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Hooray for Hollywood!

Viewers finally got to hear the Group Round performances from Hollywood Week of Season 11's "American Idol."



First up was a group of girls who had argued over staying up late to rehearse, one of whom had been sick. To the camera ahead of time, they admitted there had been tension. They called themselves "The Bettys" and sang "Hit Me Up Style" by Blu Cantrell. The group included Jennifer Malsh, Cherie Tucker, Cari Quoyeser, Gabrielle Cavassa, and Brianna Bell. Jennifer was very nasal as she led off the song. Cherie was equally off. In fact, none of them sounded that great, and their harmonies were weak. I felt sorry for them. Randy Jackson said, "That was really weak." Only Jennifer and Cari went forward. [THE BETTYS PERFORM]

Cherie took it very hard and said she felt "cheated." She should, only because Jennifer didn't sing much better than her and got through.

Next was a group that called themselves Groovesauce, which included Reed Grimm, Nick Boddington, Creighton Fraker, Aaron Marcellus, and Jen Hirsh. They performed the Sam & Dave number “Hold On, I’m Coming.” They impressed the audience and the judges with their professional high-energy take on the frequently-covered song. Creighton was great, and so was Aaron, who took it to church. Jennifer Lopez found the performance amazing. She especially liked how they allowed each member of the group to shine. They all made it through. [GROOVESAUCE PERFORM]

The group 679 – Kyle Crews, Brielle Von Hugel, Joshua Ledet and Shannon Magrane -- had a lot of input from stage moms. The moms weren't always happy with how their rehearsal had gone, but they did a group prayer before. Kyle started out their song, "Hit Me Up Style," and he was uneven. Next was Brielle, who was just OK. Joshua sounded more together. After the key change, the harmonies were pretty tight. Shannon ended the song with a big note that prompted Jennifer to call, "Show off!" Jennifer called everyone but Kyle forward and told them they were going through. [679 PERFORM]

Amy Brumfield's group, the Make You Believers, just imploded on the Boston song "More Than a Feeling," with more than one person forgetting the lyrics. The group also included Dustin Cundiff, Mathanee Treco, and Jacquie Cera. Mathenee was in a completely different key from the others. Ouch. Every person was worse than the previous one, and it probably didn't help Jacquie that she picked up Amy's illness. Just sad. Jennifer told them it was a little rough and that the backgrounds were rough. Randy said, "This whole group was a bit of a mess." The only one they kept was Mathenee. [MAKE YOU BELIEVERS PERFORM]

Then we saw a montage of number of contestants who were also nervous, forgetting lyrics.

The next group, Those Girls and That Boy, consisting of Christian Lopez, Alisha Bernhardt, and Samantha Novacek, did Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue." Christian Lopez did all right, but Alisha was a little rough, though she has personality. Randy called it "a little rough around the edges" and told them, "None of you made it through." Alisha told the judges that she would go back to being a police officer but would be happy to serve as personal security for any of the judges. [THOSE GIRLS AND THAT GUY PERFORM]

Another young group, The Hollywood 5 -- Ariel Sprague, Eben Franckewitz, Gabi Carruba, David Leathers, Jr. and Jeremy Rosado -- had parents were watching from the wings, did much better. They did Duffy's "Mercy." April started off strong, and Eben, rocking a striped bow tie, had a great high voice. Gabi came in next, sounding like she was born to do this. David also lived up to his potential, as did Jeremy. They all made it through. [THE HOLLYWOOD FIVE PERFORM]

Area 451 -- Bryce Garcia, Johnny Keyser, Kristi Krause, and Imani Handy -- was arguing while rehearsing in the hallway. One group member, Imani who had previously collapsed, tried to rejoin the group but collapsed again. Bryce mumbled as he began their song, "Broken Strings" by James Morrison, and the other group members just walked away from him. Harsh. They came in on the harmony, though, and Johnny wasn't deterred. Kristi was really off in terms of pitch. Imani, who had been having such trouble, was actually one of the best, although she trembled and collapsed again near the end of the song. Johnny was kept, and Bryce and Kristi were sent home. The judges didn't have confidence that Imani could do it, so they sent her home. "Don't worry," Jennifer told her. [AREA 451 PERFORM]

MIT -- Heejun Han, Phillip Phillips, Richie Law, Jairon Jackson -- had a lot of friction between them, and the cowboy-hat wearing guy, Richie, was clearly wearing on everyone else. Richie wanted to talk to the confessional by himself, to the irritation of the rest of the group, where he said, "I'm compromising, but at a certain point, there's no compromise between good and bad. It's either good or it's not." Heejun Han said that the problem with Richie is that he talks but doesn't have an ear. Starting out their song, "Broken Strings," Heejun was very emotional, delivering his best performance so far. Jairon was, too. Richie was kind of nasal. Wow. Phillip sounded like a young Joe Cocker, and Jairon finished up the song, a capella. Randy told them it wasn't perfect but that, all things considered, all of them were through, because they all deserved another shot. Jennifer pitched in and told them that they were going through in part because of their previous performance. [MIT PERFORM]

We learned Erika Van Pelt, Adam Brock, Hallie Day, and Elise Testone were also going through.

Richie was full of himself afterwards, but the other guys still were very closed off. Heejun said that he was sorry that he had said bad things about him, and Richie thanked him for admitting it.

