I’m still not sure what the point of splitting up the guys and girls is, but I have a feeling it has something to do with pimping for a girl winner this season. Perhaps the method to Nigel’s madness will become clearer after the girls compete next week. I have a feeling that vocally, they will blow the boys away. I’m not surprised the girls are being saved for last.
It’s also obvious that the producers really really really don’t want another pop rock winner. The boys were a sea of R&B, with bits of country sprinkled here and there. There were quite a few singers who weren’t featured in the audition rounds, but there were few standouts. My favorites from tonight were Charlie Askew, Nick Boddington and Micah Johnson, but the episode produced no memorable, breakout groups. Some of these guys may not have been at their best here. Let’s hope so, because there was a ton of terrible singing tonight. Tomorrow’s solo rounds have the potential to change everything. But, I have a sneaking suspicion that Nigel wants the boys to look weak in relation to the girls.
The producers put the groups together for the first time ever. I’m surprised this has never happened before, because it allowed Nigel to play a role that he loves–master manipulator. Put together people who seem odd together, or roomates who don’t like each other, or that super manly army guy with the cross dresser. Yep. I can’t believe he’s never done it before. To be honest, the old system produced plenty of drama–even more as contestants struggled to form and find places within a group.
Keith Urban continues to be snarky and sharp. I’m Team Keith for sure. Also, still loving me some Nicki Minaj. She’s the perfect blend of wackadoodle, smarts, honesty and heart. And I love the way she thinks outside of the box. High points for me tonight were calling out Cortez Shaw’s bad singing when the rest were willing to settle, sticking up for B Side despite their obvious problems, and calling out Papa Peachez on his cavalier attitude. Nicki is a breath of fresh air. Randy seems to have settled into playing the grumpy old man of the panel. Considering he’s way passed his expiration date, it’s somehow fitting. And Mariah continues to be a non-nondescript presence.
Season 12’s Hollywood drama is tame compared to last year’s puke and drama fest. I have to say I appreciate the fact that Nigel and Ken have concentrated on the singing so far. And if he really wants a girl to win this year, he’ll follow suit next week when the girls take the stage. Mariah and Nicki have filled the catfight quotient for season 12. I believe.
This week, the GUYS hit the stage for American Idol 12 Hollywood week! Join us for all the drama right here. I’ll be live blogging and posting videos.
Lights! Camera! DRAMA! It’s Hollywood Week! Shocking eliminations will SHAKE YOU TO THE CORE! Producers gave the contestants cameras. We see them waking up in their homes, packing up, and heading to California. The contestants fill the stage. They’re ALL BOYS! For now, it’s guy vs guy. Somehow, this is supposed to make the competition more vicious? Not really sure how that works. Keith Urban compares Hollywood Week to the Hunger Games.
The guys will come out in groups of 10 to sing a capella. The contestants get their results IMMEDIATELY. Some of the boys are missing the girls!
Micah Johnson – “Bennie and the Jets” – He’s the guy who suffered as the result of a botched tonsillectomy. The entire line of 10 have to sing first. But finally, Micah learns that he’s through
Nate Tao, Gabe Brown and Gurpreet are through.
Karl Skinner – “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” – that annoying kid who did the James Brown impression is next. Let’s pray he is cut. And yes, he is. Dustin Watts, Dr. Calvin Peters are also cut.
Cortez Shaw – “I Will Always Love You” – Yeah….he totally belts it out. A bit shouty. But he has a strong voice. After the break, the judges will argue over Cortez.
Back from the break. Mariah liked Cortez. MASSIVE EYEROLL FROM NICKI. She was DISGUSTED by his performance. Strong words. BUT NICKI IS RIGHT. Cortez’s vocals were shrill and shouty Nevertheless, he is through.
Curtis Finch Jr. – A million runs. Standing ovation from the crowd. Frankie Ford is also through!
Lazaro Arbos – “Angels” – He’s the EXTREME stutter guy. We’ll probably be subjected to more painful speaking than singing. Will he start crying again? There is no denying that Lazaro has a lovely voice. And of course he’s through. Trevor Blakeney, and Charles Allen are also through. Bryant Tadeo says he’s tired and Nicki responds “Well it’s good you’re tired, because we’re sending you home so you can sleep.” PSYCH. He’s actually through. Nicki tells him to NEVER complain about being tired. Ever.
Brian Rittenberry – Big voiced dude, cancer survivor is very soulful. It wasn’t unanimous. He’s sent home. Aw. He actually wasn’t half bad.
