American Idol: Episode Ten of Season Nine--Hollywood Week, Part 2

2/11/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

Each year, my least favorite night of Hollywood Week is the middle episode, where the remaining contestants divide themselves into groups for small performances. Ryan Seacrest’s narrative explains that this is the toughest day in front of the judges, and by watching it, it certainly seems that way. Everything about this act just seems weird and awkward to watch--from how they self-select to power struggles within the groups to, in the worst case scenario, a really great performer getting sent home because a weak group couldn’t pull it together. Moreover, they only have 12 hours to make this work, and while that seems like a good amount of time, it also includes sleep, so it really isn’t.

At first, I was glad to see Mary Powers step up to be the leader in her dysfunctional group, "The Dreamers." I’ve been singing her praises since her first audition, and felt that as likely the oldest member of her group, it made sense for her to be the leader. Unfortunately, straight from the get-go, "The Dreamers" were a complete mess, spending more time figuring out who was in the group than actually learning the material. In a round with a strict “you forget the words, you go home” rule, this set the group off to a weak start. Ultimately, they did decently, with Mary, Hope Johnson and Alex Lambert, who I thought was the best, moving onto the next phase of Hollywood auditions. The problem was in Mary as a leader. She came across as a frantic dictator, and her outbursts started to make me like her a little less.

The other main piece of drama from the night was the intense rivalry between "Destiny’s Wild" and "Neopolitan," the two groups who chose to sing Lady GaGa’s “Bad Romance” a cappella. This group episode would not be complete without accusations of ripping off numbers and listening in on secret group pep talks, and all of that happened within these two groups. While "Destiny’s Wild" put on a more theatrical, Lady GaGa-ish performance and I felt "Neopolitan" sang a little better, both groups did exceptionally well, and all involved are continuing on.

The only sentimental part of this episode came with Michael Lynche. Yesterday, his wife went into labor and today, thanks to "American Idol" sponsor AT&T and their iPhones, he was able to coach his wife through labor and listen to his baby daughter be delivered. He sang Motown with his group, "Team Awesome," and both Michael Lynche and Tim Urban made it through to the next phase. Unfortunately, Seth Rollins, a contestant I remember really liking in his Orlando auditions, is not continuing on. All in all, "Team Awesome" was one of my favorite performances. Currently, there are rumors circulating the Internet that Michael Lynche made it into the Top 24, but has since been disqualified since his father blew his cover and told the press. It’ll be interesting to see how much of that is true, because I think Michael Lynche is totally capable of being a Top 24 contestant.

In the earliest phase of auditions, we learned that there are many repeat contestants, and the same holds true in Hollywood week. What I didn’t necessarily expect was for a level of superstition to exist among these contestants, most notably in Moorea Masa. Last year, she sang with Danny Gokey in a closet, and this year she found the exact same closet, and in looking at the tape, sat in the exact same chair. She fought for serious harmony work in their arrangement, something they had done last year. The reason why I found this to be strange and funny was because...I don’t remember her at all. She didn’t amount to anything last season, and this year she forgot the words and won’t be making it forward. In her group, despite the last-minute drama of a girl quitting, thus throwing off their harmonies a bit more, I felt Ben Honeycutt was good, but he got cut, and Jermaine Sellers was good, and he’s continuing.

One reason I especially dislike the group auditions was exemplified by the performance of "Big Dreams." I loved Matt Lawrence during his auditions. I thought he was incredibly talented and likable, and had a rare and heartfelt back-story. I felt he’d really make it in this competition. His group, on the other hand, was weak, and either their bad arrangement or his nerves through him off, and the bad performance of the group is sending him home prematurely.

It is nice seeing the great contestants pair up--it makes me wonder if they knew to find each other from the first phase of Hollywood week. "Middle C" was a super group, with Janell Wheeler, one of my favorite girls of the competition, Jermaine Purifoy and Casey James, the latter of whom is one of my favorite guys. The three sounded flawless together, and all are continuing on. The group with two of my other favorites, Andrew Garcia and Katie Stevens, also did exceptionally well, and all are going forward. In fact, after Katie’s great solo, Kara told her that she could be the potential winner of this season.

Out of the 96 who made it to this point in the competition, 71 are progressing into the final phase of Hollywood week, to be aired next Tuesday. I would’ve thought by terrible “Sweet Escape” montages that more contestants would’ve been given the axe. That just puts the pressure on the remaining 71 a lot more. I think that people like Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens, Janell Wheeler and Casey James are safe, provided they don’t majorly screw up.

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  1. texchic said...

    shared on twitter!