Now with Re-cap!
- Tatiana is CRAZY, Katrina is a bitch – VIDEO
- Tatiana is STILL crazy, Nate is a Drama Queen, Katrina bails – VIDEO
- Katrina comes back – VIDEO
- India Morrison, Matt Giraud, Kris Allen and Justin Williams aka “White Chocolate – “I Want You Back” – VIDEO
- Maryn Azoff, Austin Sisneros, J.B Ahfua, Shelby Swartwood, Julissa Veloz – “Get Ready” – VIDEO
- Alex Wagner-Trugman, Ryan Pinkston, Anne Marie Boskovich, Emily Wynne-Hughes Aka “Action Squad” – “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” – VIDEO
- Danny Gokey, Jamar Rogers, Taylor Vaifanua aka “Rainbow Coalition”- “Somebody to Love” – VIDEO
- Jeremy Michael Sarver, Adam Lambert, Matt Breitzke, Jesse Langseth, “Some Kind of Wonderful” – VIDEO
- Lauren Barnes, Katrina Darrell, Rose Flack, Jasmine Murray aka “Team Divas” – “Mercy” – VIDEO
- Muna Hiluf, Tatiana Del Toro, – VIDEO
- Nathanial Marshall, Nancy Wilson, Kristen McNamara aka “Team Compromise” – “Mercy” – VIDEO
The stats: 107 contestants compete in the group rounds. 75 survive.
Oh the drama!
In other words, American Idol group rounds begin…
The group rounds are back, after being ditched for Season 7. Really, the only reason the round exists is to get the kids to mix it up a bit. There are usually a few groups who don’t get along, and the AI cameras are there to capture it all.
The groups begin forming in the evening. The kids break off into sets of 3-4 to rehearse a performance. Usually, they’re up all night, trying to get their parts down. There’s a method to the producers madness here. The environment is designed to be stressful and non-productive on purpose. The better to capture the kids arguing, and the more chance for major trainwreck performances the next day. That’s good TV.
Once the kids split up, there are a few stray contestants, still looking for a spot. Tatiana Del Toro is one of those contestants, and it becomes clear pretty quickly why nobody wants her. She’s a self-absorbed drama queen. And she’s also slightly crazy. After finding a group, she decides to ditch them. She finds another group (the ill-fated Team Compromise, but I’ll get back to that in a bit) only to ditch THEM, without telling them. Yes, she is crazy.Then there’s Team Divas–Lauren Barnes, Katrina Darrell, Rose Flack, Jasmine Murray. Rose feels like a square peg in a round hole, and Katrina “Bikini Girl” Darrell refuses to take the assignment seriously. Young Jasmine, somehow manages to stay calm amidst all the drama.
Team Compromise consists of blond princess Kristen McNamara, the no-nonsense Nancy Wilson, and drama queen, Nate Marshall. That’s a combustible combination right there. Nancy gets pissed when Kristen insists on taking a long break to rest her voice. Nate gets in the middle, making the situation worse. He screams at Nancy, “I’m not going to argue with you, because that’s what you want me to do!” Ha, speak for yourself, Nate.
The next morning, Team Diva tries to wrestle Katrina out out of bed. She’d ditched her group the night before, without practicing, to get some sleep. Now, she’s under the covers, moaning that she needs more sleep. The rest of the team head to the Kodak, believing she quit the competition.
Meanwhile, Kristen calls Nate’s penchant for drama, “distracting” and Nancy, still pissed that Kristen won’t rehearse as a group, decides to practice on her own.
Then, wouldn’t you know, Katrina eventually shows. “You’ve got to teach me what I’ve missed, ” she says. Daggers! “We’re going to be one of those groups, ” says Rose, “That gets up there and is an absolute train wreck.”
We’re nearly 30 minutes into the show, and we’ve barely heard any singing.
As if the kids aren’t nervous enough when they gather in the morning, Simon makes it worse, “Forget the words, you’re out.”
The first group, India Morrison, Matt Giraud, Kris Allen and Justin Williams are “White Chocolate” and they’ve got their stuff together. India raps “I Want You Back” over beats supplied by the others. But Matt, Kris and Justin also sing capable solos. Good stuff. They all make it through to the next round.
Next, a couple of trainwrecks take the stage to butcher “Get Ready.” Maryn Azoff, Austin Sisneros, J.B Ahfua, Shelby Swartwood, Julissa Veloz are eliminated afterward. Jorge Nunez and Nick Mitchell live to see another day.
“Action Squad” are having a hard time holding it together. When they finally perform, “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” it’s a little rocky. Emily Wynne-Hughes totally forgets the words, and she’s gone. She walks away with tears streaming down her face. Also eliminated is Ryan Pinkston. And, for a reason not revealed on camera, he’s pissed at Paula. “I saw an evil in her eyes, ” he says ominously. Well, alrighty then. The rest of the group, Alex Wagner-Trugman and Anne Marie Boskovich advance to the next round.
Team “Rainbow Coaltion” decide to go a’cappella and it’s worth the risk. Danny Gokey, Jamar Rogers, Taylor Vaifanua are featured here, and their performance of “Somebody to Love” is damn near sublime. The entire group advances to the next round.
Next, kudos to the editors for skillfully blending together three groups performing “Somebody to Love.” Standouts are Jeremy Michael Sarver, Adam Lambert, Matt Breitzke, and Jesse Langseth, who all make it to the next round. Adam hit some freaking crazy high notes, right there. And Jesse’s folk/blues vibe shows promise.
Team Diva is next. Will they overcome their differences? Eh, No. Rose forgets the words to “Mercy”. Jasmine totally nails it. The others are rough. Katrina bitches about how she was in high heels all day. Simon actually calls her out on her excuses. Jasmine Murray advances to the next round. Lauren Barnes, Katrina Darrell and Rose Flack are sent home.
Katrina aka Bikini Girl, isn’t one to waste a minute of her fleeting fame. She mugs and poses for the camera all the way out the door. She refuses to hug or make nice with the girls afterward, and brushes them off her shoulder, as if they were beneath her. “Damn, ” says Kara, “What a bitch.” Rose crumbled up on stage. The girl has potential but she wasn’t ready yet. Jasmine, the youngest of the bunch, kept her poise throughout, managing to come out of the entire experience smelling like a rose.
As Rose leaves the theater she says, “I hated my group so much.”
More bad news: David Osmond and Deanna Brown are eliminated after their group performances.
Tatiana Del Toro and her team take the stage to sing “I Want You Back” and they’re a mess. Despite being off key and forgetting the words, they all manage to advance to the next round. Tatiana, hilariously and annoyingly thanks Jesus, and all the little people. Her team mates look like they want to punch her in the face.
Ending the day, are the disaster that is “Team Compromise.” They sing “Mercy” and sound like three soloists who are forced to share the same stage. Their background vocals for each other are hilariously off-key, and I have to agree with Simon–it sounds like they’re trying to sabotage each other. Nate Marshall has a decent voice and some stage presence. Kristen McNamara has an amazing upper range. Nancy Wilson is the weak link here, singing tentatively and stumbling on her words.
When Simon says, “I think one of you girls is safe and one isn’t” Nancy knows she’s gone. Kristen tries to comfort her, and Nancy snaps, “It’s too late”. After Nate and Kristen are declared safe, Nancy rejects Nate’s attempt to hug and tells Kristen to “F**k Off” as she walks by her. Backstage, she is inconsolable. She can’t believe she let her emotions distract from her performance. “I spent two years chasing after this, ” says Nancy, “And I let somebody get the best of me. Oh my God, I cannot believe this sh*t.”