‘American Idol’: The Final 24(ish)

American Idol Top 24 group shot (FOX)

It’s Judgement Day Part 2, and there are still 10 spots to fill in the Top 24, and only one hour to fill them. The cliffhanger that left us with a babbling, tearful Adam Brock last night gets wrapped up in due time, and, no surprises here, he made it to semifinal, thus inducting him into that impressive group of the husky white dudes of “Idol” alongside Casey Abrams, Danny Gokey, that oil rig guy Michael Sarver, Chris Sligh, Matthew Rogers and so on.

We got Jeremy Rosado, whose young age (16) makes him far more endearing than when I thought he was 28.

We got Shannon Magrane, a new addition to my draft for Top 12. The 16-year-old inspired an awkward moment during auditions when Steven Tyler told her NFL dad that Boston was “hot, humid and happening, just like your daughter.” Ryan Seacrest had the courage to bring up the incident with dad tonight, and though Mr. Magrane said he considered wringing Steven Tyler’s leathery chicken-neck, he decided it was actually pretty funny.

We got Skylar Laine, the ATV-driving country girl from Mississippi. She did a great final solo of Reba McEntire’s “Fancy,” and if “Idol” doesn’t work out for Skylar, she’s got a promising future as a Reba impersonator (speaking of which, watch this. To thank the judges, Skylar promised to bring the judges some deer meat.

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In about five seconds’ time, we got Hallie Day, Chase Likens (who?), and Aaron Marcellus.

Deandre Brackensick is my new favorite person I never quite noticed before. He’s come to us straight out of the 1980s, a sort of Milli Vanilli-Prince hybrid, with glistening curls and extreme falsetto. Deandre was followed immediately by the elimination of one of my old favorites, Jermaine Jones, and seeing them back to back I could see why. They are polar opposites—Deandre slight and Jermaine the so-called “gentle giant,” Deandre up high and Jermaine a rumbling baritone. And Deandre flexible enough to be a pop star, Jermaine, unfortunately, pigeonholed way down at the bottom of the barbershop quartet. It was heartbreaking to see Jermaine tortured into waiting all day for his verdict and then sadly sent crying into the arms of his mom.

Then in the final pick of the last three girls, we got Hollie Cavanaugh, another mystery blond girl who showed some promise in her final solo, and we said goodbye to Shelby Tweten and Ariel Sprague.

In the last pick of the night, David Leathers, Jr., was paired up with Eban Franckewitz. I thought it was obvious that Eban would be sent home—he’s two years younger than David (though he’s the exact same size) and he’s too precocious for his own good, singing some old adult contemporary song for his final solo and being all polite and boring. But in a complete surprise, the judges picked Eban over David. The expressions on David’s face as he walks out of the auditorium are a master class in subtle emoting. While Eban jumps and basically high-fives himself in the background, David’s face goes from disappointment to a look of sickness, to disbelief to total anguish, all in the seconds it takes to reach the door.

We get one final look at our Top 24 as they try to dance and mug at the same time, and then we get one last surprise. Next Tuesday when the Top 12 boys perform live, there will be a 13th—and it’ll either be David, Johnny Keyser, Richie Law or Jermaine. Now, Johnny would be a ridiculous choice considering he was already eliminated the other day, and Richie would be a ridiculous choice because he sucks. I’d love Jermaine, but I stand by my epiphany that he’s not meant for this show. So, I’m betting it all on David.

And now, without further ado, here is the Top 24.

Top 24

1. Jen Hirsh
2. Creighton Fraker
3. Joshua Ledet
4. Haley Johnson
5. Elise Testone
6. Reed Grimm
7. Erika van Pelt
8. Chelsea Sorrell
9. Baylie Brown
10. Heejun Han
11. Jessica Sanchez
12. Phil Phillips
13. Colton Dixon
14. Brielle von Hugel
15. Adam Brock
16. Jeremy Rosado
17. Shannon Magrane
18. Skylar Laine
19. Hallie Day
20. Chase Likens
21. Aaron Marcellus
22. Deandre Brackensick
23. Hollie Cavanaugh
24. Eben Franckewitz
25. ???

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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