American Idol Review: Pulling An All-Nighter
"Last night dreams came crashing down," says Ryan's opening monologue. So did Symone Black and tonight we'll learn her outcome, hopefully sooner than later. Ryan promises that this night, Round Two, aka "Group Round," will be brutal.
Bring it on, American Idol. We're ready.
After Symone's fall from grace, the atmosphere in the Kodak Theater turned serious (as it should have) and the judges eliminated three of the contestants from that group, including Lauren Mink and Ethan Jones who both say they're lucky to be going back to the people who love them.
Symone, meanwhile, moves on to Group Round. Except she doesn't know it yet because she's at the hospital with her dad.
With that, Round One is done. There's singing and laughing in the holding room as many of the remaining 185 hopefuls join around a piano for a rendition of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." Sure, they're friends now, but they certainly won't be for long. These contestants are heading into Group Round.
Ryan calls this round "the critical challenge that truly separates the pack." Historically, Group Round has always been a harrowing experience for Idol hopefuls. This year, Executive Producer Ken Warwick hands out the rules - some of the contestants from Day One had already formed groups and begun practicing. Now they have to break up and regroup to include people from Day Two.
Alesha Bernhardt has a hard time finding a group. Mostly because the only song she'll even consider singing is "Joy to the World." And not the Christmas carol. Except she blames it on the fact that she's a cop and no one likes cops and not on the fact that she has control issues.
Amy Brumfeld thinks she has the flu and stays by herself in a remote corner of the stage. Do people generally get sick when they go from sleeping in a tent to sleeping in an actual bed? I mean, is she maybe allergic to the indoors and that's the real reason why she lives in a tent? I'm tired of hearing her milk her fever and chills and it's been about .02 seconds.
Groups continue to form around the theater and some of them head into the conference center to begin practicing. This causes the tension to rise for those who can't find people to sing with.
Alesha finds a partner with Dustin Cundiff pointing out that "no one likes him either." (CLASSY!) Then she gets on a microphone and drops an F-bomb. (DOUBLE CLASSY!) I'm certain that made people beg her to sing with them.
Phillip Phillips, Heejun Han, and Jairon Jackson team up with Richie Lawson to form what may be the strangest group in all of Round Two. They decide to call themselves "MIT" for "Mostly International." I'm... confused. But I'll go with it because the idea that they have to name their group is maybe the dumbest part of Group Round to me.
Alesha and Dustin team up with Amy, but they cannot find a fourth member. Because Alesha will not change her song choice. She goes around the room being obnoxious and asking people whether or not they like cops and ignoring their requests to sing a different song.
Brianna Bell can't find anyone to sing with and scoffs at group after group after group after...
Jacquie Cera and Mathenee Treco try to recruit Alesha, Dustin, and Amy and Alesha has to walk away because the thought of changing her song makes her that angry. Like, dropping more F-bombs angry. I told y'all she had control issues.
Alesha gets the boot and heads off in search of another group while the other four form a group. Jacquie's only commandment is that Amy cannot get her sick. Then she proceeds to pick Tent Girl up and spin her around as if getting closer to someone is how you keep germs away instead of staying far, far away. (And washing your hands, of course.)
Preparations for Group Round are in full swing now with groups setting up camp all over the conference center. Brianna finds and joins a group who are calling themselves "The Bettys."
Brielle Von Hugel is no stranger to Group Round after having survived it last year. She teams up with Kyle Crews and Shannon Magrane and becomes the de facto leader of the group, much to the chagrin of her group members. Her mom looks on as they prepare for the following day's performance calling her daughter "bossy" and saying the weakest voice is opening the act. Meaning her daughter isn't opening and she's trying hard not to be a Stage Mom about it.
Symone Black and her dad have made it back from the hospital and she's under strict orders to stay hydrated and eat regularly. She finds a group in record time and her dad, who prefers to be called a "mentor" instead of a Stage Dad, informs the other group members that Symone will be a "big asset" to their group before wrapping four of the five girls in a rather skeevy group hug.
Amy's group is hanging back from her so they don't get sick. Because nearly everyone she's been in contact with all night long has gotten sick. Especially Gabrielle Cavissa who is singing into a barf bag.
Phillip Phillips is also feeling a little unwell thanks to the four recent kidney stone surgeries he's had and has had to spend some time in his room. His group is kind of falling apart without him thanks to Richie's leadership.
Alesha's new group, Those Girls and That Guy, is also experiencing a case of The Sicks. Their guy, Christian Lopez, has been in his room for two hours. Puking. And once he returns to the conference center to practice with his group, he keeps making trips to the trash can.
Group MIT ends the night without having anything firmly arranged for the following day thanks to an inability to play nice. The Bettys do the same as four of the five group members declare that they need sleep and head to their rooms leaving Jen M to call someone back home at 2 in the morning crying. Let's not forget that one of her group members has been puking into a trash bag and carrying said trash bag around with her, mmkay?
She's rescued, however, when Brianna comes running back into the conference center crying "I'm not leaving! I'm not leaving!" The two create a routine and tutor each other on dance moves and lyrics until the wee hours of the morning, sleep be damned.
It's finally the morning of Group Round performances and contestants are warming up and practicing in just about every location possible.
"I think a little sleep deprivation brings the best out in everybody," says Steven. That's easy for him to say since I'm guessing he got a full night's rest. I felt the contestants' exhaustion vicariously and I kind of want to slap him for that comment.
The Bettys are up first.They take the stage and we hear a bit of music. Jen is waving the girls closer to the middle of the stage. She opens her mouth to sing and...it's a cliffhanger. We'll have to wait until next week to see their performance.
Are you as exhausted as I am after watching that? Or do you really just want to start a petition to never have to see someone throw up on television again? (I'd sign it, in case you were wondering.) What'd you think of the drama and which group are you most excited to see next week?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.