'American Idol' Recap: The Tears of Children

And it was just as terrible as that sounds

Michael Becker / FOX
Contestants at the Hollywood rounds of 'American Idol', Wednesday 16, 2011. airing Wednesday, Feb. 16
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Oh, Idol. Why must you aim a magnifying glass at your ant people and watch them burn? Last night's group tryouts were the most orchestrated, gleeful bout of torture so far. It all started with a sudden new rule. In order to be eligible to compete, a group had to be made up of people who'd tried out on Day One and on Day Two. There was no point to this except to make everyone betray everyone else. Up until then, the cliques that had formed in the loveless American Idol waiting room were basically homogenous, even when it came to what day its members arrived. 

Brett Loewenstern gathered his red nimbus hair and all other charms and began a ruthless hunt for a Day Twoer, his Day One team following. He captured a blonde with a tattoo running up her arm, but he was foiled by Tiffany Rios, the brassy star-boobs glitter queen, who promptly stole her. Luckily Brett found Jaycee Badeaux wandering the halls in grief at the fourteenth hour, after Jaycee's terrible group offed him for no clear reason. Good luck not looking like a Disney villain after that stunt, fella who wasn't even a personality until then.

There was a gaggle of moms there too, and they got to work unfairly advantaging their kids. Their progeny chose Queen's "Somebody to Love." So did another team, who kept song-bombing the stage mothers' practices. “They did a disservice to the song,” one of the moms said, after the rival team performed not very well. This was self-righteous and unnecessary and yet one more indication that in constructing this episode, Idol hit on a perfect formula to turn even adult people into cannibals. But in the end, the kids coached by their moms sang very very well, and the moms were happy, and their cannibal ways were sated.

A few left despite early promise: Emily Ann Reed, the girl with the strange “old-timey” voice that wasn't really promising if we're being honest, because since when has Idol gone with a strange old-timey voice?; Paris Tassin, whose special needs daughter made a connection with Jennifer Lopez; Devyn Rush, the singing waitress; Rob Bolin, who lost because Idol manufactured too much drama between him, his ex and that Jacqueline Dunford half-of-a-couple girl; and a lone Gutierrez brother. For some reason the judges tried to make it seem like Jaycee wasn't going to make it through – yet another minute of torture for him – before making the obvious choice to let him in. He is one of the best singers we've seen so far. Aside from demonstrating just how dark the rooms in a human heart can turn, this is also a singing competition, right?