Ah, group round. Even when it's pretty good, it's still kinda bad.
Ninety-six hearty souls prostrated themselves before Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson and the pleasantly prickly Ellen DeGeneres, who not only enjoys a good performance, but also likes amusing herself, Seacrest-style, by watching the contestants squirm.
From the debacle that was any performance involving Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape" to the more satisfactory treatments given to tunes like Ne-Yo's "Closer" and Alicia Keys' "No One," group day on American Idol was tough going for everyone involved.
No one—even the 71 hopefuls who made it out alive—was at his or her best, whether because they pulled an all-nighter, bickered to exhaustion or guided their wives through labor via video phone. (Congratulations, Michael Lynche!)
But amid the travesties, there were a few promises of great things to come...