Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hollywood Week - Part 2: "I think a little sleep deprivation brings out the best in everybody."

It’s officially happened, Dawgs. The cackling dark witches who run Idol have graduated from simply dashing dreams and causing mental duress during Ryan Seacrest’s favorite time of the year, The Group Round. Now those haggard, wart covered wizards have unleashed a plague on the children for optimum dramatic effect. We’ll call it the Black Idol Plague of 2012. Nuts of wonder, and here I thought the teen-bots were soulless. They’re just collateral damage to the dark witches, those wicked creatures who recite hexes backstage and fill the kids’ food with potions. This has to stop!

A plague on all your Idols!
How about all of those sick contestants? I’m torn about whether they were all afflicted with the Black Idol Plague (BIP, for short), or if some of them were maybe faking it for camera time. Oh, shush! You know you were thinking it, too. Look at how much camera time Symone got for falling off the stage. It was only a matter of time before the narcissists who try out to become America’s Favorite Karaoke Singer would figure out that America loves to watch kids almost die. What does this say about us as a culture? People are the pits, aren’t we? Just the pits. I wonder why we keep tolerating people.

So you’ll notice that this recap is compressing the worthless episode of contestants vomiting all over and sniping at each other, the actual group performances, and the final auditions before the Holding Rooms of Doom. I couldn’t figure out a way to recap Thursday’s episode without hating myself for writing things like, “Contestant X cried and argued with Contestant Y about the key of the song, and then Contestant Z puked in a potted plant. Also: no one sang.” This will be a long recap. Just the longest. I hope you have an appropriate beverage and snack prepared because Season 11’s about to get real. This … is … American Idol!

Last time on Idol … A little girl fell off the stage!
After exploiting the crap out of Symone’s scary tumble, Idol started Thursday’s episode with a thumbs-up. Symone would survive; Idol’s self-respect wouldn’t. Apparently, the little thing hadn’t eaten enough that day. These things are important, children. Proper nutrition prevents freefalls from stages. It actually says that in the food pyramid.

Yes, I'm an artist in my free time. I know. My talents are totally wasted on these recaps. ;)

The Groups

The Betty’s – “Hit ‘Em Up Style”
Members: Jennifer Mulch, Cherie Tucker, Cari Quoyeser, Brianna Bell
BIP Victim: Gabrielle Cavassa
For the first time in their lives, the ladies in this group suffered from a little known affliction named Fatigue. Gabrielle dropped early during their rehearsals, puking into a bucket or trash can or something before the medics rescued her from the dazzling personalities in her group. The ladies couldn’t get their act together, probably because that Jennifer girl was incredibly anal and bossy. Eventually, Cherie, Cari and Brianna broke Jennifer’s manic little heart by going to bed. Jennifer couldn’t believe it, just couldn’t wrap her mind around the implication that the others were giving up on their dreams. She sobbed a bit and called her mommy, all like, “Why doesn’t anyone want to play with me? This is just like that slumber party I hosted in second grade when all the other girls were so bratty and refused to refer to me as Princess Jennifer and bring me Ring Pops. What is wrong with people?” Eventually, Brianna came back, crying, “I’m not leaving!” This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, after all. Gotta respect the dreams.

By the time the girls were up to perform, they all pretended to be best friends and then went on to give a truly dreadful group performance. Poor Gabrielle sounded like she was physically trying to hold back the contents of her stomach. The only one who sounded good was Cari. Even the contestants in the audience gave the camera the side-eye while The Betty’s performed. Really bad. What a way to start off the day. Only Jennifer and Cari moved on to the next round. Oh, and then Cherie came down with BIP, too. “I feel really cheated. I do,” Cherie sobbed after defiling the bathroom. Then she wretched and dry-heaved a little for emphasis, and nuts of wonder, this show. THIS SHOW!

Groove Sauce – “Hold On, I’m Comin’”
Members: Reed Grimm, Nick Boddington, Creighton Fraker, Aaron Marcellus, Jen Hirsh
Groove Sauce had no group round drama, except for the disaster that is their group name. Groove Sauce? Ew. I’m suspicious about the formation of this group. Something tells me that they didn’t toil around the chaotic stage searching for a group, only to come up with a professional level a cappella arrangement of a Blues Brother classic. Producers, is this your handiwork?

I would have enjoyed Groove Sauce’s performance more if all the members weren’t so smug. They were all very pleased with themselves, weren’t they? Especially Reed Grimm. Sure, they sounded amazing, and the harmonies were fabulous. But geez, I’m not feeling their Groove Sauce. And have you noticed that all the contestants sound the same this year? All the boys are trying to be Casey Abrams, and all of the girls are trying to be a mix of Adele and Haley Reinhart. Strange.