After the break…the group rounds!
We see clips of group nights past. Scotty crying, Heejun Han’s eye roll, Phillip looking quizzical. I DON’T DO GROUPS says asshat Brittenum twin.
MAJOR TWIST. In years past, contestants put together their own groups. This year, the producers lay a bombshell. They will be putting the groups together. The dudes are not pleased. NO CHANGING GROUPS EITHER. Once the groups are manufactured by Nigel and Ken, they will choose what to sing from a list of 20 songs.
Lazaro’s group partners aren’t thrilled with him. He doesn’t know many of the songs on list. Oh geez. The producers put 2 super butch dudes together with 2 flamboyant guys. Oh boy. They call themselves “Country Queen”. Love the name!
Johnny Keyser’s group needs some work. We watch the groups rehearse, have second thoughts and struggle to bring their performances together. Fingers crossed that nobody faints, or Johnny will have to keep on singing! (Remember Johnny remaining oblivious when a girl in his group fainted during their performance? GOOD TIMES.) “Country Queen” argues into the wee hours of the morning.
The groups will perform live with the American Idol band, but will be judged individually.
The Math Heads – “Somebody to Love” – Nick Boddington, Matheus Fernandes, Gabe Brown, Mathenee Trecco – This is a well rehearsed performance with good harmonies. Lots of BIG voices. Maybe a little over the top. But it’s go big or go home at this stage. The judges clap, they get a standing ovation. Nicki asks them each to step forward individually. She waits a beat for Gabe. DRAMA. They are all through. “Gabe’s got to go and change,” cracks Keith.
Normal Hills – Johnny Keyser, Kareem Clark - “I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops – The judges expectations are high, but, despite feeling confident the night before, they are having trouble remembering the words. Uh oh. Remembering his words isn’t Johnny’s only problem. SO PITCHY. Johnny, who confesses to having a “nightless sleep” admits that he’s never heard the song before. “What planet are you from!” exclaims Keith. Nicki gets that young people aren’t necessarily versed in 60’s classics. Sad, but true. Keith thinks Johnny’s confidence is shot. Nevertheless, he’s through. Kareem is the only member sent home.
Coach Potatoes – “Lazy Song” Charlie Askew, Curtis Finch Jr. – Charlie gets sick. Behind his back, his two group mates confess that they are happy to send him home, especially Curtis, who is particularly arrogant about it all. “I’ll be happy to help him pack,” he says, “If all else fails, I’ll just worry about myself so I can be on American Idol and not American Airlines” Nice! Lots of big vocals on this number. The judges freak out. They love it so much. All three are through. Whoa. That Curtis is a show boater. He’s also getting the dick edit, so despite singing well, he’s not going to last. I’m really impressed with Charlie. He not only has a strong voice, but really unique vocal quality and phrasing.
The Four Tones – Micah Johnson Vincent Powell, David Willis, Marvin Calderon – “Hold On, I’m Coming” by Sam and Dave. Impressive, soulful vocals. They all go through.
Young Love – Zach Birnbaugh, Nate Tao, Cortez Shaw and Elijah Liu – “Some Kind of Wonderful” – Soulful dudes are cheered on by the judges. A very well-rehearsed performance. They’re all through.
Now, for some trainwrecks.
The Taylors are confident they won’t screw up the words to “Don’t You Wanna Stay” because there are only, like SEVEN LYRICS. Think again. They don’t know the words. “I’m so happy that that ended,” cracked Randy. In a decision that was not unanimous, Paul Jolley and Will White live to sing another day.
The bad lyrics are helpfully captioned for added hilarity!
B Side – “Pay Phone” – This group includes Mark LaDuke, The Turbinator and two others. EVERYONE gets through, despite completely botching the lyrics. “WHAT WAS THAT” says Randy. “Adam Levine is still alive, and he’s still turning in his grave,” cracks Keith. Nicki kind of loves them. Yeah, they forgot the words (the captions are super hilarious) but a few of those solos (Mark in particular) were good. It was so bad, it was kinda good. Nicki convinces the others to put them through. Mark is so shocked, he falls to the floor. Relief all around! “YAY MY FAVORITE GROUP MY FAVORITE GROUP,” cries Nicki. She gives the boys a group hug. I think she liked their moxie.
