‘American Idol’ Group Night: All Drama, No Singing

Amy Brumfield spreads a nasty bug, while Richie Law, Brielle Von Hugel and Brianna-Marie Bell fight for the title of Drama Queen.

Group Night Drama took hold of “American Idol” on Thursday (February 9). The whole episode, in fact, zeroed in on the Drama — the infighting, the personality clashes, the late-night bleary eyes — and didn’t make any time for actual, you know, singing.

Luckily, there were enough distractions to keep things interesting. A mean sick bug seemed to be going around with the contestants, and Patient Zero was Amy Brumfield, whom you remember as Tent Girl , or the girl who lives in a tent in the woods in Tennessee. Brumfield was down and out for most of the episode, battling flu-like symptoms, while those she came in contact with were also given a mean case of the pukes. Lesson: Perhaps tent life isn’t the healthiest, most stable way to live.

Brumfield found herself in a group with Alisha Bernhardt early on, though Bernhardt’s pushiness and insistence her group perform “Joy to the World” — the Three Dog Night version, not the Christmas carol — eventually drove Brumfield away. Bernhardt, a cop, eventually drove everyone in her group away after at one point threatening to fight a fellow contestant; she wound up linking up with another group and rehearsed Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue,” rather than “Joy to the World.” But the group’s progress was halted when group member Christian Lopez, wouldn’t you know it, got sick. (No telling if Brumfield was to blame.)

Speaking of being sick, Symone Black — the contestant whose nasty fall off the “Idol” rehearsal stage ended Wednesday’s “Idol” episode — made her way back from the hospital to the good news that she’d advanced to the next round but the bad news that most of the groups had already been formed. She was able to quickly link up with a group, however, and her biggest issue seemed to be that her father, George Black, embarrassed her with his level of unconditional support.

Competing with Bernhardt for the evening’s Drama Queen title were Brielle Von Hugel, a Hollywood Week veteran who was in a group with Pia Toscano last year, and Brianna-Marie Bell, who turned her nose up at contestants who were unable to identify whether they were an alto soprano or a mezzo soprano. But both were outshined, however, by the cowboy-hat-clad Richie Law, a would-be Scotty McCreery who drove his team — which included wry jokester Heejun Han — with a singular vision and an iron fist. He insisted his group learn multiple harmonies and dance steps and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, and was seemingly clueless to his teammates’ lack of belief in his vision. “We’re gonna do this my way, and that’s it,” he said at one point, leading to one of many eye-rolls from Han.

The episode was all buildup, no climax; viewers will have to wait until next week to find out who stays, who goes and if all the drama was worth it.

At the opening of the episode, early favorite Lauren Gray — “I have two words for today: Lauren Gray,” Jennifer Lopez said after the St. Louis auditions — was dismissed. After showing so much promise in her audition, Gray didn’t even end up making it to Group Night.

What did you think of Thursday’s “American Idol”? Let us know in the comments!

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