United they stood, screaming and crying they fell.
Four Non-Blondes & That Guy: Because that guy is blonde! And therefore not a non-blonde! In that he is blonde! And 4 Non-Blondes were a thing! Which apparently needed making butcher. Anyway, the combination of Chris Medina (/Jack Black/Dewey Finn), That Guy (Mike White/Ned Schneebly), Suddenly Crazy Devyn Rush (Sarah Silverman/Patty Di Marco), some other girl (…let’s say Joan Cusack/Whoever It Was She Played, You Know, The Headteacher, She Liked Fleetwood Mac and Was a Secret Slut) it was very much like a School Of Rock reunion right there on the stage. Poor Chris Medina though, all those people around, in all those groups, it was just too much, and he had to go out to the car park in order to train by himself. Not at all because his group was a giant bunch of theatre geeks. Bless That Guy for doing that whole song as some sort of Crazy Character. I think he and Ashley Sullivan should find one another and form a partnership. He clearly needs someone as…artistic as him, and she needs someone by her side to keep her off the special powder. Ships in the night those two. Ships in the night.
Four Plus One vs Four Forty : Good grief what a mathematical carve up. How many popular music groups can you think of with numbers in their name? 5ive? Dave Clark Five? Ben Folds Five? That’s about it isn’t it? (If you said The 411, you are wrong. They were never popular). And yet random numbers sprung up over Groups Round like weeds. I mean, it’s better than calling yourself “The Gwops”, which sounds like an obscure racial slur, but please. Anyway the nub of this conflict was one Jordan Dorsey, who you may remember best for being a humble piano teacher. And then Groups Round turned him into an enormo-douche. Sitting there on his throne, creating his own perfect group in his own image, snidely cutting down pretenders…then abandoning it as soon as the best other option came along. Admittedly with that nice Robbie Rosen, who is suddenly, like, talented and stuff, but still. The impotent RAGE he left in his wake was quite something, to the extent that I wish Four-Fourty had just gone full throttle and sung “Fuck You”. Seriously, the brute-force crazy spewing out of Lauren Turner was quite something. Harness it Lauren Turner, harness it.
Hollie & The Cheater : Dude, seriously. Cheating is one thing, and I’m not saying that having the lyrics secretly scrawled on a part of your body for emergencies is necessarily a terrible thing. But having them cupped in your hand and staring at them for the entire duration of the song? That’s really not sensible. Sadly I do not remember The Cheater’s name, but in all fairness, the main reason I wanted to write about him was because he was reasonably fit. Also he was in a group with Hollie Cavanaugh, who got through largely on previous form, I suspect, and ambiguously gay/incestuous Cory Levoy, who made the spectacularly ill-judged decision to squeak “why?” at the judges when he got through. I mean, it was a fair question, but one that probably should have remained in his head.
Jersey Girls : The show this week was so ridiculously long that it almost feels like this trio, who in actuality were at the top of the show, auditioned in a separate series. Like, five years ago. Was Katharine McPhee in this group? And I think maybe Melissa McGhee and Kellie Pickler were there as well. And Taylor Hicks was twitching away in the background. They were something of a misleading indicator of how things were going to go, because they actually made a decent fist of things. As much as I never want to hear ‘Grenade’ ever again after tonight (and I never really wanted to hear it in the first place), theirs was easily the best performance of it. One of them was really off during several of the harmonies (Brielle, I think, because she was awful in her solo section, so it sort of stands to reason) and Pia kind of overshone the other two to a ridiculous, must-surely-make-the-live-shows extent, but they meshed well together and despite having only rehearsed for about 10 hours, were still far more convincing as a girlband than pretty much every girlband that ever made the finals on The X Factor.
The Minors / The Deep Vs : Much like Alien Vs Predator, this was one battle in which it didn’t really matter who won, because the universe was pretty fucked either way. The Minors, as you might guess, were a bunch of tiny teens, accompanied by a group of Serious For Real Stage Moms who were fiercely protective of the brethren, to the point of sitting in the audience watching the other groups perform and being all “mmm-hmmm, that ain’t no competition for my baby”. I kind of loved the Serious For Real Stage Moms. I actually want them in every show, perhaps added to the judging panel. Their feedback would be far more useful than Randy’s. Anyway, the kids got a standing o from the judges, despite being kind of terrible, and J-Lo thought they gave the performances of their lives, which: not difficult. And then there were The Deep Vs, ostensibly led by super-choad James Durbin, who was overly invested in the presence of the Serious For Real Stage Moms and how that gave them an unfair advantage, and spent an awful lot of time sneering at the others. He probably shouldn’t have, because his group were pretty dreadful themselves, and his trademark sub-Lambert squeak became even less impressive when we discovered that even Randy could do it. He got through, somehow. I have no idea why. Where’s questioning Cory when you need him?
