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

Kellogg, 27, a banker from Vancouver, WA, Courtney Williams, 24, a rec leader from Philadelphia, and Jessica Phillips, 26, a receptionist from Brooklyn, all auditioned in Portland. Jessica, who put her life on hold to take care of her boyfriend, a stroke victim, says she feels like she’s where she needs to be. People are going to go home, but she doesn’t think she’s one of them. That sounds a little ominous. They are the only group that didn’t rehearse with the band. They all sing for a living and don’t want to waste anyone’s time. In other words, they think they’re the shit, and this might not work out in their favor with that type of ‘tude. They sing You Keep Me Hangin’ On, and they could have used a little rehearsal. I’m just sayin’.

Steven tells Courtney she went up in the Koolaid in the beginning. Randy knows Courtney tried to take some chances, and the song could have been a little rushed. Britnee came out strong, but Jessica didn’t breathe fire like Steven wishes she had. Jennifer says playing around up in the stratosphere with a melody like this doesn’t have the impact they’d want it to on an audience. Randy warns that Courtney and Jessica’s ideas of the liberties they took are okay, but when you do that, it has to be unbelievably hot and spot on. To Jennifer, it seemed like they didn’t know the melody, and Steven backs it up, saying it was like they were out of their comfort zone.

Never get too ahead of yourselves, Ladies. Britnee and Courtney have made it through, while Jessica is headed home to take care of her boyfriend. She says afterwards she doesn’t think they’re looking for real artists. She only came here for a record deal, and the people making it through aren’t real artists, so that’s okay. Wow.

The diva coach is back. It’s vocal coach Peggy Blu working with Lauren Gray, 23, a waitress/musician from Hardy, AR, Wendy Taylor, 29, a musician from Crosby, TX, and Mathenee Treco, 25, a dance instructor from Centennial, CO. Lauren lost her voice a little and was out of her element, and Peggy sings “Ooh, this is not going to work.” She asks Lauren who she’s supposed to be looking at and tells her she doesn’t listen. When she starts to cry, Peggy tells her there is no crying in music and asks her if she’s on Ritalin because she needs to focus. “You came here to be on American Idol, so get a grip.” They sing Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. The song still makes me think of James Durbin.

Lauren is asked to step forward, along with Wendy. These two stay. Mathenee is thanked, but sent home. It’s that quick.

Peggy is also working with Neco Starr, 20, a songwriter from Atlanta, Jairon Jackson, 20, a host from Denver, HeeJun Han, 22, a non-profit organizer from Flushing, NY, and Phillip Phillips, 21, a pawn shop employee from Leesburg, GA. HeeJun is worried to be working with her. They’re singing I Only Have Eyes for You, and didn’t really know it, but thought it was a beautiful song. They like that it’s more laid back. Peggy is just loving it and not screaming at them at all. Steven surveys the group and says, “Brought a crowd, brought a mob, brought a show.” They could honestly record this song right this minute; they are that ready. It’s amazing, and I am getting J-Lo’s goosebumps. They give thanks to Peggy at the end. Way to go, Boys.

Randy admits it’s been a tough day and they’ve had to cut a bunch of people. HeeJun, Jairon, Neco, and Phillip are all asked to step forward. They are all not going anywhere. They have made it. They thank Peggy again. HeeJun turns around and cries. He’s just glad to be giving the people back home good news.

Groove Sauce is back together, but they’re missing Reed who performed with another group. Nevertheless, it should be good. They’re looking like Jersey Boys and a guest, but are going by the name of Lady and the Spectacles. They worked with Peisha McPhee, who thought their barbershop melodies needed to be about a group, but individual as well. It’s Creighton Fraker, 28, a starving artist from Queens, Aaron Marcellus, 27, a music teacher from Atlanta, Nick Boddington, 25, from NYC, and Jen Hirsh, 25, a winery employee from Agoura Hills, CA, singing Sealed with a Kiss. They sound like one when they sing together. It’s beautiful.

Steven appreciated the melodies and tells Jen, “Whew! Wow!” Randy agrees it was good, and he and Jennifer give Aaron props. Steven and Jen call out “Over-the-Top Creighton” as well. However, they aren’t sure it was Nick’s best, but he’s in a strong group. Aaron, Creighton, and Jen step forward. Sadly, Nick is going home. The group thinks the judges are wrong to send Nick home.

The judges still don’t have the group down to a workable number yet, and have to make some more cuts. Everyone who was previously told they were going through is brought back to the stage. They need to get down to 40. They bring everyone together by groups.

Gabi is the only one cut from her group, and she says she’s embarrassed. Her group is left sad. The next group sticks together, but Colton is waiting to see if his sister made it, after only auditioning this year because the judges remember him and his sister from last year during her audition. Sure enough, Schylar is cut. Colton is crushed that he now made it, and she didn’t.

The next group sticks together, as do the next several. Angie is cut from her group, and she vows to try again. Candace, Johnny (that’s why he shouldn’t have been in the hot tub), Jairon, and Britnee arre cut as well, and she doesn’t get it, because she worked her butt off every performance. But, your group didn’t take the help it was offered.

I seriously have J-Lo’s goosebumps looking at some of these people in the top 40. Next week they will perform one more time for the judges before the semifinalists are chosen. This is a stellar group. And if you don’t tune in for that, then tune in for Steven who is going to strip down to his boxer briefs and jump into a body of water that might be a fountain … after he moons the camera.

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