American Idol: Season 10, Episode 9 – “When you’ve got your ex-girlfriend and the commander-in-chief…I’m screwed.”

American Idol: Season 10, Episode 9 – “When you’ve got your ex-girlfriend and the commander-in-chief…I’m screwed.”

It’s the second night of Hollywood week and 168 contestants are left in the shark tank.  The water has been chummed and it’s time to begin on of my favorite episodes of each American Idol season – group numbers.  Who will soar?  Who will crash and burn?  Who will forget the words?  Who will be sent home?  It will only take two short hours to find out.  Buckle up, get your popcorn ready, and let’s get this party started.

With so many people put through to Hollywood this week, it took two full days to winnow the field down to the remaining 168 singers.  Those who performed on the first day of the culling assumed they had an advantage, and began forming and rehearsing in groups.  Not so fast.  In a true Survivor “drop your buffs moment”, Ken Warwick (an executive producer on Idol) informed the contestants their groups had to be a mix of both day 1 and day 2 contestants.  You could hear the proverbial needle scratch across the record.  It was beautiful.

What followed was an all out scramble for the contestants to break-up and reform their groups under the newly clarified rules.  It had to be one of the most drama filled and stressful group weeks in recent memory.  With people abandoning groups, reforming groups, and almost leaving the show – the first 40 minutes of the night stressed ME out.  I can’t imagine how the contestants felt.

I also can’t begin to recap every single thing that happened.  I just don’t have the necessary Soap Opera scripting skills to do it justice.  I’ll wade through the things I found interesting or disturbing, and share my thoughts about this marathon episode that was the second of Hollywood week.  Here it goes folks – two hours of drama in 30 minutes or less – or your pizza’s free.  Dig in!

