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American Idol: Hollywood Drama

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This week’s episodes of American Idol were packed with talent, tears, and drama that make “Hollywood Week” the must-see episodes of the season. It also lets you see a very real side to the contestants. However, seeing some of the contestant’s candidness was not always very flattering. In other words, Clint Jun Gambia, dude you’re toast. But we’ll get to him in just a bit.

Idol chose to mix it up this year with the group rounds. Contestants had make up their group with participants from both group one and group two from the first round of “Hollywood Week” auditions.

Remember the days of Idol when contestants would just group up and make it work? Yeah, that wasn’t flying this week. Contestants were making other contestants audition to get into their groups. It’s a brilliant move, but at times just seemed kind of rude.

AMERICAN IDOL: Contestants at the Hollywood rounds of AMERICAN IDOL airing Thursday, Feb. 17 on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX.I have also never seen so much footage of parents in Hollywood with their underage child/Idol contestant. I think they should have let their kids work a little more independently on their group routine and wait to be asked for pointers, but a couple of these moms were a little too much to handle.

James Durbin (totally over him, by the way) weighed in on the stage moms, and told the cameras that there shouldn’t be young kids in the competition. Really showed a little bit of a cocky side to him. I think he was just jealous that the group of teens were about to wipe the floor with his group, as they were both performing Queen’s “Somebody To Love.”

A quick word of advice to Mr. Durbin: You really need to stop inserting the screechy note into every one of your performances. It’s not necessary. But if you’re going to repeat the path of Siobhan Magnus and toss that note in during each of your performances, you should aim to be on key.

I think the biggest foul of the group rounds was Clint Jum Gambia kicking young Jacee Badeaux out of his group in favor of Scotty McCreery. Gambia didn’t think that Badeaux’s voice fit with the rest of the group, so he sent him on his way. Badeaux ended up joining up with Brett Loewenstern’s group.

If Gambia makes it past the Las Vegas round next week into the Top 24 where the viewers vote, I don’t think he has a chance in hell making it to the main stage. He completely shot himself in the foot by kicking Badeaux out of his group. Plus, he’s managed to come off as completely obnoxious this week. Good work, Gambia.

If you’ve been keeping up with me this season, then you already know that I am completely heartbroken over the elimination of Rob Bolin during the group round. He has been a solid early favorite of mine since his audition, and I am still super bummed that he will no longer be on my TV Wednesday and Thursday nights.

I do have a bone to pick with the judges about his elimination. The judges mentioned that they were judging the contestants on their performances in Hollywood, and they were also taking into consideration past auditions. If this was truly the case, Rob Bolin shouldn’t have been eliminated during the group round.

No, he didn’t know the words to Cee-Lo’s “Forget You,” but he sang on the melody about not wanting to be sent home, which is what Jacee Badeaux did during his group audition too. Bolin was sent packing, Badeaux advanced to the next round. That doesn’t seem fair to me, but it’s all said and done now.

With now both Sarah Sellers and Rob Bolin eliminated from the competition, going into Thursday night’s episode, I found myself without a favorite contestant to root for. After watching the insane amount of talent that Idol has been hiding for the last few weeks, we all have a great crop of talented contestants to root for.

There were a handful of new faces that were highlighted included Jacob Lusk, Sophia Shorai, and Ashthon Jones.

Jacob Lusk sang “God Bless The Child” for his final Hollywood audition. You want to talk passion? This kid has passion busting from the seams. His vocal range is insane. He truly gave everything that he had and left it all on the stage. You knew it was a big moment for him afterwards, as he wept in the arms of his family. To be honest, I teared up at his performance. It was a true American Idol moment. I think this performance will be one that the Idol pundits, including myself will remember when thinking back on great Hollywood performances.

Another fabulous performance came from Sophia Shorai, who sang “Georgia On My Mind.” Seriously Idol, where have you been hiding her? Shorai has one of those voices that you don’t expect to come out of her. Her soulful vocal earned her a huge applause from her fellow contestants sitting in the audience.

