'American Idol' begins group round, Symone Black rejoins hopefuls
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/10/2012
American Idol's eleventh season narrowed its contestants to 185 hopefuls and began coverage of its group round during Thursday night's second Fox broadcast of the competition's Hollywood Week phase.
American Idol's Thursday night broadcast picked up where Wednesday night's episode had left off -- with Idol staffers and medical personnel rushing to assist contestant Symone Black after she appeared to faint and fall off the stage while performing an a cappella rendition of Otis Redding's "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay" for the judges during the second day of Hollywood Week.
After a short period of time, Black regained consciousness as a group of her fellow contestants said a prayer for her well-being. The medics gave her something to eat and drink and then her father brought her to the hospital. While Black was being treated at the hospital, the rest of Day 2's cuts were made, leaving 185 hopefuls still in the running for one of American Idol's eleventh-season semifinalist slots.
After the initial rounds of the a cappella performances concluded on Day 2, the 185 contestants met with American Idol executive producer Ken Warwick who then explained the rules to the next group round.
The hopefuls were required to form their own groups of four or five people -- making sure they had a mixture of Day 1 and Day 2 contestants much to their surprise -- choose from a list of 20 songs, learn choreography, and master a routine for the judges.
The groups could determine on their own how long they wanted to practice, as they were given the whole night free to prepare for the following day's group performances.
Most of the contestants seemed to quickly organize themselves into groups without much difficulty, but some singers had some trouble. Alisha Bernhardt, a 27-year-old police officer from Indianapolis, IN, had a strong personality and desperately sought out group members to perform "Joy to the World" with her -- which resulted in a struggle to find willing partners.
Meanwhile, Amy Brumfield, an unemployed 24-year-old from Gatlinburg, TN, was very sick and had little energy to actively find partners. When she asked groups if she could join them, they were either full or already working on their material. However, both singers eventually did find groups.
Late in the day, Black left the hospital and was cleared to come back to the competition.
"The doctor said I was dehydrated and that I wasn't drinking enough water today and that I just needed to, I guess, eat more and just rest," Black said upon her return.
"Eat more? Well, okay. She needs to drink more!" Black's father interjected.
"I'm worried that the groups have already been formed. They seem to be pretty together already," Black said in a bit of a panic.
Black then searched for people to work with and one set of four girls -- who had called themselves The Betties -- welcomed her with open arms and they immediately got down to business.
While rehearsing, some of the groups faced major distractions and issues because several contestants fell ill with the flu which they appeared to have caught from Brumfield. They were vomiting, weak and easily exhausted, making practicing late into the night nearly impossible.
Thursday night's episode concluded with the contestants beginning to take the stage to perform on Day 3 for the judges.
Idol's next episode will air on Wednesday, February 15 at 8PM ET/PT and feature the group performances.