American Idol fans, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for. (Actually, doesn’t Ryan Seacrest say that at the beginning of every episode?) Wednesday night the remaining Season 9 contestants were finally pared down to the Top 24. There was elation. There were surprises. And there were two heartbreaking cuts that have us begging for a Wild Card save down the line.
Last night, seven hopefuls landed spots in the Top 24: Didi Benami, Katelyn Epperly, Michael “Big Mike” Lynche, Todrick Hall, Lee Dewyze, Aaron Kelly and Casey James. So with only 17 positions left, let’s just get the bad news out of the way first, shall we?
WHO’S GOING HOME:
Wooh, boy. Angela Martin, who auditioned (for a third time) in Chicago, was told by Kara she didn’t make it, and it was painful. The first year she tried out, her dad was killed. The second time around, she abruptly had to go to jail for six days because she failed to pay a parking ticket. Kara could tell this was going to be a devastating blow for Angela, and sat down beside her to deliver the bad news. Tears were streaming down the dejected singer’s face, and it was truly one of the more heartbreaking scenes on Idol so far this year. Fingers crossed for that Wild Card, girl.
Another performer we hope to see back somehow is 16-year-old Thaddeus Johnson — i.e. “I’m not ‘Bubbly’” from Tuesday night’s final auditions. Simon broke the news, offering the unsatisfying rationale that there were just too many qualified contestants. And maybe telling him “you didn’t do anything wrong” wasn’t the best idea either, because poor sobbing Thad just couldn’t understand why he got the axe if that was the case. And neither could we.
Also, Tori Kelly, who performed a rearranged version of Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold” in her final audition, was told by Randy Jackson that it’s not going to happen for her this year.
Janell Wheeler, the wine sales rep. A total surprise, since she admitted the previous night that she “couldn’t take the pressure” (we didn’t think she could either, actually) after fumbling in her final audition. Ellen tells her she’s through, and on her way out, an ecstatic Janell says to Ryan, “If I was Bikini Girl, I’d kiss you right now.”
Tyler Grady, the 20-year-old rocker who first auditioned in Boston. Kara asks him where he gets his great rock moves, to which he replies, “Whatever kind of moves you want, I’ll give you.” Why is Kara bringing out the randy (and we don’t mean Jackson) side of the boy contestants this year?
Lacey Brown, who makes it through due to what Ryan describes as her “haunting performance” of “What A Wonderful World” in her final audition. Lacey initially made it into the Top 50 last season, but says, “You just can’t take ‘nos’ all the time.” Smart girl.
Crystal Bowersox, the rocker mom—or one of them, anyway. She says, “I think mainstream music needs a little pick-me-up.” Word.
Lilly Scott, aka the Anna Faris lookalike who flubbed Hall & Oates’ “Rich Girl” (sacrilege!) in her final audition. Kara tells her she’s very unique, but doesn’t have the big voice some of the other girls do. Still, she’s whisked on through to the Top 24.
Katie Stevens, the 17-year-old from the Boston auditions whose grandmother has Alzheimer’s disease.
Haeley Vaughn, the 16-year-old with country leanings who first auditioned in Denver. Simon tells her there are times the judges think she’s fantastic, and times she comes across as annoying. (We really are going to miss him next year!) But he caps it off by saying he thinks she’s “super-talented.”
Andrew Garcia, who rocked out the awesome cover of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” last week in his first Hollywood audition. Grateful Andrew gets emotional on hearing the good news, and keeps saying that he’s “just trying to provide for my family.”
THE REST WHO MADE IT: Ashley Rodriguez, Alex Lambert, Joe Munoz, Paige Miles, Siobhan Magnus, Michelle Delamor, Jermaine Sellers and John Park.
And so, after five weeks, we meet the official Top 24 of American Idol Season 9. Once again, we have:
1. Didi Benami
2. Crystal Bowersox
3. Michelle Delamor
4. Lee Dewyze
5. Katelyn Epperly
6. Andrew Garcia
7. Tyler Grady
8. Todrick Hall
9. Casey James
10. Lacey Brown
11. Aaron Kelly
12. Alex Lambert
13. Michael “Big Mike” Lynche
14. Siobhan Magnus
15. Paige Miles
16. Joe Munoz
17. John Park
18. Ashley Rodriguez
19. Lilly Scott
20. Jermaine Sellers
21. Katie Stevens
22. Haeley Vaughn
23. Janell Wheeler
Uh, so where’s #24, you might be asking? Well, that position apparently should go to curly-haired blond Chris Golightly (pictured below, far right)—who was briefly shown at the end of tonight’s episode. But MJsbigblog reports that Tim Urban is now filling that spot. Chris was reportedly disqualified because he previously had a record contract, and didn’t disclose it to Idol producers — a massive no-no.
Man, don’t Idol singers ever learn? Sex tapes and record contracts — they seem like fun at first, but they’ll bite you eventually.
Next week: the show goes live as the Top 12 girls perform on Tuesday, and the Top 12 guys duke it out Wednesday.