Ashthon Jones is my favorite of these three. She sang “And I Am Telling You” from Dreamgirls. This girl can sing her face off. She can command the stage, and when she sings, trust me you will pay attention. She absolutely nailed this song. I cannot wait to see more of her during the Las Vegas round.

AMERICAN IDOL: Contestants at the Hollywood rounds of AMERICAN IDOL airing Thursday, Feb. 17 on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX.I had a few other favorites during the final round of Hollywood performances. I loved Robbie Rosen’s take on Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity.” His voice fit that song like a glove, and showcased him well. Casey Abrams sang a very jazzed up version of “Georgia On My Mind” complete with stand-up bass. I just loved everything about his performance. He has such a unique voice and style that Idol could really use right now. And lastly, Carson Higgins who sang “My Prerogative” is pretty fantastic. This kid is a performer. He’s really fun to watch, and he sings on key. That works for me.

What didn’t work for me was Chris Medina’s acoustic version of “My Prerogative.” This guy is like a lame version of season nine’s Andrew Garcia. The performance was just boring. And again, let me point out that his voice is not all that and a bag of chips. He’s doing what many have done on the show before, and he’s not bringing anything new to the table. It’s time to cut him loose.

I know I’ve mentioned the Las Vegas round a couple times, let me explain what the deal is. In addition to “Hollywood Week” round, the contestants that made it through next head to Las Vegas, where they will take on the hits of The Beatles. From what I’m hearing, we can look forward to both individual and group rounds.

I see both sides of the coin with this additional audition. I think The Beatles are better left alone, unless we’re back in season seven and your name is David Cook. But, if you can do The Beatles justice, then yeah, you probably should move on to the Top 40.

Idol fans, who were you rooting for this week? What do you think about the addition of the Las Vegas round?

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About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is an Entertainment Writer from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has interviewed a variety of people from across the entertainment spectrum, including singer-songwriter/Matchbox Twenty frontman Rob Thomas, Andrew Dost from the Grammy Award-winning band fun., singer-songwriter Christina Perri, and acclaimed writer-director Derek Cianfrance.
  • Larry

    Jacee Badeaux is the best, but unfortunately the corrupted media scene is only interested in sluts and people who can turn profanity into music. this kid doesnt stand a chance and its going to be the saddest episode to see him get rejected, another honest and pure kid sent to the gallows. Hes got pure talent and the current media environment? doesnt deserve him

  • Butch

    I’m actually glad Rob Bolin got sent home. It seemed clear his attitude sucked, and he didn’t really try to learn his song. That’s the difference between him and Jacee.

    Kirsten, I think you’re still holding it against Medina that he has a disabled wife. They didn’t even bring it up this week though. Hardly any of his performance was even shown, not nearly enough for we viewers to accurately judge.

    I think Carson Higgins is a joke. He’s basically this seasons Norman Gentle. Yes he sings in tune, but he’s all superficial attitude. I feel like he’s playing a character.

    I agree with you about the jerk that kicked out Jacee from his group. I’m hoping he chokes next week and we don’t have to see him anymore.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/rachael-pontillo/ Rachael Pontillo

    I have a lot of favorites this season which surprised me. Love Casey Abrams…what a cool style. Very unexpected. And I am rooting for Jacee Badeaux…he sings like an angel and I thought he handled himself very gracefully and with maturity beyond his years. Although I did see Clint Jun Gamboa’s point that Jacee’s voice didn’t necessarily fit in with the rest in his group, kicking him out of the group was not the solution. Part of a group’s success depends on working with the talent you have. But then again…in the end this is not a group competition.

  • http://kirstencoachman.com Kirsten

    Butch — I am not holding it against Medina for having a disabled fiance. I legitly do no believe he has the singing chops for this competition. I do think Idol exploited his fiance to gain sympathy viewers for ratings, but the only thing I have been judging him on during the Hollywood rounds his singing, and I’m not a fan. End of story.