Thursday, February 9, 2012
"American Idol" Recap: If It's a Singing Competition, Why is There No Freaking Singing?
Dear Nigel Lythgoe,
I realize you're trying to ratchet up the drama for Season 11, but there was NOT ONE PERFORMANCE DURING THE ENTIRE HOUR of tonight's show. I loved the montage of previous group meltdowns, complete with glimpses of Gina Glocksen, the Kristen McNamara/Nathaniel Marshall feud, Tatiana Del Toro's emotional breakdown, and of course, the beloved Brittenum twins ("I don't do groups!"), but an hour of people trying to find groups and fighting about songs and harmonies and sleeping and sickness without any songs being performed is just crap. Seriously.
So at the end of yesterday's Hollywood Week episode, what Ryan "I Wanna Be Matt Lauer" Seacrest called "the most intense, stressful, punishing night of the contestants' lives," young Symone Zaire Black fainted after singing (quite well, I might add) and fell off the stage.
As the crew and medical staff tended to Symone, J.Lo needed to make it all about her. "Poor baby," she said. "I was going to say that was one of the prettiest sounds I heard all day." (It's not you, J.Lo, it's her.)
But then it was clear what it was all about: product placement. "Anyone got a Coke for her?," the medic asked. Luckily, it appeared Symone wasn't hurt too badly and was dehydrated, so she needed to go to the hospital with her "stage dad," but not before learning she made it through to the next round.
Also waiting for decisions from the last episode were Lauren Mink (of the key changes during Heart's Alone) and Jeremy Rosado, as well as Ethan Jones, whom we met in St. Louis, and learned his father went to rehab for drug and alcohol addiction. But we didn't hear Ethan sing a note, which didn't bode well.
Jeremy made it through ("along with Nico Starr"); Lauren and Ethan did not. All told, 185 contestants were left.
Producer Ken Warwick put the contestants through their paces as they got started with group numbers. They allegedly had 20 songs to choose from (including Duffy's Mercy, Sugarland's Stuck Like Glue, Joy to the World (no, not the Christmas song), More Than a Feeling, Somebody to Love and a popular favorite this yearand a song sang during Season 4's group night, Blu Cantrell's Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops)). The twists this year? Groups could only be 4 or 5 members and had to be a mix of contestants from Day 1 and Day 2, which of course led to endless minutes of people wandering around saying "Day 1?" "Are you Day 2?"
Having difficulty finding a group are police officer Alisha Bernhardt (mainly because she's a pushy b*tch) and Savannah auditioner Amy Brunfield, who lives in a tent in the woods, and is now suffering from the flu, so no one wants her in her group. Alisha recruits Amy and Dustin Cundiff and needs to find one other person, but her refusal to sing anything other than Joy to the World or Stuck Like Glue leads her group to get poached by Jackie Serra and Matheny Trico, who want to sing More Than a Feeling. (But Amy has to promise not to get Jackie sick.)
Heejun Han, Philip Phillips and Jayron Jackson have formed a group called "MIT" (Most International Team), and then agree to bring in cowboy Richie Law. Season 10 Hollywood Week contestant Brielle Von Hugel (whose group member was the woefully underappreciated Pia Toscano last year) is back, bossing around her group members, including Kyle Cruz, who was apparently told by the judges during his audition he had one of the best voices they'd ever heard. (Not that we heard it, of course.)
Brielle's mother watched from the sidelines, acknowledging her daughter's shortcomings ("she's bossy") but, as any good stage mother will, also casts aspersions on Kyle Cruz's voice. ("I don't want to say he doesn't have a good voice, but...")
Symone returns from the hospital with her father, George, who tells the camera, "I'm not a stage dad. I'm just a father trying to help his daughter achieve her dreams. I'm a mentor...and I want to be a famous mentor." (Gee, I was convinced, weren't you?) Luckily, four girls quickly welcome Symone into their group, and after a slightly creepy "secret huddle" of George and Symone's group members, he leaves his daughter to rehearse.
I can't tell you how much I love watching people throw up or talk about throwing up on television. There's no better way to spend an hour, you know?
Meanwhile, there's trouble with group MIT. Apparently cowboy Richie Law is trying to ensure his group's performance is interesting, so he wants the group to learn choreography(!) and harmonies(!) that the others are struggling with, especially Heejun.
"I don't know how they do it in cowboy town," he says. "Phil had a kidney stone before, and cowboy had a...brain stone." He says he doesn't have a good feeling about the group's chances (although he doesn't appear to be offering any suggestions), and then he said, "Now I have a bad perspective towards cowboys. Even the Dallas Cowboys." Oh, that Heejun.
All-female group The Bettys is melting down, what with one sick group member, one whose voice doesn't do well when she stays up late, and another who just wants to go to bed, leaving poor Jennifer to cry and lament on her own, until Brianna Bell tearfully returns and exclaims, "I'm not leaving you!" (Part of me was waiting for Jennifer Hudson's And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going to play in the background, but maybe that's too much synergy for the producers.)
And then it's performance time. Some groups are ready; some, like The Bettys, who are first up, aren't quite there. And just as they start to sing...The. Episode. Ends.
Next week: More contestants collapse under the pressure of Hollywood Week. (Nigel, injuries work during So You Think You Can Dance. Collapsing just isn't that sexy.)
And it looks like we get the whole finalists-in-different-hotel-rooms scenario again, too. I can't wait.
Until next week!