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'American Idol' recap: Symone Black recovers; the flu strikes!

February 9, 2012 |  9:13 pm

"American Idol" contestants

The first thing you'll want to know about "American Idol" on Thursday night is that 16-year-old Symone Black, who we watched faint and fall off the stage in Wednesday night's Hollywood Week cliffhanger, is OK. After she was surrounded by medics (and eventually the slow-moving "Idol" judges) and revived with what looked like a can of soda, she managed to stand and hobble off to the hospital, accompanied by her dedicated dad, where doctors apparently concluded it was dehydration that had done her in.

Basically, she needs to drink more and eat more and rest, she told us, looking considerably better upon her return to face the group round. Yes, Black, who sang beautifully before passing out, made it through to the next round. Alas, two others in her quick-elimination group, Lauren Mink and Ethan Jones -- both of whom we grew fond of during auditions (she was the one who worked with disabled adults, and he was the one with the musician dad who had been in rehab) -- were not so fortunate. Though Mink, in particular, took a glass-half-full approach, reminding us that she still had an "awesome" life -- a great job, people who love her -- awaiting her at home and considered herself "pretty lucky" regardless. Such an upbeat young woman!

But what of the moods of those still in the competition? At first they were euphoric, natch. But then, well, the grueling test of the group night kicked in. There were the usual lost souls looking desperately to link up with a group: Alicia Bernhart, a cop who wanted only to sing "Joy to the World" and, um, some other song no one else was really interested in, was sure she was being shunned because she's a cop. Amy Brumfield, the young woman who, we learned during auditions, lives in a tent in the woods, had fallen ill with a fever. (She was desperate to get outdoors and get some air, she said. Awww.) But eventually even they -- the irritating and the infirm -- found groups to join and songs to sing.

There was a flu going around, with contestants sneaking off to lose their lunches and then returning, gray-faced and quivery-legged, to rejoin their groups. Phillip Phillips thought he might have had a kidney stone. He'd had four of them in the past month, he told us! (Did I hear that right? If so, sounds like Symone Black isn't the only contestant who needs to drink more water.) One ill hopeful was so committed to her "Idol" dreams that she actually rehearsed with a plastic trash bag on her lap. "I've never seen anyone continue to work while throwing up," one of her group mates marveled.

But the very best thing about the whole night was Heejun Han, who has got to be the hands-down funniest "Idol" contestant in recent memory. I love this guy! He kept morosely predicting his imminent demise in the competition and bellyaching about one of the members of his group, who happened to be wearing a cowboy hat and had different ideas than Han had.

"The cowboy kid is crazy," Han told us in an aside. "Cowboy … I don't even know his name.… All of my friends that watch, they're gonna laugh at me because of this cowboy.… Phillip had a kidney stone … Cowboy had a brain stone. I don't know.… Now I have a very, very bad perspective toward cowboys. Even Dallas cowboys. Freaking cowboys."

It's really hard to capture the humor. Honestly, 90% of it was the deadpan delivery.

Anyhow, after a brutal night that seemed somehow more abbreviated, less intense than usual -- but did have the usual intra-group scuffling, with one faction wanting to stay up and practice and another wanting to go to sleep and rest their voices -- the contestants again crowded the stage.

The first group, the Bettys, was called up. After a few uncertain warm-up notes, they opened their mouths to sing and -- CUT!

Another "Idol" cliffhanger. Which means we'll have to wait until next week to see more people faint and find out who fell out of the competition.

What did you think of Night 2 of Hollywood Week? Do you have any favorites you're hoping make it through?


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-- Amy Reiter

Photo: Contestants during the Hollywood round on "American Idol." Credit: Michael Becker / Fox