February 11th, 2010
11:25 AM ET

'Idol' Group Night has drama

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I don’t know about you, but Group Night on “Idol” always exhausts me.

I understand that the purpose is to test the work ethic and ability of the singers to be able to pull off a good performance using talent and team work, but really it always just feels like it’s testing who can go without sleep and not crack.

That being said, Wednesday night’s “Idol” had me thanks to the Neopolitan versus Destiny’s Wild rivalry. Both groups sang Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and watching the treachery of them trying to out do one another reminded me of my all-girl high school days.

I could have done with out so much of the “Big Mike” back story of his wife giving birth to their first child, though a friend who glories in the hyperbole likened it to the symbolism of the aspiring “Idol” giving birth to his destiny. Whatevs.

Much more moving to me was Mark Labriola tearfully begging for another chance because he’s ineligible to try out again next year. So sad, but it reinforced the number one rule when it comes to Group Night on “Idol” – you cannot trade sleep for practice and think you are going to make it through.

I also learned that practically no one knows all of the words to Gwen Stefani's "The Sweet Escape." Watching the contestants try to fake their way through those lyrics was painful, yes?

soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Norma

    NO to Ellen as an "Idol" judge! She is obnoxious, using the contestants as puppets just to make jokes and keep the audience's attention to herself. It was abusive.
    NO to Howard Stern as a judge, either. He is repulsive, offensive, and has nothing to do with music.

    February 15, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. Alaham

    I think that if you want to improve american idol you should get rid of elen she should be a comedian not a judge and to replace her put Shania Twain. Now If that happend idol would be great. Ohh yes one more thing is really true that simon is laeving? Since simon is leaving the ratings will PLUMMET! (sad)

    From an idol fan

    February 14, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike H.

    First of all, after having read these replies, I'm curious as to why the ability to "read" music is necessary to be considered a "musician" or "artist." Can someone who's illiterate not be an incredible story teller?

    Second, let's give Ellen some time. Her resume' is somewhat lacking when it comes to music and singing, but maybe her ears will discover an incredible voice that others dismiss.

    Third, just as the background stories of Olympic athletes take away coverage time of actual events, it seems the same is true at "AI." We get tiny bits and pieces of auditions because of the incredible amount of time provided to life stories. If I want life stories I'll start watching Oprah or one of the other thousand talk shows.

    Fourth, group performances obviously test the nerves of a lot of the contestants. Starting up and maintaining a singing career takes more than talent, and the group performances reveal who is not stable enough to deal with the other elements of professional singing.

    Fifth, I propose that Simon be replaced by someone else who has personal experience producing up and coming talent. Gene Simmons' name has been tossed around. He's judged before. It's clear that anyone who sings with a twang or who comes from a spiritual background need not ever apply when he's judging. We need judges who can get beyond their personal biases. There must be some out there.

    February 14, 2010 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. Bill

    I followed Idol avidly throughout it's beginning and no longer even consider watching it because they employed no musically inclined simpletons to "judge". It just goes to show that they'll stoop to any level to...well, I don't know...what ARE they trying to do? Congrats Idol! Of course this is a great time for Simon to peel off and find a better line of work and Randy...back to work pal.

    February 12, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Aly

    Sarah...your education shows. No offense, but you really don't know what I'm talking about. I'm not basing it all off reading music. I wonder if you know what Art's songs are...I also wonder if you can even spell, but then I really don't care. Art's songs, you have to know music pretty well to be able to hit the pitch just right and not be FLAT or SHARP. Trust me, it's hard. Learning to always play by ear isn't everything, my dear one. You don't honestly know if you're SHARP or FLAT, unless you have something that is IN TUNE to go by. They have neat devices that help. I remember those when we learned to read music. I was picking on those who can't because people talk about these eye candy fakes being "real" musicians. I know that all the classical artists couldn't read music, but they wrote it and most of what music theory is based off of what they wrote. It is one angle that I picked on, because I am just so tired of those fakes. My uncle can play by ear, but guess what?! HE TEACHES PIANO. If you wanna be so "hardcore" about it. I can play by ear too. I honestly wonder if any female could even hit any notes in certain pieces of music, like the works of art that Mr. Andrew Lloyd Webber created.

