Published February 10, 2012
“I just remember blacking out–just completely passing out,” a dazed-looking Black explained on her way to the hospital. “Hopefully, I’m ready to pick it back up when I come back.”
Ethan Jones and special needs teacher Lauren Mink were not as lucky. “It’s really bittersweet,” Jones said of his exit from Hollywood. “I am really disappointed,” added Mink.
Black joins 184 other “American Idol” hopefuls for “Group Round,” where surviving contestants must assemble themselves into groups of four or five to perform an a cappella routine for the judges.
“By the end of tomorrow night, almost half of them will be gone,” instructed host Ryan Seacrest.
Most contestants formed their groups quickly, but there were some notable stragglers, including St. Louis police officer, Alisha Bernhardt.
“I can’t find a group, and it’s pissing me off,” groused Bernhardt. “Nobody likes cops. Nobody wants to be in my group.”
Also having trouble was Tennessee tent dweller Amy Brumfield, who was fighting a nasty bout with the flu. “Everybody is afraid I’m going to get them sick,” she complained. “So now I’m having a hard time finding a group.”
Both eventually settled into groups and began practicing their routine.
Early favorites Heejun Han and Phillip Phillips, Jr. found a group–but they weren’t particularly happy with their cowboy hat-wearing cohort, Richie Law. “The cowboy kid is crazy,” grumbled Han of Law’s line dancing-ways. “I don’t know they do it in Cowboy Town, but this is not how we bring it down, man.”
Phillips, Jr. didn’t verbalize his problems with Law, but his frequent side-eye glances and knowing smirks directed at the 19-year-old betrayed his true feelings.
A group of five girls known as the Betties struggled into the early morning hours with their rehearsal. “I can’t sing with out sleep,” explained one exhausted Betty.
“We’re, like, 20-years-old–we stay up until two in the morning all the time” countered another frustrated Betty, Jennifer. “This is our dream, this is what we want.”
As the rest of her teammates went to bed, Jennifer cried into the phone to her family. “How much worse is it going to feel if after all this I go home and one of them stays?”
Eventually, Brianna Bell returned to practice with Jennifer. “I’m not leaving,” Bell cried as she fell into Jennifer’s arms. “There’s so many people still out there, and I’m not leaving.”
The two quickly bonded and practiced their routine until five in the morning.
“We’re trying to help each other out,” explained Jennifer. “She needs help with lyrics, I’m going to help her with lyrics. I need help with dance moves, and she’s going to help me with dance moves. That’s what a group effort is about. If the girls wake up in the morning and don’t remember any of their choreography, that’s their fault.”
Next up: Will the Betties make it through to the next round? Will Han end up smothering Law with his cowboy hat? And how many contestants will be carted away in an ambulance? We find out next week!