The contestants form groups of two or three and are asked to choose a song from the Beatles catalog. However, the story here isn't about which group has the best harmony. Or which group comes up with the best arrangement. Or which contestants don't even know who the hell the Beatles are (although it's an alarming number). No, the story here is about how these kids finally get a dose of reality, in the form of vocal coaches and music mogul Jimmy Iovine. And reality makes people cry. A lot.
Take vocal coach Peggi Blu. Take her, please! Take her to the nearest reality TV producer and get her her own show! This woman is awesome. She yells at Thia Megia and Melinda Ademi (and rightly so) for being terrible. Exasperated by their awfulness, she screams things like, "You're gonna DIE on the stage" and "SING, dammit!!" while double dog daring the duo to prove that they aren't as bad as she deems them to be. Thia just looks at Peggi like any privileged teen looks at an authority figure and refuses to stop singing in that horribly affected manner.
Then there's Jimmy I "used to produce albums for Lennon, Springsteen and U2 and now I peddle Enrique Iglesias shite" ovine. He basically smirks at everyone, implies they all sound like wedding singers, and gets especially critical of Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreepy and Denise Jackson's group. He convinces them to trade in my favorite Beatles song "If I Fell" (THANK YOU) for something else because it's just not working. Lauren cries and cries and cries bitter, delicious 15-year-old tears because she's not used to not being treated like the greatest singer in all the land. But then everyone gets to go see Cirque de Soleil's Beatles LOVE show and Lauren is happy again. Until the next time someone says anything remotely critical.
Once everyone is sufficiently whipped into shape, the groups take the stage to perform for the judges. I guess AI wants to give the kids a taste of what it would feel like to be a big budget performer because there's a backing band, mood lighting, dry ice, feathers, uppers, downers, one of Siegfried and Roy's tigers...just about anything you'd need to put on a proper Vegas revue. There's really no point in doing an in-depth recap of these performances, so I'll just sum up each group (well, the ones that are shown, anyway) in 20 words or less.
- James "The Durbinator" Durbin and Stefano Langone, "Get Back" - Of course Durbin shrieks. That's what he does. That's ALL he does.
- Pia Toscano and Karen Rodriguez, "Can't Buy Me Love" - They sound nice together, but kind of go against Iovine's "no wedding singers" advice.
- Naima Adedapo, Jacob Lusk and Haley Reinhart, "The Long and Winding Road" - Naima = awesome; Jacob = drag queen; Haley = tortured goat.
- Rachel Zevita and two randoms, "Elanor Rigby" - Love Rachel. Love Rachel's widow's veil.
- Lauren Turner and the Smoke Monster, "Let It Be" - I can't see anything, which is weirdly affecting my hearing.
- Tim Halperin and Julie Zorrilla, "Something" - A nice little duet on dueling keyboards, sure to inspire the first round of ridic fan fic.
- Tatynisa Wilson, Lakeisha Lewis and Jerome Bell, "I Saw Her Standing There" - I'm not digging their harmony but the judges, for the most part, lap it up.
- Kendra Chantelle and Paul McDonald, "Blackbird" - Meh. Sounds OK but comes off terribly cheesy. The judges love it.
- Thia Megia and Melinda Ademi, "Here Comes the Sun" - Blargh. Peggi Blu sits in the audience rolling her eyes and mouthing, "Oh Lord."
- Ashley Sullivan Suraiva and Sophia Shorai, "We Can Work It Out" - No they can't. (Ashley got hitched at Britney's Little White Wedding Chapel before the audition.)
- Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery and Denise Jackson, "Hello Goodbye" - What's with all the running around? It's like Hee Haw meets Benny Hill.
- Carson Higgins and Caleb Hawley, "Please Please Me" - Oh, Caleb, why did you hook up with Captain von Crazypants?
- Casey Abrams and Chris Medina, "Hard Day's Night" - I'm not sure what's worse: the vocals, the bed-jumping schtick or Medina's five-sizes-too-small-hat.
- Robbie Rosen, Jordan Dorsey and Aaron Sanders, "Got To Get You Into My Life" - Cool Earth Wind and Fire-ish version. Or as Seacrest calls it, "R&Beatles." Har har.
Some people get cut, including the meth-head newlywed, Carson Higgins and Caleb Hawley, who was to be my Season 10 Michael Johns. I being eating Thin Mints two at a time.
Naima is the first one to walk the long and winding road that leads to the Dawg. The judges ask why she's crying and she explains that it's just been a hard week and a lot of self-doubt has started to creep in. So, do the judges nicely cut to the chase and just let Naima know already that she's made it through to the Top 24? What a dumb question, me! Of course not! That can't happen during the "Let's try to fake everyone out" portion of the show. Naima cries tears of relief after suffering through the panel's stalling.
Hollie Cavanagh, Lakeisha Lewis and Alex Ryan are all cut. They tell Hollie, 17, that she needs another year, or she's too young or some shit. But that won't stop them from putting through a bunch of 15-year-olds. I have no idea who Alex Ryan is.
Hmm, maybe instead of that long runway, AI should take a page from Charlie Kelly's playbook and install a long conveyor belt with some sort of chopping mechanism at the end. But instead of cats, you put Idol contestants on it. Then they'd have nothing to do but ride it out and wait to see if the ax falls. Half of these kids moan that they have nothing left to live for after getting eliminated anyway, so it would really be the humane thing to do.
The others who make it are Clint Jun Gamboa, Haley Reinhart (ugh), Paul McDonald and Ashthon Jones.
Deandre Brackensick is cut, so I expect his stage mom to angrily storm the studio any minute now. Randy tells Deandre to "keep singing." I love how these judges always say that to the eliminated contestants, as if being turned away from AI would just make them stop doing something they love to do and have probably been working for their whole lives. Like they're really thinking: Oooh, I'm not good enough for the people who inflicted Lee DeWyze upon the world. Guess I better pack it in.
Finally, we get to see what Seacrest has been blathering about all episode—the elimination that brings J.Lo to tears. It's Chris Medina! And no one looks more shocked than he. Wha...what?? But, I have the ultimate sob story! I let Steven Tyler kiss my fiancee! I sang "Fix You!" Didn't you feel the emotion in my voice? Or were you just focusing on how terrible it sounded? This is one of those times when Idol tries to fool everyone into believing that this really is a singing competition. But even though the judges all agree that Medina's vocals weren't up to par, Jennifer still has a hard time saying goodbye to her Lifetime movie hero.
IN A SEASON WITH THE MOST TEARS EVER, JENNIFER HAS AN UNPRECEDENTED BREAKDOWN. CAN SHE GO ON??? WILL SHE FIND THE STRENGTH TO CONTINUE??? OR WILL STEVEN AND RANDY HAVE TO GO IT ALONE??
This is ridonk. Steven and Randy have to comfort Jen like she's a six-year-old who just found out there's no Santa Claus. She whines, "I don't wanna do this anymore!" Well, hell, I'll do it. I'll tell all these lamewads to go home and bring Caleb back. And I'll do it for, like, $25 an hour. Call me, Nigel!
Tune in tomorrow night for the rest of the cuts and some of J.Lo's best acting since The Cell.
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