    Now, this poor Richard guy is really messed up. Talking bout the guy that posted this: February 11th, 2010 11:17 pm ET

    I felt depressed about this show since Adam Lambert lost the champ...dramatically and this year too many annoying country singers popped up...yikes

    Adam Lambert really lacks a lot to be desired...He dresses and acts like one of those suicidal kids off 4chan that really needs counseling. Bad performer too, an he may have pulled off 1 awesome song during American IDIOT, but that doesn't mean he's super awesome. It means there MAY be talent, but he's a waste. He honestly needs to grow out of his emo faze. It'll help with his "career" which is laughable at this point.

    Without Wax,

    February 12, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lanky Hogan

    Want to know why Chris Allen beat Adam Lambert? When Danny Goke (sp?) was voted off, all the viewers that had voted for him all along now had to choose between Chris and Adam. Which of those two finalists most resembled Danny? They all switched to Chris, and he won by a landslide.

    February 12, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bitsy

    The girl whose mom is missing is Angela Martin from Chicago. I was actually looking for her during the Hallywood episodes, but didn't notice her. I thought it was very odd that they didn't mention her situation, since the producers seem to love the hard luck stories. But I saw her name on someone's list of the 71 who have made it through group day.

    February 12, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brien

    Big Mike is made the right choice in not seeing his child being born. Yes he missed his birth. But what if he winds up winning this entire thing, which he has the ability to do. Then would you say wasn't worth missing your childs birth? Are you kidding me? The sacrifice of one day to make so many other days that much better is definitely worth it. Mike made the right call.

    February 12, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mike Kaiser

    I am done with the show. Ellen de Generes is the worst choice they could have made. What were they thinking?

    February 12, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  10. Gabor

    I don't believe that any real decision is made based on the groups session.
    3-4-5 people are singing at the same time (or not), based on negligible preparation.....there is no way to tell whether any of them is good or not (bar the extreme cases). I think it is just show for the TV, the judges already know who they will cut or not.

    Irritates me when Simon keeps repeating that "this is a singing competition", but then later they all criticize appearance, clothing, attitude, etc.

    Ask yourself the question: would have superstars like Dire Strait's Mark Knopfler, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters and David Gilmour from Pink Floyd, many more with far from perfect voice ever made it even to Hollywood?

    What musical qualification does Ellen DeGeneres have to be a judge on Idol?

    All kudos to Chris Allen to win the last season, but does anyone out there believes that he really got more votes than Adam Lambert?
    If yes, Americans have no ears and no eyes. Also, isn't it peculiar, that controversial decisions later shown well by the number of records they sell?

    February 12, 2010 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jenn

    I would like to see Gene Simmons on that show.

    February 12, 2010 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. gwd :-(

    gene simmons as a judge, what a flippen joke, he's and old turd that made his hits in decades ago and has a reality show that's enough of seeing his mug....we need some new blood..like one of the idol winners that has been successful like Kelly.....not like Hicks "who" or him.... but yes I agree with most on here, Ellen is a comic and that's what she makes millions of money from not singing...how can she judge potential musical talent when she can't sing a professional note herself....Do as I have done...isn't that what a judge should be? I wouldn't want an automobile mechanic interviewing me if I'm applying for a physician's position in a hospital. Fox needs to possibly wake up and put their smart cap on. and listen to the public.....

    I saw where ellen was messing with the contestants, move up , move back ok move forward again....ellen, don't bring your jokes to American Idol...it's not funny and they are there for a potential career in singing....

    upset with Idol's management....or lack there of...

    February 12, 2010 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. Terry

    I was not going to watch after Paula left, but did. I will not watch if they put Howard Stern on when Simon leaves. He is disgusting. They can surely find someone else that is not so offensive.
    I have enjoyed the show so far and like to see the drama that plays out. I find it rather funny. It lightens my day because I am laughing so much.
    I do hope they let Big Mike stay in the running. It is not his fault if his dad has a big mouth. Why punish him?
    Does anyone know if they found the missing mom?

    February 12, 2010 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. Guy B.

    Idol needs a major redo, every aspect needs a change from the judges to the way people are picked.

    1) Judges – Gene Simmons, Bette Midler, David Foster, Céline Dion .

    2) 4 Cities- East Coast, West Coast, North and South major cities.

    3) Straight to Hollywood for a sing off, just like the piano bars, your up against someone, you make it or your don't, until you get the 24.

