The piles are above the ankle, more is coming and the snowblower has already given up. But we're inside watching "Idol." Immediate shocker, after the jump ...
Well, the first group of six women sing, 30 individual seconds each, and the judges send them all home, presumably because the Hollywood mob is loaded with women. Goodbye to Jory Steinberg of Santa Monica, Geri Guyer of Altoona, Pa., Kelly Caruso of Pittstown, NJ, Lisa Morrison of Selden, NY, Christen Itam of Fredericksburg, VA, and Jeromisha Lemar of Philadelphia. "None of you are any good," says Simon. "Absolutely terrible start."
Commercial congratulating Carrie Underwood on her Grammy success. Of course, she made sure to thank "Idol" during her Grammy acceptance.
Next group: Perla Meneses of Margate, FL; Rachel Jenkins, the Army reservist (with husband in Iraq) from Minnesota; four unidentified others. Perla and one other go on, although Simon calls Perla "personality over talent." Jenkins is among the four sent home.
Texan Baylie Brown gets a sizable bit of singing time on the air. And she's good. She moves on with what looks like two others. (The show is not identifying many contenders.) Other ousters: Sarah Burgess of East Palestine, Ohio; Ashlyn Carr and Porcelana Patino.
Is there a twist coming? Ryan wonders if they cut too many on the first day. Final woman, Nicole Turner of Richmond, CA., argues with her mom about what to sing, finally agrees to Aretha's "Ain't No Way" to make mom and aunt happy. She gets sent home along with an "Ashley." Nicole tearful, mom goes to the judges to ask for another chance. Simon says it wasn't the song. Nicole says "I didn't feel the darn song." Arguing. Paula calls Simon obnoxious. Paula is, as so often the case, wrong.
Quick caps of more women let through. 114 women went to Hollywood, 56 were dumped the first day.The guys sing after the break.
First guy we see: Sundance Head, but no judging. Then former Hollywood guy Brian Miller of Placentia, CA; we hear him sing. "The boys are starting way ahead of the girls," says Randy. Next: Navy guy Jarrod Fowler of Arizona. Then Matt Sato from Minnesota. Michael Lawson, Sato, Chris (the big-curly-haired guy) and a fourth guy get through. Fowler doesn't. Sato makes another happy-tearful phone call home.
34 guys get through, more than half.
After the break, the 92 contestants are told, in Ryan's words, "it's time for the infamous group round." They can team up with anyone, and choose a song from a list of nine. One woman has no group. Matt Sato has no group, then gets invited into one. Matt Buckstein, a Hollywood retread, puts a group together quickly. Chris Sligh, the big-hair guy, struggles with choreography.
The usual drama of not all groups in synch; Baylie Brown's is one with arguments. Another group bickers at the hotel. Now Baylie's group is struggling with lyrics. Been here, seen this. Amanda (from Baylie's group) goes to ogle guys. Other bickering hotel crowd bickers more. And so to the break.
And back. 8 a.m. on group day. Ryan: "Some groups have gelled ... but elsewhere cracks have formed." At the judging, Simon warns the contestants to know the words. Clip of singer ousted for botched lyrics. Matt Sato botches lyrics, and sings badly. He's out. A last phone call home.
Back to the Bickerettes. Gina Glocksen, Perla Meneses (who botches the words and sings badly), Marisa Rhodes. fourth unknown. Perla is bounced, the others kept for the final round.
Chris Sligh, Rudy Cardenas, Blake Lewis, Thomas Lowe all shine as soloists; bad harmony, but all four go through. Back to Sundance Head. Rocky on his first day, but got through. Second day, he's with L'Paige Bedford and Robyn Troup. They're unimpressive. He's worse. Lots of yelling. But he still gets through, although he says, "I am not an example for anyone trying out for this show." Simon says they were gentle to let him through.
The Return of Baylie's Bunch: Antonella Barba (bad), Brown (who forgets the words), Amanda Coluccio, who seizes the moment. Brown's out. The other two survive. Baylie says she worked harder and confronts the others. No matter.
All told, 36 people sent home on the second day. 56 remain. A teaser about a final decision. The usual putting individuals into three rooms in groups. Twenty people in the first room, including Chris Sligh; they all get to stay. Second room (another 20) also gets through. Third room: Bye-bye. Antonella makes it but not Amanda. Sanjaya gets through but not his sister. Credits roll. Tomorrow night: Forty becomes 24.
Tomorrow: 40 goes to 24 -- 12 men, 12 women. Is it just me, or does it feel as if the show is moving very fast?