You gotta love Hollywood Week on "American Idol" -- if you're some kind of voyeuristic sadist, that is. Well, perhaps a bit of a masochist as well. And this year? Well, you got double your money's worth of melodramatic atonal S&M. After watching the guys get pared down to 28 (with a cliffhanger of an ending, where viewers discovered 8 more would be cut -- but not until the following week), it was the girls turn to shine or fade. And since there were more girls that made it to Hollywood (according to the voiceover from host Ryan Seacrest -- 162), there were more girls that were going to be disappointed on Wednesday night (Feb. 13). But they all had to go but 20 by the end of Thursday night's show...
Judge Randy Jackson commented cruelly at show's start: "We're ready to slice and dice." Oddly enough, that was the gist of it.
(Told you it's like some sado-masochistic viewing/auditory thing...)
Like in the previous week with the guys, producers and editors didn't waste a lot of air time on the first cuts in the A Cappella round (no drama or melodrama, except from Kez Ban, whose eccentricities just might land her a reality show on MTV if nothing else). And by the time it was over, the judges knocked off all but 76 of girls on their way to the 20 needed for Las Vegas.
Along the way, viewers saw Megan Miller (Miss Baton Rouge, who auditioned with a broke leg and used her crutch as an improvised microphone) sent home. Others contestants that viewers saw audition that got the boot (but not until Group Night) were Savannah Votion and young mother, Seretha Guinn, whose story about her boyfriend's near-fatal accident was one of the more tear-inspiring backstories of the auditions.
But 76 there were and it appears rather obvious that hyper Kez Ban and flamboyant Zoanette Johnson are being kept around for the melodrama they bring to the show. (Well, it certainly couldn't have been because of the their vocal performances. Just sayin'.) And where better to see the ego and eccentricity reach critical mass than on Group Night?
The girls had already heard something different was happening for Group Night (although the shows aired a week apart, they were taped in close proximate time). Still, they didn't seem as put off by the news that the producers were selecting who would be in what group.
Of course, Kez Ban was matched with three very easygoing girls. Right away, the indie singer let it be known that she wanted to sing The Mamas and the Papas' "California Dreaming," one of the 20 songs the girl groups had to choose from. While the others discussed, she begged, pleaded, said she wanted it because the other songs made her want to vomit. Showing remarkable patience, the other girls instead chose The Ronettes' classic "By My Baby," which Kez conceded did not make her want to vomit. And despite her rough voice and the other girls oversinging a simple song, they all -- Angela Miller, Janelle Arthur, Breanna Starr -- made it through to round three. (Hollywood Week consists of three rounds: A Cappella, Group Night, and Solo.)
Zoanette Johnson, who somehow got through her audition (a shouty and all-over-the-place rendition of the national anthem) to Hollywood was also placed in a group where the song choice was at first a problem. After three of the four chose the R&B classic "Knock On Wood," a song Zoanette hated, she finally came around with some cheering up and gave a spirited performance. Those girls got through as well.
But other clashes didn't end so well. Liz Bills seemed to have gotten off on the wrong foot with her groupmates, because not only did they keep missing each other before time to sing, the three were dissing (they thought she thought she was better than they were) the absentee girl on a close-up when she finally caught up with them. When they finally started singing, it turned out they were right. She was better than they were -- by far. And she was the only one from the group to get through. (It should be noted that, although the contestants sing in groups, they are judged on their individual performances.)
Another group also seemed to have a standout problem and when it came time to perform, Janel Stinney joined her less-than-sympathetic groupmates in butchering The Band Perry's "If I Die Young." In fact, Janel knew almost none of the lyrics. And yet, Judge Nicki Minaj gave them a standing ovation in what looked like a sarcastic slam at their performance, especially when she called them out on not knowing the words. But when it was discovered that she actually thought the performance was good, Judge Keith Urban voiced his disagreement and admitted he was confused by Minaj's opinion.
And yet, all of the girls made it through. (Sound familiar? Remember the group that included "The Turbanator," Gupreet Singh, during the guys' Group Night that didn't know the lyrics to their song and Minaj applauded them for pushing on through?)
So two-thirds of Hollywood Week -- Girls Edition was over.
On Thursday: The judges choose the Top 40: The Top 20 Guys and the Top 20 Girls that will head to Las Vegas, the final leg before the choices are made for the Top 10 and the live shows for Season 12.
"American Idol" airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. (EST) on Fox Television.