    4) Then its the knock out rounds of the present show.

    February 12, 2010 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. sarah

    just because you cant read music means NOTHING. i play guita very wellr and sing very well and i cant read music. i was in choir from kindergarten all the way thru college and never was able to read music...i learned by listening just once and then i knew it. its called natural talent. as a matter of fact....if you can play guitar well....and dont read music, you are probably a better musician than those who can read music and play because you use your ear to learn, which proves that it is a natural talent, not one that is taught. being able to read music means nothing. if you have talent, you have talent. period.

    February 12, 2010 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  16. bitnar

    I agree it was strange that two groups chose Sweet Escape when it's so difficult to sing. Now I'm even more impressed with Gwen Stefani!

    February 12, 2010 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  17. Sherri

    What happened to the cop that tried out a couple of weeks ago? Did he make it or is he a goner?

    kghj...."Whatevs"......I think she might be ten.

    February 11, 2010 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Rodney

    ......"Whatevs"!!!!!! ... I love that word!!! hilarious!

    February 11, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  19. kghj

    "Whatevs??" You must be kidding me. How old are you, twelve?

    February 11, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Richard

    I felt depressed about this show since Adam Lambert lost the champ...dramatically and this year too many annoying country singers popped up...yikes

    February 11, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Roger Dale

    I like Lindas Idea of having Gene Simmons as a judge. He certainly would know talent.

    February 11, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Dave

    Ellen sucks! I can't tolerate her on the show. I am done.

    February 11, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Aly

    ....Seriously...I gave up watching this show after the first season that I actually got to watch, and it was only because my dad loved the show. That was the show that Chris Daughtry was in. Seriously, 99% of these people, I guarantee you, cannot READ ACTUAL MUSIC, they were "told" by family and friends that they are awesome at singing...Those that CAN carry a tune don't have any type of stupid whiney backstory, so they get cut early. Chris Daughtry was actually very decent, if I remember correctly he can actually play a guitar, so it's a given that he PROBABLY can read music. I can read music, I can play a flute, piano, etc as well as sing. I really doubt any of these people know what art's songs are. NOT ARTISTS, Art's! As in the type of music that you play going through school when you learn an instrument, and yes VOCALS are a form of instrument. The normal grading system is 1-5, 1 being the absolute best. I actually participated in those competitions, getting a 2 because I'm a nervous/shy person. Obviously I grew up. Seriously, put those people on this show with THOSE judges. Those judges do the worst, they give you a WRITTEN critique sheet. They don't hold back on what you did wrong, etc. Man, I'd love to read/hear Simon critique at one of those type of competitions. I would be so much fun!

    Without Wax,
    Aly from OKLAHOMA!

    February 11, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  24. CW

    Andrew Garcia has been the best so far.

    February 11, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  25. td

    re: Mark Labriola -"it reinforced the number one rule when it comes to Group Night on “Idol” – you cannot trade sleep for practice and think you are going to make it through" – Actually, I ML was one of the group who actually DID go to bed while the two girls continued practicing.

    February 11, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Bex

    The groups that choose Sweet Escape are idiots. Seriously!

    February 11, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  27. william

    I refuse to watch American Idol now that Ellen is a judge

    February 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  28. James

    I wish they would spend less time on those who performed poorly, and show the entirety of the groups who performed well. I also though the judges were crazy on their assessments of both Destiny's Wild and Neopolitan – they were horribly off-key, and the song choice was wrong for both of them.

    February 11, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Bull

    Like most , I could care less about the home life of these people.Let us hear them sing.Thats all.Each group should have been issued a
    song to learn.No doubles.
    Not long now anyhow.Once Simon goes,I'm done watching.

    February 11, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Linda

    I wouldn't care if Simon went. How about Gene Simmons as a replacement. I think that would be great.

    February 11, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  31. val

    Group night is great...it's much easier to sing solo than to sing harmonies or to hold your melody against backup, and this gives the judges a chance to evaluate that aspect of musicianship.

    February 11, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Lynn

    Remember, when they are in a group, they don't "judge" them as a group or as a whole. You are still judged individually. So being in a bad group is not what causes people to go home.

