American Idol
Hollywood Round, Week #1

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: A- | 12 USERS: B
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Group Dynamics

Ryan is coming to us from the Dolby Theater at 10:26, where all of the remaining hundred-odd contestants are packed into the first few rows. Yes, it's Group Round, which is sold as the most punishing round of the competition. Nobody mentions that it's also the least relevant to the competition.

A couple of minutes before 11:00 AM, it looks like the first group to go will be "Three More Days," comprising David Oliver Willis, Sarina Joi Crowe, and Tony Foster, Jr. None of whom look remotely familiar to me, but all of whom who have been to Hollywood in previous seasons. One of them talks about how they want to show that they've improved, which would require someone to remember them from before. They're doing "Too Close" as a trio, with some decent three-part harmonies during the chorus and a nice little flourish at the end.

Jennifer liked it except for the choreography dropping off in the middle, which I suppose is the danger of having a judges' panel with two musicians on it. After a brief conference, Jennifer warns everyone that they're going to be cutting half of the remaining contestants today. However, David and Sarina get to stay, so she's clearly rounding up. Still, keep in mind that the previous round ended with 104 people left, and one of them bailed on the competition last night, so we should end up this evening somewhere in the low 50s. Before leaving, Tony asks why he got the axe, and Jennifer says they're looking for people who jump out, which tells him nothing. Harry gets more specific, saying he spent too much time looking at his feet. His shoes aren't that great. But the judges are impressed that Tony requested an explanation. They'd better keep that quiet or everyone's going to be doing it.

The three plaid-shirted country singers calling themselves "Backstreet Cowboys" (Casey Thrasher, Dexter Roberts, Ben Briley) come out to double down on their ill-advised group name with an even more ill-advised performance of "I Want it That Way." It's so not their thing, but they pull it off well enough, and even Keith's impressed. Enough to send them all through to the next round, in fact. Harry says the round is about making the most of the moment, buying into it, and selling it. "Commitment." Nice try, Harry. This round still makes no sense, and the Backstreet Cowboys just proved it.

George Lovett and Neco Starr are doing well in their group, though the other two members fade into the background. In other news, Air Force singer Paula Hunt and shoe clerk Andrina Brogden dominate their group. Same with the androgynous MK Nobilette, who's got "Royals" until her groupmate and returning veteran Briana Oakley steps up. That whole group goes through, meaning the likes of Brandy Neelly, Emily Piriz, and Kenzie Hall are sticking around too.

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American Idol

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