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American Idol Recap – Group Week

Fresh off a solid Hollywood round week last Thursday, Idol is back tonight for what might be my most favorite episode each season…the dreaded Group Week. Those unfamiliar, just think back to when you were in school and the teacher gave you a group assignment and made you pick your own groups. Sometimes you’re in a group where all of you gel and deliver an outstanding performance on the task at hand, and then other times, you’re stuck in an awkward mish-mash group with competing personalities, or people who don’t want to do any work and get all the credit, or someone that actually tries hard but is the obvious weak link on your team and you and the other members of your team secretly plot to have that person framed for murder and deported to Siberia. Not like I was ever a part of that…

Two hours tonight of drama, 168 contestants left from the first cuts of Hollywood Week, so let’s get right to it. Here’s my current Top 10 of those who I know made it thru from last week.

MY CURRENT TOP TEN (last week’s rankings in parenthesis)
1. Lauren Alaina (1)
2. Stefano Langone (2)
3. Rob Bolin (8)
4. Casey Abrams (3)
5. Chris Medina (5)
6. Robbie Rosen (6)
7. Jackie Wilson (4)
8. Thia Megia (NR)
9. Caleb Johnson (7)
10. Brett Loewenstern (9)

Denise Jackson and Brett Loewenstern are the first victims of “no one wants to sing with us” group. To be fair, not many people want to do anything with Denise and the live-sized Raggedy Andy doll. They finally find their third group member, Jessica Yantz…or did they…

Tiffany Rios fresh off of letting everyone know that she’s better than all y’alls is having a hard time finding a group that will take her. Shocker! That’s like saying I don’t want Snooki in my hot tub. But quick to her potential rescue is Scottie McCreery, who gets the gold star of the night by making Tiffany sing to him to see if he wants her in his group before dismissing her and calling her crazy. So Tiffany then pulls the first bitch move of the night by convincing Jessica Yantz to ditch Denise/Brett and join her for an all-new group. Jessica pulls the second bitch move of the night by accepting and now Denise/Brett have an incomplete group and are rightfully pissed. Did you follow all of that? LOVE THE GROUP WEEK DRAMA!

It doesn’t end, Denise/Brett/mystery third person go to recruit Scottie McCreery to join their group, but the country guy with the deep voice doesn’t sing Duffy, so he tries to join Jordan Dorsey’s group, who in an act of what goes around comes around, makes Scottie sing to them to see if he’d be a good fit. This is getting all too incestual. I think next year, they should hold a draft, televise it on FX and let Justin Guarini host the draft, b/c his food stamps are running out and he needs something to do.

McCreery gets dissed by Dorsey and Co. (Erica Schiff, Adrian Michael, Lauren Turner) but Shane Golden doesn’t.

Tiffany and Jessica take to the mic to find a third person, but surprisingly no one wants to join them, not just because of Tiffany’s FUPA, but b/c she’s terribly annoying and starts singing to everyone trying to get them to join. And Scottie still doesn’t have a group. And Brett/Denise are an incomplete group. Could this mean a mega-group of all the outcasts? It worked for the Tri-Lambdas in Revenge of the Nerds, so maybe we’ll see a reunion of sorts here. Plus Tiffany would make an excellent Ogre (although he doesn’t join them until Nerds 2, but at least it’s led him to do the Capital One commercials now, so good for him).

Back from break, and McCreery finds a group with Jacee Badeaux (aka Andy Milonakis) and Clint Jun Gamboa, called The Guaps. Clint though has his doubts, as you are contractually obligated to do so on Group Week.

Ashley Sullivan joins The Hits (the front-runner of stupidest group name)…ok, that’s all we get for that. Back to Tiffany/Jessica who have failed to find a third member so Idol producers make a special exception to let them do a duet, which is code for, “neither of you are going to make it past this round, so do whatever you want, your bus passes will still be waiting for you afterwards.”

The next group is called The Minors and consists of Sarina-Joi Crow, Deandre Brackensick, Keonna Evans, Felix Ramsey, Jalen Harris, who are all 15 or 16-years old. Ohhh, that explains the team name. I thought they were rescued Chilean miners who made the journey to Hollywood. All their moms are there, so that’s going to do well for their street cred.

James Durbin and Emma Henry’s group is called the Deep V’s – which is disturbing since I’m sure James has never seen a Deep V.