    I agree that they let some good singers go, and I was shocked when ones who didn't sing as well stayed on. We will NEVER figure them out, but I think it could be that they have to mix in the "not as good" to keep it balanced. Otherwise, if they were ALL excellent, it would make it harder to vote. Just like it is at the end when only the best singers remain, it's hard to vote which one you like most.

    Who's mom is missing?

    February 11, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Jim

    How to inprove IDOL

    1) Only 4 cities visited
    2) 1 hour shows throughout the season
    3) No group week
    4) Start with 100 qualified contestants
    5) Then go to 50
    6) Then 24
    7) Get rid of Kara as a judge
    8 ) Now the real show starts with 3 judges and 12 wanabee stars, simple and easy to watch with the same results as past years.

    February 11, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  34. malcom

    I kept thinking that if Big Mike wasnt married, and it was his 'baby's mama' giving birth, they wouldnt have spent so much time on it.
    I was glad to see Mark Labriola choke on the lyrics, especially after electing to go to bed instead of more practice. He reminded me of guys like Kris who won last year, who have no balls. He would have made it into the top 12 for sure which would not have been a good thing.
    And I love group night!

    February 11, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  35. EmSeeDubya

    Mike was booted because his Dad blabbed about him being in the final 24...Mike was not supposed to tell anybody, including his pops. Them's the breaks!

    February 11, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  36. suec

    The whole thing was just plain boring. Some talent but most that went through were not memorable. And too much on the new daddy stuff. .

    February 11, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Head Diva In Charge

    I think this group night was one of the better, or should I say easier ones to watch. I do think there are a few kids in that crowd that are REALLY good. Question is, are they likeable enough? As a fan of Idol, I actually don't like the whole process of having to watch he bad people audition. I wish they just gave me a group of 24 awesome kids and let me vote down to 12 and then go from there. Why ya gotta hurt my ears?

    February 11, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Jeff

    I heard a rumor that if Simon leaves, he was going to be replaced by Howard Stern. If that happens, "Idol" has just lost another viewer. Stern is a disgusting individual to me and I won't waste my time on anything that involves him.
    I hope this isn't true!

    February 11, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  39. iamtheisland

    If his staying there leads to success and a better life for his wife and children, then he'll be glad he stayed.

    February 11, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Carson Mitchell

    American Idol gives America Hope! To see people go after their dreams when they are given a chance!

    February 11, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  41. AS

    Why were so many groups singing the same songs? Do they have a list of songs they have to choos from?

    February 11, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  42. The best critic

    I hate it that the guy who was in prison didn't make it because of being thrown into a group situation. He was their best blue collar prototype this year, and they've passed some pretty sorry studs into the Top 24 the past years (eg. Michael Sarver this year or Josh Gracin in season 2). This guy was far better than them.

    Sometimes judges can be too mean and I wish there was more voter input at this point in the show.

    February 11, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  43. talley

    I don't care for the groups either. To be honest, it's the song choice. You never ever hear them say, 'wow what great choregraphy you had but you singing was bad, you're through to the next round." Just learn the words and sing the song as best as you can. Why o why did any of them pick "Sweet Escape?" That is such a fast song to have to learn. Even if he wasn't disqualified, Big Mike's story went on waaaayyy too long. Tell us he's ansy. Tell us he's keeping in contact. Then show that part where he hears his baby for the first time. *that was emotional* And be done with it. It was okay ep. I just wish we'd heard more of the good stuff rather than all that drama.

    February 11, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Frenchie

    I think American Idol is great!! What great talent out there, it's just amazing to see the wonderful voices. They are all unique in their own special way! Good Luck to everyone!!

    February 11, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Old Idol Fan

    Enough already about Big Mike. I think he'll live to regret not being there for the birth of that baby. He's a good singer, but not star quality. The redhead with the weird hair and big mouth has to go. Hopefully soon. She got on my last nerve! I felt badly for the gal from Vonore, wherever that is. If there's a wildcard slot, maybe she'll get lucky?? It's just entertainment folks. I'll probably continue to watch for bad performances and snide remarks. It's human nature. Ellen is a cool addition. Now they're talking about Howard Stern for next year? Oh well....that may be my breaking point!

    February 11, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Omaha Reader

    I do enjoy watching AI but only when they begin the top 24. For me, that's when the show really begins. Of course, top 10 is the most exiting time (voting anyone?). Can't wait for the whole drama, crazy auditions & Hollywood week to be over with... Hopefully AI this year will provide more great successful singers like they did in the past (Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Daughtry, David Cook).

