After the identities of the Top 24 contestants were leaked online, most of us already knew who was given a spot on American Idol this season. (You know we couldn't resist those spoilers!) But we watched tonight’s episode anyway, just to see how each contestant would react when they heard the news. Would Jacob Lusk start sobbing again? Would anyone cuss out the judges if they were turned down? Things didn't get quite that dramatic, but there were plenty of happy and sad tears — and one rejected contestant flipped the bird. Oh yes she did!
We already learned Wednesday night that Ashthon Jones, Naima Adedapo, Clint Jun Gamboa, Paul McDonald, and Haley Reinhart were in the top 24. And these are the newly announced contestants, which you can learn more about here:
• Jacob Lusk: Before he got the good news, Randy told him his performance of “God Bless the Child” was the best performance on American Idol — ever. Okay, we’re not sure we would go that far, but we do agree it was amazing.
• Brett Loewenstern: He had tough competition from Jacee Badeaux and Colton Dixon for the final spot. Maybe his bold decision to sing an original song for his final performance helped the judges make up their minds.
• Tim Halperin: He also took a risk by choosing an original song for his final audition. Once again, being original paid off.
• Casey Abrams: Randy told him he was the most talented musician to ever compete on the show. We can’t wait to see if he’ll break bring back the melodica this season. (And lets hope he gets better soon after being hospitalized this week!)
• Julie Zorrilla: She got her life-changing news with a bit of advice from the judges. They told her she needs to put more depth and emotion into her performances. Let’s see if she works on that before next week’s performance show.
• James Durbin: His amazing final performance of “Change Is Gonna Come” erased any doubt from the judges’ minds that he has some serious skills!
• Jordan Dorsey: Jennifer told him she had been fighting for him the whole way. He seems to have a big fan in J.Lo, but he’ll need to win over some viewers after acting oh-so-cocky during Hollywood week.
• Jovany Barreto: You could tell he put his whole soul into his final performance, and now he’s just happy to quit his day job. “No more ship yard for me,” he said after hearing the good news.
• Karen Rodriguez: Smart girl! Her final performance was a song by Selena, a singer we all know is close to J.Lo’s heart.
• Kendra Chantelle Campbell: Another smart girl. She chose to sing the same song that got her a ticket to Hollywood — “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys. Playing it safe turned out to be the best move.
• Lauren Alaina Suddeth: Was there any doubt she would make it through? Well, maybe a little, when the judges faked her out a bit before giving her the good news.
• Lauren Turner: This New Orleans housekeeper was overcome with emotion when she learned she had made it into the Top 24. She’s going into the competition with little hype but big talent.
• Pia Toscano: She reminded the judges how talented she was with a strong final performance backed by the piano. This pretty girl has the whole package.
• Rachel Zevita: She had her 82-year-old grandmother fly in from New York to be there on decision day. We’re so happy Grandma wasn’t disappointed.
• Robbie Rosen: Steven told him he sang his ass off during his final performance. And Jennifer told him he was one of the best singers they have this season.
• Scotty McCreery: When the judges had to choose between Scotty and the other country crooner, John Wayne Schultz, they thought Scotty had the most potential.
• Stefano Langone: Despite taking the risk of singing an original song, and admitting that he hadn’t slept for four days, Stefano is on to the Top 24.
• Ta-Tynisa Wilson: We thought she was a goner after she messed up the words to “Hope You Dance” during Hollywood Week. But she managed to turn things around in Vegas and back in L.A. for her final performance.
• Thia Megia: She seems so humble even though she is amazingly talented. Plus, she survived the vocal coach from hell. Which is saying a lot!
Noticeably missing from the list: the adorable 15-year-old Jacee Badeaux. Even though Jacee seemed to shine bright in his final audition, he just didn’t make the cut in the end. And the poor thing had to wait it out all day in the waiting room before he was brought in with Colton Dixon and Brett Loewenstern, only to find out that only Brett made it through. He handled it better than we thought he would, but other contestants didn’t handle the rejection so well.
Jessica Cunningham, who had auditioned for the show seven times, learned on her birthday that she had wasted her time once again. After the judges gave her the news, she had a few things to say outside of the decision room. “Getting cut on my birthday is evil,” she said. “They ruined my birthday.” She also flipped the bird, which is something we don’t typically see at this stage of the competition. Hmm. Maybe the eighth time will be the charm?
Next week: The first live performance shows of the season!