6-7-9 – “Hit ‘Em Up Style”
Members: Kyle Crews, Brielle Von Hugel, Joshua Ledet, Shannon Magrane
Brielle’s mom was a character. Stage moms make up my nightmares, but Mrs. Von Hugel still has nothing on Dance Moms. Abby Lee Miller would chew that woman up and spit her out. But since someone had to be horrible, Brielle and mama dearest stepped up to the plate. “She’s bossy,” Mrs. Von Hugel giggled as her daughter forced horrible dance moves on her group members. “She rules the roost.” Brielle rolled her eyes at awkward teen-thing Kyle Crews, apparently because he just didn’t get it. Mrs. Von Hugel agreed, eyeing the inferior young man with a smirk and murmuring, “I don’t wanna be a stage mother, but …”

I wonder who named this group. 6-7-9 doesn’t make sense. Is it one of the kids’ locker combinations? Joshua Ledet blasted onto my radar with this performance. The others sounded okay, well, except Kyle, who was totally ill-fitted to the pop/hip-hop music of 2001. Brielle’s mom looked so smug, standing in the audience, dancing with the other moms. Some people don’t do their kids any favors. Anyways, Shannon Magrane performed with this group, too. You know, the “hot, humid and happening” girl? She’s still around. Only Kyle got the axe in this group, giving Brielle and her mom a chance to be big fakey fakers and pretend to be sorry to see him go. What goes around comes around, Von Hugel family.

Make You Believers – “More Than a Feeling”
Members: Dustin Cundiff, Mathanee Treco
BIP Victims: Amy Brumfield, Jacquie Cera
Oh dear, what a hot mess. Remember Amy the Tent Girl? Well, she was apparently sick. Ryan kept calling her Patient Zero, like she started the outbreak of BIP. I don’t know about that. Amy didn’t show any outward symptoms. While others were puking and passing out, she just complained a lot and pretended to sniffle. I don’t think she’s all that confident. Maybe she wanted to return to her tent in Tennessee. To make matters worse, the normally up-beat Jacquie succumbed to something right before the performance, collapsing in the aisle and sobbing, “I’m so dizzy. I’m so dizzy.”

The others didn’t know how to pull it together without Jacquie, but they didn’t have to worry because the lady wasn’t that dizzy. Their group was a disaster, though. Just the worst. Dustin forgot the lyrics, Amy sounded like a lamb in the throes of death, and Jacquie screeched desperately like a hyena. The only one who sounded halfway decent was Mathanee, who incidentally was the only one to stay in the competition. “This whole group was a bit of a mess,” Randy said, his face lined with judgment. Ryan sure felt sorry for Amy, though. “And a crushed Amy Brumfield has to go back to Tennessee,” his voice-over bemoaned. And her tent. Let’s not forget that the lady lives in a tent. Idol’s so sad sometimes, Dawgs.

Those Girls & That Guy – “Stuck Like Glue”
Members: Christian Lopez, Alisha Bernhardt, Samantha Novacek
There once was a really annoying cop from St. Louis who tormented the people of Season 11’s group round by going around and telling them that she’s a cop. And nobody likes cops. And why the hell don’t they like cops? Reality check, Alisha: I think that, maybe, they just didn’t like you. She searched near and far for the perfect group to sing one of two songs with her, “Joy to the World” or “Stuck Like Glue.” Alisha makes no exceptions. She would not compromise. Thems the breaks, and the others could take it or leave it. Eventually, Alisha found a group of untalented people who delivered the saddest rendition of “Stuck Like Glue” ever. No one survived. Alisha had to return to the streets of St. Louis again, keeping the fine citizens safe and putting away bad guys. What a bummer.

Area 451 – Song Unknown
Members: Johnny Keyser, Kristi Klause
BIP Victim: Imani Handy
These people weren’t even seen on Thursday’s show, and then Imani got a case of the faints. She fainted while they went over the song a final time. Then her mom had to hold her up, carry her around, probably feed her some applesauce until Imani fainted in the auditorium. Conventional wisdom would tell her to give up and go to A) a doctor or B) bed. BUT NO! Imani had a dream, and she was determined to faint all over it until she achieved her goals.

Johnny and Kristi sounded pretty good during the performance, but all of that was overshadowed when Imani fainted while she was singing. Nuts of wonder! She shouldn’t have been up on that stage to begin with, considering that she was fainting at a dangerous rate. Idol is not worth brain damage, you twit. The best part of this bit, though, was the point when Johnny realized Imani was falling and totally failed to catch her. THEN he kept on singing until Randy was like, “Cut the music!” LOL, Johnny. You really didn’t care, did you? Imani was okay, but J. Lo laid down the law. “Baby, I’m sorry. You’re going home.” Best decision of the night.

