Welcome to Hollywood Week, "American Idol's" most cutthroat competition yet! On Wednesday it was time for the finalists to pair up for the dreaded group round, but this season producer Nigel Lythgoe had a tricky twist: Producers divvied up the groups, and no switching was allowed!
Also new this season: It was a boys club only for the first Hollywood round. (Next week, the girls have their shot.) The new twists proved to be fatal for some of this season's most promising contestants, who just didn't click with their crooning cohorts.
Meanwhile, judges Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Randy Jackson and Nicki Minaj were all business this week, with Minaj being especially harsh on the hopefuls, telling a few to "step it up" and flat-out telling one kid his performance was "disgusting."
There was also a lot of lyric-forgetting, which is an "Idol" cardinal sin. (Although in Season 10, Scotty McCreery had a massive brain freeze when he sang Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance" and he still went on to win.)
Still, this season missed lyrics led to missed opportunities for some, while others were simply a train wreck -- even with the right lyrics!
Here's a look at some of the stand-out groups, and some boys who didn't make the cut.
The Matt-Heads -- Nick Boddington, Mathenee Treco, Matteus Fernandes and Gabe Brown
These boys were back in town with a vengeance, going all Queen on us with the song "Somebody To Love." The judges loved them all and sent them all through. Score one for a promising start, and this time Gabe Brown didn't even have to bribe the judges with cookies!
The Four Tones -- Micah Johnson, Vincent Powell, Marvin Calderon, and David Willis
Hold on, they're coming! Another foursome made it through, this time after belting out the Sam and Dave classic, "Hold On, I'm Comin'." Hey, maybe this boy band stuff isn't so bad after all…
Young Love -- Zach Birnbaum, Nate Tao, Cortez Shaw, and Elijah Liu
Apparently so, because this "Some Kind of Wonderful" quartet aced their audition too, despite the fact that they all seemed to be struggling with the lyrics.
DKSK -- David Leathers Jr., Kayden Stevenson, Kevin Quinn, and Sanni M'mairua
Time for the teen idols, but half of this group will have to wait a little longer for Justin Bieber-like fame. Kayden Stevenson and Kevin Quinn were eliminated, while their baby-faced buddies moved on.
Oz -- Charles Allen, Adam Sanders, Papa Peachez, and Frankie Ford
And finally, the weirdest grouping of the night was deemed a "hot mess" by one of its own (leave it to Papa Peachez), while an elimination tantrum by "Idol" veteran Frankie Ford ended the show on a sour note. Yes, the other three guys made it through -- although Peachez owes Nicki Minaj big time, as she made it clear that this will be the last time she goes up to bat for him.
Also making it through to the next round were popular contestants Lazaro Arbos, Curtis Finch Jr., Charlie Askew, Johnny Keyser, and Gurpreet Singh Sarin (Nicki's nickname for him: the Turbanator), whose entire group amazingly got the green light despite their disastrous butchering of Maroon 5's "Pay Phone."
"Hang up the phone!" Randy Jackson begged, mid-song.
"Adam Levine is still alive, and he's already spinning in his grave," Keith Urban remarked. Yeah, but "The Voice" didn't put these guys through!
"American Idol" Season 12 airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays on FOX.
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