After the guys were whittled down to 20 semi-finalists last week (well, kind of), this week it's all about the ladies. There were a few cuts in the Sudden Death round, but most of the action focused on groups. So I'll do the same.
After Sudden Death 72 girls remained for group round. As we discovered last week, this year the producers assigned the groups; they were not self selected. As several contestants noted, when you force girls into groups, competing amongst one another, the claws were likely to come out. And if you think the show wasn't counting on that, you don't know "American Idol."
The Swagettes - Candice Glover, KamariaOusley, Melinda Ademi, and Denise Jackson - did that "Idol" favorite "Hit 'Em Up, Style." Shout out to S4's JanayCasteen. They did some good a cappella harmonizing, but Kamaria was rough and Melinda was just awful. Candice was the clear star here. All in all, the group was stronger than most of the individual members. They all went through to the next round. Really not sure why Melinda is being pushed through so relentlessly.
Raising Cain - Morgan Leigh, Lauren Mink, Brandy Hotard, somebody else -- did "Sin Wagon" and it was kind of a mess. One of them was not gelling with the others harmonically. The whole thing seemed quite manic. There were parts where they obviously weren't sure what they were supposed to be doing. I hated most of it. The only one that worked for me was Lauren. But Nicki Minaj sure seemed to love it and babbled on before sending them all through. Eyeroll.
Almost Famous - Savannah Votion, Lizz Weiss, Daysia Hall, J'Leigh Chauvin-- went with "Somebody That I Used to Know" and attempted to turn it into four-part harmony, which is...ambitious. Too much so, because very little of it came together. They were all over the place. The sloppy outfits, the unsexy "sexy" dance moves -- all of it was really grim. That said, I still think Savannah is a hell of a singer. She just desperately needs a makeover. For reasons that make no sense at all, Daysia - one of the weakest in the group - was the only one who made it through. The other girls were angry about that, pointing out that Daysia forgot her words and the others tried to push her through it. Savannah was furious and made the cardinal sin of swearing not to come on the show again. That attitude not going to help you in any way, dear.
The aptly named Dramatics - KrissMincey, JanelStinney, Cristabel Clack, someone else - did "If I Die Young." Fascinating group.Cristabel has such an interesting, textured tone. She sounded very strained, but she really connects with the song. Janel, who clearly has some personal issues, can really sing, but she totally forgot the words and she seemed like a real disaster to work with. She broke down on stage about how she felt like she didn't fit in, which Nicki found "endearing." Based on the footage they showed, I don't think she's endearing at all; I think she's a mess. All four of them were put through.
Urban Hue - Seretha Guinn, Tenna Torres, Kiara Lanier, someone else - all sounded constipated while singing "American Boy." Nicki told them that it was "painful" before asking, "What was that?" Nicki said that Seretha lacked star power, and that the song choice was poor. In the end they cut only Seretha. They all should have been sent home based on that number.
The Poosnaps - Isabelle, goddess Zoanette Johnson, Erin Christine, Lauren Bettes - did a rousing rendition of "Knock on Wood." Erin was terrific, Lauren forgettable, Isabelle was good, and Zoanette drifted between ridiculous and sublime. Lots of energy, though. And Lauren was indeed cut, the other three moved forward.
Handsome Women - Shira Gavrielov, Alisha Dixon, Liz Bills, CourtneyCalle - struggled through "Somebody That I Used to Know." I don't know why so many of the girl groups picked this song; it is not well suited for most female ranges. Shira was one of the worst voices I've ever heard at this stage in the competition. This song was 100 percent out of Alisha's range. Courtney can sing, and Liz did a solid job, which infuriated the rest of her group, because apparently she was a prima donna who thought she was too good for the rest of the group. Apparently there was a reason for that. After being cut, Shira came back on stage and demanded an explanation for her axing. Here's an explanation: you sounded like shit. You were off pitch, you screwed up the words. Kick rocks, deuces.
An unnamed group featuring Stephanie Schimel, Alex Delaney, KalliTherinae, and Holly Miller changed their song completely TWO HOURS before going on stage. Stephanie and Alex had no idea what they were singing - Alex was actually trying to read lyrics off her sweaty palm. Stephanie can sing well but she was a marble-mouthed mess. Kalli did a solid job, but weirdly got cut, while Stephanie and Holly made it through. I thought Holly sounded pretty bad, so I don't get that. Even Stephanie seemed surprised to get the nod.
The Dolly Chicks - Britnee Kellogg, Kree Harrison, Brandy Neelly, Haley Davis - also did "Sin Wagon" and made me sad. Britnee absolutely killed it, Kree was fine, Brandy and Haley had no idea what they were singing. Haley was reading the lyrics off her arm, and Nicki called her out as "ridiculous" and "disrespectful" for her behavior. Nicki was not having it. The only one cut, weirdly, was Brandy. Haley had no business making it through to the next round. Absolutely none. To her credit, Brandy handled it like a champ.
The Misfits - Kez Ban, Breanna Steer, Angela Miller, Janelle Arthur - did "Be My Baby," and it was a mixed bag. Janelle was spectacular, Angela was great, but Breanna was singing in a completely different key, and Kez Ban was doing her own Kez Ban thing. I think she's fascinating but I felt for the other members of her group. Thing is, it kind of worked itself out by the end. Nicki loved the whole thing, and specifically called out Janelle for being a superstar. They all went through. Seriously, I thought Breanna was awful.
Thursday night: solo rounds for girls, Top 40 revealed