Recap – Hollywood Part 2
Groups = Drama = Good Tee Vee. This year is no different than previous years–the group performance audition is a huge part of the Hollywood rounds, ’cause when you make a bunch of divatastic wanna-be idols work together, all kinds of fun and hilarity ensues.
The show opens with the kids still struggling with practice at 11 pm. We got some tired and cranky idols here, ya all.
Brenna Gether’s group has some difficulty. The only mixed group includes Brenna, Marcy Smith and Nick Whitten. Brenna is a Type A, take-charge type and she’s totally getting on her group-mates nerves. Brenna is featured heavily throughout the episode. I have no doubt that she is serving a very specific purpose for the show–she’s bringing that element the producers kept talking about in the run-up to the show–that this bunch of contestants are more competitive and more aggressive than ever. Brenna’s gonna be the resident-button pusher. Oh and she sings? Uhhmm yeah.
Next up is the group featuring Terrell (ugh) Brittenum, Anthony Hansen, Sway and Elliott Yamin. Terrell has his panties in a twist because Sway and Elliott decided to go to bed and get a good night’s sleep. Once again, the Brittenum twins, are featured WAY too much. Really, by the end of the show, I’d had it with them. All the time wasted on these two chuckleheads could have been spent featuring some of the talented Hollywood contestants we never got to see.
In the meantime, Paris Bennet and her group, which includes Stevie Scott and Hanna Freeman perform “Emotions.” I love Paris’s tone, but she’s a little flat when she goes for the runs. Stevie has a sweet soprano, but I would have to say the same for her. Vocal runs are way overused by some of these contestants. It’s an overrated vocal trick–me no likey. Simon didn’t like the performance–“no buzz, no chemistry.” Stevie and Paris advance, Hanna does not.
Sway, Elliott, Anthony and Terrell perform next. Everybody is pretty wretched, except for Elliott, who appears to have benefited from that good night’s sleep. This is the first time we really get to hear Elliott sing, and he’s got a fabulous R&B voice. Poor Anthony seems completely out of his league. Not only does Sway
completely screw up the words, but he sounds like all kinds of ass. Ditto Terrell. Afterward, Terrell launches into another lame tirade, blaming his bad performance on Sway and Elliott going to bed early. Randy points out the obvious–that Elliott had been the best one, by far. In the end, both Terrell and Sway get a pass–on to the next round despite their horrible performance (to be honest, I’ve yet to see a good performance out of either one). Elliott, naturally, advances and Anthony is let go.
The Young Crooners, David Radford, Josh Jordan, Kevin Covais and Will Makar are…ok…they are just adorable. Personally, I think 16 year old Will Makar is the best singer out of this bunch. David Radford has a good voice, but he needs to dial it back a notch–he lays on the “style” just a bit too thick. He winds up sounding affected. Kevin Covais I still don’t get. I find his lisp and stuttering vibrato distracting. Josh is pleasant, but nothing outstanding. Will, on the other hand, is just plain and natural and sounds great–seemingly without effort.
Man, I would have killed to see this group performance. Chase Bush, Patrick Hall and Taylor Hicks singing “Do Wa Diddy.” The 5 second snippet hinted that they did it 50’s doo-wop style. DRAT. But if the producers had made room for these guys, they might have had to take away some moments from the Brittenum twins!
stoopid stoopid producers….
Derrell Brittenum’s group performs really well and he’s on to the next round. But, guess what! Derrell wants a word! GROAN. And, here, he launches into his big “My Spirit is Broken” speech, where it’s really not clear what the hell he’s talking about, but out of his incoherent rambling it appears that he’s been slighted in some way. He quits, no one really cares, and he leaves the stage. But, ruh roh–it turns out Derrell quit because he thought his brother Terrell had been cut. Oopsie. Terrell stops just short of calling his brother a dumb ass and tells him that he has to go out and apologize.
In the meanwhile, the fabulous Mandisa and her group-mates perform “Band of Gold” flawlessly, and even add a groovy little “Pointy Pose” at the end. Whee! Also making it through, based on some strong vocals are Brooke Barrettsmith (who kept looking at the lyrics written on her hand) and Sarah Enouen, whose groups also performed great versions of the song.
Next, is a medley of messed-up lyrics. Ohhh and Bucky Covington loves me a thousand times! Just get rid of that weird haircut with the sides shaved off and I’m yours! Hee. Katharine McPhee has a little problem remembering her lyrics as well…
Tyra Schwarz can’t decide which group she wants to join. She leaves one really talented group to join Leah Barrettsmith, Lauren Weckerly and Meredith Bandas, for an unexplained reason. When she realizes that her new group is a bit hapless and under-prepared, she goes back to her old group and begs to be let back in. Does she make the right decision?
Leah, Lauren and Meredith completely bomb, forgetting the words, looking confused and like they hadn’t taken it seriously at all. After an ass-chewing by Simon all three are cut. If you remember, Leah’s sister Brooke and her group did a great job. Brooke was advanced to the next round.
