Hollywood Week's group day was big on drama, medium on performance, and low on stage-mom tolerance
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American Idol Hollywood Ashley
Credit: Michael Becker/Fox
LIONEL RICHIE, KATY PERRY, RYAN SEACREST, LUKE BRYAN
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Welcome to Group Day of American Idol's Hollywood Week, a veritable breeding ground for limitless teenage egos and overbearing stage moms. Group sings are a big deal: J. Lo and S. Ty were all decked out in their sparkly blouses from the Krystle Carrington Dynasty collection, and Randy wore polka dots and stripes. It was a huge event. Are you sure you're ready to read on? In the words of Ryan Seacrest, "prepare yourself for the heartbreak and the devastation" headed your way!

The first 40 minutes or so focused on the terrible drama that tends to happen when 168 wayward souls are forced to stay up all night singing and "dancing" in public bathrooms. Yeah, zoom in on that urinal, that's it. The craziest girl of the bunch (Ashley Sullivan) began to melt down and decided to quit. Good for her! Mental health! But of course her boyfriend was there to talk her out of it. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Lord of the Flies island, an ex-boyfriend struggled to retain the will to live while rehearsing a song he didn't know with his ex-girlfriend and a bossy plastic doll. Perhaps most compellingly, 15-year-old Jacee "Big Bieber" Badeaux couldn't find a group. Around and around he floated, a delicious crab rangoon in a bitter wonton soup, the evil molecules of which just didn't understand the greatness inherent in Mr. Rangoon's difference. I kind of lost what I was going for with that tragic metaphor, but I lost it for real when Jacee found his parents on a set of stairs and told them his original group had kicked him out. And his mom — oh, his mom! She redeemed my faith in humanity for a few minutes. "You know what?" she said with mom-ish authority. "It just wasn't meant to be." That is a good, reasonable mom. If that happened to my kid, I would be ready to dive into that awful bully soup and 1-800-CUT-A-BITCH. Just kidding. My kid would never be talented enough to make it to Hollywood!

By 8:30 in the morning, everyone just wanted to die, except Kevin Campos, who was still asleep in his hotel room. A few girls dropped dead into their soggy breakfasts. The bossy doll threatened to use her special doll taser to bring the "delusional" Rob Bolin back to life. Steven Tyler bragged about his various addictions. Jennifer Lopez karate chopped the air to show how they would "make the cuts." "Don't ever forget the words," said Randy, who seems to know about 15 words total. A blonde girl I swear I've never seen before made "rock hands" in the audience and wagged her tongue. Let's get it on!

NEXT: What is Jordan Dorsey's damage, Heather?

Okay, I'm just going to bold the successful people and let the losers blend into the unbearable lightness of being plain text.

First up: tight pants wearers Alessandra Guerico, Pia Toscano, and Brielle Von Hugel "slammed it" on Bruno Mars' "Grenade." Pia in particular stood out with her blue striped crop top and the confidence that comes with being 22. The 15-year-olds were fine. Brielle seemed kind of stoic but she was probably just terrified.

Wow, this is going to take forever to write, and maybe to read. We're in this together. Don't fall asleep, or I'll tase you.

Jordan Dorsey remains hot, but he came across as a gigantic doucheboat last night, ditching one group only to terrorize another with his blistering ego. Who does he think he is, Kanye? A much taller Kanye, so he probably thinks he's better than Kanye. Definitely. Jordan and Robbie Rosen sounded good together on "I Want You Back," and their entire group made it through. We'll hear from you next time, red racerback tank girl, black top girl, and shorter black guy, if those are your real names.

Adrian Michael and Lauren Turner led the group that Jordan Dorsey deemed not worthy in an energetic rendition of "Forget You," which is really beginning to annoy me as it needs to be in "safe mode" on network television. What good is the American-English language without a swear word in every sentence? I don't f—ing know. Two people named Erica and Shane made it through along with Adrian and Lauren. That Lauren is a feisty one! Lots of camera time for her and her messy hair. OH! I'm obsessed with her job title: "Maid." J. Lo is all over that.

Tiffany Rios and Jessica Yantz were ready to party after a long night of shunning their competition and wearing shades indoors, but not even a generous dusting of hair sparkles could save Double Star's disastrous performance. Awww. We'll never know how that pretty little blonde girl sounded when not overpowered by a rhinoceros. She should have made it through on tats alone. It's not fair. She was so hot! "I love hot people!"

