Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hollywood Week - American Idol Season Ten

I should preface this by saying that Group Night is my absolute least favorite part of the whole American Idol process. Well that and Sinatra night, but I digress.

Hollywood Week is great TV for Idol. Lots of drama, lots of emotions, lots of opportunity for train wrecks galore. Never is this more rampant than during Group Night, where all these people who are technically competing against each other for these brutal, deep cuts that will end with our quarter-finalists and force them to work together. These people, most of whom are amateurs, are required to work with their competitors by actually coming up with and subsequently performing a choreographed routine.

The potential to fall on their faces is quite high, and the stress always leaves me with a tummy ache by the time it's over.

The only good thing that could be said about Group Night is it really allows the character, or lack thereof, of each contestant to shine through (whether they want it to or not.)

Divas emerge, as do all the underdogs, and people we hadn't even seen before end up in the spotlight to shine with newfound talent.

It is ONLY for this reason I don't skip the entire shebang.

Last night some of the ones I thought would make it through didn't, and some I had hoped would make it got cut. Some I had previously loved I began to love more, and some I kinda discarded completely.

I also began to pray for karma for some of the more annoying ones I truly began to loathe entirely.

One of those: Tiffany Rios.

That she declared last week (in so many words) that she was better than anyone else did not endear her to the group selection process. Her arrogance never wavered, which probably not only had the audience (and her fellow contestants) want to see the train wreck, they likely would have wanted to operate the train.

I'm a big on on respect even for those who technically count as your competition. Early favorite Scotty McCreery immediately hit my shit list when he blew off an earnest group trying to fill the "Day Two member" requirement while he was looking for a group to join.

The rude way he treated Brett Loewenstern, another of my early favorites, put me off instantly.

You can't run on country boy charm and then treat other people with that level of disrespect. Granted he's only 17, but manners are manners are manners. And being from the south myself, I know that's something you can't fake for long without showing your true core disrespect for other people.

Sad to say that's what happened. But even as disappointed as I was, he didn't deserve to be treated even WORSE by the self-important Jordan Murphy.

He put himself in the position of leader who got to decide who got in the group, only to abandon the group at 1am the next morning to seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Needless to say I have no love for Jordan, and really can't see him making it very far with the audience.

Scotty finally found a home with a group that had taken in another Day Two contestant with 15-year-old Jacee Badeaux.

I've loved this little cherub with the voice of an angel since I first saw him sing in New Orleans. He was taken in by another one of my early favorites, Clint Jun Gamboa, the Karaoke King from Long Beach.

This new group then decided to add the deep-voiced Scotty to the mix as a fifth person, although Clint "Jun-bug" was decidedly troubled by the decision.

They too would kick poor Jacee to the curb later that night and send this kid in search for a new group - and a new song - after everyone else had already made their choices.

I. Was. Livid.

Me no like Jun-bug anymore.

Sorry, honey but that was just as diva as what Jordan did.

Eventually Brett's group, who still needed a day 2 contestant, would pull Jacee from the murky cold waters of rejection and give him a home. But the drama continued when Jacee was completely unfamiliar with the music.

As the resident Basket Case, Ashley Sullivan was ready to bring her erratic behavior we saw during the initial audition process right to the drama of Group Night.

She went from excited to join a girl group to almost unreasonably overwhelmed by the constant presence of the stress and the cameras. (Has she not SEEN Idol before?) She promptly decided this wasn't her bag and she wanted to go home. This lasted for most of the show, which left her girl group to fend for themselves while she worked out her wayward emotions.

Of course she came back and went on to perform well given the pressure. By the end of the show I was just completely tired.

Ashley, honey... I say with this with complete seriousness and zero malice or snark.... consider medication.

A group of fifteen and sixteen year olds calling themselves "The Minors" began their rehearsal to perform the classic Queen tune, "Somebody to Love." Their mothers apparently took this opportunity to flex their own creative muscle and began to direct this group.

This immediately stirred up the ire of yet another group performing the same song. James Durbin thought it was a bit unfair that their parents had so much influence when everyone else had to choreograph their own.

I have had my problems with James before, and this night did not endear me to him any more. Least of which is that he screeches his way through every. single. song.

The reason Adam Lambert could whip out his vocal muscle was because he understood the art of layering. There were peaks and valleys, soft notes and screechy screams... but it worked because he didn't depend on the power voice to sell the song.

If James doesn't learn this, he won't be long for this competition. I'm really quite surprised he made it past the Group Night performance.

For the record, the Minors kicked their asses.

As for the Rob/Chelsee thing I'm so over it I can't even talk about it. I gave up on him (the only real person I was rooting for to begin with) around the time he did. That he went home was no big surprise.

Chelsee's another one who will likely suffer from audience perception - I don't see her lasting to the top 10.

In the end, I lost a couple of my favorites, including Devyn Rush:

And Emily Ann Reed:

And discovered a few new favorites, such as Deandre Brackensick, who put the finishing touches on the Minors' "Somebody to Love" so sweet it would have made Freddie Mercury proud:

Matthew Nuss, who has a strong, bluesy rocker vibe with no fear of turning out a performance:

Jacob Lusk from Compton, who showed creativity and a wicked range:

And last, but not least... Carson Higgins, who is just plain fun. Anyone who can sing AND make me laugh = tops in my book.

Some of my favorites are hanging in there, some I didn't even see at all even though I know they had made it through to group night.

Tonight we figure out how we whittle down 100 to 50. After this show I definitely know who I want to go through and who I don't want to see. Chief among those I champion right now are Brett and Jacee, who managed to skate by even when he forgot the lyrics simply because of his unusual circumstances.

If y'all thought I loved em before... that doesn't even touch the maternal instinct I have for them now. And I love Steven for making Jun-bug sweat it out thinking he might go home for his being so douchey. Scotty finally apologized and felt like shit for not standing up for Jacee, which means there could be hope for him yet.

I guess only time will tell. As always.

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