Rebel Star : Can we not just stop the whole show here and grant the title to that guy who took one look at Tiffany Rios marching up demanding TO BE LET IN HIS GROUP, and dead-panned “no” directly in her crazy face before she even started? And this was before she got down on her hands and knees and offered herself (not at all in more than as a singing talent obviously) to Scott McReary. That guy’s got game. And so it was Tiffany Rios was left to flutter round the room screaming, until that poor old grandma (a whole twenty-eight years of age, and therefore after this year good for nothing but *spit* X Factor. Or, like, Survivor or something) took pity of her then just kind of stood there and let her do her thing. Her thing being rolling round on the floor in a leopardprint skirt up to her thigh-tops screaming worse than a human being should be able to sound before not even having a proper meltdown on the way out. Oh Tiffany Rios. How you delivered. Come back next year, we need you.
Spanglish : Oh Kevin. They tried to sell it to us all that he overslept, but I think really it was a cunning plan to appear on camera without his shirt, in order to upstage erstwhile King Of Shirtlessness, Jovany. He tried bless him, and it wasn’t hideous or anything, but Jovany had him beat. Because he got his shirtlessness in early, and you know, turned up on time and stuff. Extra bonus points to Steven Tyler for his commitment to the art of Prof-Esh-Un-Ul-Ism. Some of you people are through, some aren’t. Eh. J-Lo will do the rest. Now I’m gonig to have my nap and get a lap-dance from a 15 year old. Laters.
Sugar Mamas And The Babies / The Gwops : Aww, the Sugar Mamas. Otherwise known as Brett Lowenstern, some girl called Denise, a couple of anonyblondes, and various other part-timers. They were super-cute because of the stupid-but-brilliant rule that declared that each group must be combined of Day 1 and Day 2 auditionees, and their lack of a Day 2 representative led to Denise confidently strolling around the auditorium brandishing a Sharpie and a series of self-made signs looking for Day 2 boys. She’d be awesome on The Apprentice, you just know it. Anyway, this seemingly simple task turned out much harder than expected, and one guy they found wandered off, and another got poached by Awful Tiffany The Worst Person Ever, and in the end they finally managed to find a Day 2 boy in the form of Jacee, who’d just been thrown out of the Gwops. Jacee did not know the words to ‘Mercy’, but soldiered on, and got through despite not knowing any of the words because he is young and shiny and this show knows that it needs him. Meanwhile, the Gwops, led by Clint The Obnoxious Hipster Who Really Needs To Rethink His Eyewear Choices got booed at and hissed at for ejecting poor Jacee, and had to explain themselves, and then Scotty The Cowboy Who Can Only Sing One Song cried about it in a stairwell. Fun times.
The Hits : A group of people I don’t entirely recognise apart from the fact that one of them was Ashley Sullivan, who was at many points both in this group and not in this group. She’s Schroedinger’s Idol, if you like. Anyway, after having a mild conniption and walking away, she returned to her group and was surprisingly welcomed with open arms, even if you could really understand it if they pretended they had no idea who she was. They then went on to defy all expectations by being surprisingly awesome, and singing ‘Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!)’ by Blu Cantrell, which is pretty much one of my favourite songs ever, and having a really good performance to go with it. Ashley continued to be quite crazy, but in a way that sort of worked both for her and for the show, so: fair enough, really.
Three’s Company: When you name yourselves after a sitcom you’re kind of asking for it aren’t you? Karmically speaking. It’s basically just asking to be a joke audition, although maybe Grumpy Rob thought they’d be the good type of joke audition, not the type where he just…dried. Can you imagine how miserable he would have been if Nick Fink had been there? I mean, there’s hanging out with your ex, and there’s hanging out with your ex’s new creepy friends who are kind of plastic and dead behind the eyes. Why put yourself through that? Those girl done you over good Grumpy Rob. Now think about your life-choices, and get a new girlfriend, rather than hanging round your ex auditioning for reality shows together. Because this wasn’t you at your MOST attractive it has to be said.