They say inshow business, it's all about whoyou know. And never is that more apparent than it is during round 2 of American Idol'sHollywood Week, when the contestants buddy up with each other to form singinggroups and audition together. If the group members get along with each other,"Kumbaya"-singalong-style, and their vocal styles mesh, then they get alittle bit closer to making the top 36. But if they don't get along, and theydon't play nice with others, then outcome the claws--and a whole lot of bum notes.
Obviously,the former situation is better for the contestants. However, the lattersituation is soooooo much better for us viewers. C'mon,who wants to see people getting along? BOR-ING!
Still, it honestlybewilders me how the prospective Idols act completely unworthy of any sort ofidolization when they separate into groups like this. They really let the worst sidesof themselves show, and they seem to totally forget that CAMERAS ARE RECORDING THEIREVERY CATTY, BACKSTABBING MOVE. They forget that the millions of viewers athome--the ones who will ultimately vote for them, or more specifically not vote for them--are watching themargue with their groupmates, flake on rehearsals, talk smack behind other singers' backs, etc.
Do these contestants think we, the viewers, will forget such despicable behavior? Oh no, we won't. This is why back in season 2,beeyotchy Kimberly Caldwell was sent home by viewers instead of mousier Julia DeMato. Thevoters remembered how rude Kimberly was to Julia during the group rounds, whenthe two of them were forced to work together...and when the Kimberly-versus-Juliaissue was put to a public vote, it was payback time for Miss Caldwell, baby.
(FYI, Kimberlylater came back with her tail between her long and shapely legs, as a Wild Card,but she never managed to regain what Simon called the "likabilityfactor" after what went down during the group auditions. And now she'sjust famous for being the host of IdolWrap with Justin Guarini and for dating David Cook for like five minutes.)
Anyway,this is why I think this season, even if the cattiest contestants make itthrough this evening's "Infamous Group Night" episode based on the strength of their vocalsalone, once they're in the top 36they will still pay dearly for their transgressions against their moremild-mannered groupmates. Between Tatiana Del Toro'sschizophrenic flip-flopping between rival groups (she couldn't seem to get along, or decide upon, anyone), to Nathaniel Marshall complainingabout Tatiana's weepy hissyfit but then hypocriticallybreaking into his trademark tears about 30 seconds later, to unreliable BikiniGirl's mystery illness that caused her toopt out of all-important practice sessions, there was a whole lot of misbehaving going on tonight.
So first upwas a group that billed itself as White Chocolate, comprising India Morrison(the woman who auditioned with her sister and rapped amusingly about French fries--love that girl), Matt Giraud, KrisAllen, and Justin Williams. They performed the Jackson 5's"I Want You Back," and they killed it. India'srapping was on point and totally fun, and all four singers really just gelled well as anensemble. And the judges did want them back: All four advanced to the nextround.
The nextgroup whose entire performance aired on the show (some performances were just blippy little snippets) was Action Squad, featuringEmily Wynne-Hughes (one of my faves...untilthis round, that is!), Ryan Pinkston, Anne-Marie Boskovich, and AlexWagner-Trugman. They should have been called Inaction Squad, because theirtwo-left-footed choreography was beyond ridiculous. They shouldn't have even triedto do those Temptations-style unison moves. The four of them sang FleetwoodMac's "Don't Stop," and it was more like, please stop. Just STOP, okay? They stumbledover their words as much as they stumbled over their own feet, and in the endonly Alex and Anne-Marie escaped unscathed, while the other two were stoppedfor good and eliminated by the understandably unimpressed judges. Looks like Go Betty Go singer Emily better return to her old band--ifthe position of frontwoman isn'tgone Betty gone by now, already.
The next groupof hopefuls was the Rainbow Coalition, featuring Danny Gokey, his best bud JamarRogers, Taylor Vaifanua, and some girl with two-toned rainbow hair whose name Ididn't catch because I was, frankly,too busy typing. (Multi-tasking is hard, y'all!)Whoever she was, she was good. The Rainbow Coalition took two majorrisks--singing a super-challenging Queen song ("Somebody To Love") and singing a cappella (which would render any vocalshortcomings instantly apparent). But they were fabulous. There was a lot tolove. See what happens when people get along? They make beautiful music together!
