Image credit: Fox
MARIAH IS NOT IMPRESSED The most honest judge of the night also dutifully mastered the art of product placement.
It wasn't all bad news tonight -- a few of the groups sang remarkably well and didn't want to murder each other. I got legit chills at the end of the Math Heads' rendition of "Somebody to Love," when all four guys -- Matheus Fernandez, Nick Boddington, Mathenee Treco, and Gabe Brown -- chimed in on the final "somebody tooooooooo…" and liked the way they agreed to punctuate the final "love." Nicki tried to fake out rocker/baker Gabe to think he wouldn't be joining the others in next-round glory, but it wasn't too dramatic. Nick Boddington, the one with smart glasses, a fashion hat, and a lovely feminine face, was the standout for me here.
And I'm really glad we got to hear Matheus complain "Ow, my balls" as he bounced confidently away from the round atop a group mate's shoulders. Painted a nice, complete picture of the group's camaraderie. Maybe the whole day would be like this!
Nope. Normal Hills -- not an existentially boring suburb, but an American Idol Hollywood Round group -- quickly steered the episode off the rails with a disastrous cover of "I'll Be There." Pretty boy Johnny Keyser forgot the words to a song he'd never heard, but was pretty enough to survive anyway along with two other group members. Kareem Clark, who sang so off-key you couldn't believe he'd made it there in the first place, headed home.
Charlie Askew, Curtis Finch Jr., and another big African-American dude (wouldn't it be great if we could see his name?) survived what I'm sure Nigel and Ken thought would be an impossible situation, seeing as Charlie's the awkward long-haired red-headed one who until now has only sung to his bird friends and cannot "connect with people socially or verbally." Crisis averted -- all three guys showboated in their own ways (Curtis way, way more aggressively than the others, but at least he's got talent) on "Lazy Song" and became the first act of the season to get Nicki Minaj to stand up. "We! Needed! That! Right! Now! Today! In! This! Moment!" cheerleaded Randy.
"Nothing puts differences aside quite like victory," gushed Curtis in an effort to save face after volunteering to shuttle the problematic Charlie back to LAX himself and making the unfortunate joke that he was here to be on American Idol, not American Airlines.
The Four Tones -- Micah Johnson, Vincent Powell, Marvin Calderon (who had a pretty falsetto), and David Willis -- sailed through without consequence after "Hold On, I'm Coming," and the Leather Jacket Nerds -- Zach Birnbaum, Nate Tao, Cortez Shaw, and Elijah Liu -- delivered an impressive finish on "Some Kind of Wonderful." Oops, correction, this group was apparently called Young Love.
The Taylors assumed they had no reason to worry because "Don't You Wanna Stay" has, like, seven words -- but that was seven too many and the group botched them all. No worries! Paul Jolley and Will White get to stay. Other two: nice not meeting ya.
Then came B Side, who absolutely butchered the lyrics to Maroon 5's "Payphone"….but the judges LOVED it because funny man Gupreet, the Turbinator, was involved. "That's mah boo boo, he got the pink turban on," confirmed Nicki. "I would be Keith Turban, by the way," chimed in Mariah Carey. Just kidding, it was Keith Urban. Do I get to go through to the Comedy Round? I have sooooooo many colorful scarves!
At least the Subtitle Staff was having fun!
Hang up the Payphone, for the love of Dawg.
The judges considered past performances and stage presence for this gang and decided they could ALL stick around. Nicki Minaj in particular argued that Huge Red Scarf Man (I think) had taken the opportunity to really serve it up to the crowd in the face of vocal failure. Her specialty!
Mariah Carey: Voice of Reason.
NEXT: "Are you sleeping right now?"