Hollywood Five – Song Unknown
Members: Eben Franckewitz, Gabi Carrubba, David Leathers Jr., Jeremy Rosado
These kids totally deserved a big plate of cookies for their performance. No drama, no BIP transmissions, no awfultastic meltdowns. They sounded a thousand times better than the older groups. Good for them. I’m glad they all made it through to the next round because they deserved it. I wonder if Davy Jr. picked up any girls after that performance …

M.I.T. (Most International Team) – Song Unknown
Members: Heejun Han, Richie Law, Jairon Jackson
BIP Victim: Phil Phillips
Heejun was not digging Richie Law and his cowboy hat. Richie’s a driven little fellow, isn’t he? He wanted the best for his group, and the only way he knew how to make this happen was by being an annoying little Napoleon. I get it. However, Heejun was on fire when it came to the cowboy. “That kid is crazy. I don’t know how they do it in cowboy town, but this isn’t how we bring it down, man. Cowboy … I don’t even know his name.” As Richie unknowingly sucked away the souls of his group members, Heejun only got angrier. “Phillip had a kidney stone, and Cowboy had a brainstorm or whatever’s wrong with him. Freakin’ cowboys.” Richie was totally clueless, though. He was a hero, damn it! Why didn’t the other get that? “We’re on the verge of killing each other … But again, it’s part of playing nice with other kids, Richie said with a smirk that made his cowboy hat look even bigger. Oh, fiddlesticks. People with other people. It’s complicated.

Somehow, and don’t ask me how, M.I.T. didn’t totally suck during their performance. Sure, they weren’t entirely in sync, but all of them pulled off good solos. Heejun sounded especially fun and raspy, and I could actually understand what Phil was singing. By the way, I’m counting Phil’s kidney stones as BIP, just to be safe. They all moved on to the next round, and as the group pretended to love each other, Heejun decided to deliver either the most fair-minded or the most sarcastic comment of the night: “Richie, I’m really, really sorry about what happened. Maybe you will see on TV, but I said bad stuff about you. So you check Season 11 of American Idol. I talk lot of craps about Richie. I’m really sorry to your parents.” The smirk he flashed at the camera makes me lean toward sarcastic.

Rapid Rundown of Solo Performances

Everyone and His Brother Sang “Georgia on My Mind”
Jen Hirsh gave the best performance of this song. I didn’t like her voice until then. The music seems to possess her when she sings, so she lays it all out there. Adam Brock (who’s a new daddy, you know) gave a competent performance, although I still think he’s about as relevant to today’s music industry as the lint catcher in my dryer. Then the Worst Person Ever Reed Grimm threw a hissy for 30 minutes before his performance when he learned he couldn’t sing a cappella. He annoyed the no-nonsense vocal coach and music director Michael Orland before running off to his hotel room to call his mommy. 26-years-old, ladies and gentlemen, and he ran off to call his mommy. Apparently, that caused inspiration to strike, and Reed decided to play the drums while he sang. It was fine, I guess. I’m just not a fan of Reed Grimm at all. His presence on Idol brings out my bad side.

A Couple Sang “What a Wonderful World”
I’ll give the edge to Creighton Fraker with this song. His clothes are seriously tragic, he has a mini mullet, and his forehead and voice remind of Matt the Forehead from Season 8, but he sang the hell out of that song. Shannon Magrane did well with it. She has control beyond her years and good pitch, but I still feel like she’s trying to sing in the wrong genre.

Joshua Ledet’s the Best – “Jar of Hearts”
Where did this young man come from, and why did I have to wait so long to hear from him? Dressed in a tie and untucked shirt, Joshua took the Christina Perri hit to church. And nuts of wonder, was I ever pleased. At least there’s one guy this year who isn’t attempting to be the love child of Casey Abrams and Taylor Hicks.

Colton Dixon Does the Same Thing as Last Year – “What About Love”
Why do I feel like he performed this song last season? He loves all that Chris Daughtry / David Cook faux rock a whole bunch. His skunk hair does his mediocre voice no favors. He can carry a tune, but the tune tends to be nasally. And really, I call shenanigans on his versatility if he can’t figure out more songs to sing in a whole year.

Colton in my mind

One Country Girl Flies and another Country Girl Crashes and Burns
Oh, Rachelle Lamb, I think you had it coming. Don’t exploit your kids, or the world will smite you. She completely shut down during her solo and asked to start over. Her ouster was a foregone conclusion after that. Skylar Laine delivered another spunky country performance and is slowly becoming one of this season’s most likable contestants.


An Idol season isn’t complete without the producers making the contestants set their pride aside and sit on the floor in a cluster like refugees. The suspense wasn’t killing me this year, though. No, I had a feeling Room 3 was doomed. How awkward was it when that bratty girl snapped at Rachelle Lamb for belching? Nuts of wonder, what an embarrassing way to get in a fight on national television. “Your belch offended me, and I think you should take our inevitable doom more seriously.” People are just the worst sometimes.

But who lived to see Las Vegas? You’re so lucky I can pause my DVR and take down these names. The things I do for you …
Creighton Fraker, Jen Hirsh, Hallie Day, Erika Van Pelt, Adam Brock, Joshua Ledet, David Leathers Jr., Johnny Keyser, Jermaine Jones, Lauren Grey, Phil Phillips, Eben, Skylar Laine, Shannon Magrane, Reed Grimm, Jessica Phillips, Stefanie Renee, Haylie Brown, Angie Zeiderman, Britnee Kellogg, Heejun Han, Richie Law, and Gabi Carrubba
Maybe we’ll learn the rest of their names tonight.

So how did you feel about Hollywood Week, Dawgs? Have you immunized against BIP? Isn’t Reed Grimm the worst? Will Amy Brumfield’s forest home get quarantined? Bambi better watch out for her.

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