It’s time for our second “American Idol” episode from Hollywood Week.
Last Thursday, we re-met all of the same people we met in the audition rounds.
Will Wednesday’s (Feb. 15) episode showcase some fresh faces? Click through to find out…
8 p.m. ET Woo! Groups! “Personalities clash. Frustrations run deep.” That’s what Ryan Seacrest promises and he only lies to me two or three times per week (more if I listen to his radio show, I suspect).
8:02 p.m. Ah, Pasadena. Home of Hollywood Week.
8:03 p.m. Contestants thought they knew the game, so they formed their own groups and started to prepare, with the Day 1 performers thinking they were getting a head start on the competition. But there’s a very, very small twist. Groups have to have a mix of Day 1 and Day 2 contestants. Denise Jackson, whoever she is, is getting increasingly desperate for a new person, but a cute blonde eventually joins the Sugar Mommas group. Yay?
8:04 p.m. Who wants annoying cocky Tiffany from New Jersey? Nobody. She’s entirely unwanted, despite announcing that she’s the only professional choreographer in the room. Tiffany tries to bond with deep-voiced Scott McCreery, who has the nerve to ask her to sing for him. “Like you’re the prize,” Tiffany responds, before serenading him, even getting down on her knees in an unfortunate bit of choreography. He pretends to be impressed, but ditches poor Tiffany. Somehow, Tiffany sways Hot Blonde Jessica away from the Sugar Mommas, now Day 2-less. They, in turn, woo Scott McCreery, who has no interest in singing “Mercy.”
8:07 p.m. Now Scotty comes to Jordan Dorsey’s group. They make him audition, but Jordan wants no part of Scotty’s deep country tones. Jordan’s causing trouble here. His group was set from Day 1, but they need a Day 2 person, auditioning an assortment of people until some guy named Shane pops up and fits in perfectly.
8:08 p.m. Nobody wants to be in a group with Tiffany and Jessica. Nobody wants Scotty McCreery. And the Sugar Mommas can’t function without a Day 2 person. Surely these stragglers should come together somehow, right?
8:11 p.m. This is where the producers’ audition strategy and the episode they cut for last Thursday becomes a problem. I know maybe 12 people by name. Now they’re just spitting out one complete stranger’s name after another. How am I supposed to keep up?
8:14 p.m. Things are still sadly chaotic. Nobody wants Scotty. Finally he ends up with The Guaps? Clint Jun Gamboa isn’t happy, but he’s prepared to cope. You’re a trooper, Clint.
8:14 p.m. Whoever Ashley Sullivan is, she gets welcomed into a group. She cried at her audition. She cried in her first Hollywood Round performance. Who *wouldn’t* want her on their team? Nothing says calm-under-pressure like blubbering uncontrollably under pressure.
8:15 p.m. Tiffany Rios and Jessica Yance are allowed to perform as a duo. Will this make Tiffany’s professional choreography job easier or harder?
8:16 p.m. Yes. It’s hard to find rehearsal space. They’re rehearsing in the garage and in the bathroom, wherever they can. They could hop on a bus and actually *go* to Hollywood? Nah.
8:16 p.m. Five people I don’t remember are calling themselves The Minors, because they’re all 15 or 16 years old. They think they’re energetic and stress free, even though they have to rehearse in close proximity to their moms. I like The Moms. They should perform instead of The Minors. Oh. Look. They’re performing. Let’s hope the kids are better.
8:18 p.m. James Durbin and Emma Henry are in The Deep Vees. James is frustrated with the stage moms coaching The Minors. I’m not sure is this random jealousy makes James more likable or if I enjoy him more when he’s shrieking or talking about his various Syndromes.
8:19 p.m. Interesting. The former quartet — Rob Bolin, Chelsee Oaks and Bleached Blonde Jacqueline — is now a trio, fittingly called Three’s Company. Wait. Weren’t they all performing in the same day? Plus, Rob and Chelsee aren’t talking, while Jacqueline is missing her booted sweetie. They’re also being held back by Rob’s dancing difficulties.
