At 7:00 PM, the day's about to close out with a line that includes Brian Rittenberry, the burly country singer from the Charlotte auditions with the not-dead-from-cancer wife. It's not unanimous for Bryan either, but Mariah says, "For now, the whirlwind has to end here." It's going to be a very bad week for Brian if his wife's cancer comes back.
So we're already on to the group round. "It's the most demanding and strenuous night of the competition," Ryan narrates, which, along with clips of some of the most fraught moments of these rounds from past seasons, reminds us that this is always a mess. He adds that some guys started forming themselves into groups as soon as they found out they were safe. And yes, that sound you hear is God and the American Idol producers laughing, because producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick announce to the assembled survivors that for the first time, they're assigning people to groups -- irrevocably. People are called up onstage, grouped off, and assigned a list of twenty songs to choose from that everyone in each group has to agree on. Poor Lazaro has to not only struggle through introducing himself, he doesn't know a lot of the songs on the list, being Cuban and all, so that narrows down his group's options. Meanwhile, Army Sergeant Trevor Blakney and Lee Pritchard, possible two of the reddest necks the producers could find, have been thrown together with the two gayest guys in the house, but are flexible enough to be open to something like "Moves Like Jagger." Looking at Trevor's physique, however, I suspect that's where his flexibility will end.
Then there's another group called the Couch Potatoes, made up of socially awkward Charlie Askew with gospel singers Curtis Finch, Jr and Nick Mathis. They're off to a slow start, but other groups are already at work with vocal coaches, including the group that includes Johnny Keyser from last year. The group that includes Gupreet, as well as some guys named Mark and Chris and a kid named Peter, are a little slow picking a song, but quickly come up with the group name "Three Men and a Baby" for themselves. Other groups are shown rehearsing everyplace they can find a few square feet, while another group is tensely debating changing songs at this point.
The night drags on, people begin to collapse where they stand, and at 4:00 AM, the group known as "Country Queen" (scan up a few paragraphs and you'll know exactly who I mean) is dealing with Trevor's unfamiliarity with the lyrics, which he's wishing they would work on rather than choreography. And he's also generally acting like a big whiny baby and preferring to waste time bitching rather than resolving anything. Clearly he's part of the "Army of One" generation of recruits.