Last Minute – Jason Jones, Dan Wood, Jessie Lawrence – “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful” by One Direction – Buttering them up, the group dedicates the song to beautiful girls, Nicki and Mariah. But that is a complete waste of time, because WOW. This group is just HORRIBLE. They don’t know the words AT ALL. “It was the wrongest song for you guys.” says Keith, “The song is by One Direction, but it was like Four Direction.” Nicki says, “You were all equally bad.” The entire group was sent home.
An a capella group – “Payphone” – Ryan Connor Smith, Devan Jones, Devin Velez, – The only group to sing a capella. The lack of band accompaniment highlights the group’s pitch problems. They were OK, but needed to be spot on. A few of the solos (DEVAN!) were solid. Keith thinks they should have sung with a band. Nevertheless, Three of the boys get through. Ryan, who brainstormed the a’cappella idea, is cut.
Mo Flo – Burnell Taylor, Tony Foster, Jr. Mario Jose, Darien Moses – “Some Kind of Wonderful” – They had some issues initially, with band leader Michael Orland, irritated that they don’t know the song. But the boys work it out in the end. Solid performances all around. Keith notes that Burnell’s pitch was off, although he appreciates his “easy confidence. Burnell and Tony are through. Mario and Darien are eliminated. That’s too bad. They were all pretty good.
Super 55 – “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” – Lazaro Arbos, Scott Fleenor, Christian Lopez, Josh Stevens – Lazaro is not familiar with the Beach Boys. The guys in the group treat his stutter as if it were a mental defect. The rest of the group is so condescending. Not only are they put off by his stutter, but the fact that he comes from a different culture (Cuban) seems to irritate them. They feel Lazaro is holding them back. Well, the other boys don’t know the words either, and are pretty mediocre performers. I love that song so much, hearing it butchered is horrible. Joshua and Scott are eliminated. Lazaro and Christian advance. Lazaro cries, of course. Joshua is bitter. He feels he helped out out Lazaro, who took his spot. “If anything, you might as well be going,” says Joshua to Lazaro, “We spent so much time perfecting what you needed to be doing.” BURN.
Country Queen – “More Than Words” – Lee Prichard, JDA, Joel Wayman, Trevor Blakney – Oh dear. Two butch country dudes paired with two flamboyant and fabulous guys. Oh Nigel. C’mon. Ryan notes that no glitter has rubbed off on the boys, “We don’t hug or nothin'” says Joel. Yeesh. They all have trouble remembering the words. It’s pretty terrible all the way around. Randy finds the group configuration just HILARIOUS. Trevor and Lee are sent home. Joel and Jada are moving on. The queens survive! Trevor is REALLY upset about his elimination. “Im better than what I did,” he says, “I screwed up…I’ve never failed at anything in my life.”
DKSK – David Leathers Jr, Kayden Stephenson, Kevin Quinn, Sanni M’Mairura – “The Longest Time’ by Billy Joel – The teens, the youngest in the competition, had a feeling the producers would put them together. Unfortunately, their lack of experience shows. They aren’t very good. Adorable, and as cute as buttons–but by the end of the song, they completely fall apart. Eliminating these sweet boys would be like killing puppies. But it’s a dirty job, and somebody has to do it. David, Sanni advance. Kayden and Kevin are cut. And the ANGELS CRY.
Going home: Clifton Duffin, Griffin Peterson also say goodbye.
Oz – Frankie Ford, Adam Sanders, Papa Peachez, Charles Allen – “American Boy” – Whoa. TENSION. The group worries about street performer, Frankie Ford’s lack of experience. Moments before their performance, Frankie is crying backstage. His group mates are annoyed as they take the stage. Papa hangs back and laughs at it all. They hit the stage and WHOA ITS A PITCHY MESS. Charles solo is solid. He remembers the words, at least. Nicki tells Frankie that he fell apart today. (He didn’t even sing any words!) Papa Peachez enjoyed that the group was a “hot mess” because they were all BIG PERSONALITES. Ah ha. Nicki advises him that the personalities get even bigger out in the real world. She should know. Nicki giving out advice on getting along with big personalities. Irony. Keith fought for Frankie, but he’s sent home anyway (The right call). Nicki convinced one of the judges to change their vote, therefore saving Papa. She tells him he HAS to step up and begin taking the competition seriously. Frankie. Adam and Charles also advance. Mariah is crying for Frankie, who SWEARS TO GOD THAT HE’S COMING BACK AND HE’LL WIN THE WHOLE THING. Delusion.
The guys perform their solos tomorrow!