8:21 p.m. Ashley Sullivan has crashed. She’s huddled in a corner hiding in her hoodie and threatening to quit. The other girls tell Ashley that if she wants to quit, they’ll have to find somebody else. Ashley cries some more and asks who she needs to talk to to go home. Why do I suspect that Ashley’s emotional instability is too valuable to allow her to escape without a fight?
8:27 p.m. Back to “As The Ashley Turns…” Ashley goes crying to a producer and asks to go home, repeatedly blaming the cameras. This is not a well young woman. But you know what “American Idol” has always loved? Crazy! Patrick Lynn, a supervising producer, won’t let Ashley go. He tells her to step aside and give things some thought.
8:28 p.m. Back to The Guaps, where Scotty’s arrival was endorsed by Jacee Badeaux, but earned the ire of Clint Jun Gamboa. But in a sad twist, the one who gets the boot is Jacee, eliminated for not holding his notes? He’s sent packing, with Clint using “choreography” as his new excuse for eliminating the husky young kid. Poor Jacee has to go to his parents when nobody will have him. This is the saddest thing ever. Team Jacee!
8:30 p.m. Jordan Dorsey’s group is now having trouble and he has nobody to blame but himself and, fittingly, he’s thinking of leaving them, rather than booting anybody. Lauren Turner forces Jordan to make a final decision. Jordan leaves and joins forces with another ensemble called Four Plus One.
8:31 p.m. Ashley’s made her decision… She’s… staying. And, sweetly, The Hits welcome her back.
8:32 p.m. Brett Loewenstern’s group welcomes Jacee into the fold. He needs a group and they need a Group 2 person. They’re now The Sugar Mommas Plus Jacee.
8:34 p.m. Three’s Company is struggling. Or at least Rob Bolin is struggling. “I don’t dance with people. I don’t perform with people. I’m a musician,” Rob tells us.
8:35 p.m. Everybody goes to bed.
8:39 p.m. “I’m addicted to adrenaline and a whole lot of other things, including wanting to hear you perform today,” Steven Tyler tells the singers, advising them to use their illusions. J-Lo tells them not to get distracted by performing in groups. And Randy Jackson urges them not to forget the words. This is Randy taking on another of Simon’s old responsibilities.
8:41 p.m. Pia Toscano is darned pretty and fairly talented, or that was my initial reaction, but after hearing a little more, she’s a bit vibrato-heavy. She’s in a group with Alessandra Guercio, who’s also pretty and vibrato-heavy. Rounding out this very similar trio is Brielle Von Hugel. Interestingly, they sound better singing together. Their harmonies are nice and well blended. They’re like a homogenous singing Charlie’s Angels. Steven Tyler is very pleased, as is Randy Jackson. All three of them are advancing.
8:43 p.m. The next two groups are Jordan Dorsey’s former group, 440, and Jordan Dorsey’s current group, Four Plus One.
8:44 p.m. Four Plus One goes first, with Jordan leading things off slightly flat. Aspiring teen bar mitzvah idol Robbie Rosen oversings a bit. They close with an off-key harmony and three members of the group aren’t heard at all. Jennifer Lopez says they all advanced. OK. That’s not very substantive. Jordan Dorsey is vindicated.
8:46 p.m. 440 is up next. Adrian Michael starts things dully, but in tune, followed by a big-voiced verse from Lauren Turner. Their version of “F*** You” is a uneven and features no muppets and no real sense of humor. But it’s OK. Suddenly, the judges realize they have to send somebody home at some point. But not now. This whole group is also going through. So Jordan *wasn’t* vindicated and that rivalry didn’t amount to anything? That’s a tease.
8:52 p.m. People are advancing left and right. Ryan Seacrest decides to temp fate by speculating that the Group Day Curse may be broken.
8:53 p.m. Enter Tiffany Rios and Jessica Yance. I really only want to write about how unfortunate Tiffany’s leopard-print mini-skort is. Actually, everything Tiffany does is unfortunate. Randy has to stop them mid-performance. “It was really bad,” Randy says to an incredulous Tiffany. They’re both done. After a little backtalk, Tiffany surrenders. I feel sad for Jessica, who pretty much get hosed.
