Some hopefuls might call American Idol the dream of a lifetime, but the group performance auditions would likely be deemed cruel and unusual punishment. Part of carving out a career is learning to cope with those who may not share similar values and opinions, and still work for a common goal. Sleep must come last on the priority list for now. Some of those with golden tickets could not even grasp the concept of group, while others became cohesive within minutes, and made their moment on stage their own. Stars are beginning to emerge already in Season 13, and the group night performances only made them glow brighter.
3 More Days was the first ensemble taking the stage, we spot-on vocal harmony as their strength. David Oliver Willis and Sarina Crowe pleased the panel, but the pain started early, as Tony Foster was the first to be told he was going home. Who would think that three of the strongest country voices which used to take on a boy band classic? That’s just what the Backstreet Cowboys did, making a big move out of their comfort zone with “I Want It that Way,” and selling it lock, stock, and barrel! Casey Thrasher, Ben Briley, and Dexter Roberts did a bang-up job with a genre they would never choose, and it was no wonder that they wowed everyone. Harry Connick, Jr. raved that this part of the competition isn’t about perfect performances, but about seizing the stage. These boys will be staying around! The ladies had a strong run, too, as Paula Hunt, Briana Oakley, MK Nobilette, Kenzie Hall, and Emily Piriz came on strong. Spencer Lloyd had the luck of being the only male among two girls, Megan Miller and Alyssa Siebkin, who wanted to practice the song that only he knew well, but he didn’t think that was necessary, and it showed. Spencer and Megan pulled through, but Alyssa was next to leave, and not very happy about it. Let the lesson be– it’s not enough to rely on one good-looking guy to save a song! Madisen Walker, Keith London, Austin Percario, and Adam Roth came on next, but by the end of the night, none of them would stand. Tiquila Nelson surprised everyone with her decision to revert back to gospel, “where my heart is,” and leave the competition. God will have a plan for her, and her big voice.
The pressure got to Harry Connick, Jr., as much as anyone, as he momentarily left the panel of judges, saying he didn’t like anyone, only to be brought back to his seat by Ryan Seacrest. Young Matthew Hamel, Caleb Johnson, Tyler Sloan, and CJ Harris made the best of a bit of a mess, seeing as no one but Caleb and CJ truly knew the words they were singing, and those two made it through by the grace of the judges. The entire ensemble of Collision captured the panel, and most of Clarity did, too, even with a sick member, they pushed through, drama notwithsta nding. Diplomatic Mumfarid Zaidi made an impassioned pitch for the infirmed bandmate, Sikenya, extolling her honesty. By the end of the song, only Allie Odom would be dismissed. Savion Wright has been a clear standout from the beginning, and he stepped up once more among group mates, Madelyn Patterson, Ryan Clark, and John Fox, but the hardest part of his night came when John Fox was told he would be heading home. The two had been buddies since the start, and shared a tearful parting.
Stephanie Hervey’s mom again took most of the spotlight, but that couldn’t keep her daughter in the competition. Nica Nishae, Cara Watson, and even the discontent newbie, Jessica Meuse made their way well enough through “Single Ladies” to move through another level. Stephanie, though, will have to wait for another season to try again, and hopefully, mom can stay home! Destiny’s Child had another run on their hit catalog with the next group, Love’s Angels, who hardly acted like angels for most of their time rehearsing. Their selection of “Say My Name” impressed no one on the panel, particularly dismaying to Harry Connick, Jr., because it had “no melody,” but Emmanuel Zidor survived the cut. Loud N Fierce finished the night. All four ladies, Malaya Watson and Christina Collins leading the way in their cohesiveness and standing in for each other, came through together.
The 77 remaining talents will have to sing solos for survival next week to make it into the Top 30. American Idol airs Wednesday and Thursday on FOX.