When Leah is cut, Brooke is inconsolable. Really, she’s way more upset than Leah is. Survivors guilt, I guess. Brooke keeps on saying over and over again, “It’s not right, it’s not right.” I’m not exactly sure what’s “not right, ” because Leah wasn’t very good. Heh. Brooke and Leah attempt to find some privacy in a ladies room stall. Errrr, nice try girls!!! There’s no getting away from the long arm of the Idol producers!!!
Ugh, here are the Brittenum twins polluting up my TV screen again. They both appear in front of the judges to apologize. Simon tells them both to STFU and proceeds to rip them a new one. I have to say it was pretty awesome. The twins are informed that the judges will decide in 30 minutes whether Derrell should stay or go. It seems like a no-brainer to me. Good riddance to bad rubbish and all that. Later on, the brothers come back, and astoundingly, Derrell gets to stay.
Tyra Schwartz new old group is up. Why did she leave them in the first place? They sing “The Shoop Shoop song” and the voices are a perfect fit, they are well prepared and they all sail through right to the next round. Celeste Scalone has a warm throaty voice. And we hear Kinnik for the first time. She’s got a good voice, a little over the top–but a unique style. Tyra would have sounded all wrong with the girls in the other group–even beyond the troubles they had preparing. Nicole Turk does a fine job too.
Finally, Brenna Gethers and her group perform “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” Well, Brenna’s choreography, one of the items the group fought over sure is special. When she sings “…leaving your picture behind, ” she sticks her butt in the air and slaps it. It just looks really stupid. I still maintain that Brenna is sticking around to play sh*t-stirrer and to play the contestant-you-love-to-hate. It ain’t about the voice, cause I’m not hearing it. Marcy doesn’t stand out, but Nick Whitten has a nice soulful voice. Afterward, Brenna goes on a long speech, justifying her annoying personality by calling herself “the Simon of the group.” I’m not sure what else she said after that, ’cause I tuned her out. Simon seemed charmed, however. This chick knows what she’s doing. All three make it to the next round.
The “Brokenote Mountain” spoof, featuring the little cowboy, Garet Johnson, Matthew Buckstein and Michael Evans was cute and even funny in spots. The “Best Food Metaphor” is a reference to this gem from Garet, “My mom says I’m like a steak, I have a really lot of talent, but I’m raw.” Har. Garet served his purpose well–he was comic relief and was perfect for the fish-out-of-water-little-engine-that-could storyline built around him. Sure, he took the place of a better singer, and the screen time devoted to him could have been used to promote some good singing, but Garet is a character that’s pretty hard to resent. As the Hollywood rounds end, Garet’s job is done, and he gets a pretty big send off.
The group, all wearing cowboy hats, takes the stage and are awful. Matthew Buckstein is just as terrible as when he croaked “Hopelessly Devoted to You” last Wednesday. And yes, I’m now convinced he was promoted based on personality rather than singing ability. Simon tells them they were “ridiculous” and all three are cut. Afterward, there’s lots of tearful hugging. Garet says his big goodbye and rides off into the reality-TV sunset.
The last 8 minutes of the show are devoted to cutting the group down to the 44 who will have a chance to compete for a spot in the Top 24. But first we are shown snippets of the remaining contestants performing a cappella. Man, I could have done with MORE a cappella singing and LESS Brittenum twins. And really, even less Garet, if I’m being honest. Afterward, contestants are asked how they thought they did. Jennifer Sieminski, hopes the judges liked her performance, but feels unsure because, “they don’t tell us.” Gina Glocksen forgets the words to her song and is understandably upset.
After that brief segment, the cut begins. As in previous years, the remaining contestants are split up into rooms. This year there are 4 rooms of contestants. They purposely keep the numbers vague so the viewer can’t figure out right away how many rooms will be cut. In the past there were usually 4 rooms with two rooms cut. This year, the very first room is cut and the next three are advanced to the next round.
The contestants who are cut are, as far as I can tell: Gina Glocksen, Tyra Schwartz, Josh Jordan, James Gaerries, Ashley Jackson, Sarah Enouen, Erica Walters, Celeste Scalone, Nicole Turk, Jennifer Sieminski. At the moment, I’m not sure who the other five are.
As you can imagine, the contestants who are cut are devastated. Actually, I hate watching contestants–especially at this stage after they’ve come so far–get cut. Jennifer meets a camera as she leaves with her mother and, well, let’s just say she vents her frustration–not at anybody in particular, but just at the situation. She laughs and cries at the same time.
Back to the happy, shiny people. Forty-five contestants have made it through, and yeah, they are all pretty happy. Whoop Dee Do. More fun Wednesday as each contestant sits in the Chair of Doom to meet their fate–will they compete for America as one of the Top 24–or will they go home…