American Idol Hollywood: Oh, Mary!

Last night, the juicy (well…the somewhat damp) Hollywood Round got underway. Dozens of faces paraded across the stage, some of which we’d seen before (and had probably forgotten), but many of which were new (and were mostly forgettable). We were pleasantly surprised by people who brought their own guitars, Ellen wasn’t annoying, and new contestant Tim Urban gained himself a stalker. I’m not saying it’s me!! Tonight, it’s Group Night. Will there will be drama? Of course. Will there be suckage? Of course. This is American Idol. “I’m normally not a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me, Superman.”

Ninety-six contestants remain in this particular circle of Hell. They’re told to break up into small groups and get their shit together for the next day’s performance before the judges. Everybody mills about. “Do you want to sing with us?” “Can I sing with you?” “Got weed?” Next season, the show should assign people to groups by random draw. Such a hot mess might be tasty. The kids also “have to” arrange choreography for themselves. Have to? Are you fucking kidding me? It’s a nice bit of spice to throw in, but it shouldn’t be a rule. What am I saying? This is Idol. It’s a wonder there’s not a hot dog-eating contest during semi-finals. Also precious: each group of dorks must ascribe itself a “cool” name.

The Dreamers consists of Rocker Mom Mary Powers, a boy named Alex Lambert (no relation to the other Lambert) and some white girls. Two other girls suddenly show up and are like, “Canwebeinyourgroup? Greatthanks!” People like that…give ’em an inch and next thing you know, they’re using your toothbrush.

The Mighty Rangers includes that Jack Black guy, a dude with fucked up waxed eyebrows, a girl who looks like Sarah Jessica Parker in her landmark role as Patty Greene on Square Pegs, and some other people.

Phoenix includes this black guy, another white girl, and Moorea Masa, whose claim to fame is that during last year’s Hollywood Round, she was in Danny Gokey’s group and isn’t that a card you want to play for the rest of your life? Well, Moorea does. And she also thinks that card entitles her to the leadership role. She decides that Phoenix should rehearse in the same closet as Team Gokey did last season. They’re clearly thrilled by this concept.

As the Mighty Rangers try to determine their purpose in life, the Dreamers are looking for those two New Girls. It seems New Girls, after joining, went missing, so now the rest of the gang are like, “Fuck it, who needs them?” I totally agree. If you snooze, somebody takes a photo of you with their balls on your forehead. Then New Girls show up, and there’s debate about kicking them out. A producer is consulted, and although they can be thrown out, everybody makes nicey-nice. The point is: American Idol will drain your life of any and all free time.

Neopolitan is a group consisting of a fat guy named Thaddeus, a girl with blue contacts, and a girl with giant eyelashes. (Don’t you love this in-depth reporting?) They will be singing Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”

Destiny’s Wild is also singing “Bad Romance.” That group consists of Some Guy I’d Totally Fuck Named Jared, a girl dressed like the “Papa Don’t Preach” video, Ghetto Rihanna, and some skinny dude, who is like, “Those Neopolitan bitches are jealous of us.”

Destiny’s Wild and Neopolitan end up rehearsing literally six feet apart from each other. Rather than do the rational thing, like pepper spray the opposing team, each group decides to sing louder. Because if this show has taught them nothing, it’s that louder is better, except for every time when it’s not.

Back in the closet (no, Ryan, I’m not talking to you), back in the rehearsal closet, Moorea is harassing her teammates into performing her arrangement of whatever song they’re singing. She wants them to sing her harmonies. They look at Moorea as if they might kill her and hide her body in the very closet to which she’s led them. That, my friends, is what’s called irony. Or just murder.

Team Awesome consists of Michael Lynche (a.k.a. Big Mike, a.k.a Man Mountain), the dude with the autistic kid, Jason Castro‘s brother (who is never acknowledged as such, but it’s him and he was in Hollywood last season), and Tim Urban. Tim! Hi! It’s me!! Team Awesome literally is Team Awesome!! They’re so awesome that they finish rehearsing early and go to bed. Meanwhile, Big Mike is still waiting to hear if his baby has done the vaginal slide. More on this later.

Many of the other groups go to bed, eventually — except for the Dreamers, who are too busy being driven insane by Rocker Mary’s domination of the team. She is not interested in what White Girl has to say. Then she gets bossy with American Idol accompanyist Michael Orland. “Listen, honey,” he says (and when a gay man calls you “honey,” he means the ‘c’ word), “I’m trying to play it through for the key.” Mary says she’s not trying to be pushy. “But you are,” says Michael. Hee!

