American Idol 4, February 9: Group Dynamics and Other Odious Beastsby Sting7 -- 02/10/2005
Now there are only 97 left. Those 97 are put into groups to perform a song together. My favorite part! But, itís not going to be easy. There is already tension.
Jaclyn Crum is pulled to the side because her mother (who you might recall has MS) has collapsed. She has to go with her mother to the hospital, leaving probably very little rehearsal time with her group. Matt Meyers, who we havenít met before is enjoying working with Danny Steward (we havenít met him either), but not so much for Scott Savol. As Mike and Danny work on "Sugar Pie Honeybunch," Scott stands there scowling. To us, Matt says he wants to "bitch slap" him. Ouch.
Scott says he has seen people get dismissed for being in a bad group, and he will not let that happen to him. Heís not going home until April or so.
Meanwhile, Janay Castine is working with Gina and Natalie (no last names given yet). Gina seems obsessed with the choreography, despite the fact that her mother has gone to the trouble of writing the lyrics to "Mr. Postman" on a big display board. Itís getting on Janayís nerves.
Matt and Danny are about to knock off for the night. Unfortunately, Scott being AWOL leaves them feeling less than confident about tomorrow.
Anwar Robinson, music teacher, is using his teaching skills with his team of Mario Vasquez and another guy who is not named. It seems to be working.
Elizabeth Pha is having trouble with lyrics, just like yesterday, we are told, and her team has no interest in helping her learn them.
In the choreography room, Ginaís dad has to break it down for the trio. Worrying about choreography will get you bounced. Speaking of choreography, Constantine has developed all the steps for his group, but Dezmond Meeks seems to have awarded himself the title of choreographer. Itís grating Constantineís nerves. He is resigned to the fact that they will be a "train wreck."
Elizabethís group has left her alone to learn the lyrics. They rejoin her hoping for progress... nah. (The other group members are not named, so I have to refer to them as Glasses and No Glasses). Glasses doesnít understand the problem, "itís just a simple pop song! If you canít learn the words to a simple pop song, what are you doing here?" (And they donít come much simpler than "Where Did Our Love Go?") Elizabethís eye-rolled, sarcastic answer is, "Hello? I can sing!" But, sheís going to have to learn words she doesnít know if sheís in the Top 12. I have to side with Glasses on this one.
Natalie has asked the parents to leave her, Janay, and Geena, after Geenaís dad even more directly tells them they have to focus on the words. Father does know best, this time.
Many of the groups have begun to go to bed. Scott Savol returns, extending an olive branch, or at least offering a hug. Danny hugs him, but Mike declines. They head into the room to do some work, but not without Scott casting a skeptical glance at the camera first.
Jaclyn has learned her mother has food poisoning, as opposed to an MS-related episode. Encouraged by that, as much as one can be encouraged by food poisoning, she heads back to the hotel to work with her group, who welcome her.
Meanwhile, things get worse for Elizabeth Phaís group. Glasses tells her directly that Elizabeth could blow the chance for all of them. Elizabeth, who seems to be showing out for the camera in some strange dramatic improv more than listening, asks what is she saying, and announces in a huff that sheíll perform by herself. Nighty-night.
Morning comes, and Elizabeth doesnít meet with her team, so they come and get her. Elizabeth claims she didnít know about the meeting, since Glasses and No Glasses were talking amongst themselves. Glasses waves that off and says Elizabeth is late for roll call anyway. Tense.
Ginaís dad is shown taking the Diana Ross position in his daughterís group Ė and relishing it! Natalie is still annoyed by the presence of the parents. Ginaís dad insists he only gives advice when they want it. Not looking that way, Pops!
John Zisaís group seems to be struggling with lyrics, since they went straight to bed, figuring there would be time for lyrics and stuff in the morning, as they are performing near the end. John is confident "it will come!"
Now itís time to perform. Starting with Constantine, Dezmond, and William Blake. Their "Sugar Pie" is a something of a mess, choreography falling to pieces. In the end, itís yes to Constantine and Dezmond. No for William, who graciously thanks the judges.
Now, the ill-fated Elizabeth Pha team with Glasses (Carrie Zanuba) and No Glasses (Rachel Leslie). Rachel starts with a nice, clear tone, Carrie seems just a tiny bit off-key, and Elizabeth steps forward to utter not a single lyric, just lots of whoa-whoa-whoas all over the scale. There is a hint of satisfaction in Carrieís eye as she knows Elizabeth is about to be crushed under a bus. Paula is first to call Elizabeth on her disaster. Elizabeth says she didnít get enough sleep. What about the other day when she also forgot them? Not enough sleep. Simon wonders how much sleep she needs for "Baby Baby where did our love go?" Good question. Elizabethís lame answer is, "Iím good! Really!"
Yes for Rachel, Carrie is being given "another chance," and for Good Really Elizabeth, the competition is over. Outside, Elizabeth says she is a beautiful person, and itís all unfair. Puh-lease. No one said you werenít a beautiful person, and whose fault is it that you canít remember maybe 12 lines of lyrics?
John Zisaís group continues to struggle, but they are still smiling!
