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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol, Feb. 17 – Drama Not Over, Beatles Next for Hopefuls

Group night is always interesting and filled with drama, and last night proved to be no different. As it continues tonight, what’s going to happen to Ashley Sullivan? Will she have a total meltdown? What about Scott McCleery? Will he be able to forgive himself for what happened to Jacee Badeaux? And will Mark Guiterrez be able to carry on without little brother Aaron? It’s like a soap opera, but should be much less without Tiffany Rios, and with Rob Bolin not there to have to put up with his ex Chelsee Oaks.

The day after group round starts off well for everyone. They’re putting on makeup, dealing with nerves and excitement, and doing a lot of rehearsing. They’re hitting it early before 7:00 AM. It’s solo day, and they can use backup singers, keyboard, bass and drums, or even go a cappella. It’s their choice, as they just get one more shot. This performance is their last, and is what stands between them and the final 20. There will be two more eliminations, but just one more performance.

Haley Reinhart, 18, from Wheeling, IL, is up first. She hadn’t been seen in Hollywood yet, but we’re told she was confident in the first round of Hollywood, and fumbled her way through the group round. Jennifer Lopez said she made it through by the skin of her teeth. Haley is starting off great, singing God Bless the Children, and is showing them they didn’t make a mistake in keeping her. Steven Tyler looks like he’s in love, J-Lo jams, and Randy Jackson just laughs.

Ashton Jones, 24, a retail manager from Goodlettsvillle, TN, is up next. She was in the same group with Ashley Sullivan. She sings And I’m Tellin’ You, and sings it as good as I’ve heard it, save for Jennifer Hudson. Steven again looks like he’s in love. He’s just in a daze so far today. He tells her afterwards he liked the way she attacked the song. Randy says, “When you got it, you got it.”

We didn’t see Thia Magia, 15, from Mountain House, CA, in the group round. But she sings What a Wonderful World, and is the best I’ve heard her. She doesn’t sound 15, that’s for sure.

Adrian Michael, 24, a server from Pearland, TX, hits the stage with his guitar and asks for a do-over, and seems like he’s blaming it on the band. That’s never a good move. Caleb Johnson, 19, a banquet server from Asheville, NC, stops and asks the band if that was a G. Frances Coontz, 16, from Santa Ana, CA, sings Hey, Soul Sister so badly, it was hard to tell what song it is. Steven tells her to start over again and grab her key.

Clint Jun Gamboa, 26, of Long Beach, CA, didn’t earn any fans with his cutthroat move of kicking Jacee out of the group, but he is earning some respect back with an stunning performance of Georgia on My Mind.

Someone we haven’t seen yet, Kendra Chantelle, 22, an office manager from Loudon, TN, sings her own version of Georgia On My MInd, as does Sophia Shorai, 28, a vocalist from Minneapolis, someone else we hadn’t heard from yet. They are told they’re impressive. Had we not heard Clint, we’d be blown away by this, but Clint owned it.

Chris Medina, 26, a barista and caretaker from Oak Forest, IL, is trying to think outside the box, and is singing Bobby Brown’s My Prerogative, as it seemed like the most unlikely song that anyone would pick.


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