American Idol Recap of Final Judgment, Part 1 on February 22, 2012: The Top 24 Emerges
They’re calling this episode “Final Judgment (Part 1).” Does that sound completely terrifying to anyone else? What happens to the contestants who get cut? Do they have to participate in the Hunger Games or something? Yikes!
Anyway, we’re in at the Wynn in Las Vegas. Steven’s wearing crazy hippie pants (shocking!), Randy’s wearing a fairly boring blazer, and Jennifer is wearing a lovely green sequined dress that keeps reflecting on her face in a really distracting way.
It’s 10 a.m. in Vegas, and time to get started. Let’s do this thing!
Jen Hirsh: Jen seems a little too bland to really succeed on Idol, to be honest, but her voice is soulful and her version of “Georgia on My Mind” in Hollywood blew us away. Randy tortures her for a hundred years while she tries desperately not to cry, and then... she’s in! She probably won’t last, but it’s not undeserved.
Creighton Fraker: He’s so peculiar, y’all! Creighton is adopted, and it turns out his biological father is the former lead singer of an ‘80s metal band called Flotsam and Jetsam, which explains Creighton’s puzzling tendency to rock despite being raised on church music, he explains. (We may be paraphrasing a little, but that’s the gist of it.) Creighton’s in! We’ll be enjoying his weirdness for at least another week.
Lauren Gray: Does she remind anyone else of Kelly Clarkson, just a little? Her final Vegas performance of “I’d Rather Go Blind” gives us major goosebump-age... but she didn’t make the cut! What? We’re calling shenanigans! Remember on The X Factor when Simon flew to Florida to bring back Melanie Amaro? Can we invoke that?
Joshua Lidet: Joshua’s first audition was a little cheesy and over-the-top, even if his voice was terrific. He impressed us more in his later performances, though, particularly on “Hit ‘Em Up Style” in the group round. Joshua says that getting cut would crush him, but he gets a “yes.” Joshua’s in!
Blaire Sieber and Naomi Gillies are cut. Should we remember who they are?
Haley Johnson: It looks like Haley’s had a string of very well-received performances. She says the experience has made her have more faith in herself as an artist and performer. That’s nice! And... Haley is in! She’s probably lovely but we think she would be better if she was Lauren Gray.
Neco Starr: Of course that’s not his real name (his given name is Deneco Pittman), but it’s awesome. His voice, however, is significantly less awesome — what we hear of his final performance is sharp and unpleasant. It’s a “no” for Neco.
Clayton Farhat, River St. James (another name that’s too awesome to be real), and Caleb Johnson (who makes an embarrassing, awkward mess of his last performance) are all dunzo.
Elise Testone: Despite her nervous giggling, Elise has a general bad-ass quality to her performances that we can’t help but love. She could do with a trip to the Idol stylists, but her voice is fabulous. And she’s in! Passion Pit plays her out to Ryan as she celebrates. (Idol consistently uses more interesting music on their soundtrack than they ever let the contestants sing, has anyone noticed this?
Reed Grimm: There are kind of a lot of people with cool names this season, it must be said. We like Reed’s dorky charm, and he pulled off a few pretty rockin’ solos while accompanying himself on the drums. The judges want him to show off his vocals more... in the Top 24! Reed’s in!
Erika Van Pelt: Her Hollywood performance of P!nk’s “Glitter in the Air” is enough to get her into the Top 24, as far as we’re concerned. On the other hand, her final Vegas performance wasn’t quite as thrilling. (She does, however, have a pretty cool-looking music-themed tattoo on her upper back.) The judges string Erika along for a while, and then the show strings us along by cutting to commercial. Rude! After the break, we learn that Erika made it.
Chelsea Sorrell: We see footage of Chelsea completely losing track of one of her solos. When the judges ask Chelsea to talk about her performances, she says she can’t even remember what she did. Well, that’s okay, because neither can we! She must’ve done something right, though, because Chelsea is in!
Baylie Brown: Remember how Baylie auditioned for Idol five years ago? Don’t worry if you’d forgotten, because if she sticks around the show will definitely keep reminding us. She makes a giant mess of her final performance, but she’d apparently earned enough goodwill from the judges for them to let it slide, because Baylie’s in!
Richie Law: Ugh, annoying Cowboy Guy! Go away! Ahem. Richie has a passable voice and a very abrasive personality, and we are not eager to see him continue on this show. The judges agree with us, luckily, so Richie is out. “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” plays him out. Ha!
Heejun Han: “What are you sweating?” Ryan asks. “Mostly water,” Heejun says, because he’s crazy awesome and hilarious and should be BFFs with us. We see him singing “New York State of Mind” for his final solo, which Creighton also sang. Hm. Heejun says hugging and kissing J.Lo is every Asian man’s dream. Probably not George Takei’s, but okay. And Heejun is in, and he lives out every Asian man’s dream before he leaves the judges. Phil Phillips bearhugs him when he walks into the holding area. We sense a classic Idol bromance in the works, and we dub them Philjun!
Jessica Sanchez: Jessica is very young (16) and very pretty, and her mom is unemployed because of her support of Jessica’s career, which — we’re not entirely sure what that means but it’s great that her family is supportive! Jessica sings “The Prayer” for her final solo, and she’s crying by the time she gets in to see the judges. They go easy on her and tell her fairly quickly that yes, she’s in the Top 24.
Phil Phillips: Siiiigh. He’s just cute. Also, his guitar version of Usher’s “Nice and Slow” is really enjoyable. He says it’s “insane” how much he wants this. Randy tells him he’s so unique and different that they’re not sure how he’ll play to America. Liar! Look at his face, Randy. He’ll play just fine. They cut to commercial, and when we get back, the news is good — Phil’s in!
Colton Dixon: Speaking of cute, hi Colton! His poor sister — remember, he accompanied her to her audition and made it to this point instead of her? Colton dedicates his performance of “Fix You” to her, which is sweet. Too bad about the skunk stripe in his hair. Someone should sit him down and have a talk with him. Which they probably will, because Colton’s in the Top 24! His sister is there to congratulate him, and she manages not to actually sob, so good for her.
Brielle Von Hugel: Another great name! Oh, right, Brielle is the one with the stage mom. Like Colton, she made it to Hollywood last year. Her version of “Killing Me Softly” sounds great, although she makes it sort of weirdly sassy. The judges must’ve liked it, though, because Brielle is in! Her mom is going to be such a pain behind-the-scenes, it’s going to be fabulous.
Adam Brock: Adam’s our last contestant for the night. We’ve liked him all along, both for his soulful voice and his cute baby daughter. We see a flashback to his performance of “Georgia On My Mind,” which was intensely awesome. Adam gets really emotional with the judges — he can barely answer their questions, aw. Just put the man through! They string him along for a entire lifetime and tell him the decision is not unanimous, and then the episode ends! ARGH.
Join us again tomorrow to see what happens with Adam and to learn who the ten remaining contestants are that’ll be filling out our Top 24. What’s that? You want to know right now? Then take a peek at our spoilers.