‘American Idol’: everything happens in Vegas

This is what Vegas looks like.

Whenever we see “American Idol” in Vegas, we tend to get confused. Isn’t this the city reserved for the “America’s Got Talent” and “So You Think You Can Dance” callbacks? Over the past couple of years, the show has become a bit of a bizarre destination for a round in between Hollywood Week and the “sing for your life” performances. It’s like a vacation — except with costumes and with cowboy Richie Law accidentally punching a girl in the face on the bus.

But, as Ryan Seacrest says, there is “no time for fun and games.” With that, we’re wondering what some people were doing jumping in the pool. There were no “official” names given to the groups this time (or if there were we didn’t hear all of them)– but there were some stellar performances to some 1950s classics that we have not heard on this show a million times already.

What was less than stellar was seeing the judges tell everyone that even though they were declared safe after their performance, they still were going to be victim to more cuts after everyone performed.

Skylar Laine, Chase Likens, and Colton Dixon – “Dedicated to the One I Love” is a stellar song that has disappeared over the course of the years, and we were happy to see it revived. These three members were the ones who stood out, and ended up going on to the next round as a result. Is anyone else finding it strange that Colton, who didn’t really want to audition for the show to begin with, is still around while his sister was shockingly sent home at the end of the episode?

Jeremy Rosado, Gabi Carruba, Ariel Sprague, and David Leathers – Does anyone else find it funny that some “Idol” performers are singing a song written by Chris Rene’s grandfather? The “X Factor” connection is off making Nigel Lythgoe shiver somewhere. All of these youngsters went through during their initial performance — but the judges sent Gabi home later.

Adam Brock, Angie Zeiderman, Erika Van Pelt, and Shelby Tweten – At this point in the show, we were actually starting to wonder whether or not the “Idol” producers were actually planning on sending any substantial amount of people home until they actually watched everyone perform. Despite Adam literally drowning in his own sweat and Angie turning her theatricality a notch too high, all of this group advanced — but Angie was sent home later.

Brielle von Hugel and Schyler Dixon – Out of their 1950s-inspired performance, these two ladies were the ones that shined. We love the old-school vibe here –even though we still have bad memories from Wednesday of Brielle’s angry mother telling off Kyle Crews behind his back. Unfortunately (and as we previously said), Schyler didn’t make it through the second cut.

Reed Grimm, Elise Testone, Eben Franckewitz, and Haley Johnson – Not only did this group succeed, but they received a standing ovation from all of the judges. This almost felt like a group from “The Sing-Off” with some of their harmonies, and we would really be stunned to see any of these contestants not make the top 24.

The odd couple.

Richie Law and Jermaine Jones – This was the odd couple of the episode — the man Heejun Han hates and the gentle giant who loves his mama. We’re really surprised this worked — mostly because there is a strange disconnect to Richie’s voice that seems partially due to some failure to connect with the music.

Hallie Day, Baylie Brown, and Chelsea Sorrell – These three ladies did not leave much airtime at all, but Nigel was kind enough to let us know that they did a fine job at this stage in the competition.

DeAndre Brackensick, Jessica Sanchez and Candice Glover – Yes, these three did an innovative turn on a Buddy Holly song –but we didn’t necessarily love this as much as the judges did. We are wondering, meanwhile, if DeAndre has the same hair stylist as Brett Loewenstern. Candice was sent home later in the show.

Clayton Farhay, Scott Dangerfield, Adam Lee Deker, and Curtis Gray – Scott’s really the only one of these guys we’ve heard of, and that was actually due to his memorable audition last year versus anything he has done this time. Their whole performance of “Jailhouse Rock” was a little underwhelming outside of the leather jackets. Curtis was the only one who ended up going home.

Caleb Johnson, Joshua Sanders, and Curtis Finch – These three guys are in the same vein as Hallie and the others above — meaning that we barely saw them.

Courtney Williams, Britnee Kellogg, and Jessica Phillips – This group made the strange decision to not waste the time of the vocal coaches or the band in rehearsing — but isn’t it worth your time to do so? Arrogance can be your biggest weakness, and Jessica doomed herself in doing so. However, what we were shocked about was seeing her tarnish her own emotional story by acting rather standoffish after the bad news. The arrogance then later claimed Britnee.

Lauren Gray, Wendy Taylor, and Mathenee Treco – These three should get some extra brownie points for dealing with notoriously-outspoken vocal coach Peggy Blu. Unfortunately, only Lauren and Wendy ended up advancing with a take on “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.”

Neco Starr, Jairon Jackson, Heejun Han, and Phil Phillips – Judging from Phil’s hairstyle, we’re pretty sure he took off to this audition after filming an episode of “The Vampire Diaries.” We are also happy that Phil is no longer calling himself “Phil Phillips.”

When it comes to the actual performance, all of these guys did a pretty fantastic job — and we were especially happy to see Heejun get choked up and show that he can do more than just hilariously wink at the camera and stand awkwardly next to Ryan Seacret. (Yes, he is still a personal favorite.) Out of the four, Jairon Jackson ended up being the only one to go home later.

Creighton Fraker, Aaron Marcellus, Nick Boddington, and Jen Hirsch – It’s Groove Sauce … minus Reed Grimm! Even with a different ensemble this time, the group still delivered in spades.

What did you think of this episode, and of the fact that not everyone who was “safe” was actually so until the very end? Next week, we will be back with a look at the most-intense round to date — the Green Mile, where we end up learning the top 24.

Photo: Fox

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