Team Spanglish was up next with "Just The Way You Are" — that is, once Kevin Campos had been rustled from slumber by a pesky camera crew. Steven Tyler kindly filled in the few awkward moments (probably more like an hour) with some light drumming and a triumphant "Ha-ha!" at the end. His overexcitement from playtime corrupted his ability to read and pronounce names, though. Jovany became "Giovanni," Jorge (Gabriel) became "George," and the wise old loon accidentally granted three people a pass instead of two. Congratulations, Jovany Barreto and MySpace prodigy Karen Rodriguez.

I don't understand why the judges blew off the three other girls in Lauren Alaina's group, especially after they willingly went along with the whole Steven Tyler seduction stunt during "Some Kind of Wonderful." Lauren's cronies (croonies?) were so mellow and supportive after being iced out that it almost seemed like they were hired as extras to flank the leather-and-lace superstar. At the very least, Angela "Noodle Nose" deserved another shot — I'll always wonder what other tricks she can do. I loved how her group freaked out in a collective scream after she unclogged her pipes with pasta. Teenage girls are so stupid and amazing. I miss being them.

NEXT: Aren't we all just a wee bit unhinged? Like a fraction, not a bazillion majillion percent.

Colton Dixon made it through, along with his fashion hat and artfully angled hair. His group of five, called the Nashville Stars, bungled "Just The Way You Are," and Matt Dillard flat-out gave up mid-lyric after realizing he'd probably blown it. That song has always needed more sighing, I think. On the upside, Matt probably fell fast asleep about a minute later and won't remember any of this.

A few surprise eliminations here and there: Janelle Arthur, Emily Anne Reed (who wasn't really shown), Adrienne Beasley (she of the Kentucky farm and loveable adoptive parents), and Paris Tassin, whose hearing-impaired toddler J. Lo had once deigned to bless in person. Ryan claimed that Paris had "touched [Jennifer's] heart back in New Orleans," which sounded hilariously literal to me, especially considering how J. Lo would probably react if a woman really did reach out and attempt to scrape her heart with a scraggly, glitter-less (gasp!) fingernail. That's gross, sorry. Also heading home: Alyson Jados (rocker chick who'd sung with Steven), Courtney Penry, and Aaron Gutierrez, who will stay to watch his brother Mark from the sidelines. An anonymous blonde with outdated bangs seemed very disappointed in herself. I think we all know why.

Ooh, this one was my favorite performance: Blu Cantrell's "Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)" performed by Keeira Lyn Ford, Ashton Jones, Jacqui Elliott, and the reformed Ashely Sullivan, who was ready to seize life by the balls and reclaim it as her own. Ashley is like Parker Posey playing her craziest character yet and I kind of love her because hello, DRAMA. I mean, sure, she's unhinged. But aren't we all, at least a little? In a…good way? It depends. Anyway, this song was total J. Lo bait and I just loved that all four girls knew it, loved it, and could focus on performance. They were very cute together — the others seemed to genuinely care about Ashley, which suggests to me that she too is a good person in spite of all the crazy. Ashton (red top, black pants, sang third) was especially strong here, especially her don't-mess-with-me face on the opening harmony. Plus: prop cash! To die for.

The Deep Vs and The Minors faced off in an epic "Somebody to Love" battle for the ages. Only James Durbin (whom my sister just referred to in an email as "tall guy with lots of problems and a handkerchief") and Caleb Johnson made it through from the Deep Vs, leaving crisp human breadstick Emma Henry, Danny Pate, and John Jordan to shuffle home. "Really, guys, it was like a bad Glee audition," complained J. Lo., who should know from her Fox employee binder that New Directions is mucho desperado and will take anyone with a pulse, yet no life.

NEXT: When Stage Moms Attack!

Then, fresh off of 400 outdoor run-throughs with their moms, The Minors (all 15- and 16-year-olds) blew the Deep Vs away with their powerhouse vocals and non-painful harmonies. I'm looking forward to hearing much more from Keonna Evans, Jalen Harris, Sarina-Joi Crowe, Felix Ramsey, and Deandre Brackensick (whose name and hair are both wild). These youngsters are all super-talented, but I think their victory was mostly thanks to that one mom who kept dancing with her eyes closed, just feelin' it — and at one point was barking out directions to her charges during a seemingly interminable exhale of cigarette smoke. She and the one in the purple pajama pants were my favorite stage moms, even though they were all kind of terrible. I'm kidding, they're great. But seriously, they're awful.

Someone named Steven Clawson wrote the lyrics on his own hand instead of his arm — a fatal error, according to Steven Tyler. The Claw's mistake just made it that much easier for Corey Levoy (who refused to make eye contact with the judges) and cotton candy tuft Hollie Cavanaugh (who borrowed Nick Fink's shiny off-white blazer for the occasion) to make a good impression. They're through. I'm digging Hollie! I'm not sure why Corey got a pass, much like Corey himself. Keep your speaking voice turned down, son! Save the self-conscious Big Questions for reflection time.