Meanwhile, Destiny’s Wild is rehearsing with vocal coach Debra Byrd — as Neopolitan sits, waits, and watches. This is important and comes into play later, so you better fucking be paying attention to me right now. By the time Neopolitan get their turn, the poor babies are sooo tired.

The next morning, everybody is up and rehearsing some more. Excitement is in the air. Lyrics are not. People are messing up all over the place. Debra Byrd to Phoenix: “You don’t know what you’re doing.” Hello, Person to Replace Simon Cowell!

Over at the Dreamers, Rocker Mary, who is quite aggressive in a “god, aren’t you a bitch?” sort of way, tells  little Alex Lambert that he’s the weakest link in the group. Serves him right for wearing a pink shirt. Then she sees Destiny’s Wild rehearsing and actually breaks down into tears because they are having the experience she wanted. “They have fun!” How dare they. How very dare they. Immediately thereafter, she takes her group outside and barks at them. “We have a chance right now to fucking do callbacks!” Clearly, Mary’s path to “fun” is somewhat labyrinthian.

Big Mike’s baby gets born and it is both sweet and has nothing to do with music.

Performances! Jesus, the episode is almost half finished! I don’t know what these producers are smoking sometimes…

Group Faith. Three girls (one cup). Singing some Beyoncé song, their voices getting higher by the second. I’d boot ’em all — and I’d be all wrong. Charity Vance, Ashley Rodriguez, and the other one are safe.

Team Awesome. Individually, they don’t sound great. As a group, they’re not terrific. But Big Mike just had a baby y’all, and Tim Urban is humanity’s last hope for all things beautiful and perfect. So they survive (whew!), but Jason Castro’s brother and Autism Guy get cut.

Neopolitan is up. They sing an a cappella version of “Bad Romance.” Do you know who else is singing an a cappella version of that song? Yep. Destiny’s Wild. Remember how I said Neopolitan was in the room, watching Destiny’s Wild rehearse? I told you to pay attention. The judges are entranced. Destiny’s Wild is aghast. All of Neopolitan is moving forward.

Destiny’s Wild is up next, and regardless of Neopolitan’s shenanigans, Wild brings more to the table. There’s more Gaga-esque choreography, with stomping and scary hands. Skinny Guy does a somersault. Ghetto Rihanna looks batshit crazy, and Some Guy I’d Totally Fuck Named Jared and Papa Don’t Preach both look like they will cut you. Ellen finds the performance weird and surreal, but all of Destiny’s Wild survives.

More people move forward, including the girl who had her Benjamin Button baby’s name tattooed on her back, some chick who looks like Lauren Graham, and four young ladies, who in an Ode to Pedophilia, sport Micheal Jackson gloves.

The Mighty Rangers perform. Sarah Jessica Parker is spastic and sounds weird, but Seacrest says she did a good job. Huh? Same thing with another of the girls. Huh? Waxed Brows is there, but we don’t hear him sing. Maybe he was actually good. Jack Black forgets his damn lyrics. Uh-oh. And the last of the girls also has no brain capacity for song words. The judges stop her cold. She and Jack Black are finished. Jack Black tries to beg. “This is it for me. I don’t get to come back next year.” Life’s hard, sucker. Simon: “Don’t beg. It’s not cool.” Also not cool: having never seen most of these people before in my life.

Phoenix, in the wake of being told they’re morons by vocal coach Debra Byrd, suffers another blow when one of their members, Kat Nestel, leaves just before performance time. Kat Nestel, knowing that her group is full of suck, doesn’t want to shame herself on TV. “I just left because I knew that I would mess up and like, I didn’t wanna, like humiliate myself, you know,” says Kat Nestel. Yes, Kat Nestel. I, like, understand and sympathize with your need to vanish into anonymity, Kat Nestel. Best to leave quickly and discretely, Kat Nestle, so no one can mock your quitter lameness. Also: Kat Nestel. Quitter.

