We’re back for more of Day 2, in which Idol celebrates the contestants who got the most screen time during auditions and gives them even more screen time. Which is nice for those of us who are already cheering on our favorites, but ultimately kind of a snooze fest. Oh well. Group Night is nigh. Let’s see how Gabby’s performance—and last night’s nerve-filled cliffhanger—wraps up. Oh god, she’s still panicking. Harry jumps up on stage to calm her down (because he’s just that wonderful). She takes a break. She comes back, and she seems to have started to breathe again. The lovely contestants in the audience hop on their feet to cheer her on. Honestly, people are not so terrible after all. Gabby makes it through, which ultimately pleases me, and so does early favorite Katie Kime (that cute blonde with that CUTE little girl who sang “Let it Go”). So, it seems like they’re keeping everyone so far? Anyway, here’s a rapid rundown of the early part of tonight.
Andrew Annello, who is billed as an actor and who I also do not remember, sings “Valerie” in a really annoying actor-y way. Overacting and over-singing. Don’t do it, kids. Lifesize doll Maddie Walker seriously needs to accept her age—which is 16—and chill out with her makeup for a second. It’s distracting to the point that I barely hear her performance, which caused me to react with a solid “meh.” Andrew the actor goes home, Maddie the young adult stays. Lauren Lott (we met her in Nashville, I did not understand why she got through) sings a clip of “Radioactive” and I enjoy it even less than I enjoyed her in Nashville. And you know what? She gets through, too. WHAT AM I MISSING? They’re cutting roughly 90 people today, or so Harry told us yesterday, so we’ve got a lot of chopping to do.
Hollywood is fantastic because you start to see friendships form, and it’s amazing to see which contestants gravitate toward one another. Example? Jax and Shi (remember, Shi, with a ridiculous and ridiculously spelled name?) are chattin’ it up outside the auditorium while Shi wears a fake beard so she can “hide from the paparazzi.” Girl, too early for those kinds of jokes.
More importantly, RAYVON IS BACK. Remember Rayvon Owen? One of my true favorites. Based on the goofy grin on Harry’s face while Rayvon sings, Harry agrees. Rayvon? STILL EXCELLENT. He makes it, along with Shi. (Yes, she annoyed me tonight, but she’s stunning and has a voice, so I get it.)
Daniel Seavey, the tiniest and cutest contestant, continues hitting on J.Lo every time he gets in front of the judges, and I continue admiring his commitment to his schtick. His performance is kind of good! I wanted him to make it to Hollywood Week because he’s so precious and I couldn’t bear watching him get rejected during auditions, but he totally showed up for this performance. He sounded great and had some real presence on that big ol’ stage. Is this what motherhood feels like? I’m so proud of him!
NEXT: Jax falls in love with a virgin.
Oh my god, we flashback to the Brooklyn auditions, and Qaasim’s mother is telling the camera that he’s still a virgin. Did that happen at the Brooklyn auditions? How did I miss that? They honestly aired that before? I’m not sure if Jax knows about his purity, but she is INTO QAASIM. This is a fun quirky faux romance. Let’s make this happen. For what it’s worth, Jax, I admire your flirting effort. Nicely done. (Thank you, producers, for playing “Take My Breath Away” over that segment.) Qaasim’s virginal performance is very good and very sexy, especially for a virgin, and poor Jax looks like she’s going to turn into a puddle of goop in the audience. Ah, young love. Jax girl, you get your wish—Qaasim is through, so your love story will live another day.
Now, for the moment we’ve all been waiting for: GROUP NIGHT. I know that all of you reading this know how it works, because I can’t imagine there are any new viewers after 14 seasons, but just in case (and because I have to explain it to my poor roommate anyway), group night is when the contestants split into groups of four and then basically all fight and learn to hate each other. It’s what television is all about. Even watching the contestants split up is a fascinating sociological study. It’s like speed dating, but more complicated. Commitments are made, commitments are broken, shade is thrown, and ultimately, some people are left out in the cold. Woof. Poor Alexis is left totally alone (maybe check the math, judges), but Sal, our favorite New Yorker, extends an invitation to join his group because he is a nice guy and loves women. I wonder if either of them will regret this decision. I bet Sal will.
Look at these poor kids, sitting around on this weird twirly orange hotel carpet, trying to be polite to one another without compromising their own agendas, and really just all becoming sleep-deprived maniacs. Time check: 5:37 am. Too late (too early?) to not have your performance in order, groups. We’re going to see some disasters.
NEXT: Revenge of the hipsters.
First group up: Double Stuff. This group, in my opinion, already wins for that name. (Two black men, two white men, get it?) Well, I got ahead of myself. They do “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” and the individual performances sound pretty ok, but as a group, they’re not great. J. None (the one with the teddy bear) steals the show because he is the best dressed, the best singer, and does a split. All four members of Double Stuff get through, though, and I’m really starting to get concerned that they’re never going to send anyone home, and this is Fox’s secret plan to keep us watching American Idol forever and ever with no break. I love this show, but, yikes.
Shi’s team is up next, so I’m annoyed already. This is a performance of “PYT” that was choreographed to have three men chase Shi around the stage. I get it, it goes with the song, but they’re hardly singing together, they’re not harmonizing, and this awkward shuffling around the stage does not qualify as choreography. Big Sexy, Shi, and Adam (who struggled last night) make it, and poor Andrew Bloom gets the boot. Big Sexy says he’d give his place up to let Andrew through and actually starts to cry while saying it, so I’m going to believe him (almost).
Next group contains Tyanna (yay!), Reno, Maddy Hudson, and a girl named Steffi who I don’t remember. This is the youngest group, and they’re off to a rough start. (Tyanna’s precious mother is back stage going “oh god, this is hard to watch.”) Reno loses his words, Maddy’s performance hurt my ears, and Tyanna was good, but not perfect. Steffi got lost in the shuffle and goes goes home as a result, the rest are through. Steffi, we really didn’t know you at all. Best wishes.
Team Dimples, which should be called Team Attractive Hipsters And Michael Simeon, are up next. Jaq, Nick Fradiani (fantastic, had the girlfriend that auditioned), Hunter Larsen (also fantastic), and Michael (J.Lo’s prom date). Lots of our faves in here. They kill it. Great harmonies, actual choreography. Their voices sound really swell together. This group is so with it! Finally. They could be an actual group, if this were X Factor and that was allowed.
Sal’s Gals is next. Remember, Sal selflessly welcomed Alexis into his group. How’s he rewarded? She has a panic attack and collapses on stage. Exhaustion, stress, you know. GROUP NIGHT IS NO JOKE. What happens? We’ll find out on Wednesday. This was stressful, I need a glass of wine. See you guys next week.