For the next round, the remaining contestants performed individually. They were allowed to use an instrument, if they wanted to. Joshua Ledet, wearing a white button-down shirt with a black tie and black pants, gave a heartfelt performance of Christina Perri's "Jar of Hearts" that wasn't always pitch perfect but which he managed to take to another level on the chorus. Beautiful.

Colton Dixon performed the Daughtry song "What About Now." He performed at the keyboard again, and he put it all on the line. I've heard better from him, but it was pretty good. [JOSHUA AND COLTON PERFORM]

Phillip Phillips, of course, pulled out of his guitar. He did an acoustic version of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game." Randy complimented his guitar.

Jen Hirsh also gave a good performance, very mellow. She knows that it's just as important to hold back as to belt it out. Her version of the Ray Charles tune "Georgia" started soft and sweet and grew in volume and intensity. The only note I'd have for her is that she needs to look for a dress that will hug her ample curves better: the blue mini she wore sort of looked like a potato sack. [PHILLIP AND JEN PERFORM]

Creighton Fraker, wearing a plaid brown jacket with a white button-down, seemed to impress the judges with a relaxed rendition of the Louis Armstrong classic, "What a Wonderful World." He actually made it sound contemporary. [CREIGHTON PERFORMS]

Thunder and rain were coming down that day. A montage of people having trouble, with some thunder punched in.

Shannon Magrane was a little over-the-top with her performance of "What a Wonderful World." She got kind of shouty. She needs to learn when to reign it in. [SHANNON PERFORMS]

With 15 minutes to go before his performance, Reed Grimm, who who had thought he could do an a capella song and therefore hadn't rehearsed with the band, met with the music producer. Reed had second thoughts about whether not just the song arrangement but even auditioning for "Idol" was right for him, so he called his mom. With only two minutes left, he arrived in the auditorium and informed the band he was going to be playing on the drums. He did "Georgia," which Randy noted had been a Casey Abrams choice. Reed was definitely comfortable on the drums, and you wouldn't know he hadn't rehearsed it that way. His jazzy rendition of the song was tasty, and his drum playing was competent. [REED PERFORMS]

Skylar Laine had been fighting illness but didn't show it when she got up to sing The Band Perry number "You Lie." She was a little nasal, but she had something special to her. Reminded me a little bit of Holly Hunter, if she could sing. Jennifer thought she sounded like Reba McEntire. Steven told Skylar it was one of the best he'd seen all day.

Skylar Laine had been fighting illness but didn't show it when she got up to sing The Band Perry number "You Lie." She was a little nasal, but she had something special to her. Reminded me a little bit of Holly Hunter, if she could sing. Jennifer thought she sounded like Reba McEntire. Steven told Skylar it was one of the best he'd seen all day.

Rachelle Lamb was only one line into her performance of the Miranda Lambert song "House That Built Me" when she stopped the band, saying, "I think I just messed up." She started over and pushed through, but her performance wasn't as natural as Skylar's. She ended strong, though. [SKYLAR AND RACHELLE PERFORM]

Adam Brock chose "Georgia," as well, and if you closed your eyes, you might think it was Ray Charles himself singing. Adam seemed to get the song better than a number of others who had chosen it. You wouldn't think, looking at this guy in a gray cashmere sweater, with horn-rimmed glasses and a white tie poking out of the V-neck, that he had this sort of soul. Unbelievable. Afterward, he showed the judges his good luck charm: grandfather's handkerchief. He remarked that Steven Tyler had also used it to dab his brow during a jam session with contestants earlier in the day, which Adam said made it "doubly blessed." Love this guy. [ADAM PERFORMS]

Then came the agonizing wait for four rooms full of contestants, waiting to hear their fate. To Room 1, which included Creighton Fraker, Jen Hirsh, Erika Van Pelt and Hallie Day, Adam Brock, Joshua Ledet, Johnny Keyser, David Leathers Jr., Jermaine Jones, Lauren Gray, Colton Dixon, and Erika Van Pelt, Randy told them that this was the time when they would lose a lot of people. "You've got to be consistent, and bring it every single time." Then, he shouted, "You guys are all through."

Meanwhile, room 3 residents started arguing with each other, since one person accused others of not taking things seriously enough.

Room 2 learned they were going through, including Phillip Phillips, Eben Franckewitz, Skyler Laine and Shannon Magrane. Reed Grimm, and Jessica Phillips.

Room 3 got bad news. Steven told them about times when he used to get booed off the stage. He encouraged them all to keep working and building on it. Randy said, "You all have a shot at it. It just didn't work out this time." This room included Rachelle Lamb, Brittany Kerr, Jennifer Malsh, Jarrod Gibson, and Sarah Phillips.

Finally, room 4 learned they were going through, including Stephanie Rene, Baylie Brown, Brittany Kellogg, Angie Zeiderman, Heejun Han, Richie Law, and Gabi Carrubba. [JUDGES' DECISION, PART ONE; JUDGES' DECISION, PART TWO]

Next, the contestants would go through one more round before learning their final fate. The hopefuls will travel to Las Vegas for another Group Round, where they will sing songs from the late '50s to the early '60s.

Moral:
Getting distracted by the drama can lead to defeat.


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