Exhaustion, chills, vomiting, epic weeping—Did 150 young men and women just come down with mono?
Nah, it's just Group Day on American Idol!
The kids all took the stage in various, er, stages of disarray, from Amy "Tent Girl" Brumfield, aka, "Patient Zero," to Jacquie Cera, who passed out as she was walking into the theater, for another sudden-death round.
Let's just say, we had "More Than a Feeling" that plenty of early faves wouldn't be sticking around much longer. Not because they were sick necessarily, but because they broke the No. 1 rule...
Don't forget the lyrics!
Brumfield, like groupmate Dustin Cundiff, couldn't keep Boston's "More Than a Feeling" straight, and then Cera and Mathenee Treco overshot the vocals, perhaps to make up for their pals' fumbles. Did any of them impress?
Treco was the only one who did just enough to stick around.
"I've been to hell and back so many times, people can't even relate," Brumfield lamented afterward shaking her head. "I forced myself—for nothing! I'm just going to have to let that door shut and hope a million more open."
But it was the groups tasked with "Son of a Preacher Man" who had the most trouble, it seemed, from the opening "Billy Ray was a preacher's son" to...well, we didn't really get to hear the end of the song today.
Imani Handy, who passed out barely an hour before they were set to perform, looked like a zombie onstage—and though she sounded better than certain other members of her group, the strain proved too much for her and she collapsed again at the tail end of her solo.
And though she professed to the judges that she could handle the pressure moving forward, she was sent home. The only survivor from her group was the hunktastic Johnny Keyser (who, we have a feeling, is top-12 material, barring epic self-sabotage).
There were a few supergroups that were safe from a mile away, however:
The Hollywood Five, composed of David Leathers Jr., Gabi Carruba, Eben Franckewitz (where has this adorable 15-year-old been hiding?!), Ariel Sprague and Jeremy Rosado, needed no "Mercy" from the judges after belting Duffy's hit perfectly.
So went Groove Sauce—Nick Boddington, Aaron Marcellus, Reed Grimm, Jen Hirsh and Creighton Fraker.
And though they fought like dogs, and Heejun Han later apologized to Richie Law (and his parents) for "saying a lot of crap about him" on camera, they and their fellow members of M.I.T.—Jairon Jackson and Phillip Phillips—all made it.
Into the final day of Hollywood Week, when the 98 remaining hopefuls had to sing yet again, either with the Idol band or using their own instruments.
A cappella enthusiast Reed Grimm learned the hard way—as in, he didn't rehearse with the band—that one's own voice doesn't equal an instrument. He had 30 minutes to come up with a new game plan, spent about five of those pumping himself up as the vocal coach looked on exasperatedly, then...called his family?
But just when it seemed like he would be crushed under his own ego, the quirky 26-year-old busted out "Georgia on My Mind" both with the band and while tapping at the drums himself.
"Another Casey there," Randy Jackson remarked to Jennifer Lopez, referencing bass-fiddle-playing Casey Abrams from last season.
Also among the performers who blew the judges away on the final day of Hollywood Week were Joshua Ledet, Colton Dixon (who almost didn't even audition!), Phil Phillipps, Jen Hirsh and Adam Brock (more "Georgia on My Mind"), Creighton Fraker and Shannon Magrane (both "What a Wonderful World") and, fresh from a trip to the hospital for "3 liters of fluid," Skylar Laine.
But when they were all split into rooms one, two, three and four, dozens of people at a time got either good or bad news.
At the end of the day, it was hooray for Adam Brock, Creighton Fraker, Jen Hirsh, Hallie Day, Erika Van Pelt, Joshua Ledet, Jermaine Jones, Lauren Gray, Phil Phillips, Eben Franckewitz, Skylar Laine, Shannon Magrane, Reed Grimm, Jessica Phillips, Stephanie Renee, Haley Brown, Britnee Kellogg (the Britney Spears look-alike), Angie Zeiderman, Heejun Han, Richie Law and Gabi Carruba.
Among others, of course, to be revealed tomorrow when Idol pulls a So You Think You Can Dance and hits Las Vegas.
(Originally published Feb. 15, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. PT)