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They show us some “audition round favorites” who also have been sent through. Twenty-six year old Karl Skinner is hoping to keep the good streak going, and he is either way over-caffeinated, or he knows that if he lists off all the times in his day he has consumed main Idol sponsor Coca-Cola, he will get airtime. He’s a skinny ginger doing “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” complete with moonwalk, and it strikes me as a good impression of a soul artist, but not necessarily a good soul performance. And the judges send him home.
Cortez Shaw, from Dallas, does his best Whitney (or Dolly maybe?) and sings “I Will Always Love You.” Seemed alright, not that great. Mariah says she enjoyed him a lot, while Nicki bugs out her eyes. But let’s be honest, Nicki bugging out her eyes is sort of her resting face, right? Regardless, Nicki tells him she thought he did a poor job, and she was disgusted by it. Randy tells him that it wasn’t unanimous, but he’s staying for now.
Lazaro Arvos, who auditioned in Chicago, has two major obstacles: first, he stutters pretty badly. Secondly, his accent is so thick that you can’t understand what he’s trying to say through his stutter. So let’s hope his singing voice shines clear, right? He sings “Angels” by Robbie Williams. His high notes are nice, but he sings in the back of his throat, and I don’t like his breath control. I find it pretty admirable that someone with such a difficult background would go on national television and pursue his dream in spite of the odds, but I also think he should be judged against the same standard as everyone else. To me, his singing doesn’t measure up. But the judges like him. And he moves on.
Brian Rittenbury takes the stage, and he has a backstory. His wife was with him when he auditioned in Charlotte, even while she was battling cancer. She has come with him to Hollywood, and he wants to make her proud. He sings Brian McKnight’s “One,” and I like his scratchy Country take on it, but his cover isn’t as good as the original. Mariah tells him he won’t be continuing, and Brian feels like the judges made a mistake, but he feels blessed either way. Day One of Hollywood Week is over, and half the guys have already been cut. Great! Done early then! Let’s watch a rerun of last night’s New Girl! No? Okay then…
It’s time for Group Night, or as the screen tells us, “#idolgroupnight”. There is a “special” twist this year: is Nigel Lythgoe going to sexually harass the guys on AI the way he does the female contestants on SYTYCD? Nope. The producers are going to choose the groups instead of the contestants choosing for themselves. You would think Lance Armstrong was found to be taking only Vitamin D, everyone looks so shocked. (Too soon?) We see all kinds of song-choosing conflict (take that, bald guy who thinks the girls are the ones who cause the drama,) and once again, Lazaro’s biggest obstacle isn’t his stutter, but his accent.