Monday, February 19

AI - Top 24 are Chosen (aka the Chair of Doom!)

On the final day in Hollywood, the 40 contestants are gathered in a room. One by one they take the elevator up to where the judges wait, at the other end of the room, facing a single chair where each contestant will find out whether or not they advance to be part of the Top 24 and get to perform live for America's votes.

For each person who advances, we're shown at least one clip of them singing, usually one of their solos during Hollywood week that we haven't already seen.

Sanjaya is up first, and we see him doing "Some Kind of Wonderful." The judges asked how it's been since he advanced while his sister didn't (which was probably just the day before?), and he says "bittersweet."

A string that don't make it: Anna Kearns (tall gal who sang "Respect" in Seattle), who is shocked (apparently she expected to get through because she's unusually tall! um, ok... except not); Bernard Williams (Birmingham); Eric Davis (has shoulder length, curly hair; turns out he has a great backstory, including some prison time, where he became a Christian; & he's now a youth pastor! Oh well...); and Tami Gosnell (Whipping Post gal - has some music here).

Melinda is shown singing "This Is It," and she's very good. She has a bit of a different hairstyle, which looks nice. After giving her the news that she's officially a solo singer, Simon gave her a hug & said he's proud of her!

Brandon Rogers sings "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman" and is just ok, but advances. Of course this is based on all his previous performances, not just the ones we're being shown at the moment.

Gina G. sings the same song; a different style, but still not great. She's excited to finally make it through the semifinals.

Jimmy McNeal ("Cupid") and Erick Johnson are sent home.

Haley Scarnato (who?) sings "It's All Coming Back to Me Now." She's good, and advances. The first of what will probably be 'cannon fodder' as they've gotten no previous screen time so they won't get many votes & will disappear the first 2 weeks.

Phil also sings "Have You... Loved a Woman" and is very, very good! Like him a lot.

We're shown some footage of the guys' 1st day in Hollywood on their 'field trip,' previewing The Simpsons Movie! They also got to visit the studio afterward.

Chris Sligh walk into the room and with his soon-to-be-trademark dry humor, deadpans "You're probably wondering why I've called this meeting today..." as he approaches the Chair. ;-) He, too, sings "Have You... Loved a Woman" and is very good. Simon says Chris isn't one of the best singers (?) but that he's popular/well-liked among the other contestants.

Blake is just shown beatboxing during The Quartet of Awesomeness ("How
Deep is Your Love" w/Chris, Rudy & Tom). Most people are wondering if he can even sing....

Tom is the only quartet member not advancing (boo!).

Rudy sings "Georgia on My Mind" and I love him!!!! Hopefully Simon (& America) will come around....

Paul Kim says we'll never see him wear shoes. He also tells us TMI about his 'lucky' underwear.... He sings "How Deep..." and is ok, but embellishes waaaay too much. The judges say their decision was not unanimous.

Jordin does a good rendition of "Some Kind of Wonderful" and advances, though Randy says she was "weaker" in Hollywood than her initial audition.

An Olivia, Tatiana (Birmingham), and Monique are sent home. Tommy is shown talking about the great girl-guy ratio, and specifically mentioning enjoying 'waiting' with Antonella. But we don't find out his verdict yet.

AJ Tabaldo (a new face, #66398) sings "Til You Come Back to Me." This is, apparently, his 5th time auditioning!! His song is good, somewhat R&B.

Stephanie Edwards sings the same and is decent.

Leslie Hunt... sings the same, and is ok. (All 3 advance.)

Nick sings "Have You... Loved a Woman" and is just ok, but makes it through. We see him calling his sister afterward and it's her birthday.

Alaina Alexander (LA auditions) says she always cries. She does "Without You" and is just ok.

Chris R sings something I don't recognize; he's got a good voice, but he has weird, rushed phrasing again. That could get old fast.

Sabrina Sloane (24, another new one) is a black gal w/long curly hair; she sings "Some Kind of Wonderful" and is good!

More no's: Jerome Chism, Joelle James, Matt Buckstein (coming out of the elevator he says "No country this year, I guess"; aww!), and Princess Johnson.

Lakisha sings "Til You Come Back to Me". After her Hollywood solo we see the audience standing & loving her!

(It's 6 pm and there are 7 people left...)

Nicole Tranquillo (Memphis auditions) sings "This Is It." She's good, different. But cannon fodder.

Jared Cotter sings "Cupid." He's a tall, thin black guy - cute! And sings well. Could have potential if he gets some screen time.

Amy Krebs sings "Til You..." & said she loved singing live in Hollywood with background singers!

The last 2 girls are Marisa Rhodes (whose voice I adore) and Antonella, who sings "Til You..." and is shown messing up the words. Surprisingly Antonella advances and Marisa does not. Marisa virtually breaks down in the elevator (angry & upset).

The last 2 guys are Tommy (showed his Seattle audition again) and Sundance (just showed in his H'Wood group performance, which wasn't great). Again we're surprised as Sundance advances while Tommy does not. They both shook the judges hands & Tommy seemed to take it well but notsomuch once he got downstairs.

So, we have our Top 24! Thanks to someone else for typing up this list of stats (alpha by first name):

A.J. Tabaldo, 22, Santa Maria, California
Blake Lewis, 25, Bothell, Washington
Brandon Rogers, 29, Los Angeles
Chris Richardson, 22, Chesapeake, Virginia
Chris Sligh, 28, Greenville, South Carolina
Jared Cotter, 25, West Orange, New Jersey
Jason "Sundance" Head, 28, Porter, Texas
Nicholas Pedro, 25, Taunton, Massachusetts
Philip Stacy, 29, Jacksonville, Florida
Rudy Cardenas, 28, Los Angeles
Paul Kim, 25, Saratoga, California
Sanjaya Malakar, 17, Federal Way, Washington

Alaina Alexander, 24, West Hollywood, California
Amy Krebs, 22, Federal Way, Washington
Antonella Barba, 20, Point Pleasant, New Jersey
Gina Glocksen, 22, Naperville, Illinois
Haley Scarnato, 24, San Antonio, Texas
Jordin Sparks, 17, Glendale, Arizona
Lakisha Jones, 27, Flint, Michigan
Leslie Hunt, 24, Chicago
Melinda Doolittle, 29, Brentwood, Tennessee
Nicole Tranquillo, 20, Philadelphia
Sabrina Sloan, 27, Los Angeles
Stephanie Edwards, 19, Savannah, Georgia

... and we get the usual cute dancing 'intros' of everyone. The girls' background song is one of Katharine McPhee's, interestingly, and the guys' is Bo Bice's cover of "Vehicle"! (hmm, why not something of Taylor's?! Hardly seems like they're even acknowledging him, but they're plugging Kat and Chris... and Bo!? Interesting.)

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