‘Idol’ needs to boot the pathetic group sing first

By Craig Berman
|  Thursday, Mar 4, 2010  |  Updated 9:30 PM PDT
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"American Idol" Bids Goodbye to Four More Contestants

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We said farewell to four more semifinalists on Thursday, and unlike a week ago, there wasn’t anyone who had reason to be upset at the results.

“American Idol” said farewell to four more semifinalists on Thursday, and unlike a week ago, there wasn’t anyone who had reason to be upset at the results. But there remains one huge issue for the show in the coming weeks, one that has become so noticeably lacking that it threatens to undermine the entire credibility of the show.

I refer, of course, to the group sing.

Time will tell where this crew of “Idol” hopefuls ranks in comparison to past seasons, but one thing is for sure: This year’s group numbers are setting a new low. The lip-synching is out of synch, the rhythm is non-existent, and pretty much everyone is just going through the motions. I never thought I’d say this, but just give us more of that witty Ryan Seacrest-Simon Cowell banter instead of a bunch of people walking around to the Black Eyed Peas. We’ll miss it next year when Simon’s gone.

Anyway, on to the eliminations. John Park was the first of the men to go, mostly because it was hard to remember he was even still around. Park was a funny guy and a favorite of Shania Twain at the auditions, but he sounds like the a cappella singer he is at Northwestern, not like someone you’d hear on the radio. However, his stay on “Idol” should make his group Purple Haze the hottest act on the college tour, so look for him on a campus near you.

The other male to get sent home was Jermaine Sellers. He wasn’t one of the two worst men in the competition, but unlike Alex Lambert, he doesn’t look like a cute little puppy dog, and unlike Tim Urban, he doesn’t have that Sanjaya vibe to keep him around.

Instead, he and Andrew Garcia were sent onstage for the traditional Seacrest torture, and Garcia got to stick around. That’s good for us as well, since Garcia has the potential to last a long time if he can get the judges to quit talking about “Straight Up” and start fixating on what he is doing now.

Still, it’s a shame that Sellers had to go so soon. He has a huge personality and a sense of style that was … well … interesting. He rocked the pink onesie with a bow tie and wristbands for his finale, a look we’ve never seen before and hopefully will never see again, unless he shows up on “Project Runway.” Or “What Not to Wear.”

On a side note, I don’t have the strongest stomach in the world, so I empathize with Alex Lambert’s struggle with his nerves. But every second he was onstage Thursday, he had the “Please Don’t Throw Up” face going on. I hope he figures out how to get over that because I don’t want to see him vomit on stage and have the clip shown on YouTube forever.

The women had even less drama to deal with, as “Idol” seems to have finally figured out that whole 60-minutes-in-an-hour thing that it was missing a year ago when every episode ran long. Perhaps Fox celebrated the show’s high ratings by buying everyone watches for Christmas.

 

Pressed for time, Ryan didn’t even try to work the audience’s nerves by making a fan favorite sweat it out. From the top row, Lilly Scott, Paige Miles and Katie Stevens all got to sit down quickly, while Michelle Delamor and Didi Benami had to stand up and face the music. Delamor got the boot this week, but it will probably be Benami’s turn next Thursday unless she figures things out in a hurry. The fact that the crowd groaned when Ryan announced she was staying is not a good sign.

As for the second, it came down to Lacey Brown and Haeley Vaughn, with the teenager going home. Good call, America. Vaughn is a very perky and talented girl who was in over her head. In hindsight, maybe she would have been better off if the judges had sent her home from Hollywood and told her to try again in a couple of years. Though given their track record this season, expecting actual judgment from the judges may be too much to ask.

Craig Berman is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/craigberman.

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