Some things in life you can always count on: death, taxes, and drama on group night. This year, the contestants were harder on each other than ever. They made fellow hopefuls audition to be in their group and other people were ousted from their group. By the end of a long night of choosing groups, about every combination imaginable was formed.
The show started at 8:30pm, when already worn out singers who survived the first solos in Hollywood formed groups. Since this is American Idol's tenth Hollywood Week, these smarties decided to form groups ahead of time and practice during their off day from initial solos. Since the producers realized there is no drama in that, they one-upped them and made a rule that each group had to have some singers from Day 1 and some from Day 2.
We checked in with Sugar Mamas, made up of Brett Loewenstern, Denise Jackson, Natalie Hanson, and Jessica Yantz, the girl whose grandma thought she won the show when she received her golden ticket.
Tiffany Rios--the girl with "Juju bees on her ooh ooh bees"--can't understand why no one wants to be in a group with her since she's a self-proclaimed professional choreographer. Perhaps she's groupless because during her initial Hollywood solo she said she was tired of seeing people try and do what she knows she can do. A bigger surprise was to find out that Scotty McCreery is groupless. While wearing a tight skirt, Tiffany dropped to her knees and begged that Scotty join her group, but he preferred to be groupless. Tiffany approaches the Sugar Mamas, and Jessica decided to depart her group for Tiffany. Why?! Now she's part of an incomplete group and left her original group unfinished. Meanwhile, Scotty walked around auditioning for groups. He approached NOLA's Jordan Dorsey who seemed to be the leader of his group with Lauren Turner, Erika Schiff, and Adrian Michael. Jordan opted for Shane Golden over Scotty. Scotty's voice is really good, and I'm wondering if groups were afraid to harmonize with a voice that deep and twangy.
In order to recruit people for her group, Tiffany grabbed the microphone and gave a speech. Crickets. So she sang. Even more crickets. It's been two hours and groups still aren't put together.
The Guaps, a group made up of Long Beach's Clint Jun Gamboa, teen Jacee Badeaux, Monique De Los Santos, and Frances Coontz, decided to take Scotty in. Meanwhile, emotional Ashley Sullivan found a fit with a group called The Hits with Ashthon Jones, Keeira Lyn Ford, and Jacqueline Elliot. By 11pm, all the groups were situated except for Tiffany and Jessica's group. The producers said they can have the first-ever group of two. This should be interesting!
Since there were around 150 singers in one space, it was hard for everyone to hear. That made for some creative spaces to sing like in the parking garage, and a coed group took over the women's bathroom. Although I'm afraid of getting trapped in an elevator, it would have been a good idea to hop in one and hit the stop button for a quiet rehearsal space. I got my first-ever peek into the men's room where we saw the Gutierrez brothers, Tim Halperin, and Blake White, who named themselves Brothers From Another Mother (except Aaron and Mark are from the same mother).
A group of teens named The Minors which included Sarina-Joi Crowe, DeAndre Brackensick, Keonna Evans, Felix Ramsey, and Jalen Harris were relaxed. Keonna said it's because "young people don't stress as much as older people." Let me remind you that these "older people" are in their 20s at the very latest. The kids each had their stage mom present, and the moms gave The Minors feedback and staged them. Rival group The Deep Vs contains parent James Durbin, Emma Henry, Danny Pate, and Caleb Johnson who are rehearsaing the same song as The Minors--"Somebody To Love." Caleb summed up the difference between the groups as rock 'n roll versus Glee...two things I enjoy.
Jacqueline Dunford doesn't seem too upset that her boyfriend isn't in the competition any longer. She's paired up with exes Chelsee Oaks and Rob Bolin. Why would the exes pair up? Well, from what we saw in Nashville, they do harmonize well together. And this drama makes for good TV. Their group is named Three's Company and Rob can't remember the lyrics, doesn't dance, and doesn't do groups (in the immortal words of a Brittenum brother).
