February 17th, 2011
11:29 AM ET
“American Idol” had a total Gleek moment on Wednesday night.
It was group night, the notoriously difficult point in Hollywood week when contestants must come together to work on a song and a little bit of choreography. Nerves are usually frayed, and there are tons of tears as the groups work through the night to hone their performances.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention “The Minors,” a group made up of 15- and 16-year-olds whose mamas were there the whole way, urging, cajoling and at times almost threatening them along the path to tighter harmonies.
Some of the other contestants (most notably a group performing the same song) were annoyed at what they perceived to be The Minors' unfair advantage with the maternal coaching.
But it all paid off when the gang took to the stage and rocked Queen’s “Somebody to Love” as their mamas watched from backstage, swaying and singing along. The performance brought the judges to their feet and Jennifer Lopez proclaimed, “They just gave the performance of their life right there!”
I half-expected Rachel, Finn, Puck and the gang to take the stage next.
But the real tearjerker and triumphant moment of the night belonged to 15-year-old Jacee Badeaux. The chubby, baby-faced teen was abruptly dumped from his group and left to wander in the middle of the night, searching for someone who would have him.
Viewers hearts broke a little bit for Jacee as he tried to nonchalantly shrug off the rejection. He ended up a member of “Sugar Mama and the Babies” and had a scant few hours to learn the Duffy hit "Mercy," which he said he'd never heard.
And despite the judges warning that anyone who flubbed the words would be axed, they took pity on the kid after he made up words to the song on the spot about not wanting to be let go.
His group members rallied around him, explaining his extenuating circumstances, and fellow contestants cheered him on from the audience. He was the last in his group to be asked to step forward – a sign that he would continue through to the last round.
"Jacee, you've got some fans out there dude," judge Randy Jackson remarked.
We sobbed right along with Jaycee as he took in all of the love and felt the relief of not being eliminated.
For once, it was a bit of drama which didn't feel forced or manipulative. It was a feel-good moment that reminded us of why we first fell in love with "Idol" 10 years ago.
Well done "Idol," well done.
Click here to watch Jacee's emotional performance.
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