8:55 p.m. Uh-oh. Kevin Campos slept in. Who? He’s a member of Spanglish and he didn’t show up and his group is about to perform. But now he’s keeping the judges waiting. In the interim, Steven goes on stage and plays the drums and amuses the crowd.
8:56 p.m. This is Jovany Baretto’s group. He’s so-so. Kevin Campos is also so-so. Jorge Gabriel sings out of his nose and apparently doesn’t know the lyrics. Wrapping up this disaster is Karen Rodriguez. Steven has to deliver the verdict, but only after requesting coffee. He has kind words for Karen and Jovany and then confusingly congratulates three of them. Ultimately, it’s only Karen and Jovany advancing. Don’t make us care about Kevin Campos’ sleeping patterns if we aren’t gonna get a payoff!
8:59 p.m. Why are we watching some girl sticking spaghetti up her nose and pulling it out of her mouth?
8:59 p.m. Steven Tyler comes up on stage and four young women serenade him, not quite in full striptease form, but definitely as close to burlesque as you can do to “Some Kind of Wonderful.” It’s so awkward that they can’t even be bothered to introduce the individual women of the group. There’s Noodlenose and Lauren Alaina and two other people. Singing-wise, none of them are memorable. Lauren’s the only one who advances, which explains why nobody else was identified.
9:02 p.m. Farewell, Noodlenose, I’ll miss you most of all.
9:07 p.m. A quartet from Nashville had rehearsal struggles. Colton Dixon is nasally. Matt Dillard can’t sing in tune or remember the words. And the harmonies are even worse. People should stop singing “You’re Amazing” poorly. Only Colton survives and I’m not even sure why he made it through.
9:08 p.m. I don’t know who Shannon Livewell is, but she’s really bad. Briana Tyson can’t remember the lyrics to “F*** You.” They’re not so hard. And Alyson Jados is horrible. What happened to all of our “Best Group Performances ever?” Caitlin Koch isn’t giving one. Paris Tassin doesn’t sound quite so awful and I think she may be harmed by the harmonies behind her. But all of these people are heading home. At least we met Paris Tassin before saying good-bye.
9:11 p.m. A couple people we met briefly in their auditions are done. I’m not sure that I remember liking any of them in those auditions. This isn’t hurting me. It is, however, hurting them. Many tears are shed.
9:12 p.m. Here come The Hits. Before they start, Randy warns them that even though they’re in groups, they have to shine as individuals. Will quitter Ashley Sullivan shine? Keeira Lyn Ford, Ashley and Ashthon Jones all shine. There’s a fourth member to her group, but we don’t care enough about her. Ashley’s actually really good, or at least she doesn’t cry. The judges are pleased and send all four of them through and Ashley freaks out and cries tears of happiness.
9:19 p.m. The Minors are still being coached by their mothers and that’s still offensive to The Deep Vees.
9:20 p.m. The Deep Vees are up first. James Durbin is pretty super first. Emma Henry then puts me to sleep. Danny Pate and Caleb Johnson shout through their voices. The group basically stops so that James can work his way through a shrieking rendition of the final note to “Somebody to Love.” J-Lo describes their harmonies as “almost painful” and calls it “a bad ‘Glee’ audition.” Ouch! Caleb and James get to stay. I understand why James is sticking around. I don’t get why Caleb is around, but whatever. The Moms of The Minors are being catty about the failed harmonies.
9:22 p.m. Time for The Minors to take The Deep Vees out behind the woodsheld. Keonna Evans is really good. Jalen Harris is pretty solid. Sarina Joi-Crowe is also fine. Heck, the whole group is terrific (that’s my way of saying I wasn’t able to type the names of the strangers quickly enough). It’s a rout. And you know who comes out looking like the evil villain here? James Durbin. Wow. Talk about a drop from favorite to whiner in one episode. Needless to say, all of The Minors are advancing. And with them, the Minor Moms also advance. I feel like they could have a spin-off webseries this season if enough of their kids advance.
