Season 13’s hour-long Group Night was relatively drama-free compared to past seasons. I sort of missed the drawn-out trashiness (it can be funny), but maybe that’s because I’m so used to it being there, terrorizing me. When you really think about it, who the eff cares whether these kids can sing in a group?
Instead of meltdowns left and right, we had Sikenya Thompson’s handwritten “I lost my voice, y’all” note and rehearsal-refuser Spencer Lloyd sulking against the wall while avoiding eye contact with his group members. Heck, the biggest villain of the night was Stephanie Hanvey’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad stage mom. I’m pretty sure Stephanie was eliminated because her mom screamed louder than she sang. What a sad, sad moment for the Humanity history book as mother and daughter disappeared up the staircase into oblivion, Mama Hanvey’s sparkly silver miniskirt commanding the lion’s share of attention ’til the bitter end.
Let’s run through some Group Night notables! Why not?
David Oliver Willis and Sarina Joi Crowe outshone Tony Foster Jr. in stage presence, though compared to other groups, all three sang far better than the norm. Their complicated harmonies (well, probably not, if you’re a trained singer, but they sure sounded cool) were spot on and all three Hollywood Week veterans looked at home on the stage. Tony unfortunately barely looked up from the stage and the “flat as a tag” (according to Keith) got cut. Could he ask why? YES, in fact. “We look for the people that jump out at us,” said Jennifer Lopez. “You have to look at us. Perform,” urged Harry. “I can leave knowing I got an explanation, and that’s really all I wanted,” said Tony. Since when is American Idol so sane and mature?!?It’s so startling, but I’m getting used to it.
Plaid shirt brigade Dexter Roberts, Casey Thrasher, and Ben Briley oozed out an unexpected “I Want It That Way” as Backstreet Cowboys. I’d be satisfied with a lot less runs from Ben, but then he might not be singing anything at all. (Not fair. Only a few seconds of footage, of course.)
Paula Hunt and Andrina Brogden, neither of whom we saw Wednesday night, were thankfully still around and helped the “ladies take the stage by storm” in a rushed super cut of two or three different groups. M.K. Nobilette and Briana Oakley impressed on “Royals, particularly Briana on a creatively pitched drag of “Baby I’ll ruuuuuuuuule…”
A clump of cuts: a rightfully bitter Alyssa Siebken (survived by Megan Miller, who also forgot the words to “Best I Ever Had” and the only-out-for-himself, ’cause I get ya gotta be, Spencer Lloyd), grateful blonde angel-child Madison Walker, Bieber-y Austin Precario, cheerleader Stephanie Petronelli, and “our sound healer” (um, speak for yourself, Ryan) Adam Roth.
Tiquila Wilson QUIT! “My heart is gospel,” she explained. “This competition isn’t for me.” Noooo! Something must have happened behind the scenes; I’d like to have seen the whole story. She’s a charisma-monster with a huge voice so I’m sorry to see her go (instead of hear her go!), but she did sound confident in her decision.
Not to be outdone, Harry Connick Jr. quit next.
HOLLYWOOD WEEK DRAMA! Hardly.
Caleb Johnson is just a little too much for me to take with his mic stand and leopard-lined jacket and check-me-out finger guns upon his victory, but he was one of the most memorable Group Night characters and did sound fantastic, so that’s a win-win for him, for now, for me, for you. Dawg. Poor C.J. Harris, along with Matthew Hamel and Tyler Ahlgren, shuffled around in backup singer no-man’s land as Mr. Charisma took control. Harry admired Caleb’s star power and the judges agreed to keep C.J., too, but Matthew and Tyler “couldn’t hang.” “Their decision was bullcrap,” said Matthew. “Pretty sure I killed it.” Pretty sure he didn’t. Tyler had Jordan Catalano hair all the way. I just loved the way he leaned.
Sikenya Thompson (girl with no voice)’s comment to eliminated group member Allie Odom — “I’ll make sure when the show comes, you get front row ticket” — did NOT sit well with me. Like, just say nothing. You’re supposed to have no voice, remember?
Jessica Meuse trying to remember the words to “Single Ladies” was one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever seen, and I was not buying the group’s “camaraderie” onstage. This was a total disaster, but it did bring us a huge vocal from the outspoken looney tune of the group, Nica Nashae, who kept barking alternating sentences of support and abuse to her foursome. If the girl can sing, the girl can sing. Deal with it, Stephanie Hanvey’s mom. (This woman will haunt my dreams for the next few weeks even more than a poorly harmonized a cappella rendition of “Too Close”!)
Emmanuel Zidor continued to set himself apart as a camera-hogging clown with an undeniably strong voice, while glower-power figure Terrica Curry and Wonder Mike’s daughter Carmen Delgina got cut following their “Say My Name” trio. A song with even the slightest bit of melody would’ve been nice, complained Harry.
Loud and Fierce: Yikes. The clear standout was Malaya Watson, who “sings right in the center of the tone,” marveled Harry. How do you not know the words to “I Want You Back” — and if you don’t know the words, WHY DO YOU PICK THAT SONG? Total hot mess. They’re all through! Somewhere up in Contestant Heaven, Tony Foster Jr. smacks himself in the head for not having thought to wear a black leather bustier and assless chaps.
Who stood out to you tonight besides the sparkly momager? Discuss!