  • Tiffany Rios searching in vain for a group that would have her was a delicious dose of karma.   I guess everyone was intimidated by “the things she could do, that no one else could.”  It couldn’t have happened to a better person. Begging for partners over the PA?  Singing wildly over the PA?  165 contestants were left and not a SINGLE ONE was willing to join her.  Interesting.  Oh – and the “performance” she gave Scotty McCreary to try and convince him to join her?  It looked like it made him as uncomfortable as it made me.  What was she looking for from him, a few one-dollar bills tucked in her waistband?  Classy.
  • Jessica Yance bailed on her group to join Tiffany.  Worst decision ever.  I hope she at least got extra peanuts on her flight home.
  • Jordan Dorsey thought he was Sean Combs putting together a cast for “Making the Band 38”.  If you’re that good Jordan, why are you here on Idol, not on your world tour?  I was not impressed.  Later in the show, he left the group he was so adamant in helping form.  Again – not impressed.
  • “The Gwaps” kicked Jacee Badeaux to the curb (or should I say, Clint Jun Gamboa kicked him out), to bring in Scotty McCreary.  Not a great way to treat Jacee, and something that came back up later in the show.  I’m not a Clint fan now – don’t really care how well he sings.
  • Newsflash for the guys singing in the bathroom (“Brothers From Another Mother”) – you’re not actually the first people to ever discover the acoustics in there are great for singing.  Don’t hurt your arms patting yourselves on the back.
  • I have to agree with James Durbin’s complaint – “The Minors” had a distinct advantage by having their mothers with them.  Throughout the night they choreographed, coached, and cajoled their group of 15 and 16 year old children.  Then they had the maturity to talk smack about other singers.  To be sure, “The Minors” sounded great in their group number – but then their moms came thundering on the stage like a pack of rabid shoppers storming the local Wal-Mart on Black Friday.  I don’t know if we will see any of “The Minors” in future rounds – but I pray we don’t see anymore of the moms.  Please.
  • Rob Bolin was stuck in a group with his ex, Chelsee Oaks, and her roommate, Jacqueline Dunford.  It was clear there were still issues between Rob and Chelsee, which didn’t help in their rehearsals.  I’ll have more on them later – but Rob did lay down one of the best lines of the night describing his group during their preparations.  “When you’ve got your ex-girlfriend and the commander-in-chief…I’m screwed.”
  • Ashley Sullivan had an(other) emotional breakdown.  She wasn’t sure if she wanted to leave the show, or stay.  She eventually decided to stay.  I really like her and I’m sure the producers do to – she makes for good TV – but I have a relatively low pain threshold for a “breakdown of the week”.  She needs to get her act together.  It’s only going to get more stressful from here.
  • I truly felt bad for Jacee Badeaux when his group cut him loose.  No one likes to be rejected.  It’s even worse when you’re only 15 and suffer that rejection on national TV.  To his credit, Jacee handled it with far more grace that the group that kicked him out. (I’ll say it again – not a Clint fan, never will be).  I’m glad his parents were there to comfort him and give him some advice – “It just wasn’t meant to be”.
  • Shortly after that sage advice, Jacee joined Brett Lowenstern’s group, even though he had never heard the song they were singing.  I continue to be impressed with Brett – he welcomed Jacee with open arms and really seemed thankful to have him join them.  I like both of these guys – I hope they do well.
  • It was finally time for the singing to commence.  Steven shared a few words of wisdom with the crowd – “Pressure, I know nothing about. I’m addicted to adrenaline, and a whole lot of other things, including wanting to hear you sing real good today.  So use your illusion, baby – let’s have at it!”  Randy shared a slightly more succinct pearl of wisdom – “Don’t ever forget the words.”  No pressure…
  • The first group to sing was good.  I don’t remember any of them from earlier rounds, and I’m not sure I’ll remember any of them tomorrow.  Welcome to the next round.  Maybe we’ll hear your names again next week.  Maybe not.
  • Two more groups sang – Jordan Dorsey’s current group and the group he left.  I couldn’t really care less about Jordan.  What I did care about was this – Robbie Rosen is the real deal.  At 16 years old, he’s incredibly poised and sounds great.  I still think he’s one to keep an eye on going forward.
  • Tiffany Rios and Jessica Yance didn’t even make it all the way through their song.  It was spectacularly bad.  All I can say is – someone PLEASE take the glitter hairspray away from Tiffany.  I almost had a seizure from all of the sparkle.
  • Steven – thanks for taking time to entertain the crowd on the drums.  I’m pretty sure Joey Cramer’s job is safe.
  • The group “Spanglish” almost fell apart when one of its members overslept (goodbye Kevin Campos…).  Jovany Barreto was the only one that stood out to me – but what was he doing when he was in the background?  Salsa dancing?  Steven botched the elimination, mistakenly thinking three got through, instead of two.  His response when all was straightened out?  “Edit”.  Nice.
  • Angela Cheslock saved me the trouble of coming up with a nickname for her.  Noodle Nose.  That’s right – practice for years, pour all of your hopes and dreams in to making it through Hollywood week – and what you will be remembered for is pulling a spaghetti noodle through your nose and out of your mouth.  ‘Nuff said.
  • I think it’s clear Lauren Alaina has a crush on Steven (not that he seems to mind).  I have to give credit to “Center Stage” for the best group number choreography – ever.  Bringing Steven on stage for their number was genius.  (I loved his “Yes I am” during their version of “Some Kind of Wonderful”.)  He seemed to enjoy himself in ways that might not be entirely appropriate…but I digress.  Too bad the good idea was not enough to save anyone but Alaina.
