Thursday, February 11, 2010

American Idol, Season 9, Episode 10: Hollywood Week, Part Two

Oh the drama--and the promise of drama--of the American Idol Group Round! I have made no secret of my love for this round. I love it because no one is there to be in a group. They are all soloists, and not one of them sees themselves as a backup singer. I speak from experience, folks. Power struggles are the most common in the group round, because everyone of them sees themselves as the lead singer, and whoever takes over as the leader of the group has the potential to destroy his or her teammates' chances. It's very cutthroat. And wonderful. It's like Survivor: Kodak Theatre.

Ryan reminds us that after the Sudden Death round of Days One and Two, only 96 contestants remain of the 181 that came to Hollywood. For those of you keeping score, that means the judges have kicked 85 out of the competition. It gets whittled down quickly, doesn't it? I still don't recognize most of them. Anyway, the contestants are supposed to form their own groups, pick a song, and design their own choreography. Ooh, this is ripe for drama!

Apparently, each team has to give their group a name, with incredibly cracktastic results: Faith (Apparently, they all share a love for George Michael); Big Dreams (Come on, that's just cheesy--use some imagination!); 3 Men and A Baby (Ok, you've got me. This one is kind of cute.); The Dreamers (Sounds like a 1950s doo-wop group or a Dreamgirls ripoff); The Mighty Rangers (Are they singing or starring in a Disney movie?); Phoenix (Because they're a 80's metal tribute band); Neopolitan (I just have no words--worst name ever); Destiny's Wild (oh, puh-leaze); Hi-C (Wasn't this an actual group name? Didn't they have a kid's show at one time?); and my personal favorite, Team Awesome (Because when you're that good, why bother yourself thinking up a name? Spend more time practicing.)

Speaking of Team Awesome and it's members, for the first time ever, a baby is born on Idol! Well, not on stage or anything--but how cool would THAT be--but Michael Lynche was with his wife in spirit the entire time, and the Idol camera were there to capture the moment when the baby was born! All together now.... "AWWWWWWW!"

Alright, let's break these group performances down, shall we?

The group Faith (with Ashley Rodriguez from the Boston auditions) sang a really beautiful arrangement of Beyonce's "Irreplaceable". Their harmonies were really tight, and I was happy to see all three of those girls make through to the next round.

Team Awesome didn't quite live up to their name, did they? Too bad, too, because the group was made up of four of the most likable guys in the competition. Their performance of The Temptations "Get Ready" was solid, but it really lacked charisma, and that can kill you on American Idol.

So not only does this group Neapolitan decide to name themselves after ice cream while making themselves sound like a second-rate 90s R&B boy band, but they also make the decision to steal Destiny's Wild's idea to sing that Lady Gaga song a capella. They all made it through, but they were just OK.

On the flip side, the judges found the performance by Destiny's Wild of the same song strange, but I loved it. How better to pay tribute to an incredibly strange (but talented) performer? I like the drama of the performance, and was very happy to see all of them go through. Even if Theory (so obviously a stage name) dresses like her dream is to actually be a Rhianna impersonator, not an artist in her own right.

Can I just say that I love the way Ellen messes with the contestants' heads, making them move up and back and side to side? It's pretty awesome, and I'm still a fan of Ellen as a judge, two days in.

Did it seem to y'all that lots of entire teams went through? I think that's great, because it really speaks loads about the level of talent they have this year. I really think this could be a great season.

What is up with that girl in The Mighty Rangers and her crazy glasses? I know there's an 80s revival and all, but I don't think reviving Sarah Jessica Parker's character in Square Pegs is really doing anyone any favors. I'm not even sure what song they sang, I was so distracted by those glasses. Didn't this entire group go home? And a dude was begging and stuff? I guess when you keep entire groups, entire groups have got to go sometimes.

Phoenix is apparently not a heavy metal tribute band, because to my knowledge, they did not sing a metal song. I felt really, really bad for them, losing a group member. Who just walks out like that? Lame. You don't just bail on your group before a performance. It throws everything off and the entire group suffered for it.

"Sweet Escape" is never a good choice for a group number. It's hard enough to sing alone! I know it kicks my butt every time I try it when I'm playing American Idol on the Wii at home. So I don't know what in the world Big Dreams was thinking. You need to have all your wits about you when you sing that song, because those words just whip by, and you just can't perform that song on maybe three hours rest. Well, maybe if you're Gwen Stefani. But since every single member of this group went home, it's safe to say that none of these contestants were Gwen Stefani.

Also, Amanda Shenkman's makeup streaks all over her face when she was calling home actually looked worse than The Joker on The Dark Knight. Seriously, girl, you are still on camera! Go throw some water on your face and wipe that stuff down with a Kleenex! Is this how you want to be remembered?

Apparently, there was a group up there called Hi-C and consisted of Jermaine, Janell, and Casey, but they were pretty good (if a little boring) and drama free, so we only got a glimpse of them. Maybe next time, folks.

3 Men and A Baby was a very good, apt, cutesy name for this group, consisting of Andrew Garcia and Katie Stevens. Plus some other folks the producers didn't think were important enough to highlight. They all seemed like an unstoppable force, though, and I guess we could call them the real Team Awesome.

Oh my gosh, was The Dreamers a tiring group or what? I need a double-shot of espresso just to make it though watching them! They chose a good song, "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac, but the entire performance was absolutely lifeless. Also, is Mary going to a corporate meeting after this round? Of this whole group, she is absolutely the most exhausting, because she thinks her ideas are the only ones that matter because she can list "singer" as her occupation under her name. Ugh. I get so frustrated every time she makes it through to the next round, because she acts like she is the be-all and end-all of singers. Woo--I just got a fresh whiff of Mary's new fragrance, DIVA, available this Spring at Dillard's and other fine department stores.

After the group round is over, 71 contestants have made it through, meaning that of the 96 that we began with, 25 were given the boot. Next week, we'll see Phase Three, another sudden death round, with each of the contestants gets to choose a song to sing a capella.

See you Tuesday! Toodles!

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