Michael Slezak
February 10, 2010 AT 12:00 PM EST

Watching tonight’s “Hollywood Week: Group Rounds” edition of American Idol was the TV equivalent of spending an hour in front of an ant colony in the middle of a child’s sandbox. There was a whole lot of scurrying around and impossible-to-discern behavior on display, and when it was all over, I wasn’t really sure I could tell one player from another. Also, a bunch of the ants got squished and I didn’t feel too bad about it. [UPDATE: Check out my full TV Watch recap of the telecast here.]

Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that disorienting. But the way the show’s producers shifted focus seemingly every 30 seconds — The Dreamers aren’t getting along! The Mighty Rangers are destined for disaster! Hey, somebody’s makin’ a baby! — it was hard to emotionally attach to any individual story arc. Worse still, after last night’s impressive display of talent, most of the performers on “group night” seemed to be aiming squarely for a spot between “remember 7 out of 10 words” and “don’t be off-key enough to make Simon raise a hand in protest.” Phooey. I wish I could fast-forward to next week when we finally get ourselves a season 9 top 24, but instead I might have to spend the next hour hitting rewind on my DVR to try to make sense of what I just witnessed.

Check out my full recap of “group rounds” in Hollywood, or head on down to the comments section to share your thoughts on tonight’s show. Also, I took the liberty of embedding last week’s Idolatry episode below, just in case you need a mental palate-cleanser. And because I’m addicted to this ridiculous social-media nonsense and don’t want to do it alone, howza ’bout following me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak! Yes? (YES!)

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