My favorite non-couple Rob Bolin and Chelsee Oaks team up with recently single Jacqueline Dunford and call themselves Three’s Company. If this ends up with Rob in the hot tub with Jacqueline while Chelsee is waiting for him at the Regal Beagle, this will be the best Idol episode ever.

Back to Ashley Sullivan, who’s tired, boo hoo. No wait, she’s quitting. Ok, I think that’s seriously going to hurt her chances of making the Top 24.

Commercial break, and then more Ashley Sullivan who’s embarrassed, overwhelmed, and her hair seems to be turning grey in the process. Producers are trying to convince to stay. Will she or won’t she?

Over to the Guaps again who have taken a liking to Scottie McCreery, but unfortunately they’ve turn sour on Jacee Badeaux like he was mayonnaise in the hot sun and kicked him out of the group. Dude, that’s not cool, I hope an anvil falls on Clint Jun Gamboa and the rest of them. He’s only 15-years old, this is seriously messed up. I hope this doesn’t end up with him joining forces with Tiffany/Jessica.

Jordan Dorsey’s having an ego problem and decides to leave his group and join the newly re-named Four Plus One group. Is he the four or is he the one?

And in a shocking turn of events, Ashley Sullivan decides not to quit and her group actually takes her back with no issues. Dang was hoping for some awkward tension.

Brett Loewenstern’s group is on the verge of breaking up unless they find a 5th member, and thankfully he stumbles upon Jacee who agrees to join, yay, a happy ending! Ironically both sound like they’ve sucked in a tank of helium, so it was a match made in high voice heaven.

Rob Bolin doesn’t dance and doesn’t perform with others, but since I have him ranked #3 right now, he better learn to do so.

The judges are here, and tell the contestants not to worry about the group, as they’re judging based on individual talent. Which leads to an interesting question. Why make them sing in a group if at no point in the season are contestants asked to do or are judged on group performances?

New Jersey trio Pia Toscano, Brielle Von Hugel and Alessandra Guercio kick things off with a pretty sick group performance, possibly one of the best all-female groups. If I had to rank them, Pia was easily the best, Brielle second and Alessandra third, but all three advance.

Four Plus One w/superstar ego Jordan Dorsey are next, Jordan was just ok, as was Robbie Rosen unfortunately, since I expected more. The other three members of the group aren’t even named, so I’m thinking that doesn’t bode well for them. But I’m wrong, all 5 of them make it thru.

Group 440 (aka Jordan Dorsey’s former group), takes on “Forget You.” Adrian Michael sounds like he’s singing at a Johnny’s Rockets, Lauren Turner on a few hours of sleep does a solid job, and the other two members aren’t shown singing. All four are thru (including Erica Schiff and Shane Golden). Maybe Idol won’t cut anyone this year and have us vote on 178 performances each week.

Up next is Tiffany and Jessica, who have called themselves Rebel Stars. What’s the exact opposite of high expectations? Is it train wreck? Because that’s exactly what this was and I loved it. Well, everything except the short leopard print skirt Tiffany had. And to no one’s surprise, they’re the first two sent home.

Kevin Campos part of the Spanglish group is missing, well he’s not missing, he’s asleep in his hotel room. Jovany Barreto, Jorge Gabriel and Karen Rodriguez all go looking for him, not knowing there’s a camera crew right outside his room. I wonder if they named their group Spanglish because they’re all of Spanish descent, or because they’re a fan of bad Adam Sandler movies. I guess this is a better team name than You Don’t Mess With The Zohans. But thankfully this delay has allowed Steven Tyler to play some drums. The performance was lackluster, but Jovany and Karen are put thru and unfortunately Kevin is punished for being late b/c he’s told he’s thru before getting the real truth that he’s out of the competition.

Lauren Alaina’s group is next and she has got Angela “Noodle Nose” Cheslock with her. Why Noodle Nose? Because she can snort spaghetti thru her nose and pull it out her mouth. I tried that with rigatoni once, didn’t work out too well. The girls bring Steven Tyler on stage to be serenaded. Lauren kills it again as does the rest of the group, unfortunately their names aren’t shown. But none of them, except Lauren, is put thru, wow, didn’t see that coming.

The Nashville Stars are next, but why aren’t they called the Dallas Predators? (that’s a hockey joke for those who didn’t get it). Colton Dixon and Matt Dillard are worried that they needed more practice. Not sure all the practice in the world would have saved most of the group. Colton makes it thru while Matt and the others are out.

