It was group night on season 13 of American Idol, with all the drama that comes with individual singers in an individual competition being forced to come together. Love it or hate it, group night is one of the more fascinating episodes of each Idol season, with flops and strong performances aplenty. The mixed bag is fun to watch.
And, season 13 was no exception to this rule. We got some totally flubbed words (even to "Single Ladies," courtesy of Nica Nashae, Stephanie Hanley, Cara Watson, Jessica Meuse), some funky harmonies and some totally dull performances (Three Mo' Days, the group that opened the show.)
But, of course, there were some real musical standouts from the 100 contestants who made it this far on American Idol XIII. So, let's forget about that awful "Best I Ever Had" perfoemance and take a look at what was good this week.
Here are the five best performances of group night:
5. Emmanuel Zidor - So yes, it was group night, but that doesn't mean one part of a group's sum can't stand out while the rest of the performance was a mess, and that's what happened to poor Emmanuel Zidor and his group Love's Angels, which included him, Terrica Curry and Carmen Delgina. They chose to sing Destiny Child's "Say My Name," which could have been an interesting song choice, but the whole thing was a shockingly dull mess.
Luckily for him, Zidor sang that living hell out of his parts, easily outshining the two ladies in his group. Emmanuel Zidor is basically Beyoncé, and he easily moved on while the other two were sent packing. Expect a solid solo showing from him in coming weeks.
4. Briana Oakley, MK Nobilette and some other chick - There's always that annoying Idol editing thing where they go through really solid performances way too quickly with some sort of common theme montage. Briana Oakley, MK Nobilette and a third unnamed girl's performance of "Royals" was the big showcase for this tonight. Viewers got, like, a few seconds of what was clearly a well performed, beautifully harmonized performance. All three women went through in a breeze and UGH... why didn't they show this more?! Oakley and Nobilette could really be going places in this competition, so a little more focus on them would be nice.
3. Caleb Johnson - Unlike Emmanuel Zidor, who was stuck in a so-so group, Caleb Johnson's group was solid enough, with Matthew Hamel, Tyler Ahlgren and C.J. Harris. Johnson absolutely slayed his fellow singers, outshining them with his old school rocker's rasp in a performance of Alex Clare's "Too Close" (which just so happened to be the most popular song of the episode). He had, like, 90 percent of the solos and even though the show has just passed, its hard to remember what the other guys in his group did, except forget the words.
C.J. Harris did well too. Can't forget that, but Johnson just overshined him and everyone else.
2. Christina Collins, Olivia Diamond, Queen Bulls, Malaya Watson (Loud and Fierce) - Somehow we haven't heard from the wonderfully named Queen Bulls or Olivia Diamond before this group's performance of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," but this group, who closed out the show, slayed it.
As usual, Malaya Watson was the true star of the show, nailing each and every note with a ton of passion. Though the other girls did perfectly well with some harmonizing, Watson is the real one to watch here.
1. Casey Thrasher, Dexter Roberts, Ben Briley (Backstreet Cowboys) - From the time it was teased in last night's hodgepodge episode, it was obvious that the "Backstreet Cowboys" Casey Thrasher, Dexter Robers and Ben Briley were going to be an amazing group. These three country bros have consistently been strong performers on Idol, so teaming up was an obvious choice.
Instead of choosing a country song, this trio reached outside their comfort zone and sang Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way." Maybe it would've been better for them to go Southern, but that would've been to easy, and it was nice to hear these guys strip a little bit of their twang for a pop song. This was the second performance of the evening and it set the bar quite high. These guys may be a force to be reckoned with moving forward.
And with the end of group rounds, American Idol is down to 72 contestants. Next week, the judges whittle the crowd down to a top 30 with a last round of solo performances.