Now reduced from five to four, and after spending all night rehearsing in a closet, and sucking in many various ways, and being led by a delusional broad who Once Touched Gokey, Phoenix takes the stage. As they perform “Carry On Wayward Son,” they somehow manage to find a new reservoir of awfulness, just for this occasion. Ben Honeycutt, who looks ready for internet porn, mumbles through his section. Jeff Goldford was soaring ever higher, “but I threw too high.” Moorea: “Hmmm…wuuaa…a madman.” Jermaine Sellers is having a testicle removed, even as he sings. This is interpreted as “good” by the contestants in the audience, and they stand up, cheering. Never let it be said that bad taste isn’t contagious. Kara, nicely (for her) tells the group they were struggling, but Moorea, who wouldn’t shut up for money, is all, “Well, we went through a lot, so…” Oh, no she didn’t. Simon points out that having twelve hours to learn a song is hardly a trauma. “It’s rubbish.” Then they keep the guy who “threw too high” and Castration Kid!

Meanwhile, people have trouble singing the quickity-quick parts of Gwen Stefani’s “Sweet Escape,” including Haeley Vaughn (who I think survives) and Matt Lawrence who had the tragic accident of holding up a bank with a BB gun and going to jail for five years. He sucks, he blows, he goes.

Aw, the Tourette’s guy got booted! That’s Fuck!  too Shit! bad Cock!

Middle C, is up, and they’re all A-Listers: Janell Wheeler, pretty and talented, whom the show is trying to force-feed us, Jermaine Purifory, who has a face like a foot, but he can certainly sing, and Casey James, who is far more effective when he’s shirtless. They sing Ne-Yo’s “Closer,” and while it’s nothing to write home about, it does the job. They’re all safe.

Three Men and a Baby includes Andrew Garcia, who sang the awesome, acoustic “Straight Up” last night, Katie Stevens, another one the show wants us to love (but who is infinitely forgettable), and two other guys who won’t amount to anything. They’re also all safe.

Finally, it’s time for the Dreamers to perform — that’s if Mary Powers is done screaming at everyone and acting like a total meth-head diva. They sing “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. Mary kinda fucks up right at the start, to which I say good! See?! And ha!! Hope Johnson is okay in a hippie-chick way. This one girl, Margo May, sings like she’s being swung upside down by a pendulum. She’s also dressed like Ugly Betty. Alex Lambert has no presence at all, looking at the ground while shuffling and singing. He has to look down or Mary will slap the ears off him. The judges speak: Mary, Hope, and Alex are all staying. Wow…really? Margo May, who I would’ve loved to enjoy some more, is gone, along with the Other Girl.

And that’s the end of that!

Next week, everybody takes the elevator up to Big Chair, where the judges decide who makes it into the semi-finals. After that, there’s a week or two of culling, until finally, we reach the Top 12 and the real shit goes down.

And that, my friends, will be the next time you’ll hear from me. I’m taking a break from writing these dealies, just for awhile, as I adjust to having a (short-term) day job, enjoy February Sweeps, and watch the glory that is the Winter Olympics! Expect me to be well rested upon my return, but even more full of hate. That is my promise to you.

Zap!
-Frank

On to the next episode or back to the season guide.

    Comments

    1. Great recap, Frankie. I’ll miss ’em in the next few weeks.

      This episode seemed like it was edited by an ADD-editor. I felt like I was reading FINAL CRISIS, with the parade of faces and entities and groups. Who are these people? Am I supposed to know them? Who is in what group? (Now I have to remember group names)? AMERICAN IDOL is not supposed to challenge my intellect. Although I would applaud a smoke monster entering the Kodak Theater to claim some of these self-entitled idiots.

      The narrative to this episode was like Donnie Darko meets Momento without any of either’s intelligence. All the stuff with Neopolitan and Destiny’ Wild. With foreshadowing and everything! Big Mike’s baby. And all the other sprawling cast members we apparently needed to look in on… gah! Also, howabout groups they DO focus on, and one member gets no airtime or even a name mention?

      “Clearly, Mary’s path to “fun” is somewhat labyrinthian.”LOL. And yeah, what got her balls in a twist?

      Gwen Stefani’s “Sweet Escape,” why would anyone choose to sing this song with the difficult lyrics? Was REM’s “End Of The World As We Know It” not available? Why would you not want to pick a song that allows your locals to shine AND is also easy to remember? It doesn’t even “benefit” from being current. I weep for today’s youth.

      Also, if Michael Orland or Debra Byrd can manage to be snarkily entertaining, they should audition them to replace Simon. Seriously, they already have in-show pedigree. I think that Michael Orland would cut a bitch – with words.

    2. I’m a little surprised and upset that no one picked Team Super Alpha Awesome Cool Dynamite Wolf Squadron as a name.

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