Shannon Livewell can’t sing well, so she’s gone. And so are Briana Tyson, Janelle Arthur, Alyson Jados and Caitlin Koch all are gone in a quick montage of bad performances. Paris Tassin is singled out as one of Jennifer Lopez’ favorites, but she’ll have to settle for being one of Jennifer Lopez’ favorite eliminated contestants.

Also gone are Emily Anne Reed, Adrienne Beasley, Courtney Penry and Aaron Gutierrez . All are heading home as well, but Aaron’s brother Mark is still alive in the competition.

Ashley Sullivan’s group is on stage and she’s put crazy aside for a few minutes to give a halfway decent performance along with her team of Keeira Lyn Ford, Ashthon Jones and tall unnamed blonde. Good enough as all four are thru and Ashley’s decision not to quit pays off. Tall unnamed blonde is going to give unnamed black guy from last week a run for his money.

The Minors are getting last minute coaching tips from The Moms, which I’m sure will pay off. But first, The Deep V’s are up. James Durbin is alright, Emma Henry is confusing, Danny Pate, Caleb Johnson and John Jordan aren’t shown enough and then James insults Freddie Mercury and Adam Lambert by butchering the end of “Somebody To Love.” Caleb and James make it through while the other three are gone. There are some lovely parting gifts at the airport gift shop for you.

Back now to The Minors after some Mom’s trash talking. They’re doing the same song as the Deep V’s, but Keonna Evans, Jalen Harris, Sarina-Joi Crowe, Deandre Brackensick and Felix Ramsey don’t show their age and completely kick the Deep V’s in the Deep A. Much props to Brackensick for a sick final note. And the Moms come on stage to celebrate, all that’s missing is each of them carrying a bowl of Chunky’s Soup.

Three’s Company member Rob Bolin seems depressed and out of sorts. Get your act together Rob! Can’t wait for Giovanni Ribisi to play him in the made-for-TV movie.

Steven Lawson gets points for using a cheat sheet with lyrics on it, but the judges call him out on it and send him home. Corey Levoy angers Jennifer Lopez who wants a better performance out of him. Hollie Cavanagh continues her resurgence and both her and Corey are through.

The Night Owls with Julie Zorrilla and Casey Abrams decide to go a capella. Dan Noguchi starts it off and then Lara Johnston bats second with Julie third, Melissa Lucas fourth and Casey anchoring the team. It was alright, Casey and Julie were solid again and are the only two advancing.

Ebony, Ivory and Every with Da’Quela Payne, Matthew Nuss, Naima Adedapo, Jacob Lusk and mystery fifth person show the Night Owls how to give a hoot and do a capella and all advance. Kudos to Nuss who sounded like a potential star and the judges like Lusk’s variation of the song, but it seemed a bit hokie to me.

Up next are The Four Non Blondes (Caleb Hawley, Devyn Rush, Erin Kelly and Chris Medina) and That Guy (Carson Higgins) who perform admirably. Unfortunately Devyn is the only who doesn’t make it through and it’s back to being the singing waitress.

It’s getting late in the day and tensions are mounting. Jacee and Brett’s group, Sugar Mama and the Babies, take the stage. Denise Jackson rocks it as do Stevie Cain and Natalie Hanson. Brett delivers another solid performance and is gaining more confidence each week. Jacee is adorable but unfortunately is so out of his league and tries to win the judges over with his charm. And it works as the judges put them all through in a sweet and touching moment by Idol. It’s a little dusty in here typing this watching Jacee’s reaction and those around him reacting to him. Good job all around.

Jacee’s former group is up next, and I’m still hoping for that anvil to come-a-droppin. The judges call them all out for being douchebags to Jacee. Scottie McCreery starts it off and I believe butchers the words but he’s got the chops for this. Monique de los Santos and Frances Coontz sound pretty good in their first time being shown. And as much as I think he’s deserving of that anvil, Clint Jun Gamboa absolutely killed it and may crack the Top 10.

Nearing the end and it’s down to Rob Bolin, Chelsee Oaks and Jacqueline Dunford and I’m dreading that this is the end for my boy Rob. And sadly it’s not good as Rob completely doesn’t even attempt to sing the lyrics and has packed his bags as he’s sent home. BOOOOOO! Jacqueline at least remembered the lyrics but didn’t sound all that great, but I guess being compared to Rob it was good enough as her and Chelsee move on to tomorrow night.

All in all, 100 still remain and will each be giving a solo performance tomorrow night to determine who’s going to make it next week’s Top 24.

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