Friday, February 17

The Top 24 Revealed

Katharine McPhee - sang Funny Valentine for her solo, was pretty good. Very nervous going in to see the judges; the first 7 people had been eliminated. Not to worry, Katharine was the first to advance. She kissed each of the judges - on the lips. Anyway, most in the holding room (noticably excluding Ace & Chris, who always seem to be sitting together in the front row) stood up & clapped when she returned.

Ace was up next; he'd asked Katharine re: the kisses "who was the best?" (answer: Randy) and then Ryan told he was next, he could find out for himself! Ace just laughed. To Paula's probable chagrin (but in the best interests of everyone except the tabloids) successive contestants must have been told not to approach the judges at all. His solo was "Out of My Life," which was just ok (I'm not a huge fan of the genre though). The judges asked how he was and he replied "perfect." (Growing numbers of female fans agree.) Made him sweat in silence a moment but told him he advanced, and when walking out he rubbed his hands together excitedly and said, "Now I get to go to the People!" Upon reentering the holding room he got a big hug from Chris, & then a gal I couldn't identify.

Robert Bennett is next - we haven't seen much of him before, though there's much to see! A bit heavy and very exuberant, Robert is only 17 years old but seems older, at least to me. He was so excited when he returned to the holding room, and a little out of breath, he joked that the Idol competition "isn't for fat people! You've gotta be in shape" to endure the pressures. ;-) Could be a fun guy, too bad we haven't heard him sing yet.

Mandisa, of course, brought up Simon's earlier comment about her weight. (In his defense, he has said that he would not have made some of the statements he did had he known the cameras were still filming; in previous years they stopped when contestants left the room.) She said that "a lot of people want me to say a lot of things to you," and that his comment did hurt her, but that as she thought about she realized someone doesn't need to apologize in order to be forgiven. A strong Christian, she said if Jesus could die for her as evidence of God's grace, she could extend grace to Simon and forgive him. She was very well-spoken and not overly emotional. Randy said "Amen" and Simon said he was humbled. After telling her she's advancing Simon offered her a hug and did apologize. Randy said he loved her speech and that she said what Simon needed to be told.

Melissa McGhee is shown getting the good news, but we really don't care much as we've never seen her before.

Lisa Tucker sang "A House is Not a Home" pretty well - amazing glory note but her voice broke a bit at the soft end. She admitted at the end of the week her "voice wasn't as good" as she'd have liked it to be. Simon told her he was concerned re: her age but advanced her. Many in holding stood for her as well (including Gedeon, Patrick and Kellie). Her mother was the first of many parents shown waiting with Ryan for the verdict & chatting a bit afterward; anyway, her mom is gorgeous!! And said Lisa could definitely handle the competition.

David is shown saying "I have no idea what I did right [to get this far]... other than be myself." He crooned "Dream a Little Dream."

It's Sway's 28th birthday! He also sang "A House Is Not a Home" but I think his voice is way too thin for that song. Randy said it's a "tough" top group this year & then advanced him.

Elliott cried a bit after finding out he's through; we aren't shown much else but he seems really sweet. He also gets a hug from Chris.

Brenna starts spouting more excuses. Simon tells her they think she's talented but also that they're afraid she could be "a nightmare" to work with. Advances her though, saying "I like you; I don't know why, but I like you."

Gedeon McKinney, we find out, is only 17 years old. Sings "Let's Stay Together" and has a very good voice, but oversings and has a very old-sounding style, like you're watching a video from the 50's. And oh, does he have an attitude: he says he wants America to "see what God did" and that the American Idol "has to have it," which he then repeats (twice): "Has to have it." "Has to have it." "It." Apparently the judges think he has at least some of It as they advance him. Though Simon says later "If I'd heard that speech before, I think I'd have said no."

Stephanie "Stevie" Scott is next and says she loves opera, R&B, jazz, and blues. Is shown singing "I Believe in You and Me" (from Hollywood Day 1, when they had accompaniment). She's sings very well, though embellishes a lot. After advancing she says she thinks it's a great "privilege" to be able to be on the show. Cute girl, but lack of previous screen time could hurt her.

Ayla is shown singing but I don't know the song. Girl can definitely sing. Paula tries to hold off on the good news just to make it harder on her, but can't, saying "nothing seems to be difficult for you." Simon snarks as she leaves, "You know what I like about this competition? We give the underdogs a shot." Bwah!

Poor nervous Chris gets stuck in the elevator for about 5 minutes!! His song is from the group performance: he, Ace, and Bobby sang "Emotion" and I absolutely LOVE the clip!! (Chris has the spotlight with the others singing a very nice high harmony.) Chris looks strained when singing but I love his voice and I think he has a lot of potential. They did showing him calling his wife with the good news afterward.

Becky gets a short performance clip & is through. Both she and Paris are shown in the holding room keeping lists of who makes it and how many spots are left!

Heather Cox gets one of the spots.

Bucky sings "God Bless the Broken Road," cowboy hat & all. Voice isn't the best. Incredibly strong accent while speaking but seems extremely nice & humble/grateful for the opportunity.

Patrick gets interviewed and after being asked if he thinks he deserves to be in the finals, says "Yeah, I think I do. I can sing, I can play, I have some things about me that I think people will find interesting.... I'm not as pretty as Ace... but then who is?" He says this in more of a snarky tone than straight out joking. Love him!! Is shown singing a way-way-too-short clip of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me."

Kevin's clip is of his initial audition, singing "You Raise Me Up." Both his parents are with Ryan and say that "he's a good kid; he'd like everybody to win." The judges say it was a difficult decision but he's through.

Paris (sorry, almost forgot her!) - sang "Fever" for her solo, & was too shouty for me. What happened? Loved, *loved* her initial audition (didn't everybody?), but Hollywood hasn't been great for her. I know she already has lots of fans but she'd better do well the next 2 weeks or she may be gone.

Kellie sing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (very well). Took her a minute to realize that the judges said she was through (maybe she thought they meant through as in "done"?). As she started crying, she said how after seeing her face a mess at the initial audition she made sure to buy waterproof mascara, and asked if it was working, which it was. ;-)

Taylor walked into the room playing his harmonica, and played all the way til he got to the Chair! He was very nervous, and surprised to make it. He played a little more & sang on his way out.

The last 2 girls go up together: Megan Bobo and Kinnik, who advances. Megan was shown singing "Something to Talk About;" not sure what Kinnik sang but she has a very powerful voice (and was actually oversinging). Look forward to seeing/hearing more from her.

And the last 2 guys were Syd Harcourt, who sang Lionel Richie's "Hello" (which I loved!!), and William, who sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (Eeeee!!). William was surprised that he was the one to advance.

Everyone got to do their little dance with voiceover introductions in anticipation of the 5 hours of semifinals next week. Several can dance; several can't; and several are comedians (Taylor, Bucky, & Chris, plus a few others)! Looks to be a great group. Bring on the singing!!

Ok, found the 24th (Paris!) & filled her in. All better now!

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