Although Rob was just barely keeping it together, over at The Hits Ashley Sullivan is having a complete breakdown. I'm not sure why since her group seems pretty awesome and drama-free. She tells her comforting group that she wants to leave. A producer encourages her to take a breather before walking away.
For some reason, The Guaps struggle with having 5 people. NSYNC, Spice Girls, and Backstreet Boys seemed to figure it out. Apparently, Jacee Badeaux was the only one not gelling with the group, so he was let go without much of a discussion. No one wants to see an underdog get bullied! With tears in his eyes, Jacee approached his parents. They were supportive and encouraging and just told him to have some fun. That may sound insignificant, but how many 15 year olds make it to Hollywood for American Idol?! It's a cool experience.
Jordan Dorsey didn't think Scotty was a good fit for his group, and now Jordan doesn't think of himself as a good fit. So what does he do? He leaves them for another group. He's now a part of 4+1 with Robbie Rosen, Aaron Sanders, Devin Giselle, and Brittany Mazur. Lauren Turner of Jordan's old group called 440, is determined to not let his departure affect them.
At 2:30am, Ashley Sullivan decided that it wouldn't be fair to the people who let her go through to this round to give up. When she shared the news with her group, instead of them wondering how they were going to fit her back in, they cheered and hugged. Things were looking up for Sugar Mamas too...after suffering the loss of Jessica, they happily picked up Jacee Badeaux. Meanwhile, vocal coach Debra Byrd gives some tough love to Rob since he starts off the group and if he can't remember his lyrics, he'll throw the whole group off.
After virtually no sleep, the tired contestants filed into the auditorium. The first group was made up of girls who all represent different NY boroughs. Pia Toscano, Brielle Von Hugel, and Alessandra Guercio had no drama and harmonized well to Bruno Mars' "Grenade." This group reminds me of the first group to perform last year (Michelle Delamor, Ashley Rodriguez, and Charity Vance). Steven Tyler thought the girls "slammed it" and all three are going through. Watch out, Girlicious!
Jordan's new group, 4+1, did well with "I Want You Back" and dancing queen Jennifer Lopez was happy with their choreography. All four plus one moved on in the competition. Jordan's former group, 440, took the stage after with Cee Lo Green's "Forget You." Adrian kicked it off with a smooth spin, and although this morning Lauren Turner was falling apart, she held it together and revealed a strong voice. Erika and Shane each rose to the occassion and after some trickery from the judges, all were moving forward in the competition.
The streak of good luck ended when duo Rebel Star took the stage. They started singing while lying on the floor. Halfway through Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" Randy waved at them to stop singing. Not even the glitter in Tiffany's hair could get her to sparkle. The girls couldn't believe it was bad news.
A group named Spanglish was next to perform but they were missing their fourth member, Kevin Campos. The camera crew came to his hotel room to wake him. He eventually joined Karen Rodriguez, Jovany Barreto, and Jorge Gabriel. The harmony at the end sounded good, but individually some of these guys were off. Steven started to congratulate three of them, but then Jennifer whispered to him that only Karen and Jovany were moving on.
After sucking a noodle through her nose and pulling it out her mouth (Seriously, I couldn't make that up!), Angela Cheslock joined Lauren Alaina, Sarah Ames, and Jerica Blair on stage. But that wasn't all. They invited Steven Tyler up on stage and performed for him and with him--Steven couldn't resist singing back up. Despite cheers from the judges and a standing ovation from contestants in the audience, Lauren was the only contestant moving on from that group.
Despite being from the same hometown, Nashville Stars' Colton Dixon, Matt Dillard, Schyler Dixon, and Kenzi Lewis sang a Bruno Mars song and there seemed to be some lyric confusion and a lack of harmonization. Matt got lost with the lyrics. The judges revealed that Colton is the only one advancing, leaving behind his sister and friends.
Plenty of hopefuls forgot their lyrics or had some off notes. Some early favorites including Paris Tassin, Emily Anne Reed, Aly Jados, Adrienne Beasley, Courtney Penry, Janelle Arthur, and Aaron Gutierrez are leaving. Brother Mark Gutierrez must continue on without his sibling.
