Taking into account the way Ryan, Nigel and the judges have been carrying on in interviews, I was expecting the girls to totally blow me away. They didn’t. Although, I’m afraid the days of “LOUD IS THE NEW GOOD!” may be back, there were some good voices–most of them belong to country singers. Which makes me wonder if the producers feel enough time has passed since Carrie Underwood won in 2005 to crown another country princess. At this point, no singer from Idol can rival Carrie’s superstar status. She’s light years beyond the Idol bubble.
But I will reserve judgement until tomorrow, when the girls take the stage for solo performances. I’ll probably have some favorites by then.
Speaking of favorites–I loved Kez Ban’s audition. Maybe it was the edit, but her behavior as her group, the misfits, struggled to put a song together was really insufferable. Nothing irks me more than a contestant who thinks they are better than the show. Mocking the her fellow Hollywood contestants, refusing to sing modern pop songs or compromise was not likeable behavior. I got news, the minute a singer signs a contract and steps onto the Idol stage, they pretty much lose their cred. There have been plenty of Idol contestants who kept their integrity while remaining team players. Kez should have been eliminated tonight. I did not understand the judges giving her group a standing ovation. They were all pretty terrible.
And for once, I wasn’t on the same page with Nicki Minaj. I agreed with her chastising contestants who didn’t memorize their lyrics, work hard or support their team mates. But I didn’t understand why Nicki didn’t judge The Dramtics by the same standards. Janel also abandoned her group, but Nicki found THAT behavior endearing. I suspect it’s because Nicki was having a Mary Sue moment, identifying with Janel’s insecure, self-absorbed behavior. Simon Cowell would have called the entire performance self-indulgent, and he would have been right. Keith wasn’t buying it. Neither was I.
Janell Arthur and Rachel Hale were my favorite tonight. Totally robbed? Brandy Neelly. And she handled her elimination like a champ. I can’t believe the guys and girls won’t compete together until the finals begin in March. If Nigel believed that separating the sexes would help the girls stand out, I don’t get it. We’ll see what happens tomorrow in the solo rounds.
The guys had their turn, now the girls hit the Hollywood stage on American Idol! I’ll be live blogging the action right here.
162 girls head to Hollywood. READY TO WIN. Oh. It looks like the girls are gonna bring the DRAMZ.
The a’cappella solos are first. The girls will come out in lines of 10. If their performance isn’t up to snuff, they will be eliminated immediately. There are more girls than guys. Many will not survive
Angela Miller – Watch for this girl to be pimped to high heaven. She’s got a huge voice. The judges make approving noises as she performs
Mariah Pulice – She’s the Chicago girl with the Anorexia background. As she sings, her family cries backstage.
Victoria Acosta – Killing me Softly – Pitchy and underwhelming.
Angela and Victoria advance. Mariah is sent home. Really? I thought Victoria blew it.
Ashley Smith and Sarah Restuccio are cut. I loved Ashley! Poop.
Next, it’s TWO country artists, going head to head.
Rachel Hale – She sings in a big voice. Nicki whispers to Keith, that she’s relatable…can’t put her finger on it. She’s pretty awesome.
Jenell Arthur – “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” – Oh. She’s got a great big voice too. Less bluesy than Rachel. There’s something real old school about her.
Of course, they both make it.
Candice Glover – “Impossible” – She’s a favorite from last year. The judges love her. Yep. She’s a big voiced diva. And the judges still love her.
Megan Miller – “Titanium” – She was the chick on crutches. That was very nice. But I bet she gets cut.
Yep. Candice is through. Megan is sent home.
Isabelle – “Summertime” – Whoa. Another big voice. Remember “Loud is the new good” from the early Idol days? I think it’s back.
Kez Ban – “Nights in White Satin” – And yes. I believe it’s time for Kez Ban. Thank you for that tonic. She takes 30 seconds to compose herself. She warns the judges that she’s getting over a cold. Oh my. She sounds TERRIBLE. She should be cut based on that.
Briana Oakley – “Impossible” – And…we’re back to big voices.
Kez and Brianna both advance. In fact, the entire line goes through a total of 74 girls survive the first day.
Group rounds are next! Kez Ban, “Group rounds are fun! I used to be in chorus.” I hope she stays forever!
There is a ton of drama as the girls prepare for group rounds. Kez Ban is behaving like she’s too good to sing…just about everything, irritating the girls in her group. They settle on “Be My Baby”. Kez is happy she doesn’t have to sing a song “that makes me want to vomit.” Kez is such a PITA, the girls in her group plan to rehearse behind her back. Zonette, the chick who butchered the National Anthem, but advanced anyway, is not gelling well with her group either. Gee. I wonder why.
The Swaggettes – “Hit Em Up Style” – Melinda Ademi, Kamaria Ousley, Candice Glover, Denise Jackson – “- Keith thought it was a great song choice and that they nailed the harmonies. It was definitely a well put together group. “Swag on,” says Mariah.
They all advance to the next round.