Mario Vasquez, Jamar Jefferson (one of the "money" twins), and Anwar Robinson, give a spirited "Sugar Pie Honeybunch," which is a bit over the top for me, but the judges genuinely seem to enjoy it, yes all around!
The choreography-challenged trio of Janay Castine, Gina McFadden, and Natalie Weiss take their shot at "Mr. Postman." All three girls are singing well and trying their damnedest, but Simon says he sees no sparkle, other than around Janayís neck. In spite of that, Janay is a solid yes. Gina is a split decision, but a yes. For Natalie, Simon says, "it didnít go your way." Natalie says thank you and is gone before Simon finishes his short sentence. She calls "Ryan" and tells him she was cut. Poor thing.
Now the previously miserable trio of Matt Meyers, Danny Steward, and Scott Savol are due on stage. Scott tells us, scarily, "Iím Ďbout to blaze this thing, man!" (I feel compelled to call 911! I thought he was going to burn down the theater!) As they perform "Sugar Pie" (Iím getting sick of this song), Matt Meyes stumbles on his lyrics, Danny Steward picks up the ball and runs with it, and Scott does, in fact, blaze it! Yes for Danny and Scott, but sadly, Matt and his lucky teddy bear are headed home. Danny is effusive with praise for his teammates.
And, now, for something completely ridiculous, Aaron Kelly, Lamar Jefferson (the other half of the "money twins"), and Timothy Sauer, bring us... you guessed it, "Sugar Pie" (Iím gonna hear this song in my sleep!). Aaron is off-key and rolling his head around like he forgot his Ritalin. Lamar flubs his lyrics, even mumbling "I messed up" (even if you do, never show it!) and Timothy is like Marilyn Munster, made stranger for his inclusion with this group. Simon gives them a severe tongue-lashing, telling them they looked like fools. Lamar offers that they were having fun, and Simon tells him to enter another competition where thatís called for. Decision time Ė a decision Paula does not like. Someone is going home who she really wants to keep. It worked with Dezmond, but the going is tougher this time. Paula accuses Simon of writing a yes, but saying no. Simon denies it. Paula calls over Nigel Lythgoe (executive producer).
Ryan, in his best on-the-scene reporter whisper, says this has never happened before! Paula starts saying something to Nigel when Simon, red with anger, demands she "say it to my face!" Paula says she had to face Nigel because he was behind her. (True!) She then asks Nigel to come to the front (and it has become ridiculous). Paula says Simon canít stand someone. (Is that your argument?) Nigel explains patiently that itís still two to one. Paula looks resigned. Timothy Sauer is a yes, in a split decision. Aaron appears to be a unanimous no. Lamar (who I think the argument was about, and they call "Delmar" because I think the twins are "Delmar Jamar" and "Delmar Lamar") is also a no. Jamar is shocked. So is Lamar.
Simon offers Paula a make-up hug, as the contestants awwww. Of course, he makes stabbing motions at her neck as he hugs her.
The Zisa trio are still trying to hammer out those lyrics. Their positivity: unblemished.
Itís Jaclyn Crumís turn with her trio. Considering her mother was in the hospital (confirmed with food poisoning), they havenít had much time to rehearse. But Jaclyn, Rashida Johnson, and Faith Greenwood arenít all bad. Jaclyn is as powerful as ever, reminding me a touch of Diana DeGarmo. Rashida is still battling that cold, but she is really good at using what voice she has left effectively. Faith is a bit weak in my estimation. Their "Sugar Pie" done, Faith addresses the judges. She tells them that Jaclynís mother was in the hospital and they only had today to work, so please, a little slack. Paula says they were great, so great, they are all returning tomorrow!
Not so true for an unnamed trio, one guy whose "Sugar Pie" he murders to the point of singing he "loves himself." Out.
Finally, time for the Zisa trio. The lyrics do not come as promised (they sing so few of them, I couldnít tell you what it was really, not that it matters, so donít email me). All three struggle mightily. Zisa, Kurtis Parks, and Jamie Paul Koehler look doomed. Randy says they sang so little, he has nothing to say. Michael says they took a risk with the song, because almost nobody else chose it. (What a perfect answer.) Simon says he feels sorry for them because they were conquered by a song and the judges liked all three of them yesterday, and heís disappointed. So, heís going to make a group judgment since they are all "in the same boat."
They are getting one more chance.
The trio canít believe their ears. Kurtis is whooping loudly and jumping up and down. Jamie has literally burst into tears, which ignites some from John. They talk to Ryan, who asks why they think they were given a break. John says because they took a risk. Kurtis thinks the judges "saw something." Jamie is just relieved because he thought he let his team, and himself, down. But they live to sing another day.
So, the 96 are reduced to 72. These include Carrie Underwood, David Brown, Angel Hicks (the music teacher who came for her student, but she made it, he didnít), Anthony Fedorov, Lindsay Cardinale, and others who werenít featured today.
More tests ahead. Who will survive?
Sting7 has been a respected published writer for 16 years, as a music editor, entertainment critic, columnist, and interviewer. He also has a curious love for pro-wrestling! You can email Stinger at email@example.com.
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