9:00 p.m. ET Last night was a pretty good “American Idol” episode, wasn’t it? Some good singing, some strong instrument work and a solid debut for new judge Ellen DeGeneres. How would “American Idol” top that? How about Group Night!
[Click through for a full recap of Wednesday’s (Feb. 10) “American Idol”…]
9:01 p.m. The first round of Hollywood auditions eliminated 81 contestants, leaving 96 performers to divide themselves into groups, choose a song and learn choreography.
9:02 p.m. Mary Powers, Alex Lambert and Margo May became a group of five with two late interlopers. They look concerned. They call themselves The Dreamers.
9:02 p.m. The Mighty Rangers are a group of Denver contestants. They came together easily, which is never a good sign.
9:03 p.m. Another group, Phoenix, features a veteran from last year, a singer who worked with Danny Gokey on Group Night. She takes her team into the closet to rehearse. Nobody stops to think if aligning with somebody who got overshadowed by Danny Gokey is a good idea.
9:03 p.m. More of the Mighty Rangers, who have great team spirit, but no team direction. Ryan is really naming people much quicker than I can type, especially since most of these people have either been seen in passing or have never been spotted before.
9:04 p.m. The two interlopers in The Dreamers aren’t fitting in. We’re shocked.
9:05 p.m. SLOW DOWN! I don’t have a DVR on this Slingbox!
9:08 p.m. Only The Dreamers haven’t settled in. Erin and Hope, the newcomers, are being squeezed out. Hope was the girl who didn’t know her family was poor, right? She was good. Meanwhile, Mary tries to take control.
9:10 p.m. Paige and Thadeus, paired with two others as the group Neopolitan, find a place to rehearse Lady Gaga. They get into a shouting competition with another group. Why aren’t they at a hotel with more rehearsal rooms?
9:11 p.m. Moorea, the girl who sang with Danny Gokey, is playing autocrat with her team in the closet.
9:11 p.m. But what about Erin and Hope? They’re still in limbo. They finally get welcomed in, Dreamers again. But can they find a song to sing? And a routine?
9:12 p.m. Big Mike [Lynche] was in a group called Team Awesome. I remember Big Mike! WHEW! He escapes to communicate with his wife, who’s still in labor. Big Mike on Team Awesome? How very “Chuck.”
9:12 p.m. Some people have gone to bed, while other people we’ve never seen before are still awake and rehearsing. The Mighty Rangers, for example, are split between people who want to stay up forever (the girls) and people who want to go to sleep (the boys).
9:13 p.m. Back to The Dreamers. The editing of this episode is more ADHD than I can handle. Mary continues her role as Dreamers’ team captain, causing trouble with the vocal coach.
9:14 p.m. Destiny’s Wild and Neopolitan are jockeying for time with the other vocal coach. By the time Neopolitain gets their chance, they’re exhausted and incapable of singing in tune. Oh no! Will these people we’ve barely seen and barely heard survive?
9:16 p.m. Where are Didi, Crystal, Janell and Lilly? Where’s Andrew Garcia? Darn you, “American Idol.” Don’t make me pick favorites one night and then ignore those favorites one night later!
9:19 p.m. Whew. We survived the night.
9:20 p.m. There was Lilly! I saw her!
9:20 p.m. Ryan tells us that unlike most Group Days, everybody seems calm and collected. That’s not going to last.
9:20 p.m. Uh-oh. People don’t know the lyrics. On Group Day? That’s deadly.
9:21 p.m. Whew. Now people are getting hyper and starting to cry. Mary Powers yells at Alex Lambert. Bully!
9:21 p.m. Big Mike’s wife is at eight centimeters. Good to know.
9:21 p.m. Destiny’s Wild is making everybody jealous and making Mary cry.
9:21 p.m. “Push that baby out,” Big Mike yells into his cell phone.
9:22 p.m. IT’S A GIRL! Yay Big Mike!
9:23 p.m. Faith is the first group of the day. They apparently had no drama at all. Therefore, we don’t much care about them. Early audition favorites Charity Vance and Ashley Rodriguez both shine. I don’t recognize the third member of the group. Ellen calls Charity forward and then tells the three women that they’re all going through.
9:24 p.m. Team Awesome is up. They’re all over-ernest guys and they can’t harmonize. Nobody stands out. The Efron-esque Tim Urban was so good last night, but tonight? Less impressive. Big Mike? He’s OK, but not memorable. Tim and Big Mike are called to the front. In the background, we see Jason Castro’s brother Michael (back for a second season) and another plus-sized father (Seth Rollins) we met in auditions. They’re not going to send Big Mike home on this day of all days, right? We’ll find out after the break…
9:30 p.m. Big Mike and Tim Urban are safe. Seth Rollins and Clifford the Muppet’s brother are done.
