Group Performances Cut the Weak from American Idol

by Ruth Anne Boulet

There’s this German word that I love because it is just so freaking German. It’s schadenfreude — taking pleasure in the suffering of others. Isn’t that just so German? It’s also the perfect word to describe the group round in Hollywood Week on American Idol. Watching talented people on little sleep have to navigate staging and arranging a song as a group number is perfect popcorn-popping television. It’s right up there with watching Renovation Realities on DIY Network. Oooh! You think you can renovate a master bathroom in a week!? Just before Christmas?! Pass the popcorn!

This year folks that made it through round one on day one got smart & started forming groups & picking songs. Smart. Producers made a demand that groups be formed from day one and day two contestants. So then the scramble begins to break up & reform groups. Established day one groups search for that perfect day two person to join their group. Singers then have to audition for each other to join. Heh. Heh.

New Jersey girl doesn’t get any love. Seems no one wants to sing with the glittery hair girl with the lace top who dissed everyone from the stage. I won’t miss not seeing her cleavage in every shot. And a note, if she were to ever read this: do not sit on the stage as you did in your duet. It was not flattering.

Another group is called The Minors. Yes, they’re all 15 or 16. They get their mothers to give ‘feedback.’ They think they’ve got an advantage because they’re young. No, they likely have an advantage because they’re still in school so they’re used to having to work with other people. The mothers are only an advantage because they are getting audience feedback. A very biased audience, but an audience nonetheless.

Another group with an unfair advantage is the group with the ex-boyfriend & girlfriend. They’ve been singing together for years. Why the producers let the two of them be in a group, I have no idea. For some weird reason they went with ‘Forget You’ by CeeLo Green. None of them sounded good singing it.

Lauren Alaina, aka ‘the 2011 chosen one’ is the only one to make it through from her group. They all played up the ‘Steven Tyler is a man-whore’ theme of the season & sang to him on stage. I think one of the other girls was better than Lauren, but I’m not J.Lo so I get no say in the matter.

Didn’t Paula Abdul get in trouble for supposed flirting in years past?

We are also entertained by a longer segment on Ashley, the not-quite-stable girl. She goes through some major highs & lows. First she’s excited to be starting the group round. Then she’s insisting she wants to quit. Then the producer convinces her to think about it. Then she’s back in. She has an incredibly nice group and they let her back in. Amazingly, they sounded pretty good. Perhaps Ashley just gets stressed out in the decision-making process & once everything’s set, she learns quickly. Whatever her deal is, she needs to get it together to get further than this round. Right now, it’s just too uncomfortable to watch her.

One guy writes the lyrics on a piece of paper in his hand. Amateur. He gets cut. Other people get put through to the next round because of performances they’ve done in the past. So what’s the point of having the group round then? It’s not like there aren’t enough good singers around the theater. Then to have other singers get cut without having their past performances considered doesn’t seem fair at all.

Then we get the ‘you were mean to the really sweet 15-year-old’ segment. First we get to hear him sing with his group. He sounds ok, but he completely forgets the lyrics & makes up something about wanting to stay. The judges then hear the story of how his first group dissed him. They keep the sweet kid. That technique does not work so well for ex-boyfriend Rob. He forgets his lyrics as well & is sent home.

Ryan Seacrest tells me that about 100 singers are eligible for the ‘sing for your life’ round 3. That means only about 30% of the singers got cut on group day. There’s still a lot more cutting to do.