‘American Idol’ continued auditions Wednesday night with the group round followed by a solo round as 185 hopefuls went into the group round and judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson made cuts on the spot following each performance.
The Bettys were up first, singing Blu Cantrell’s “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!),” even though two of their members were ill and the rest of the girls had been fighting the night before. Cherie Tucker fell flat, but Cari Quoyeser and Jennifer Malsch did a little better. Gabrielle Cavassa, one of the sick girls, sang an octave lower than the rest of the group. Randy said it was really weak overall. Cari and Jennifer made it, but the rest of the girls got cut. The cameras followed Cherie in to the bathroom and captured her throwing up. Her mother said she’d been very ill.
Nick Boddington, Aaron Marcellus, Reed Grimm, Jen Hirsh and Creighton Fraker took the stage next under the name Groove Sauce. They sang the Sam & Dave classic “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” and their tight group vocals paired with their stellar solos made them really stand out. The judges gave them a standing ovation, which is pretty rare during ‘Idol”s group round. Randy said it was “amazing.” They’re all through to the next round.
Brielle Von Hugel was the bossiest member of the group Six Seven Nine, and her mother was there putting in her two cents too as they prepared. Kyle Crews kicked the performance off singing “Hit ‘Em Up Style,” and then Brielle came in second. The judges liked Joshua Ledet’s soulful solo, and Shannon Magrane gave a strong ending. Kyle was the only one cut, but he blamed it on the song being in the wrong key for his voice.
The Make You Believers battled illness too. Amy Brumfield was the first contestant to get sick the night before group round. Group member Jacquie Cera got dizzy and passed out on the way into the group round, but she made it to the stage for the performance. Dustin Cundiff forgot the words to the opening lines of the song, Boston’s “More Than a Feeling.” Amy fumbled the words as well and turned in a really weak vocal performance. Mathenee Treco came out belting the song during his solo though, but Jacquie pretty much screamed her part. Mathenee was the only one who made it through to the next round.
Crystal Duffield botched the words to Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man,” as did her group mate Jasmine Antoine. Jennifer wondered why they didn’t help each other out with the lyrics.
The group Those Girls and That Guy dealt with the illness of Christian Lopez overnight. He kicked off their performance of Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue” with police officer Alisha Bernhardt coming in after him. The judges and the rest of the contestants were bored with the performance. Jennifer even yawned on camera. Randy said it was rough around the edges. None of them made it through.
Hollywood Five was supported by their parents as they prepared for the group round. Sixteen-year-old Ariel Sprague kicked off their audition singing Duffy’s “Mercy.” Eben Franckenwitz, Gabi Carrubba, David Leathers, Jr. and Jeremy Rosado rounded out this talented group of teens. They all survived the group round.
Imani Handy of the group Area 451 fell out before they went onstage. She fell out again trying to make it to the stage, and collapsed during the group’s performance too. She actually sounded good before passing out again. Her group mate Bryce Garcia forgot the words to James Morrison’s “Broken Strings, but Johnny Keyser was a little more solid. Kristi Krause’s solo was shaky. Kristi and Bryce were cut, and the judges also cut Imani even though she begged them to give her another shot.
M.I.T., also known as Most International Team, had a lot of dissension the night before with cowboy Richie Law taking charge. He disappeared into the ‘Idol’ confession room before going on stage and talked about his plans to rise above the rest of the group. Heejun Han felt Richie talks a lot but doesn’t listen to anyone else. Heejun and Jairon Jackson delivered strong solos on “Broken Strings,” but Richie fell a little flat switching from a commanding vocal tone to a light, airy head voice mid-performance. Phillip Phillips growled his way through his brief moment in the spotlight. They all made it through to the next round, but the judges made it clear their decision was based on things they’d seen from the group before. They weren’t big fans of this particular performance.
Only 98 contestants went into the solo round, backed by a full band. They could also play an instrument for this round, but the results were held until the end of the day.
Joshua Ledet kicked this round off singing a very soulful rendition Christina Perri’s “Jar of Hearts.” It earned him a spot in the next round. He almost missed the flight to Los Angeles due to anxiety, but he was glad he powered through the fear.
Colton Dixon seemed to score with the judges by playing piano while singing Daughtry’s “What About Now.” Judges’ favorite Phillip Phillips played guitar while putting his own jam band spin on Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” They both survived this round.
Jen Hirsh put a smile on Steven’s face with her big delivery of “Georgia on My Mind.” The judges even gave her a standing ovation. Creighton Fraker continued that soulful vibe with his take on Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” and got another standing ovation. They both made the cut.
Shannon Magrane gave a commanding performance of “What a Wonderful World” in this round too, and made it to the next round.
Reed Grimm wanted to perform a capella in this round, but the producers informed him at the last minute he had to use the band. Reed worked up an arrangement of “Georgia on My Mind,” and he decided to play the drums during his performance in another last minute decision. Reed pulled it off beautifully and proved he deserves a spot on ‘Idol’ this season. He’s getting that shot on Thursday night’s episode.
Skylar Laine had been to the hospital the night before the solo round, but turned in a sassy twangy performance of The Band Perry hit “You Lie.” Jennifer even said Skylar reminded her of Reba McEntire, and Steven called it one of the best performances of the day. Skylar made the cut.
Rachelle Lamb screwed up her performance of Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” the first time around, but she succeeded on her second try. It wasn’t enough to get her through to the next round. Rachelle was cut and got into a little war of words with a fellow contestant before she got cut.
New dad Adam Brock offered the judges “White Chocolate” with “Georgia on My Mind” and earned a literal shout out from Steven during the performance. He made it to the next round.
Johnny Keyser, David Leathers, Jr., Jessica Phillips, Eben Franckenwitz, Bailey Brown, Heejun Han, Richie Law, Angie Zederman, Jairon Jackson and Erica Van Pelt were among the other hopefuls who made the cut.
‘American ‘Idol’ returns Thursday night at 8 p.m. eastern time as the audition rounds continue in Las Vegas.