    February 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  47. eX-sInGeR

    Dreams do not wait for anything. They come when they come. Mike and his wife made the decision that he needed to be there. That's their business, and people who judge should think twice. He'll be home soon enough, and let's face it, there are thousands of American GIs who have missed the births of their children for a higher purpose. As much as I love my sons, if I had the talent and the drive and the dream of becoming a star, I'd want to stick it out. Singing is Mike's purpose in life. If he was disqualified from the Top 24, that would be sad.

    February 11, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Taylor

    Does anyone know if they only had a few songs to chose from? I just don't understand how you could pick 'Sweet Escape' and think you would actually go through to the next round. That's a terrible song to do as a group. The lyrics are too fast and it doesn't really showcase your abilities to sing. Just a thought!

    February 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  49. BA

    I am done watching. The fact they could kick Seth Rollins off when he was better than 80% of the people there that made it is a JOKE!!!!!

    February 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Phyl

    Want to know why the Red haired chick in the last group was put through. She broke Simon's cardinal rule of forgetting the words, she's arrogant, & there were other singers there better then she.

    February 11, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Geoff

    being a parent myself i have two observations. 1) i would HATE to not be there when my baby is being born – that is one major sacrifice!!!! 2) i would HATE to have my kid disqualified from the Top 24 (after having made it) because of something silly I did

    that's all

    February 11, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Andulamb

    Group night is my favorite. I love all of the unnecessary stress. It doesn't matter how much turmoil there is in your group - all you need to do is sing well. I don't know why so many of the contestants get stressed over the choreography, or who quit practice early or hasn't woken up yet, or whether another group is copying them. Practice the song, learn the lyrics, sing it well. There's nothing your group mates can do that can interfere with that plan, because it doesn't involve them. The only thing the judges care about is the singing. No one has ever gotten the boot because of their group's choreography. And you may have noticed that the judges said absolutely nothing about both Lady Gaga groups going a cappella. See? All that stress for nothing.

    February 11, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  53. TD

    I don't care what you are doing, you should drop everything and go see your child being born. It is something you will regret if you don't. If it is in the cards that you will be successful, then so be it.

    February 11, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  54. loro

    I can't wait until it's down to the final 24, then it will be interesting. I hate the drama with group night.

    February 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Matthew

    Wait, so they're punishing someone on the show for something their family member did?

    If so, that's just stupid and wrong.

    February 11, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Cali

    According to Vote for the Worst .com Big Mike is back in. I hope so, I would hate to see him disqualified after giving up seeing his kid born.

    February 11, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  57. carol

    no Big mike is gone Home,, no longer on the show when the top 24 appear

    February 11, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  58. aquik66

    you know are we sure Big mike was disqualified – I've not heard anything since that first report ...wondering if they are showing him because they gave him another shot. Wrong to hurt him because his father has a big mouth and he's good and different.

    February 11, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  59. shelly

    what happend to the girl who was on fear factor, I can't remember what else she was on? She came from england i think.

    February 11, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  60. elizabeth

    big mike is still being able to be in the top 24. yes his father did tell people but they are still letting him stay.

    February 11, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  61. TT

    Why do they have group night anyway? I've seen too many excellent singers get canned because of group night. It's like mixing mangoes, steak, peppermints, cheese, hotsauce and chocolate chips in a blender and expecting to have a good smoothie! All of these things ar good on their own or paired up with complimentary items but are awful together. I think they should skip group night. I don't feel much like watching now that Big Mike was disqualified.

    February 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Brenda K Lopez

    The whole Idol scene is a trainwreck this year. Seeing Ellen G there just is too weird. I'm done with this show. I'm sure once Simon leaves next year, the show will be over. I mean, there's always going to be thousands of people who want to be an American Idol. But how many people are going to watch? Not me.

    February 11, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Aaron

    Why was Big Mike disqualified?

    February 11, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  64. TallySue

    Does anyone know what happened to the girl who's mom was missing?

    February 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Jessic

    I agree that they spent too much time on "Big Mike's" back story. It has already been reported that he was disqualified after making it into the top 24 because his father spoke to the local newspaper.

    February 11, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |

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