'American Idol' recap: Vegas, Baby

american-idol-season-11.jpgWe open on Heejun, which is a bold choice in itself. He tells us he just woke up on a bus to Vegas (and indeed, that's where he seems to be), but isn't sure if he's still dreaming. And because it's Heejun, it still sounds like the saddest thing you ever heard .We're reminded that he and the rest of his passengers made it through "multiple eliminations in Hollywood," and a number on the screen counts down from over a hundred thousand initial auditioners to the remaining 70. But Ryan says the big stage in Vegas will winnow that down even further. Don't worry, I'm sure everyone will take it really well.

We flash back to last night in Hollywood, when the top 70 were told they'd be traveling to Vegas, to sing music from the fifties, on the set of what Steven calls "Elvis Presley." What, the Michael Jackson/Cirque du Soleil Immortal tour passed up a cross-promotion opportunity for once? There are hijinks and shenanigans on the bus, and a girl who mistakes an outlying community for Vegas until someone else sets her straight. They're delivered to the Aria, which is the home of the Viva Elvis show, as everyone knows.

As the contestants settle into their rooms, we're informed that in Hollywood, the remaining singers were told to form groups of three to four, and then each group was assigned a song from the '50s or '60s. And after each performance, they'll be either kept or turfed on the spot. Or possibly turfed later, depending on to what extent the judges have their **** together. They'll work with vocal coaches, including psychotic Peggi Blu, who according to clips from last year is like the Jillian Michaels of music, only scary. We join the rehearsals, where Skylar Laine has been struggling with her group's harmonies, after being a last-minute addition to a group with Vanilla Ice lookalike Colton Dixon, Chase Likens, and some chick named Cari Quoyeser, who if nothing else has a name that's worth a lot of Scrabble points. Then it's 9:00 AM on the day of performances, and Ryan tells us this round will work in a similar way to Hollywood. Skylar and her group take the stage to sing "Dedicated to the One I Love" by the Shirelles, in case you ever wondered what a doo-wop song would sound like if it were done mostly by country singers. They do pretty well, although the harmony on the last long note is a little shaky. In fact, Cari is the only one who gets any negative feedback, and she's the only one of the four who doesn't make it to the next round. Exiting the stage, Ryan asks what memories she'll bring. "The good ones," she non-answers.