‘American Idol’ review: Kez Ban, Candice Glover take over Hollywood Week

American IdolLast week on “American Idol,” it was the guy’s time to shine … or at least flicker on and off. Was it obviously to anyone else that Nigel Lythgoe and company really wants to see a woman win this season? There was almost so much girl power and declarations of greatness in here that you could drown in here, and to be honest this is not necessarily a good idea. Do we want to see a girl win for the first time in five years? Definitely, but over-hyping a contestant or an entire gender could backfire. Just look at how much Lauren Alaina was hyped during season 10, and we think that ended up hurting her in the finale against a man in Scotty McCreery who had a little less of a forced-down-your-throat edit.

Just like with the boys, there were two rounds here … and we’re going to be a little more comprehensive this time now that we have the formatting down.

Round One – Solos

Angela Miller – Awesome during the solo performance round. This happened five minutes into the first episode, and she was better than almost every guy from last week.

Rachel Hale – What a great voice she has! The most impressive thing about Rachel is that even though she is a country singer on a show stuffed full of female country singers, she actually still sounds original.

Janelle Arthur – She’s a bit of a Hollywood Week veteran, and we were worried this was going to fall apart again. But for the first round, you could have two country stars in Hollywood!

Victoria Acosta – Great as a mariachi performer, but a little bit out of tune singing songs that are out of her element. Nonetheless, she survived round one.

Candice Glover – Easily in our top three female singers during the audition process … and the same can be said here.’

Isabelle – So she gets away without having any other names? Since when is “The Voice” and people can go in with pre-ordained nicknames? She’s great, so we probably shouldn’t even worry about it.

Megan Miller – Did anyone else find her even more appealing when she was on crutches? It may be a strange thing to say, but it’s true in this case. With that being said, we admit that we really thought that she would be around a while longer.

Kez Ban – We don’t have any real problem with the producers shafting Kez Ban of their warm-up time … but they should have just told her “no” than saying they would do it, and she was then caught off-guard when she had to sing.

Briana Oakley – It’s funny that she came on right after Kez Ban, since this is the sort of singer that she said a while ago should really end up winning this show rather than her.

Notable Eliminations

Mariah Pulice – Just as we felt during the original audition, Mariah is a decent singer, but she needed to focus more on the singing for a couple of years after her anorexia battle.

Ashley Smith – What happened? She was one of our favorites who was barely shown, and is thus the Nate Tao of this round.

Group Rounds

The Swagettes (featuring Candice, Kamaria Ousley, Melinda Ademi, Denise Jackson) – Save for Candice, we have no idea who any of these people are. But even with that, what a great way to start the round!

Raising’ Cain – We have no idea about who is in this group save for former contestant Lauren Mink, but their take on “Sin Wagon,” a very tough song to perform, was a runaway wagon train of the fun kind.

The Dramatics – Janel Stinney is the only memorable contestant here, and that is largely for just deciding that, as a “solo artist,” she was not interested in swallowing her pride and working with others. Note to Janel: did you see the Grammys? Working together with other people can be really cool. This really just annoyed the world out of us, since she went on stage and used the “I don’t fit in” excuse as a crutch, even though she did not even remotely try to fit in during the whole process. We have no idea how this whole trainwreck of a group advanced.

Shubha Vedula and Aubrey Cleland – We didn’t really see the group, but they each progressed.

Urban Hue – Seretha Guinn and Tina Torres were both in here, and what a whiny take on “American Boy” this was. Honestly, this was just so grating that we would’ve handed all of them a suitcase. Seretha was someone we said that was going to leave around this stage, and it ended up being a reality.

The Pooh-snaps – Really? This is your name? Zoanette Johnson, otherwise known as the wacky National Anthem girl, and we actually learned that she has a pretty good voice that was not quite apparent when taking on the hardest song in the world during the audition rounds. Plus, her personality is so big that she hijacked the entire group, and outside of Isabelle, we don’t even remember the other two singers. Both of the memorable ladies got to move on.

Handsome Women – Another mess of a group, though we do like Shira Gabrielov and “American Idol” returnee Alisha Dixon. However, neither one of them advanced.

For You (or 4 U, depending on how to spell it) – This group was a disaster, as we continue to see more or more people butcher Gotye and his Grammy-winning song. With that being said, Stephanie Schimel was actually really good, and she was one of the two singers who did advance.

The Dolly Chicks – An interesting name, and this was at least close to as good as the other “Sin Wagon” performance … even if the girl who went to bed early had to write the lyrics on her hand. Nicki Minaj’s rip job of this said girl was all sorts of amazing, since she is the first female judge in American singing-competition history to take no BS from anyone. Strangely, Haley Davis joined Kree Harrison and Britnee Kellogg in advancing.

The Kez Ban group – we have no idea what this group’s name is, but Kez Ban dominated the airtime. If she doesn’t make it on this show, alongside her fellow singers here including Angela Miller and Janelle Arthur, she should just go get another reality show to show off her quirkiness (and her jumping jacks). Clearly, she goes by the beat of her own drummer, and that may not be the best thing for “American Idol.” Nonetheless, everyone advanced and is safe … for now.

Who were some of your favorites from this episode, what Hollywood Week meltdowns do you think were the most dramatic? We want to hear some more of your thoughts below, and you can see where we ranked some of the guys following their shows last week here.

Photo: Fox

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