Posted: 6:20 pm Thursday, February 6th, 2014
By Rodney Ho
I enjoy the group rounds, no matter how silly they are. I guess they are supposed to show if a singer can work well with others and that is not a bad thing to know.
There are always a few groups that click and others that just embarrass themselves with bad dance moves and missed lyrics. This season, we see very few of the really bad ones.
They cut the group of 104 survivors down to 77. (They had planned to cut it in half but didn’t quite do it.)
The show opens with flashback group moments featuring Carrie Underwood, Scotty McCreery, Candice Glover and Phillip Phillips. And a Brittenum twin from season five (and from Atlanta!) uttering, “I don’t do groups!”
I’m not going to recount every single group tonight. It’s just too many names. I’ll just pluck out some highlights and lowlights.
Three Mo Days: Tony Foster Jr, David Oliver Willis, Sarina Joi Crowe. (Alex Clare “Too Close”) All three have been through this group round before, which helped all three. But surprisingly, Tony gets axed while the other two move forward. “You spent 80% of your performance staring at your feet,” HCJ said. “Look at us! Sing the song!” Good for you, HCJ for giving him an explanation.
Backstreet Cowboys: Ben Briley, Casey Thrasher, & Dexter Roberts. (“I Want It That Way”) This plaid country trio is a mixed bag. Ben is my favorite. At least it’s entertaining. All three get through. (We need some country male love this season.)
Glad to see Neco Starr of Atlanta move forth after doing some Bruno Mars. We then see several who are going to end up in the final 31. Spencer Lloyd seems to rely on his charm more than his singing chops and rudely decides not to rehearse with the ladies in his group because he already knows the song. We lose a few folks like quirky Keith London and sound healer Adam Roth, who I can’t believe made it through that “Hollywood or Home” round.
Tiquilla Wilson quits. Huh? “Idol” decides not to dwell on it. Then HCJ makes fun of her by pretending to quit.
Then there’s this mess featuring Matthew Hamel, CJ Harris, Caleb Johnson, Tyler Ahlgren, with Caleb standing out. CJ still gets through but the others don’t.
Clarity: Munfarid, (HCJ cradler) Jena Asciutto, Sikenya Thompson, Allie Odom. There’s a little drama with Sikenya sick and almost dropping out. She struggles but with her Fantasia-like voice, she (barely) gets through. Allie Odom from Cumming doesn’t make the cut. (Did we even see her before?)
Savion Wright makes it through but is upset to see his buddy John Fox leave.
Jessica Meuse from Slapout, Ala., who we on this blog really liked in the audition rounds, finally finds a group and admits she is struggling with “Single Ladies.” (Nica Nashae from Milledgeville was part of this crew, too.) Both Nica and Jessica make it through! Jessica held up well when the one eliminated singer in the group’s mom harangues her. She officially has gotten more air time than any other contestant by far. “Drama follows me,” she laments.
This “Say My Name” crew get criticized for song choice and includes Atlanta’s Emmanuel Zidor (he is IDed as from Miami, his native city, not his current residence.) Emmanuel, despite a generally bad performance overall, gets the clearance due to potential.
The final group - Christina Collins, Olivia Diamond, Queen Bulls, Malaya Watson - try Jackson Five “I Want You Back” and there is some decent, some good. Surprisingly, all get through.
About the Author
I'm the media writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and ajc.com. I've been following radio since 2001, TV since 2005. I cover everything from the local radio and TV news scene to shows shot in Atlanta ("The Walking Dead," "Real Housewives of Atlanta") to networks based here (CNN, TBS, Up, Weather Channel) to celebrities who visit town.