S11E9: Gather ‘round ye ladies and gentleman for the tale of Idol’s giant tease of an episode. After we find out what happened to the girl who fell on last night’s episode, we’re onto the most agonizing part of the process: forming groups for group night. But of course, after we wade through the sea of power struggles and sleep-deprived rationale, we think we’re about to get to the goods: the group performances. But there are only two minutes left! Just as one of the most contentious groups takes that final inward breath before starting their song, the episode cuts to Ryan Seacrest announcing a preview for next week. Well, damnit. And they had as all riled up and everything.
“So does that mean I get a yes?” –Symone
Before we could get into group drama, we had to take care of the unnecessary cliffhanger from last night’s episode. (You could have let us know she was okay, Nigel Lythgoe.) It turns out that Symone was suffering from dehydration and she blacked out while talking to the judges. They send her to the hospital while they finish the eliminations. After replaying their auditions in a haunting echo that made me hate just about everyone’s voice – the echo thing is just creepy, guys. On the chopping block are Ethan Jones (the contestant whose dad is in rehab, but honestly he sounded like an overgrown Backstreet Boy) and Lauren Mink (who helps disabled people for a living and changed keys in the middle of her “Alone” rendition last night). Nico Star (who I don’t really remember) and Jeremy Rosado get the green light. And with that, it’s group time.
“Nobody likes cops. Nobody wants to be in my group.” –Alisha Berhardt
Here’s a quick refresher: every contestant must find a group. Groups are four to five people and must have a combination of Day 1 and Day 2 contestants. Without fail, contestants start making groups with people from their own day group. Seriously, they do this EVERY YEAR. It would seem that no one who auditions for the show actually watches it.
And on to the usual set of group-less contestants. First up is Amy Brumfield, the girl who lives in a tent. Ryan keeps emphasizing how she’s homeless on group night, which is just a little insensitive, but hey this is Idol and they get away with that stuff. Amy has the flu so no one wants her because they’re afraid they’ll get sick – little do they know that it’s too late. By the end of the episode, everyone other contestant seems to be retching over a trashcan.
As everyone scrambles around, Alisha the singing cop can’t find anyone to sing “Joy to the World” with her until she finds two rejected contestants, including Amy. They join forces, but they need more people. They meet a duo who’s set on singing “More Than a Feeling” which is a much better choice for a group performance, but Alisha is hell-bent on getting to sing “Jeremiah was a bullfrog.” Though you think she’d have enough of it after singing it in people’s faces. She gets nasty to bully her group into doing her song and waiting for another group, but it’s getting late, so Amy and the other guy join the “More Than a Feeling” duo. And Alisha is left to find another group. She does, but not without terrifying them by asking “Do you like cops?” until they’re too scared to keep her out of the group.
“I’m soon to be a famous mentor.” –George Black
Symone comes back to the competition late and everyone has already formed groups, while she worries about securing her future, her dad brags to the camera that he’s a great stage dad and that he’ll be a famous mentor when Symone wins. Note to future famous mentor: if you can’t get your daughter to drink water, you shouldn’t brag about your leadership skills just yet.
Then we have Brielle von Hugel, a returning contestant who sang in a group with Pia Toscano last year. She’s taking charge of her group, much to group member Kyle Crews’ dismay. Luckily for Brielle, her stage mom is being a stage mom, waiting in the wings and bad-mouthing Kyle. She’s convinced that Kyle is a bad singer and he’s ruining it for the other kids – dear Brielle’s mom, he’s actually really good. You can shut up now.
“He wants to play hardball, okay. Guess who’s on my team? Jesus.” –Amy
Amy’s group is having issues because she’s too sick, but she’s not the only one. Already two other contestants are sick, including Phil Phillips. (Though Phil is suffering from a previous condition.) Why is everyone sick? Did they weaponize bird flu just so Hollywood week could get a whole lot more exciting? It’s just so outlandish. We later learn that Alisha’s teammate Christian also caught the “Idol Bug,” but she’s still being a complete and total control freak. Eventually the rest of the group acknowledges that Christian is holding them back, but Alisha is just a little too quick to want to kick the sick kid to the curb. And this is why group week is great – we learn who the truly awful people are.
“Phil had a kidney stone, and Cowboy had a brain stone or I don’t know what’s wrong with him.” –Heejun
Heejun, you are my favorite Idol contestant. Please never leave us. Heejun and Phil Phillips are together in a group with an obnoxious cowboy. That sounds like a nightmare I just made up, doesn’t it? Cowboy, as Heejun calls him (so it’s good enough for us), keeps hijacking the group and after nine hours, they haven’t gotten very far. Still Cowboy Richie decides he’s fed up and he eventually throws in the towel. You know, you can usually tell who the mediocre singers are by the fact that they turn into such controlling jerks during the forming of group night groups.
“I think a little sleep deprivation brings the best out of everybody.” –Steven
Finally, we have the Betties. This group is all girls and so when the hours get wee, they all go nuts. Half the group is ready to call it quits, saying their voices will give out if they stay up any later (which is pretty wise). One girl – let’s call her Jennifer Yellowshit because I couldn’t catch her last name in all the madness – sits alone after the other girls go home to sleep. She’s bawling and trying to practice even though it’s a ridiculous hour. Her teammate Rihanna comes back and like Rose said to Jack in that really romantic Titanic scene “I’m not leaving you!” They proceed to rehearse until 5 a.m.
And of course, they’re the first performers in the morning. Surely nothing will go wrong when we finally resume this first group performance next Wednesday. Those poor girls are going to have to hold their breaths all weekend.
Were you a little miffed at this giant tease? Or were just happy to soak up all the insanity? Plus, isn’t Heejun just the best? Let me know in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KelseaStahler