Words. Tonight’s American Idol show was all about words, be it forgetting words or having words. Elizabeth Pha did both.
There are ninety-eight contestants left for Group night. All were split into groups of three, and picked a number to determine the order they would be singing the next day. They would have all night to practice and prepare their choice of one of five songs to be sung the next day in front of Randy, Paula and Simon.
First to have trouble is Matthew Myers, Danny Steward and Scott Sobel. Matt and Danny are not getting along with Scott, or Planet Of The Ape Boy as Matt referred to him. In fact, Matt is ready to “pimp slap” him. Scott, for his part, has seen people be eliminated for a bad group performance, and he doesn’t intend to leave now. The soonest he wants to leave is April or May during the finals.
Later during practice, Scott has gone missing. Danny says he feels like he has been stood up by a date. Scott eventually shows up, and the three end up working through the night. By the next day they have all earned respect for each other.
Elizabeth Pha, Rachel Leslie and Carrie Zaruba are struggling, or rather Elizabeth is struggling. She can’t seem to remember the words to Where Did Our Love Go. Rachel and Carrie grow increasingly more impatient with her. They eventually leave Elizabeth all by herself to learn the lyrics, with Carrie saying it’s like singing with an elephant.
Meting up with Elizabeth again, Rachel and Carrie are outraged that Elizabeth’s memory hasn’t improved at all. Carrie asks, “If you can’t learn a pop song in three hours, why are you here?” Got a point there, Carrie. Eventually they give up the argument and go to bed with plans to meet at 6:30 AM. When Elizabeth doesn’t show by 7:30, Carrie and Rachel find her in her room with the excuse that they never told her where and when to meet.
Jaclyn Crum hasn’t had a lot of time to work with her group, but there is no blame for this one. Jaclyn’s mom, who has Multiple Sclerosis, collapsed and was taken to the hospital. Eventually it was determined to just be food poisoning, but it left her group with little practice and time to spare.
The first group out to perform is Constantine Maroulis, Desmond Meeks sand William Blake. They sing and dance their way through Sugar Pie Honeybunch. Simon notes it was an interesting group between rocker Constantine and James Brown-inspired Desmond. Asked who was responsible for the choreography, they beam and say it was Desmond, to which Simon replies it was hideous. This was probably a reference to Simon’s argument with Paula over letting Desmond through in Orlando. Constantine and Desmond stay, but William is going home.
Carrie, Rachel and Elizabeth are up, and it’s do or die time for Elizabeth, who still can’t remember her words. Randy points out no one was owning the song and today they needed to bring it. Paula questions Elizabeth on forgetting the lyrics. She says she didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. They ask what the problem was a few days ago when she forgot the words at the first Hollywood audition, and she says she didn’t get that much sleep that night either, prompting Simon to ask just how many hours she needs. Unfortunately for her, she is not moving on, but the rest of her group is.
Music teacher Anwar Robinson couldn’t stop instructing and led the other members of his group, Jamar Jefferson an Mario Vasquez through Sugar Pie Honeybunch. “You made us enjoy you!” they’re told, and all make it through this round. Special note to Mario: Watch out for Annie; I hear she’s trouble.
Janay Castine, Gina McFadden and Natalie Weiss are alone for the first time singing Please Mr. Postman. Janay’s mom and Gina’s dad had been coaching all night, much to Natalie’s chagrin. Simon tells them there was no sparkle other than the necklace around Janay’s neck. He lets Janay and Gina stay, but Natalie is sent home sans parents.
Matt, Danny and Scott are finally up, prompting Scott to say they are going to “blaze” this thing. Matt has his son’s teddy bear with him again for good luck. Randy tells them that was the best ending harmony of the day, calling it “da bomb.” Danny and Scott stay, but Matt and his bear are sent packing.
Rocker Aaron Kelly, Timothy Sauer and the other Jefferson twin, Lamar, are up. Simon says he doesn’t know why he flew back from London and calls it “shambolic.” Is it me, or does that sound like something Austin Powers would say? Going over one of the scores, Paula doesn’t like that she has the only Yes for one of the three. She accuses Randy of changing his Yes to a No. She calls in the executive producer, and Simon gives Paula a hard time getting her all flustered. The executive producer says the show rules say two against one majority rules and sides with Simon and Randy. Timothy is the only one to make it, with the other two being sent home. Okay, I’m probably twice his age, but that Timothy is hot.
After Simon and Paula kiss and make up, literally, Rashida Johnson, still nursing a cold, is up with Jaclyn Crum and Faith Gatewood. The judges are very lenient, lucky for Rashida, because of Jacyln’s time spent at the hospital with her mom, and all three end up staying.
A few botched word group auditions are shown, and the funniest is Nicholas Kolbosky singing “I just love myself” instead of “I Can’t Help Myself.” Always good to have a narcissist in the group, I mean other than Simon, but Nicholas is sent home anyway.
Last up is Kurtis Parks, John Zisa and JP Koehler, who have been forgetting the lyrics to “Jump, Shout” all day. They continue to forget the words, and when asked about it, they say they chose thes song for the risk and to be different. They somehow all make it through, and figure it was because they took that risk.
I’m pretty sure we’re not done with the focus being on words. Assumably someone will forget the words at least once during finals, and adlib their way through it. And there seems to be something up with Paula this year, a little extra ornery. I think she’s really going to be gunning for her just desserts during the season. If she’s already calling in the executive producer, insisting he change the rules, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
I welcome all questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com