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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Hollywood Round 2

What’s weirder? Watching a glass-blowing apprentice singing a Lady Gaga song? Having the birth of your first child plastered all over television? Or enduring the dictator-like commands of a rocker-mom who has seized control of her singing group? If you answered yes to all three, it can only mean one thing; you’ve arrived at another group singing day on “American Idol!”

Ah, group day, the biggest hurdle yet for “Idol’s” hopeful contestants. It’s that fateful day when the remaining contestants scurry to find a group to sing with, and hope they don’t end the night in tears.

But as this year’s 96 singers broke up into groups and started practicing, I got a little worried. Where were the meltdowns? Where were those tears I was promised? How could things be going this well? Everyone looked so….prepared. This was the least dramatic Hollywood Week in history!

And then “Idol” came back from commercial, flashforwarding a few hours into the future, and things finally started to get rolling. First up was angry rock-mom Mary Powers who tried to whip her group, the Dreamers, into shape…by trying to give two of them the axe. Then she shifted tactics…by yelling at them. And then she tried something new…calling one guy “the weakest link.” And so it went, as Mary and four other singers had the worst nightmare anyone’s ever had in Hollywood.

There was also the budding rivalry between groups ‘Destiny’s Wild’ and ‘Neopolitan,’ who both unfortunately chose the same song, Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” At first the groups were only irked with each other, loudly singing only feet away. But as the day went on, and one group tried to copy the moves of the other, the situation hit a sour note.

Also notable was the story of weightlifter and father-to-be Michael Lynche who spent most of his day talking to his pregnant wife over the phone…as she gave birth. Congrats to the new family, but how embarrassing will it be when that little girl grows up and dad shows tonight’s episode to all her friends.

Soon it was time to stop rehearsing and get down to business, as the groups started taking the stage for their musical numbers. The first group, called ‘Faith,’ was comprised of singers Michele Delamor, Charity Vance and Ashley Rodriguez. The judges enjoyed their performance of Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” and sent them all through to the next round.

Up next was ‘Team Awesome,’ which only 50 percent lived up to its name. New dad Michael Lynche and fellow singer Tim Urban made it through, though Orlando-auditioner Seth Rollins and fellow singer Michael Castro (could that be any relation to Jason from Season 7?) got the boot.

Then it was time to hear the first of the two Gaga groups, as ‘Neopolitan’ took the stage. Sitting in the audience were their competitors, ‘Destiny’s Wild,’ who were none too happy to hear that the group lifted their idea to do the song a cappella. But the judges, especially Simon, liked their performance, sending Liz Rooney, Thaddeus Johnson and Jessica Cunningham on through.

‘Destiny’ followed soon after with their own odd interpretation of the song. But even though Ellen called the performance “surreal,” the judges liked them as well, and gave Todrick Hall, Theri, Jareb Liever and Siobhan Magnus all the go-ahead for another day in Hollywood.

Things didn’t go so well for the Mighty Rangers, a crew of singers who all auditioned in Denver. The night before, only two of the group’s singer- Tori Kelly and Maddie Penrose- decided to stay up and practice, while everyone else went to sleep. And guess what, both Tori and Maddie sailed on to the next round, while Mark Labriola and Kimberly Kerbrow were sent home. Through a waterfall of tears, Mark tried to reason with the judges. Simon told him to stop “begging” and officially sent him on his way.

It was a mixed bag for group ‘Phoenix’ too, as less than half of its members rose from the ashes of their group number. To be fair, they were a little off their game after fellow team member Kat Nessle decided to throw them all under the bus and quit. But to be honest, some of them just weren’t good. Both Ben Honeycutt and Moorea Masa (who sang the group number with Danny Gokey last year) were given their walking papers, while Jeff Gildford and Jermaine Sellers live to sing another day.

And then it was like a black cloud of bad dancers and forgetful singers had descended on the stage, mostly set to the tune of Gwen Stefani’s “Sweet Escape” (which will never sound the same again. Thanks a lot, “Idol!”) First we lost Matt Lawrence (the guy who robbed a bank with a BB gun) and Amanda Schechtman (the queen of all Drama Queens who we first saw in Boston). Then it was goodbye to Lea Lorenti, Carmen Turner and Kimberly Carver.

It wasn’t all bad news, though, as Casey James, Andrew Garcia and Katie Stevens were deemed worthy enough to come on back. (Not sure yet what happened to my two favorites from last night, Didi Benami and Crystal Bowersox, though I feel pretty confident they’ll be coming back for more.)

But before we end the day, just how did the Dreamers fare as the last group to hit the stage? Did Mary’s all-night (and all-day) scream and berate session kick her group into shape? Not quite. The group mostly fumbled around the stage and forgot to stay in tune as they sang for the judges, leaving room for only three of the five singers in the next round. Mary made it through, as did her teammates Hope Johnson and Alex Lambert.

And with that we lost another 25 contestants in Hollywood. Did we lose any of your favorites? Are you waiting for Ellen to put on her dancing shoes and join those kids on stage? And did the judges make the right calls on who to send through? Post your music-loving, “Idol”-tastic comments below and come on back next week for the last rounds in Hollywood! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on February 11, 2010 9:17 AM
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