9:29 p.m. This episode is too long. And some of us also have to recap “Survivor” tonight…
9:30 p.m. Rob Bolin is still struggling. Three’s Company only got 30 minutes of sleep and his female companions are mocking him. I feel bad for Rob, who’s been emasculated every step of the way on this “Idol” journey. He’s better than that. But he’s also bland and you have to give “Idol” credit for repeatedly reminding us of who he is in the hopes that his voice will then keep him around.
9:30 p.m. A cheater! Some guy is reading the lyrics off of his hand. But at least he’s kinda in tune, which is more than can be said for his companions, including the previously nervous Hollie Cavanaugh. J-Lo says that her instinct is not to send anybody through. Instead, the painfully out-of-tune Corey goes through along with at least one other. He joins the audience in asking, “Why?”
9:32 p.m. Ebony, Ivory and Every plus The Night Owls are going music-free.
9:32 p.m. The Night Owls are up first. Dan Noguchi is dull. Lara Johnston vamps sexily. Julie Zorrilla may be the most beautiful “Idol” contestant ever. The group ends with Taylor Hicks Lite, Casey Abrams. They’re OK. Julie and Casey are the only two to advance.
9:34 p.m. The second a cappella group is much better arranged than The Night Owls, but they have less charisma, if you ask me. Steven Tyler, though, says that “every little bit of it was beautiful” and the whole group goes through. Jacob Lusk is crowned “a new star” by Ryan Seacrest.
9:35 p.m. Four Non-Blondes and That Guy rehearsed in the bathroom. Caleb Hawley, Devyn Rush, Chris Medina, Carson Higgins and somebody who they don’t identify, they’re the first group to find humor in “F*** You.” Good for them. Randy didn’t like Devyn, but he calls Carson entertaining. Every member of the group other than Devyn advances. She doesn’t understand the way “American Idol” works and she’s trying to figure out a loophole to get back in there. Unfortunately, Ryan has to tell her (or us) that no such loophole exists.
9:42 p.m. A collection of weird observations from Steven Tyler, largely directed at people we can’t identify.
9:43 p.m. Poor Jacee. He’s still nervous. He didn’t know his song. Can Sugar Momma and the Babies pull through? Denise Jackson is very good. And where did Stevie Cain come from? We already knew Brett Loewenstern was a favorite of sorts. Jacee forgets his words and makes up his own cute lyrics which, if nothing else, causes the judges to laugh. The judges ask about Jacee’s confusion and his whole tragic story from the night before comes out. The whole group gets sent forward, with Jacee the last to be recognized, earning applause from the crowd as he cries. It’s a nice moment for Jacee.
9:46 p.m. But what of the group that sent Jacee away? Well, first Randy has to put his old group on the spot. The crowd boos the group. “I love all of y’all, but Jacee’s the best kid in this competition,” Scotty McCreery says, apologizing to Jacee. To his credit, Scotty’s an asset to his group. I also really like Frances Coontz, the adorably nerdy girl who half-heartedly lobbied to keep Jacee around. I’d gladly get rid of Clint Jun Gamboa and his poser glasses and his inane excuses. I’m not saying Jun can’t sing, but he’s supplanted James Durbin as this episode’s Big Bad. In the end, the whole group goes forward. But Scotty still feels miserable about forsaking Jacee.
9:54 p.m. We’re ending tonight with Three’s Company. But not before we emasculate Rob just a little more. “I may look like an absolute fool,” Rob admits. Will he be able to pull things together. It’s one last cover of “Forget You”… Chelsee leads off and she’s good. Jacqueline goes out on a limb and sings one of the song’s obscenities. She sounds awful, shouting through her verse. And, sadly, Rob botches the works. He can’t remember the lyrics. He can’t dance. And he doesn’t even sound very good vamping. Rob is going home. This actually makes me sad. I wonder if he’d have done better in a different group without Chelsee and The Bleached Harpy. Oh well. He can now return to his career as a Giovanni Ribisi impersonator.
So how was Group Night or you? Who stood out positively? Who stood out negatively? Who are you gonna miss?