  • Matt Dillard saw his run on Idol evaporate as quickly as he forgot the words to “Just The Way You Are”.  Shannon Livewell (who?) neglected to pick a key to sing in.  Briana Tyson (who?) forgot the words to “Forget You”.  Ironic much?  Janelle Arthur (who?) had nice braids.  Alyson Jados (who?) forgot the lyrics and forgot to dress for this decade.  Caitlin Koch (who?) forgot BOTH the lyrics and the melody.  Paris Tassin (I remember her!) was stopped in the middle of the song by Randy.  Even her compelling story was not enough to overcome her flat performance and keep her on the show.  Emily Anne Reed was cut (still love her voice), Adrian Beasley was cut (didn’t care for her much the first time), and Aaron Gutierrez was cut (but his brother made it through).
  • Ashley Sullivan’s group picked the perfect number for her.  The girl has some funk.  Bonus points to all of them for pulling the cash out of their dresses and showering it onstage at the end of the number.
  • “The Deep V’s” put forth a more traditional rock version of “Somebody to Love”.  Not a stellar performance (Jennifer called is “bad Glee audition”) – but what the hell was the note James Durbin hit at the end??  Wow.  I can’t believe he can still talk after that.  I say again – wow. Very impressive.
  • I mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again – “The Minors” sounded great, but the behavior of their mom’s ruined what should have been a good moment for them.
  • Steve Clawson?  Nope.  Just call him Cheater Guy.  If you are going to write the lyrics on your hand, at least TRY and hide them.  Not just a cheater – a lazy cheater.
  • A piece of advice for Corey Lavoy.  If the judges just let you through after you completely destroyed the lyrics to your song – DO NOT ASK WHY.  They might decide to answer you, or worse, realize they just made a huge mistake.  Say thank you, walk off the stage, and go play the lottery.
  • “Ebony, Ivory, and Every” included Naima Ededapo (still no word on whether she has learned to shave her armpits), and newly named on-camera singer, Jacob Lusk.  He provided a, shall we say, “interesting” ending to the song.  Watching him sing, I had to wonder – did he have a shot of Novocain before the show?  The judges liked it – I’m reserving judgment.
  • “The Night Owls” sang acappella.  Julie Zorilla impressed Steven and Jennifer with her dress (which again reminded me that she has a very Leah Michelle vibe going on).  Casey Abrams was on point as usual.  It was a good performance for just one night’s work, but only Casey and Julie made it through.
  • I wasn’t impressed with Chris Medina’s vocal for the second show in a row.  It just wasn’t that strong.  And what’s up with his hair?  He really needs the stylists provided to the top 10 – he looked like last year’s “Last Comic Standing” winner, Felipe Esparza.  His group also included Carson Higgins.  I can’t quite figure him out.  He’s a little bit John Peter Lewis, a little bit Ashley Sullivan, and a little bit Norman Gentle.
  • More words of wisdom from Steven.  “Elaine from Seinfeld is it?”  “High five.  I wish I could give you a high five – that was the worst.”  “John Wayne, I think you rode your white horse right into the middle of the Apollo Theater.
  • There were so many good moments when “Sugar Mama and the Babies” hit the stage.  Jacee forgot the words, but kept his cool and had one of the best adlib lyrics of the show – “I don’t wanna go home, but this is really fun.  I’m gonna do this cause I know that I won’t be going home…hopefully.” It was a very genuine moment.  Denise Jackson showed her character when she came to Jacee’s defense about the circumstances of his joining the group late – “They straight kicked him out the group”.  Go tell dat!  When Jacee’s name was finally called to step forward and join all the other members of the group, Brett started jumping up and down immediately – thrilled that Jacee had made the cut.  Jacee finally let the emotions catch up to him, and broke down in tears on stage.  I’ll say it again – I really like this kid.
  • Up next were “The Gwaps”.  Before they even sang, both Randy and Steven gave them grief for shunning Jacee. (“For that alone, we should make you step back one”).  All we got from Clint were excuses and nervous laughter.  To his credit, Scotty McCreary stepped up and apologized for not sticking up for Jacee.  The group sounded good and even though Steven made Clint sweat it (not a Clint fan – never will be), they all made it through.
  • The last group of the night was “Three’s Company” – Rob Bolin, Chelsee Oaks, and Jacqueline Dunford.  They struggled all night and all day to pull their act together.  I really thought they would shine, given they were saved until the end of the show – but I was wrong.  Rob never looked comfortable with the choreography and never did learn the song; he couldn’t even remember the title.  Once they hit the stage, Chelsee sounded okay.  Jacqueline was decent, but decided to sing the unedited version of the song (much to Randy’s dismay).  Rob completely forgot the lyrics.  Totally and completely.  After much deliberation, the judges sent him home; the girls made it.

I have to admit, I was really upset to see Rob leave the competition.  But after I had a day or two to mull it over, I came to a conclusion – I don’t really think his heart was in it.  From day one, it seemed he was along for the ride, trying and reconnect with Chelsee.  I don’t think American Idol was Rob’s dream; it was hers.  As Hollywood week went on, it was clear that things were awkward and he was not any closer to closure on their relationship.  I think Rob was glad to go home – he may have even wanted to.

In the final interview, Chelsee talked a lot about how much he meant to her, but then chuckled when making they point they would never get back together.  You could see the emotion in Rob’s eyes.  Jacqueline piped up, “Yeah you will”.  Chelsee just laughed harder.  Rob stood there for a long moment.  “I’m done”, he said, and walked off the show.  I hope he means he’s done with more than just American Idol.

And that was it.  It was a marathon two hours of drama, tears, celebrations, and meltdowns.  Next up are the last solo numbers before the field is cut down one final time in Hollywood.  Will any new favorites emerge?  Will any more of the current recognizable faces be sent home packing?  We’ll just have to wait and see.  Until then – Word Zombie out.

© 2011, The Word Zombie. All rights reserved.

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