At the end of this first Hollywood week on American Idol, we are treated to the results of group night. A sepia-toned montage reminds us of the details of Wednesday night’s events leading up to this. We witness multiple breakdowns as people struggle to practice with their newly-formed groups. Many find themselves jumping from one group to the other, scrambling to piece together harmonies and dance moves while fighting tears and, in some cases, debilitating colds. Somehow, the majority of contestants manage to get it together long enough to perform for the panel of judges, Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr., while others decide it’s best to simply bow out of the competition.
As the auditions continue, JLo informs the first contestants that by the end of the night, half of them will be going home. High drama!
Kicking things off are Tony Foster Jr., Sarina Joi Crow and David Oliver Willis, who take on “Too Close” by Alex Clare. Lopez is open with her praise before the judges privately deliberate. After chatting with Keith and Harry, David and Sarina learn they are staying while Tony’s Hollywood adventure has come to a close.
The down home Backstreet Cowboys consist of Casey Thrasher, Dexter Roberts and Ben Briley, each decked out in plaid. They give their country version “I Want It That Way.” Pop star J.Lo and country music afficionado Keith are both visibly impressed and all three guys survive this round to sing another day.
Next, a medley of smooth-singing ladies learn that they are making it through. Then we see Spencer Lloyd, Megan Miller and Alyssa Siebken experiencing some behind-the-scenes drama before their group performance. Apparently, Spencer simply refused to rehearse. But riddle me this, who needs to rehearse when you’re that handsome? Jennifer noted their lack of cohesiveness before letting them know that Alyssa is going home.
We get a loving montage of our fallen friends, who didn’t survive group week. Tiquila Johnson, one of my favorite contestants so far, announces that she is heading home because she feels she should pursue gospel. Ugh. It’s a shame because the competition would have been a lot more interesting with her in the mix.
Next up is band-hopper Matthew Hamel, who finally managed to land a group consisting of four guys. They take to the stage to sing “Too Close,” and the standout of the group is none other than Baby Meatloaf, Casey Johnson. Casey rocks out, showing off some powerful vocals, while also rocking an embroidered tiger on his back and leopard print lapels. Harry immediately singles out Caleb as the star of the group, and he and C.J. Harris both continue to the next round.
It’s the moment of truth for Sikenya “Sick-enya” Thomas when she decides at the last minute to sing with her group, Clarity, despite feeling under the weather with a sore throat. She pushes through her performance, despite her hesitation and it pays off as she receives a yes from the judges. Meanwhile, an emotional Savion Wright says goodbye to his group members who do not survive this last round of cuts.
Orphan band member Jessica Meuse acknowledges that she was a last-minute addition to her group. She and her collaborators then proceed to mangle Beyonce‘s ”Single Ladies.” Through their entire performance, the overbearing mother of a contestant, Stephanie Hanvey, dances and mouths the words. It’s somehow more depressing than an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras. Stephanie ends up as the only member of the group sent home, much to the indignation of her show mom, who then proceeds to point fingers at Jessica for ruining her daughter’s chances at stardom. Jessica walks off upset after being berated by Stephanie’s trashy cautionary tale of a mother. It’s about as classy as it sounds.
Later, Terrica Curry, Carmen Delgina and Emmanuel Zidor belt out their best attempt at Destiny Child‘s “Say My Name.” It’s kind of a trainwreck, with Terrica appearing to have rousted herself briefly from a coma to perform before slipping back into unconsciousness. After serious deliberation, only Emmanuel continues on.
They’ve been building up the girl quartet, Loud & Fierce, since Wednesday’s episode, so I’d been eagerly awaiting their performance. Christina Collins, Olivia Diamond, Queen Bulls and Malaya Watson, dressed in matching black leather and cheetah print sing “One More Chance” by the Jackson Five. While the ladies all do well, it’s Malaya who really stands out as the one to watch. All the girls explode in squeals when they learn they’re all making it through.
So here we are with only 77 contestants remaining. Next week, it’s back to single auditions. It’s gonna be a bloodbath and I can’t wait!
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