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'American Idol' Recap: Harry Connick Jr. Flips Off All the Hopefuls

The rookie judge attempted to lighten the mood after stressful rehearsals, head-butting and forgotten lyrics caused sleepless singers to be sent back home.

American Idol Feb 6 - H 2014
"American Idol"

As Hollywood Week continues, Thursday night became time for the grueling group round.

"This is gonna be the hardest day," said Jennifer Lopez upon the episode's start. "Today, we're going to cut half of you, at least.

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The first group featured previous Idol hopefuls David Oliver Willis, Sarina Joy Crow and Tony Foster, Jr. with a jazzy piano rendition of Alex Clare's "Too Close," complete with three-part harmonies that felt they took longer than a sleepless night to tighten. Willis and Crow moved on, while Foster graciously asked for an explanation on why he wasn't -- he looked down at his feet for nearly the entire performance.

Casey Thrasher, Dexter Roberts and Ben Briley put their country twangs -- and their plaid shirts -- on Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way," a twist Keith Urban appreciated and earned them all a green light. "That's what the exercise is," said Harry Connick, Jr. "It's not about the greatest vocal or memorizing harmonies, it's about making the most of that moment, buying into it and selling it."

Not all groups were as smooth. Spencer Lloyd picked Gavin DeGraw's wordy "Best I Ever Had" -- a track he knew well beforehand -- but avoided practicing with teammates Megan Miller and Alyssa Siebken, who weren't as familiar with the song. Lloyd and Miller made it through, while Siebken was sent home. "I feel like there were some hidden agendas -- and it worked out for him," she said afterward of Lloyd. Another group's fourth member, Sikenya Thompson, came down with a sickness and completely lost her voice, but still powered through and nabbed a spot in the next round.

Lyrics tripped a few singers up throughout the round. Tyler Ahlgren forgot the opening lines of "Too Close" when singing it with his group, but teammates Caleb Johnson, Matthew Hamel and C.J. Harris continued as if nothing had gone wrong. Johnson and Harris earned a spot in the next round, while the other two had to walk away.

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And a quartet with Nica Nashae, Cara Watson, Jessica Meuse and Stephanie Hanvey -- whose mother came along for all the group rehearsals -- came together when Meuse forgot the lyrics to Beyonce's "Single Ladies." When Hanvey didn't move forward, her mother got into an argument with Meuse, noting that the other singer wouldn't have made it if her daughter didn't help her.

Otherwise, George Lovett and Neco Starr shined on Bruno Mars' "Treasure"; MK Nobilette, Briana Oakley and Savion Wright impressed on Lorde's "Royals;" Emmanuel Zidor stood out on "Say My Name" by Destiny's Child; and Christina Collins, Olivia Diamond, Queen Bulls and Malaya Watson all made it through on Jackson 5's "Want You Back."

Many were sent home, and one singer even announced her exit because her heart was in the gospel genre. To lighten the mood, Connick later joked that he too is dropping out of the judges panel. "I just don't like the other judges," before walking off and flipping off the judges and all the auditionees -- of which only 77 remain.

What did you think of tonight's group performances? Who got through that shouldn't have, and who should've been saved?

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee