It's certainly been a rollercoaster week in the world of American Idol, which began with 16-year-old Symone Black falling off the stage after wooing the judges with an assured rendition of the Otis Redding hit '(Sitting on) The Dock of the Bay'. Doctors eventually concluded that the young contestant had been suffering from dehydration, and she joined her fellow 'Golden Ticket' singers after recovering in hospital.
However, it's seemingly one-crisis-to-another for Idol bosses, with the Los Angeles Times reporting how the flu struck down contestants on Thursday's show. Numerous singers were spotted skulking around and quickly rushing off to the toilets, with singing hopeful Amy Brumfield, who apparently lives in a tent, telling cameras, "I feel like crap". Host Ryan Seacrest jokingly labelled her "Patient zero", though Amy was clearly troubled by the possibility of having to pull out of the competition, saying, "I don't want to get eliminated because I'm sick". One of the queasy contestants actually auditioned with a plastic trash-bag on her lap, so as to help with the vomiting - which thankfully never came. Though it's possibly too early to begin picking favorites for this year's competition, Symone Black looks to be the one-to-watch, and appeared in great form as she rehearsed with a group of girls after leaving hospital. In a comical moment, police officer Alisha Bernhard suggested she was having difficulty finding a group to practise with because of her profession.
Critics will no-doubt be comparing ratings and viewing figures for American Idol this season, given they are now competing with Simon Cowell's X Factor USA and success-story The Voice. Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe recently blasted the latter as "too gimmicky".