About LauraBelle

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

American Idol, Feb. 16 – J-Lo’s Goosebumps for a Stellar Top 40

Just last year, American Idolstarting sending their contestants through an extra step between Hollywood Week and the announcement of the semi-finalists. Instead of narrowing the group down in Hollywood, then narrowing them down again without the benefit of any additional knowledge, they now send them to Las Vegas to watch them perform again.

Richie Law writes on someone’s face in the bus, and she repays him by doing it on his face from behind while he sleeps. He repays her by punching her in some sort of knee-jerk reaction. One girl is so excited to see Vegas outside the window, only to find out it’s not even Vegas. Conor Dixon wants Vegas to be his moment. The groups had to get into groups of three or four, then were assigned songs from the 50s or 60s. They’ll be told if they’re on to the next round, or whether they’ll pack and head home. They’ll have the help of one of the vocal coaches.

Skylar Laine, 17, of Brandon, MS, is having a hard time working on harmonies. She couldn’t find a group, so was placed in one along with Colton Dixon, , 20, a musican/face painter from Murfreesboro, TN, Chase Likens, 20, of Point Pleasant, WV, and Cari Quoyeser, 21, a student/barista from Houston. They’ll be up first tonight singing Dedicated to the One I Love, and while we haven’t heard from Chase before tonight, I have to say I like him. This is a really good group.

Jennifer Lopez tells the group they did a really great job on the harmonies, and mentions the music from that time period was all about that, and they nailed it. Steven tells Chase that for someone who came in there singing his true love Country & Western, he was sure stretching out in a real good way. Jennifer mentions to Skylar she knows it was out of her comfort zone as well, but it seemed shaky and weak for Cari. Jennifer, Steven, and Randy Jackson confer. Cari goes home while the rest move on.

David Leathers Jr., 17, of Fayetteville, NC, Jeremy Rosado, 19, a front desk clerk from Valrico, FL, Ariel Sprague, 16, of Fayetteville, NC, and Gabi Carrubba, 17, of North Haven, CT, are all younger contestants who met each other at the Savannah auditions and have been friends since. They’re singing Rockin’ Robin. Airel explains the first night they got it they thought it was going to be easy, but it turned out to be very difficult. David says it wasn’t working the way they had it laid out originally. Vocal coach Debra Byrd calls it a train wreck. She refers to Gabi as a diva. Again, another group that sounds great. This is how great it is when everyone isn’t dealing with the flu.

Randy tells the group it was hot. While David was having pitch problems last time they heard him, this time he got it all together. Ariel continues to surprise him, and Jennifer adds in that her smile lights up the whole place. Randy throws in that Jeremy is always styling. He thinks Gabi was strong too. They are all through to the next round.

Adam Brock, 27, a creative arts director form Washington, PA, Erika Van Pelt, 26, a mobile DJ/wedding singer from South Kingston, RI, Angie Zeiderman, 25, a waitress from Delray Beach, FL, and Shelby Tweten, 17, from North Mankato, MN, sing Great Balls of Fire with Adam accompanying them on the piano himself. They, too, are strong, but Angie might be the weakest of the four.

Jennifer calls this a lot of fun. The group tells the judges it was a team effort, with all of them putting a little of themselvves into it. Jennifer can see it, thinking the whole number suited them, playing up to all of their strengths. After some deliberation, they all make it through, including Angie, after they make her wait it out. Steven tells Angie that for a skinny little girl with no tail feathers, she sure shook ‘em.

The groups are doing it all tonight, from arrangement to choreography to look. This is dressed like the Andrews Sisters, but their vocals seem not as spot on as some of the others. Schyler Dixon, 16, from Murfreesboro, IN, Brielle von Hugel, 17, from Staten Island (Hey, where’s Stage Mom?), and Molly Hunt sing Why Do Fools Fall In Love. Oddly, Molly is never shown with a solo. Of the other two, Schyler seems the weakest.

Steven says he remembers making out to that song, although he’s not sure when. Randy deliberates right away and asks for the mikes to be cut off before they even get to say much to the group. Steven tells Schyler and Brielle their vocals stood out to him, but Molly’s individual vocals were hurting. Yeah, hurting meaning absent. Was it so bad they couldn’t air it? Molly is going home, while the other two move on.

Wayne Wilson, 23, of Baltimore, MD, Ashley Robles, 26, an insurance account manager from San Diego, Stephanie Renae, 15, of Orange Park, FL, Audrey Deckline from San Clemente, Janelle Arthur from Nashville, and Tina Torres from New YOrk are also going home.

The next group found out they could change the groove of the song, so they made it a little more modern, adding a little hop to it. Ryan Seacrest points out the red lipstick on Eben’s cheeks, and they explain they wanted to pop a little red with their outfits. Reed Griim, 25, a nanny from Ellsworth, WI, Elise Testone, 28, a vocal coach/musician from Charleston, Haley Johnson, 22, a student/barista from Beaverton, OR, and Eben Franckewitz, 15, of Loveland, OH, sing The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, and they’re good, but Reed just outshines everyone, while Haley seem to be the weakest. Steven calls out Elise’s beatboxing, and Reed’s vocals as well. He asks about the kisses on Eben. They’re all going through.

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