Some highlights from both the group performances and the individual performances:
Group Sauce, composed of Reed Grimm, Creighton Fraker, Aaron Marcellus, Nick Boddington and Jen Hirsh, sets the bar high for the group performances with great harmonies on "Hold On, I'm Coming" and receives a standing ovation from the judges. It's no surprise that all of them go through. They were strong as a group and individually.
The members of Hollywood Five -- young contestants David Leathers Jr., Ariel Sprague, Eben Franckewitz, Jeremy Rosado and Gabi Carrubba -- perform "Mercy" with conviction, showing confidence and energy while their parents nervously watch from backstage. All five go through to the next round as the parentals run to the stage.
Area 451 might be losing a member ... or not ... or they will ... . While practicing, Imani Handy collapses, leaving Bryce Garcia, Kristi Krause and Johnny Keyser to make adjustments should Imani be forced to bow out. But girlfriend wants this more than anything, as she fights through the exhaustion to rejoin her group. When it's time to perform, Bryce starts them off by forgetting the lyrics. Imani collapses on stage as Johnny tries to catch her — then proceeds to continue singing. Really? He goes through while the other three are sent home.
MIT (Most International Team),consisting of Heejun Han, Jairon Jackson, Richie "Cowboy" Law and Phillip Phillips, performs last. I called them the funniest group last week, mainly because of Heejun hating on "Cowboy," who assumed the leadership role and acts as the spokesperson of the group. Their group performance isn't that great (Cowboy's falsetto? Bleh.) but all make it through as the judges base their decision on each group member's past performances. Heejun is so relieved that he apologizes to Cowboy for all the bad things he has said on camera ("You watch season 11") and actually calls him "Richie" this time. Aww. It's like when Carrie Bradshaw started calling Mr. Big "John."
Joshua Ledet starts off the individual performances strongly with "Jar of Hearts" and shows off his range. The judges give him a standing ovation. No verbal feedback from the judges after a performance this time.
Phillip Phillips channels Dave Matthews even more as he sings "Wicked Game" while playing the guitar. It's how he holds the guitar and how he moves his legs, I swear, pure Dave. It's a little freaky.
Reed Grimm thought that he could sing a cappella, so he didn't practice with the "Idol" band. However, producers inform him that a cappella is not allowed, so he is given 30 minutes to practice. He finds vocal coach Peisha McPhee (wait, Katherine McPhee's mom?) and they try to work together quickly. Reed seems unfocused, even when associate music director Michael Orland comes in to help. After a call with his mom, Reed goes on stage and chooses to play drums, making Michael nervous. But all goes well as Reed does an awesome and, dare I say, happy version of "Georgia on My Mind." "Real music. I like it," says Randy. Oh, and Reed claimed to be the next American Idol.
Skylar Laine, who was up since 4 a.m. sick and was taken to the hospital, soldiers through "You Lie" and is called "Reba" by J.Lo. For a sick person, that is one energetic lady with attitude.
Adam "White Chocolate" Brock sings "Georgia on My Mind" with gruffness that makes me think of Michael McDonald. Suffice it to say, it's one of my favorite performances in Hollywood. Randy asks him about his hankerchief, and Adam says it's from his late grandfather and he uses it as his lucky charm in every round. Also, Steven uses it to wipe sweat from his brow. All together now: Eww.