A few groups performed without music — the horror! Ebony, Ivory, and Every (nice name…not) produced "a new star" in spa concierge (!!!) Jacob Lusk, 23, who deliberately mangled his final "Get Ready" in a cool, almost robotic way. Naima Adedapo, Matthew Nuss, and Da'quela Payne all sailed through. The Night Owls featured Julie Zorrilla and Casey Abrams on "Get Ready," and I was surprised Lara Johnston, the Doobie Brothers daughter with a beautiful face and some semblance of believable stage attitude, was sent packing. Her story didn't sob loudly enough. I was also a bit intrigued by the low vocal from Melissa Lucas. This matters not, for she is gone. Dan Noguchi, goodbye, nice not knowing you. Julie benefited from a "good stage dress." Casey's performance quality and audience engagement were very convincing, but I thought his vocal was off-key once or twice.

When Four Non Blondes and That Guy approached the bench, I was instantly turned off by Carson Higgins because he's a 22-year-old actor who is totally "That Guy" in all possible human-based scenarios. You know what I mean, unless you too are That Guy. I suppose he can sing, but what a hack. Eh, I'll figure out some weird way to love him if I must. Caleb Hawley, Chris Medina, and Erin someone made it through with Carson, but novelty diner waitress Devyn Rush was left in the lurch. I think I made the same perplexed face as she did after Randy called her solo "wild, kind of screamy" because it really wasn't either of those things. This is when only knowing 15 words becomes problematic! Like many other failures before her, Devyn pleaded with the producers for another chance outside of the auditorium. Sorry babe. Could you move? You're blocking Carson Higgins' light.

I liked all the members of Sugar Mama and the Babies — Brett Loewenstern, Stevie Cain, Natalie Hanson, Denise Jackson, and transfer student Jacee Badeaux, who teamed up for "Mercy." Poor, good-natured Jacee didn't know the song and just improvised the lyrics starting on his second line. It was a total disaster, but he saved it at the end with his spoken-word aside ("hopefully"). So cute! And what an Idol moment — Randy pointing out all of the kid's new fans in the crowd, the two girls beginning to cautiously pet him once they realized he was crying, the awkward shifting-back-and-forth interview with Ryan once it was all over. I'm glad Brett and Jacee found each other sooner rather than later. It was kind of like a movie when they met, right? I remember movies.

NEXT: Someone needs to change his name to Scotty McCry-ry

What would be the fate of the group who turned their backs on young Jacee? Ringleader/despot Clint Jun Gamboa and his dumb white glasses felt no remorse, but Scotty McCreery sure did. He could barely contain himself after the whole group (which included Frances Coontz and Monique de los Santos) moved on following their performance of "Get Ready." Scotty might have overcompensated when he spoiled the end of the season for everyone ("I love all y'all, but Jacee's the best kid in this competition"), but his heart was in the right place. Scotty couldn't even celebrate his own victory through the tears. "I've never felt this way before, so I can't really describe it," he apologized to the camera. Yup, guilt is a real bitch, sweetie. Get used to it.

Chelsee Oaks and Jacqueline Dunford both had their inevitable elimination slightly delayed, but sad, sleepy Rob Bolin had to leave for real after their pitiful cover of "Forget You." Rob didn't know the words either, but he is not a 15-year-old cherub composed of puff pastry and good vibes, so the improvised-lyrics thing didn't look so good on him. I like this guy; I just don't think he'd enjoy the tragicomic Idol experience, so I'm not too sad for him. Actually, I don't care if I never see any of these people again. The love-foursome crap was horrifically overkill with those extra shots of Nick Fink. But good for Chelsee, I guess. The Kendra Wilkinson wannabe was just awful.

Pro tip for Rob Bolin a.k.a. Frank Buffay: MEET ANOTHER GIRL. Really, just go online. It's easy. Also, my viewing partner in the office last night said "I kind of want to do it with him" when you were onscreen. Forget the mediocre redhead and find a real woman who doesn't consider you a back-up plan. Do it.

Wondering about: White House Intern, Jackie Wilson, John Wayne ("You rode your white horse into the middle of the Apollo Theater" struck me as a probable yes), Kosovo girl, and how Ryan Seacrest sleeps at night. I bet well.

Unsung Heroes of the Week: Brielle Von Hugel and everyone else rolling their eyes during Jordan Dorsey's solo.

Was it as devastating as you thought?

See you tomorrow!

Follow Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

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LIONEL RICHIE, KATY PERRY, RYAN SEACREST, LUKE BRYAN
American Idol

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.

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