Last week on American Idol, the men were up for the first Hollywood performances of the season. After the guys sustained a grueling first round of cuts in Tinseltown for both group and solo eliminations, it was the ladies’ turn to be put through the ringer by the judges.
There’s an abundance of estrogen in the air, but contrary to gender stereotypes, I have to say there really weren’t any more tears and cat fights than were seen among the men. Maybe just a handful more wigs. Now, it’s time to reacquaint ourselves with the female contestants of American Idol and see how they fare. Look out, Hollywood — this season’s ladies are jamming their suitcases full of clothes, shoes and feminine hygiene products. That’s how we ladies roll!
Just like the men did, the women start off with some panic-inducing sudden death eliminations. Nicki Minaj is rocking a glossy black wig with bangs and Mariah Carey is looking elegant in a simple black dress. Love them both. Mariah Pulice, the girl with the eating disorder, is facing her first performance and seems optimistic.
Angela Miller, from the NYC auditions, is giving me a Miley Cyrus vibe with her shiny white teeth. She makes a speech about how a woman needs to win Idol this year. Nicki smiles approvingly at her performance. Angela’s hair is very wavy and she’s quite compelling but I can’t stop staring at a girl with a white church hat with a giant bow in the background because, well, she looks amazing.
Victoria Acosta, the mariachi singer, belts “Killing Me Softly.” Angela and Victoria both make it through. Mariah P. is crushed but she is followed by a bunch of other teary-eyed contestants, including several of the quirky faces you probably recognize from the local auditions.
Rachel Hale, the happiest contestant of the season, and Janelle Arthur face off in a country lady sing-off. Rachel’s performance prompts Nicki to gush to Keith Urban about how relatable she is and compares her to Taylor Swift. Janelle matches Rachel’s belting and sees her a plaid shirt and red, suede cowboy boots with fringe. Deliberation! Mariah gives the ladies the good and bad news. Both Janelle and Rachel survive the cuts to sing another day. More squeals of delight from contestants who make it through.
Contestant to watch, Candice Glover, takes the mic and her singing evokes smiles and adoring slow blinks from the judges. Megan Miller from Baton Rouge, the beauty queen on crutches, is walking and wearing super short-shorts and a bow in her hair. She looks like a sexified American Girl doll.
“Nobody understands what we endure,” Mariah laments in her English accent during deliberations. I feel ya, Mimi. Candice continues on while the beauty queen has to head home. More yeses are announced. Others have their dreams crushed.
Isabelle has a very interesting nose and is originally from from Duluth, Georgia. She’s a heavy breather and sings a lot, loudly. She makes it through along with other excited ladies.
Kez Ban, the quirky girl from Chicago, is jumping around to prep for her performance. With her smoky voice and odd, intense personality, she’s definitely one of my favorites. I love the clip of her snacking on lunch meat. Unfortunately, her voice was clearly trashed from her cold and cheering for friends. It’s not looking good for ol’ Kez. Briana Oakley, of Maury Povich bullying fame, delivers a rousing performance that has Randy shaking his head yes. Keith gives the crazy news that all the ladies in the group are continuing. Yay! More Kez Ban. Happy ladies jumping up and down with their high heels in hand!
Cue group night.
“Aww, group night’s fun. I used to be in chorus,” Kez Ban gushes. This woman is going to be a sound byte machine.
The women hear rumors of the pre-selected groups and clutch their collective pearls at hearing confirmation of the news. Groups form and immediately start picking a song, arrange harmonies and put together a dance routine.
Kez is driving her poor group nuts by saying the only song she will sing is “California Dreamin’.” Seriously, she won’t stop singing it. She makes for great TV, but I would rather pull off my own fingernails than be stuck in her group.
At some point, there are choreography issues in a group and I’m having a hard enough time keeping these blonde girls apart.
Vocal coach montage and Zoanette is straight pouting. Rather than get with the program, she sits with crossed arms and a sneeze away from bursting into tears. This ought to be interesting. Could her group be the lady Country Queen?
Finally, Kez Ban’s group convinces her to go with a different song somehow. To their credit, her fellow contestants are trying to make the best of it. Kez Ban runs off to find food while her group rehearses their harmonies into the wee hours of the morning.
The sun rises on Hollywood and the ladies struggle to put on their faces while the cameras barge in on them. Kez Ban is a wash-and-wear type of gal. I think she’s trying to sneak a smoke. Ha! What a nut.
Mariah is all blinged out in a purple dress and a giant necklace. Nicki’s got a bejeweled baseball cap. I’m loving all this sparkle. Randy Jackson has a prior commitment in the morning, but I’m sure no one will notice.
The Swagettes feature returning contestant, Candice. They seemed to experience no issues whatsoever during the song selection and rehearsal process. I’m expecting good things. They take on Blu Cantrell‘s “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops)” and I immediately want them to put out an album. Candice tears up her solo. Loving their choreography and harmonies. Guys, we are in NEED of a new R&B lady super group. Keith Urban immediately starts to gush. It’s looking good. They all make it through! Woo hoo! Imperial Mariah tells them, “Swag on!”
Raisin’ Cain, a bunch of girls in lacy dresses, get country and are too cute in their cowboy boots. Damn, the girls are killing it. They even prompt Nicki to bust out her finest southern accent. Nicki gives them the news that they are all going through, amidst a bizarre listing of other things she will do for them like make them cupcakes.