Raisin’ Cain – “Sin Wagon” – Morgan Leigh Boberg, Lauren Mink, Brandy Hotard – Nicki compliments them in her finest southern accent. Which isn’t really that fine. Nicki calls them cup cakes and tell them “we’re willing to paint your toe nails” She’s hilarious. The girls gel beautifully. Great harmonies. I find it interesting that Nigel and Ken put a bunch of country girls together in the same group. They all go through.
Almost Famous – “Somebody That I Used To Know” – Savannah Votion, Lizz Weis, Daysia Hall, J’Leigh Chauvin – Savannah is the only girl who can arrange music. The girls struggle. And the performance is a hot mess. Off-key harmonies, missed lyrics. It really fell apart. Only Daysia advances to the next round, despite REALLY messing up the words. Savannah is pissed. SO PISSED. She feels she did all of the work. And the lyrics of the song come true.”This will be the last time I ever come on the show,” she says. No love lost here.
The Dramatics – “If I Die Young” – Kriss Mincey, Janel Stinney, Cristabel Clack, – Things began really well…but then one of the group members, Janel, became ill and emotional. HERE COMES THE PUKING. Finally. During a confessional, Janel calls herself a solo artist and that she’s learned so much from her team mates. They snigger behind her back. Nicki enjoyed them messing up the words, better than any other performance that day, because they FELT IT. Mariah and Keith are laughing at her. He adamantly disagrees. The judges know that Janel didn’t want to rehearse with the other girls. Nicki prods her and Janel begins crying, “Sometimes I feel that I don’t fit in.” Nicki finds this behavior totally endearing–rather than self-absorbed–which is what it was. The performance is what Simon Cowell would have called “self-indulgent.” Even Mariah was rolling her eyes at Janel’s excessive runs. In any case, it wasn’t unanimous, but all 4 girls advance.
Urban Hue - “American Boy” – Hermano, Seretha Guinn, Tenna Torres, Kiara Lanier – – Nicki was NOT impressed, except with Tenna. Nicki thought it wasn’t a good song choice. NOT a unanimous decision. Jett, Tenna and Kiara advance. Seretha (the mom whose boyfriend was in a terrible accident) is sent home.
Oh. Randy Jackson is back. To be honest, I didn’t notice he was gone. OOPS.
Pooh Snaps – “Knock on Wood” – Zoanette Johnson, Erin Christine, Lauren Bettes, Isabelle – So it turns out, Zonette can kinda sing. Initially, Zoanette felt out of place, surrounded by country singers, as she put it. Maybe the problem is that she’s surrounded by SINGERS, period. But it turns out she can kinda sing– her butchering of the National Anthem during her audition was apparently exaggerated for effect. It’s hard for me to take my eyes off of her. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. All in all, a surprisingly entertaining group. Lauren is sent home, while the rest advance.
Handsome Women - “Somebody That I Used to Know” - Shira Gavrielov, Alisha Dixon, Liz Bills, Courtney Calle – “Somebody That I Used to Know” – It’s the group vs Liz. who is discouraged that the group didn’t get anything accomplished the night before. The morning of the performance, Liz can’t find her group, but they are waiting for her in the practice room, pissed that she’s never around when they need her. “She thinks she’s too cool for us,” snaps one of the girls. The performance is a pitchy train wreck, and Liz is the only member to advance. Her group members can’t believe it. Shira comes back on stage. She begs for another chance. Her singing was awful. They basically tell her “sorry you suck.” But actually, the entire group wasn’t very good.
For You – “Somebody That I Used to Know” – Stephanie Schimel, Alex Delaney, Kalli Therinae, Holly Miller – Originally, the girls were set to sing “Total Eclipse of the Heart, but after struggling, the switch, the morning of the performance, to “Somebody that I Used to Know.” And of course, they are under-rehearsed and can’t remember the words. Randy says it was terrible. Keith is all, “It wasn’t terrible” Uh. YEAH IT WAS. The decision was not unanimous–Kalli and Alex are sent home. Stephanie and Holly advance. Stephanie admits, right up front, that she sucked, “Why did they let me through. I totally botched that thing.”
A montage of girls reading lyrics of their hands. Nicki mimicks them. She writes “They suck” on her hand. LOL.
Dolly Chicks -“Sin Wagon” – Kree Harrison, Britnee Kellogg, Brandy Neelly, Haley Davis – Haley went to bed early, pissing off the rest of her group. Nicki has had it with girls looking at their hands for lyrics. Nicki reads Haley the riot act for abandoning her group early the night before to go to bed. The decision was not unanimous–Brandy is sent home, the rest advance, even Haley and her terrible attitude. Nicki wanted to send her home, I’m sure. Wow. Brandy was really good. Can’t figure out why they would send her home.
Kez Ban’s group, of course, is saved for last.
The Misfits – “Be My Baby” – Kez Ban, Breanna Steer, Angela Miller, Janell Arthur – Janelle is the total stand out in this group! Bringing some country swag. AND SINGING ON KEY. Nicki felt their voices were perfection (???) She calls Janelle a star. Wow. All 4 go through. Really?
Tomorrow – Last chance solos!