It was fun, even! They all move through and "a new star emerges in Jacob Lusk."
The following group had a lot of people we've seen before like Devyn Rush, Caleb Hawley, and Chris Medina. I like this kid Carson Higgins; he's got flair and reminds me of a guy I knew in high school.
Everyone except Devyn Rush made it through. I'm sad about it, especially because I heard her job as a singing waitress isn't waiting for her when she gets back. Caleb Hawley comforted her and I want him to be my boyfriend. Yikes, I hope he's not one of the teenagers.
Finally, we will see Sugar Mama and the Babies plus Jacee. Brett welcomed him into the group with open arms, but can Jacee remember the words? I can't help but love Brett Loewenstern. Poor little Jacee. He forgot the words and just ad-libbed about not wanting to go home. "Idol," quit playing games with my heart! Jacee's current group tells the judges about how his other group kicked him out, as Clint villainously applies his Chapstick.
Dramatically, they all move forward. No one is happier for Jacee than Brett, who hates bullies like Clint and the Guaps!
Clint, wearing his baby glasses, tries to defend their decision to kick Jacee out. Then Scotty takes responsibility and defends Jacee like a champ. Their rendition of the song was weird and full of ironic glasses, but good. They all move forward and while they slighted Jacee, I'm glad, because they were really good and I love Scotty. He's too sweet.
The moment we've all been waiting for, apparently, is the group performance from Three's Company. Rob Bolin is having trouble with the lyrics, but we won't quit on him until he gets back together with Chelsee, even if it's not the best decision for his life right now!
Jacqueline Dunford was bad, missing the wind beneath her wings (Nick!), and Rob was worse. He completely bailed on it like it was a joke, singing, "I'm so tired. I'm so tired, but I'm gonna do my best." That was not your best, Rob. Chelsee and Jacqueline move forward and Rob goes home. What a completely awkward ending to the episode! It's only appropriate that I leave you with this picture, I guess.
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"American Idol" airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.