Almost Famous features the hooker with the heart of gold, Savannah Votion. This group’s thing is leopard print. They take on “Somebody That I Used to Know” and seem to genuinely to be getting along. Savannah’s dancing is a bit too crazy for Gotye. Halfway through the song, they kind of fall apart. Only one girl from the group makes it through and it’s not Savannah. A mutiny forms in the confessional. Now, she’s just somebody that they used to know. Breaking up is always hard, ladies.
A group calls themselves The Dramatics. Apparently, they started off with good harmonies. But by 4 a.m., Janel, a girl in a lace white dress, is completely losing her mind on the lobby carpet. Group night is stressful, y’all. Hopefully, Janel will show up to the performance. Despite the antics, the group sounds OK. Janel does her own thing throughout the performance and it’s clear she went rogue. Nicki stands up to applaud and tells them, “I enjoyed you guys messing up the words more than anyone today.” Ha! The judges call Janel out for not trying to work with her group. Nicki says Janel is unique and I can’t tell if Mariah is crying or laughing. Nicki’s pro The Dramatics, Keith’s got some yeses and nos and Mariah is on the fence but somehow, they all make it through. This shit ought to be interesting. Janel is clearly hanging on by a thread. I can’t wait to see more of her antics.
We see more nos and thigh-high leopard print boots. Montage of single ladies representing for their entire group in the next round.
Seretha and her group take on Estelle‘s “American Boy” and Mariah superfan Tenna Torres belts through her nose somehow. It’s a strange rendition. Nicki tells them, “That was so painful. What was that?” Nicki calls out Tenna as being the only standout and I’m surprised. She opens up the floor to the other judges. I love hearing Mariah campaigning for people. The non-unanimous decision is to have Seretha be the only one who goes home. She gets a consolation kiss from her adorable daughter on the way out, so it’s not all bad.
Suddenly, Randy’s back from jury duty, or wherever he was.
Zoanette seems to have perked up from her rehearsal sadness. A good night’s sleep and some coffee has worked wonders. Zoanette and her group come out with an over-the-top version of “Knock On Wood.” Zoanette is such a scene stealer. For a moment, I’m worried she’s going to back up into the giant Idol “D” but she manages to remain accident free and no insurance claims need to be filed. Keith loves it. Nicki tells them simply, “It was cool.” Three of the girls, including Zoanette, continue on, leaving one of their own behind.
A totally mismatched group looks terrified to perform. Liz can’t find her group and they seem 100% over her. This group includes the super skinny Israeli pop star, Shira. During their shit-talking group confessional, Liz appears. It’s mad awkward. They go out to sing “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Liz takes off her shoes to perform barefoot. The audition comes off like some bizarre performance art. Liz is the only one who makes it through and her group is straight SHOCKED. Shira, the Israeli girl, comes back to the stage and asks for an explanation and another chance. The judges do their best to be honest but let her down gently and tell her they can still be friends. Shira’s not trying to hear that but eventually wanders off.
The group For You features Stephanie Schimel, a contestant who appears to have stolen one of Nicki’s wigs. At the last minute, they change their song two hours before their performance. They choose Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” I’m going to start referring to it as a “Song That I Used to Like.” Stephanie kicks it off by forgetting the very first words. They struggle through, glancing at the lyrics written on their palms way too frequently like they’re cheating on their SATs. Randy tells them it was “terrible.” Stephanie and Holly make it through just barely.
So many girls are cribbing their lyrics on their hand that it becomes a running joke. This is probably one of my favorite montages. It almost looks like a cross-promotional gaga for Kevin Bacon‘s new show The Following.
Three Blondes and a Brunette, as I’ve named them, are being led by frustrated leader, Britnee Kellogg. They freak out when group member Haley quits rehearsal to go to bed. Tension is high at breakfast. They all look like they’ve been notified of a death in the family during their group confessional. For their performance, Britnee sports a sparkly headband and a take charge attitude. These country girls somehow manage to pull out a saucy rendition of “Sin Wagon,” despite one member clearly not knowing any of the words. Haley gets called out for popping off to bed early. Nicki reads her the riot act and the judges discuss. Three girls make it through, including the super tan and well-rested Haley Davis.
Last group to perform is Kez Ban’s group, The Misfits. We are reminded of Kez Ban’s wacky business earlier in the day. Her group rehearses early and, not finding Kez, they leave without her. Somehow, she catches up with them and starts doing calisthenics to warm up before they perform. Kez takes the lead for their version of “Be My Baby” and sounds much better then last time. Angela (aka Miley 2.0) sounds good, and my sweet country girl, Janelle, gives it with a twang that Keith loves. Somehow, these ladies make it happen. Crazy Kez is ready for a group hug.
Nicki declares their “voices perfection.” Janelle gets a big kudos from Nicki. “Kez Ban, of course you’re a crazy psycho and I love that,” Nicki tells her. They all make it with the declaration that they are the “best group of the day.” I love a happy ending.
Tomorrow night, it’s the solo performances for the ladies. I am dying to know who gets a “Smash Hit Wonder!” from Mariah. And the Top 20 girls and guys will be revealed for Season 12. Squee!