The Hits endured quite a rollercoaster of a night with Ashley's breakdown, but when they took the stage with "Hit 'Em Up Style," Randy Jackson called them "the best harmonized group I've seen." With everyone going through, there was a huge celebration, and Ashley's confidence was boosted, but of course she was crying.
When it was time for the "Somebody To Love" face-off, The Deep Vs went first and everyone seemed to be a little off and some singers were pitchy. Jennifer said the group has strong voices but the harmonies were off, and that "It was like a bad Glee audition." Only James and Caleb are moving on, but The Minors' moms thought the whole group should've been ousted. As the mothers huddled in the wing of the stage, The Minors gave a very strong performance complete with the Idol group performance obligatory ending pose--one arm shot up in the air--only they were holding up love signs. Everyone in the theater stood up, including the judges. The moms jumped and their babies cried. Steven said, "I'll tell you that's what I joined forces with American Idol to hear." Of course all five kids were moving on, so the moms rushed the stage and each grabbed their respective child. If these kids all make the show, they'll have a lot of fun at Idol school together! If they don't make the show, they should be the rival school's show choir group on Glee.
Not everyone was so lucky. Steven Clawson read the lyrics on a cheat sheet and he was backed up by Corey Levoy, Hollie Cavanagh, Becca Boom, and Nicolas Jacob. When the judges sent Corey, Hollie, and Becca through to the next round, Corey questioned their decision. You've made it--get off the stage before they change their minds!
Two brave groups decided to sing a capella. Night Owls Julie Zorrilla, Casey Abrams, Lara Johnston, Dan Noguchi, and Melissa Lucas were the first to perform and Jennifer seemed to like it. However the judges decided that only Julie and Casey would move on. Ebony, Ivory, and Every had a creative group name and was made up of Naima Adedapo, Jacob Lusk, Matthew Nuss, Sophia Shorai, and Da'Quela Payne. Jacob had a solo part and showed some character as his group did a good job backing him up. They're all going through.
Another creative group name was 4 Non Blondes and That Guy. That Guy was Carson Higgins, and the non-blondes were Caleb Hawley, Devyn Rush, Erin Kelly, and Chris Medina. Even Chris and Caleb joined the girls for rehearsal in the ladies' room. Devyn took the judges' advice from NJ auditions and looks more like a star, but Randy thought her voice was too screamy, so she was the only one going home. She was devastated and looked like she wanted to speak up, but didn't know what to say. Outside the theater she said she doesn't deserve to go home based on that one performance.
When Jacee joined the Sugar Mamas + Babies, he was unfamiliar with the song "Mercy" by Duffy. He attempted to learn the lyrics over night and did some improvising with his adorable pre-pubescent voice. The whole group--which included Jacee, Brett, Denise Jackson, Stevie Cain, and Natalie Hanson--moved on.
The group with prominent glasses--The Guaps--took the stage after gaining Scotty and losing Jacee. Scotty apologized for not sticking up for Jacee and declared, "I love y'all but Jacee's the best in the competition." Aww. The California kids gathered around their cowboy and sang "Get Ready." Steven called everyone but Clint forward, and then said they're all moving on.
Finally, it was time for the exhausted and slightly delirious Three's company to take the stage. Jacqueline forgot to censor the lyrics in "Forget You" and Rob completely forgot the lyrics--dirty or clean--but he did a good job free-styling. Randy waved at them to stop and sent Rob home. Rob gave his ex a kiss on the cheek and Chelsee said, "Rob and I won't get back together but we'll always remain best friends." If Chelsee makes it on the show, will she let Rob come to a taping? Jacqueline said they'll get back together one day, and then the trio awkwardly backs apart.
Next up, final Hollywood solos! Could it possibly be more dramatic? It looks like there will be some shockers and an ambulance is involved. Get ready for more tears and cheers!