Making lessbeautiful music together was Team Diva, featuring Jasmine Murray, LaurenBarnes, Rose Flack...and Katrina "Bikini Girl" Darrell. One of thesethings was not like the other! Katrina really ruined things for her more talented teammates, flakingon practice sessions because she supposedly didn'tfeel well and at one point seemingly dropping out of the competitionaltogether--until, of course, she decided she wanted a little more screen time and she dragged her toned butt out of bed at the last minute.Once onstage, she was full of lame excuses--rehearsing in high heels all day hadaggravated her scoliosis (funny, I thought she'dstood up pretty straight in her bikini before), she was tired, blah blahblah.
No one wanted to hear it, not even Simon Cowell, who'd finally gotten tired of Katrina's antics. Team Diva's cover of Duffy's"Mercy" had had all four judges'and all 4 million viewers' ears cryingout for mercy indeed, with Katrina'sshrill whining and Rose Flack'sawkward bunnyhopping dance moves and forgotten lyrics making for one terrible performance. Only Jasmine managed tocome out of the mess looking all right, and therefore only Jasmine advanced. I felt badfor Rose, but not for Katrina, who shamelessly posed like a Hawaiian Tropicpageant model, needlessly flirted with a fed-up Simon, and once againantagonized Kara DioGuardi throughout the whole ordeal. And--unlike the sobbingRose--Katrina didn't even seem thatupset when she was cut.
May Katrina and her bikini instantly enter the obscurityarchives populated by other minimally talented, coasting-on-looks Idol also-rans (Antonella Barba, HaleyScarnato) and never be seen nor heard (especiallyheard) from again.
Next, Tatiana DelToro's group--the group she finallysettled with, that is--was also terrible, especially over-emoting Tatiana herself. After she inexplicably made it through despite a painfulperformance, Tatiana, a seriouscamera hog, delivered a tearful thank-you monologue that condensed all the OTTmelodrama of Scarlett's final scene in Gone With The Wind and Sally Field's "You really like me!" Oscar speech intotwo minutes of sheer soap-opera-style scenery-chomping. Ugh. I wish more screentime had been given to the utterly amazing Adam Lambert (who--huzzah!--also made itthrough), or to Norman Gentle (where was he???) than to this blowhardy diva.Tatiana sure was full of toro, if you catch my drift.
The final groupto audition was Team Compromise--Nathaniel Marshall, Kristen McNamara, and (theno-relation-to-Heart) Nancy Wilson--also singing "Mercy." A mercy issomething they sorely needed after their excruciating experience working together.(They didn't quite live up to theirteam's name, as their hatred foreach other was incredibly obvious onstage, to the point where Simon actually accusedthem of trying to sabotage each other'ssolos with shoddy backing vocals.) Nathaniel came across best, since thespectacle of this flamboyant drama queen dropping to his knees and belting out aDuffy soul song made for 100 percent pure entertainment.
The other two didn't fare as well--particularly Nancy, who flubbed thewords (always the greatest offense, in Simon'sopinion). Nancywas ultimately the sole Team Compromise member whose Idol dream was compromised, and she did NOT take the news of herelimination well. She suffered a meltdown that made Nathaniel's tantrums look like nothin',and suddenly it was Nathaniel who was the strong one, giving Nancy a shoulder to cry on backstage while she utterly unraveled. Itmade me like him again, a lot; I'llremember this side of Nathaniel when it'stime to vote.
So tonight,the final 100 were whittled down to a more manageable 75. I can think of a few more that shouldhave gone home already, but they'llaxed soon enough--next week, when the final 36 are revealed! (Revealed to thoseof you who haven't already peeked at theVote For the Worst spoiler list, that is.) So tune in then...