American Idol Hollywood contestant Kez Ban: Love her or hate her?

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comFebruary 13, 2013 

She's either the coolest thing to happen to "American Idol," or one of the most annoying singers on the planet.

So goes the story of Kez Ban, a quirky "Idol" hopeful who dominated Wednesday's show. The two-hour episode featured female performances in Hollywood. In addition to the "sudden death" a cappella round, we got the dramatic group round.

Kez Ban was at the center of most of that drama. Unfamiliar with the singer? Watch her initial audition:

Got it? In a Hollywood interview, she told host Ryan Seacrest, "I don't necessarily think I fit in well anywhere." Fast forward to group round, when Kez Ban complicated the process of choosing a song, in addition to her other eccentricities.

But she advanced to the next round, so we'll presumably see her Thursday. Weigh in: Is Kez Ban's quirkiness endearing or annoying?

Here's a full recap of Wednesday's show, which featured many talented female singers -- some of whom might have a shot at winning it all.

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Things kick off with a "sudden death" round of a cappella solo performances. Apparently, there are more women than men this year. Some standouts during the solo round:

Angela Miller performs a really nice rendition of "Who You Are" by Jessie J and advances. Victoria Acosta, the mariachi singer, also advances.

Mariah Pulice, who struggled with an eating disorder in the past, is eliminated.

We meet two very promising country singers: Rachel Hale and Janelle Arthur. They both advance.

Candace Glover, who auditioned last year, impresses the judges again and advances.

Megan Miller, Miss Greater Baton Rouge, is eliminated. Remember her? She had crutches during her audition.

Finally...time for a highly anticipated solo performance by Kez Ban. Prior to her performance, she tells Seacrest, "I don't necessarily think I fit in well anywhere." Her performance is shaky, perhaps because she's fighting off a cold. Still, she advances.

The judges also like Isabelle, a one-name singer from Duluth, Ga., and Briana Oakley, the girl who was bullied after appearing as a talented kid on "The Maury Povich Show." They both advance.

GROUP ROUND! Producers will select the members of each group.

One group includes an especially high level of drama. Shocker: That group includes Kez Ban. Other members are Janelle Arthur, Angela Miller and some other random girl. The problem? Kez Ban is totally set on performing "California Dreamin.'" Everybody else? Not so much. Maybe that's why the group selects "The Misfits" as its name.

Ultimately, the group selects "Be My Baby" by The Ronettes. But Kez Ban remains eccentric, and eventually the other three singers decide to rehearse without her.

Some other dramatic moments during rehearsals:

Remember Zoanette Johnson, who slaughtered the national anthem but somehow still managed to advance to Hollywood? Well, she pitches a major hissy fit when her group decides to sing "Knock On Wood."

Also, Britnee Kellogg is a returning "Idol" contestant who feels like she's doing all the work for her group.

Performance time. Randy is "tied up in the studio," so the panel starts as just Nicki, Keith and Mariah.

The first group performs an especially awesome rendition of "Hit 'Em Up Style." Unsurprisingly, it includes Candace Glover. Another promising singer: Melinda Ademi. All four singers advance.

Then, we see an equally strong performance of "Sin Wagon." My favorite performer? Brandy Hotard.

Bad news for a group called "Almost Famous." I'm not just talking about their unfortunate passion for animal prints. Some members have a serious time remembering the lyrics to "Somebody That I Used to Know." Just one member advances.

Note to groups: We will immediately have a negative opinion if you select "The Dramatics" as a group name. That's the case for one particularly annoying group. Serious personality conflicts...largely because one member, Janel, insists on rehearsing alone. Another strike against them: They choose to sing "If I Die Young." The highlight of the group is Cristabel Clack. Nicki loves it, Keith hates it and Janel has a major meltdown. All the members advance.

Then, the producers spotlight three successful singers: Shubha Vedula, Aubrey Cleland and Sarina-Joi Crowe.

Seretha Guinn is eliminated. She's the hairstylist/mom whose boyfriend was involved in an accident that almost took his life.

Randy's back!

Here's the group featuring Zoanette Johnson, who has apparently turned her frown upside down. Actually, the performance of "Knock On Wood" is pretty good. I like Zoanette better this time around. One-name singer Isabelle is also in this group. They both advance.

Time for another disastrous performance of "Somebody That I Used to Know." After being eliminated, Shira Gavrielov protests the judges' decision...with no luck.

And...another rendition of "Somebody That I Used to Know." This one comes with an added bonus: the group chose the song two hours before the performance. There are some serious lyrical missteps. Two of the four members advance.

Quick montage of singers who wrote song lyrics on their hands. You can find at least one of those singers in Britnee Kellogg's group. The hand-lyric singer is also the one who went to bed early. Somehow, she still advances. Three of the four group members, including Britnee Kellogg, advance to the next round.

Final group! Yep, it's The Misfits featuring Kez Ban. As their performance approaches, Kez Ban is doing jumping jacks. Those antics aside, the performance is actually really good. Kez Ban pulls it together and the other three -- Janelle Arthur, Angela Miller and Breanna Steer -- are REALLY good. Nicki gives them a standing ovation and they all advance.

With that, we're done! We'll see solo performances on Thursday.

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