9:31 p.m. Can Neopolitan overcome their drama and break out a killer Lady Gaga cover? They’re pretty good with the harmonies early on. We interrupt their performance to see that Neopolitan stole Destiny’s Wild’s idea to do the song a cappella. Simon was impressed with Neopolitan. He’s pleased with their effort. Paige steps up and says that nobody had taken the song, so they decided to go with it. In your face, Destiny. They’re all safe.
9:33 p.m. Todrick Hall of Destiny’s Wild can do flips, which would be useful if this were “So You Think You Can Dance.” Certainly Destiny’s Wild is vastly more energetic as a team. I don’t think their vocals are nearly as good, though. Ellen calls it “Weird,” criticizing their strange costumes, which she calls “surreal.” They’re still all safe.
9:35 p.m. Several teams we never saw rehearse get easy passes through to the next round. Good for them. But why do we care?
9:35 p.m. But what of the “Glee”-esque Mighty Rangers? Maddie Penrose stands out with her quirky glasses. But the next two singers forget the lyrics. Uh-oh. Bad Mark Labriola and Kimberly Kerbow. Mark begs for another chance, crying. “We’ve all heard ‘No’ more than ‘Yes,'” Kara tells him. Mark, Kimberly and some other dude are sent home. Maddie Penrose and her color-matched, thick-framed spectacles survives. She’s my American Eye-dol. See? This is what happens when the show moves too quickly. I make stupid puns. Mark is still whining about how he just needed one more chance. He also apparently needed to watch “American Idol” before. Dude, you can screw up lyrics if you’re awesome, but if you’re mediocre, you have to be perfect.
9:42 p.m. It’s time for Phoenix, with Jermaine Sellers. Things get worse when a group member, Cat Nestle, walks out. Because she knew she’d mess up and humiliate herself. And that wasn’t humiliating at all? They haven’t rehearsed as a group of four, so will this Phoenix fail to rise? Ben Honeycutt botches the lyrics. Jeff Goldford botches the lyrics. Moorea Masa forgets the lyrics. Jermaine attempts to provide a distraction by shrieking. They’re awful. “That felt like ‘Survivor’ to me,” Kara says. Moorea protests that they overcame hardship and she’s proud of them. Simon isn’t having it. Moorea and Ben are both done, meaning that Jeff and Jermaine moved on somehow. “I know I am not meant to be in no group,” Jermaine says.
9:46 p.m. The night’s Death Song is “Sweet Escape,” which prompts blundered lyrics and random skatting. Why the heck would you try such a rhythmically difficult song? One girl stands out just by getting the lyrics right. They cheer for her and nobody points out that she messed up the pacing and wasn’t really singing in tune. It’s the little victories, I guess.
9:47 p.m. The next group is Big Dreams, featuring jailbird Matt Lawrence and that annoying drama queen from Boston. Matt can’t dance or remember his lyrics, but he isn’t even his group’s weakest link. It becomes a Keystone Kops routine, with singers nearly bumping into each other at the end. Ellen is dying laughing and Simon calls it “as bad as anything I’ve heard.” That whole group is done. Drama Queen Amanda bawls.
9:49 p.m. Good-bye to several other people I don’t actually remember.
9:49 p.m. Drama Queen Amanda? Still crying.
9:54 p.m. There’s Janell Wheeler. She’s in the group Middle C along with Jermaine Purifoy and Casey James. They’re good.
9:54 p.m. And there’s Andrew Garcia. He’s in Three Men and a Baby with the excellent Katie Stevens and two other people. They’re all safe, as are the Middle C trio.
9:55 p.m. The day’s last group is The Dreamers, with Mary Powers in charge and everybody else stumbling along behind her. Boy, I like Mary last night. Boy, I hate Mary tonight.
9:56 p.m. Mary leads off for The Dreamers. She’s OK. Kinda. I mean, she’s OK compared to Margo May, who’s brutal. Alex Lambert looks asleep, but at least he’s in tune. “It’s like the dream died somewhere on that stage,” Kara cracks. She’s on fire tonight. Ellen has inspired her! Mary and Hope come to the front with Alex. They’re all safe. Tone-Deaf Margo and another girl are done. Mary wishes everyone in her group the best, but vows never to work with any of them again. The feeling is surely mutual.
9:58 p.m. Wait. For all that, only 25 people were sent home? What’s the point?
9:58 p.m. Ryan runs through a random list of people we may remember who also advanced. I think we’re going to have to wait for the dust to settle next Tuesday to see what happened to Didi (I think I saw her advancing in the background) and Crystal and Lilly and the rest.
9:59 p.m. So, um… That was a less-impressive Group Day than some we’ve seen before, wasn’t it? The bickering wasn’t dramatic enough. the good performances weren’t good enough and the bad performances weren’t bad enough. Other than making me turn on Mary Powers, hardly anything was accomplished at all.
So what stood out for you on Night Two of Hollywood Week? Anything?