As Hollywood Week drags on for what seems like its fifth week, the “American Idol” hopefuls are put through another group performance. Except they get more time and professional-looking costumes and lighting, so it’s not quite as fun as the crazy Group Night.
We kick things off on the bus that hauls the Idols to Las Vegas, for reasons kind of passing understanding. Why move venues? Why not keep them in the same building they’ve been living in for all of Hollywood Week and just completely Stockholm Syndrome them?
The judges tell the 70 kids left that they are going to sing music from the 1950s1960s, which will definitely prepare them for on the live shows when they get criticized for being current or not knowing who they are as an artist. *eye roll*
Now, I’m criticizing music from this era. I love the 50s/60s. Love. But … c’mon. We all know how “Idol” is. This is a stunt because it’s the show performing in Vegas and that annoys me.
The Idols have to form groups of 3 or 4 and will either be kept or sent home on the spot. As Seacrest welcomes us in, he says, “There will be cuts. And they will be brutal.” I suppose actually literally cutting the eliminated contestants is too much to hope for, right?
The “This is Dedicated to the One I Love” group is pretty adorable in their black and white outfits and they sound alright, though I don’t enjoy the swoopy blonde as much as the other three. In that suit, Colton Dixon is totally Jerry Lee Lewis. The judges put through everyone but Cari the blonde
The young ‘uns group gets “Rockin’ Robin,” which fulfills my hope to hear David Leathers Jr. sing young Michael Jackson. Their member Gabi something-or-other is mad because she’s not featured enough. Hmm. That’d be a tough needle to thread, because this is a competition for soloists. You don’t advance as a group. Anyway, David is awesome, just like I knew he would be. Ariel and Gabi are also pretty good. Jeremy’s a little weak for me, but I’m OK with them all advancing, which they do.
The “Great Balls of Fire” group puts Adam Brock on the piano, which is a nice touch. Angie Zeiderman is a little terrifying on this song, but Erika and Shelby tear it up. Fun performance, but not a lot of vocal stylings. I think I’d cut Angie, keep the rest. But they all get sent through.
A trio of girls gets “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” yet they dress like USO girls from the 1940s. I thought for sure these ladies got “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” Their look is a little off, honestly. Anyway, Molly gets cut, which leads into a montage of other people who are cut: Wayne Wilson (who?), Ashley Robles, Stephanie Renae, Aubrey Deckmeyer, Janelle Arthur, Tina Torres. (Seriously, who are all these people?)
Reed Grimm‘s group changes the “groove” of their song – of course they do. They get “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes,” which is a song I absolutely love. And the smooth jazz spin they put on it is pretty sweet.
The Bossy Cowboy group consists of Bossy and
Paul Robeson Jermaine Jones. They get “Make It Easy On Yourself,” which is not an easy song at all. The vocal coach gives them some instruction and Bossy Cowboy snots, “I didn’t come here to recycle music, I came here to make it.” Is this kid for real? From where does he draw the ground to have this kind of arrogance? When they actually perform, Jermaine sounds pretty good. Bossy sounds like Kermit. But also, this a terrible song to give anybody on this show. But they both advance.
As Bossy leaves, J.Lo calls him “such a gentleman.” Oh my god, I hope he made the Top 24 and she’s sitting at home and being like, “WTF, Bossy?!”
Montage of good singers – Hallie Day rocks “Tell Him,” Baylie Brown and Chelsea Sorrell sultry it through “Be My Baby.” They all advance.
A trio changes up “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” and I’m not a fan. Jessica Sanchez gets to growl a lot, but then Kenny G does some flitting around in falsetto. Hmm. It gets better when Candice Glover takes over, it suits her voice better. And by the end, they really come together nicely and they all advance.
But now all of the ones who sang today are brought on stage and are told they are not completely safe, pending how tomorrow’s groups go. They may make more cuts from the day one kids. Yikes.
To kick off day two, four guys take on “Jailhouse Rock” – I literally recognize none of these men. They had to have just joined the show. Or they are actually chorus members from the “Elvis Presley” Vegas show. Seriously, what the heck? There’s one soloist who is particularly good – the “get my kicks verse,” whoever that was. They all advance except for one, Curtis.
This leads into an Elvis montage of “Burning Love” and “Blue Suede Shoes” that sees most people advance. Two people are cut that I don’t really recognize.
Now there’s a girls’ trio that includes Britnee Kellogg and Jessica Phillips. They do “Keep Me Hanging On” and it is kind of obvious they chose not to rehearse with the band. The opening is really shaky. It gets better, but I’m not super impressed with any of them. Britnee and Courtney advance, but Jessica does not. Bummer.
Lauren Gray‘s group gets “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and Lauren opens it really beautifully. Wendy Taylor, who I’m not sure we’ve seen either, does some nice things with the bridge, then Mathenee Treco gets a short solo in his falsetto that is pretty good, but not awesome. Mathenee gets cut, the girls advance.
Phil Phillips, HeeJun Han, Neco Starr and Jairon Jackson get “I Only Have Eyes for You,” which is just one of my favorite oldies of all time. So good, so romantic. And these guys kinda rock it. Everybody sounds pretty good and the backup singing, which is really important on this song, is good on the “sh-bop sh-bops.” Phil’s solo is a little too rock for this song, but I get that it’s his style. Pretty lovely and they all advance! Yay.
Lady and the Spectacles (great name) do “Seal It With a Kiss” which is like the most boring song in the history of the world. They do well with it, though at times it gets a bit shouty for me. I’m not sure I’d keep them all – I think I’d cut Nick Boddington. And that’s what happens.
Now it’s time for more cuts, DUN DUN DUN. They have to get down to 42, out of the roughly 50 people who are left, it looks like. In this portion, they end up cutting Gabi Carrubba, Schyler Dixon, Angie Zeiderman, Candice Glover, Johnny Keyser (whoa), Jairon Jackson and Britnee Kellogg, among those who were already cut.
Did we even see Johnny Keyser’s group sing? I dont’ think we did. I’m surprised at him, his audition was used in like every promo leading up to the premiere of “Idol.”
Next week: More Hollywood week, y’all. This is interminable.