'American Idol': Top 24 includes Casey James, Todrick Hall, Lee DeWyze and more

casey-james-todrick-hall-lee-dewyze.jpg "American Idol" reveals seven of the Top 24: Casey James, Todrick Hall, Lee DeWyze, Aaron Kelly, Katelyn Epperly, Michael Lynche and Didi Benami.

We jump right into the action with a montage of the judges deliberating and then the contestants being divided into the Rooms of Doom.

Room one includes Casey James, Tim Urban, Tyler Grady, Thaddeus Johnson and Todrick Hall. Room two includes Jermaine Purifory, Keia Johnson, Mary Powers, Hope Johnson and Christian Spear. Room three includes Shelby Dressel, Haeley Vaughn, Maddie Penrose, Jessica Furney and Angela Martin. I predict right now, at 5:04 p.m., that rooms one and three make it, room two does not.

First up in a flashback performance (since the kids are already separated into their rooms) is Angela Martin on "American Boy." They've been suspiciously quiet on "Idol" regarding Angela's personal tragedies, which is unusual for "Idol." They love sad stories they can feature.

We now see Jermaine Purifory sing "Brick House" and Casey James do "Bubbly," which is hilarious. I mean, the words are so girlie. They're like right out of a "Dear Diary" entry.

More judges deliberation footage then Jermaine Sellers with "Man in the Mirror." It's alright, but not blow-me-away good. He then feels the need to point out that the band played a part he cut out in rehearsal and Kara sings under her breath, "Thorw the band under the bus." Uh, yeah.

Siobhan Magnus is up now, getting advice from Ellen not to be so old, so for her last performance she does "Living for the City" and gets her wail on. She's an interesting girl because she makes the weirdest faces when she sings. Crystal Bowersox becomes my new favorite person when she plays her guitar AND a harmonica and souls her way through "If It Makes You Happy." Wow. She is awesome.

We now have Alex Lambert on "Sunday Morning" with his ukulele, which was his first Hollywood Week audition and it was really boring. But he somehow made it through both that and his group performance, so he finally does "I'm Yours" for his final performance and it's pretty good, but I'm pretty over Lambert. I'm not sure he should've gotten to this point.

Speaking of "I'm Yours," Big Mike Lynche tackled it too and I like his version better, it's got a nice R&B vibe, as opposed to the coffeehouse way Jason Mraz and imitators do it. Todrick Hall did it too and really futzed around with the melody, but in a good way. I like them on it both better than Alex Lambert.

Thaddeus Johnson's Mom Montage. Thad's mom likes to hug and jump and scream and wipe his tears and be right there at all times. Well, he should have a healthy relationship with a significant other later in life. Thad does "Man in the Mirror" (after getting mistaken for "Bubbly," it's funnier than I can convey in this recap) and it's pretty good.

Up now are Charity Vance with "Gravity" and Tasha Layton with "Nobody Said it Was Easy." Both sound fantastic, I hope they both advance. Then there's Mary Powers with her oversized ego and her "Hot 'n Cold." It's more cold than hot. Yikes. I don't like Charity or Tasha's chances being in Mary's room.

Lloyd Thomas is in their room as well. His last performance was on "Man in the Mirror" and it was not very good. Next is Hope Johnson from room two on "Home" and it's also really off. Y'all, I think my instincts about room two were correct. Yikes.

Shelby Dressel is the next up with "More Than a Feeling." Interesting choice for a girl. After forgetting her words during rehearsals, she does well at her final performance. But speaking of forgetting words, Aaron Kelly forgets his on "Angel." That doesn't bode well for room three, but he pulls it together eventually.

Now there's Ashley Rodriguez on "Battlefield," Lee DeWyze on "You Found Me" and Joe Munoz on "Man in the Mirror and Haeley Vaughn on "Bubbly." I don't love any of them, I'll be honest. Also, Haeley Vaughn scares me a little. Take the teal eyeshadow down a notch, sweetie. Janell Wheeler is sick and her "Love Story" reflects that. It's almost as rough as Taylor Swift is live.

So who gets the feeling this episode is "Idol's" effort to make sure all the Top 24 get at least a sliver of airtime? Me too.

I just now realized "Idol" is two hours tonight. ANDREA SMASH!

After more clips of the various contestants and the rooms they are in, it's finally Rooms of DOOOOOOM time. The judges go to room one first and Ellen gets to deliver the news, which is good news. They whoop it up and the other two rooms look sad.

Room two is next. Simon delivers the word that they are not advancing past this point. Simon says that "whatever happens, we want you to know that most of you are better than we thought you would be and we're glad you auditioned." "Most?" Snerk. There are lots of tears. Awww. I'm sad to see Charity Vance leave in particular. She's great. Please come back to "Idol" next year, Charity!

This means room three is going forward and now we go to more judges' collaboration and the Chairs of Confrontation part. But first ... ANOTHER COMMERCIAL! [ bangs head against desk]

Back from the break, there are 46 nervous contestants waiting to hear who has made it. Well, you've got better than a 50/50 shot. That's good, I guess. It appears that every time a contestant is called forward, we have to relive their entire "Idol" journey, including stuff we just saw. I will not be recapping the recap.

The first contestant is Big Mike Lynche and he gets through to the Top 24. Up next is Didi Benami and she cries so hard when she finds out she made it. Also, Simon makes it a point to tell them they were both unanimous choices. Interesting. Katelyn Epperly is the third person we see. We haven't seen much of her since her initial audition, which is too bad. But she's through too, after Ellen messes with her for awhile about not wanting to draw it out but by explaining that she actually IS drawing it out. It sounds lame when I type it. It was kinda funny only slightly less lame on the show.

Shelby Dressel is the first person who doesn't make the cut. That's a bummer, I liked her, but I can see why she'd get cut. Her voice just isn't quite good enough.

The next person to make it is Casey James. He's like a better-looking Bucky Covington. After screwing with him for a minute, the judges put him through. Next to make it is Aaron Kelly, who I have to believe is canon fodder because I don't think he's strong enough to be in the Top 24. Though he will be popular with the Justin Bieber set, I think. The next up in this montage of Top 24-ers is Lee DeWyze, who's got the crunchy coffeehouse thing going on. He could be a dark horse.

Todrick Hall is next. He's a great singer, but you still can't make me love his original song that was about the show, "American Idol." He gets through, which isn't a shock.

Jessica Furney, who I really liked last year, is up now and when they tell her it's no, she has a bit of a nutty. I get how upsetting that would be, but it's so hard to watch someone begging like that. I'm a little embarrassed for her. Simon tells her no again and Jessica asks what she did wrong. Simon says she didn't sing as well as the others, but Jessica keeps arguing. How do you argue with "you aren't as good as the others?" She then gets shirty with Ellen about how her career is over. Wow, girlfriend. Suck it up and try to walk out of there with a shred of dignity.

That's it from tonight. We've only seen two people cut from the Top 46, while we've seen seven people go through. There are 10 more women to see advance and seven more men. Right before the show ends, in a clip from tomorrow night's episode, there are some blubbering sobs coming from a closed door. I bet dollars to donuts that's Thaddeus Johnson. Just a feeling.

I'll be here tomorrow night for all the action. Let's hope it's only an hour!  
      
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