After announcing the first seven members of the American Idol Season 9 Top 24 on Tuesday night, the remaining 17 were revealed in a mercifully one-hour episode on Wednesday evening.
Idol did engage in a little bit of trickery with the reveal (naturally). Apparently, Chris (Little Orphan) Golightly was named to the Top 24 but was recently disqualified due to an old contract. And when I say recently, I mean Tuesday afternoon. Holy crap! You can read about it at Joe's Place. Anyway, Chris wasn't shown on tonight's show, and they kind of threw in a quick flash of generic footage of his replacement - Tim Urban - into the mix so that it looked like he was reacting to making the Top 24. They also shot new footage of Tim dancing in front of the Idol sign, and you could tell it was separate footage because it wasn't shot in the same lighting as the other ones.
But back to tonight's episode. They worked much more efficiently tonight, banging out Top 24 reveals like they were running to catch a flight. Getting through first were Janell Wheeler, despite a mediocre rendition of Taylor Swift's "Love Story"; Tyler Grady, the 70's rocker who finished his audition process by singing "Home" by Daughtry; and Lacey Brown, who was in a sing-off with Megan Joy last year. Lacey may have gotten the biggest boost of all from tonight's show. She displayed such a great attitude about her elimination last year that really endeared me to her, and then they showed her singing a gorgeous version of "What A Wonderful World" that they played over some video of Ashley Rodriguez, Alex Lambert, and Joe Munoz being put through to the Top 24. It sounded amazing; I thought it was a real song. Crystal Bowersox was next to make the Top 24, and "Mommasox," as Randy Jackson called her, celebrated with her cute baby and cute husband.
Idol had to remind us once again that Katie Stevens' grandmother has Alzheimers. A "touching story", as Ryan Seacrest emphasized. Yeah, we get it. You want her to win. She made it, naturally, unlike some people who Idol couldn't even bother to name, like Maddie Penrose, who was looking very much like Sarah Jessica Parker in Square Pegs, and some dude I don't remember who was reminding me of Ryan from last season's So You Think You Can Dance. Tragic figure Angela Martin also received bad news, made worse by Kara DioGuardi insisting she sits with Angela while lowering the boom. And when I say sit, I mean force her way down to the seat, forcing Angela to sit on the armrest. I'm pretty peeved about this particular elimination. Angela is really good. She sounds current! And she can sing on key, unlike a certain novel someone I will discuss later ...
Lilly Scott and her albino hair, Paige Miles and her unknown self, Siobhan Magnus, Michelle Delamor, Jermaine Sellers and John Park are next to make it through. They also threw in a non voiced-over shot of Tim Urban into this mix.
With just one spot left for the girls, it came down to teens Tori Kelly and Haeley Vaughn. And ... it went to Haeley, who turned "I'm Yours" into a hot mess. She has a tendency to screech her vocals. Tori's last performance was a little bit of a reggae-infused "Hot and Cold." I would've gone with Tori, but I knew it would be Haeley because I bet they love the novelty of having an African-American country singer.
The last spot for the guys came down to Thaddeus Johnson and Andrew Garcia. Were they trying to make this suspenseful? Because that isn't. Thaddeus sobbed when he got the news, sobbed outside and then sobbed in the bathroom. And he said in the confessional that it was a shock because "they (the judges) loved me. Or they acted like they did. It was kind of fake." Ooh burn! Andrew sobbed also, obviously for different reasons. And some of my friends sobbed as well, for different reasons than Andrew.
The show closes with Ryan presenting the Top 24 on the Kodak stage. And you can see Chris Golightly in the back (can't miss that mop of hair!). It will be interesting to see if Idol even addresses this when Tim sings next week (I'm thinking not).
Next week, the girls sing on Tuesday, followed by the guys on Wednesday. Two guys and two girls will be eliminated on Thursday.
To get you acquainted quickly with the Top 24, here's a video set to Kris Allen's "Lifetime" from the Idol website: