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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol 9, Feb. 17 – An Impressive Top 24


American Idol pulled a fast one on us last night, starting the top 24 reveal halfway through last night’s show. There were a few surprises, and we’re promised even more for tonight. It’s also been hinted at that we won’t be altogether happy with some of the choices. Let’s not waste any time, then, and just get down to it to see who the other seventeen in the top 24 are.

Janell Wheeler, 24, a sales representative, of Tampa is really nervous. She was trying to prove something in Hollywood, and while Simon couldn’t remember her, he thought her version of American Boy on the first day in Hollywood was well done. She didn’t do well in Group Round or her last performance in Hollywood singing Love Story. With Janell sitting for her final judgment, Ellen DeGeneres grills her asking her if she slept last night, and while she says she did, she also notes her job selling wine is a lot different from this. They talk about how stressful this gets, and Ellen says it’s hard to tell someone that has a great voice that they’re not going through, so she’s not going to say that. Janell is going through and says “Yea.” She tells Ryan Seacrest if she was Bikini Girl, she would kiss him.

Tyler Grady, 19, a college student, of Nazareth, PA admits he was a nervous wreck at his audition and didn’t expect to go through, yet got three yeses. On his last night in Hollywood he sang Home, then told the judges to not take the song literally, as that’s not what he really wanted to do. He doesn’t know what to feel or think right now. He sits in front of the judges, and Kara DioGuardi talks about his 70s vibe, and he admits all his idols are from the 60s and 70s and to watching a lot of rock DVDs. Kara calls it Planet Tyler. She wonders if he’ll bring some of those moves, because he made it.

Lacey Brown, 23, a church event director, Amarillo, TX made this walk last year as well, but didn’t make it, sitting next to Megan Joy who obviously made it over her. Something in her told her it wasn’t the end of the road. She wanted to turn the noes into yeses. Simon Cowell asks if she thinks it was the right decision last year, and she says it was, as she thinks she had to wait a year. It’s just her luck, he points out, the girls are even better this year. Yet, this time it’s good news for her. She made it. Shad had sung What a Wonderful World on her last day in Hollywood, and I’m pretty sure that’s what she’s feeling right now.

Also making it to top final 24 are Ashley Rodriguez, 21, a college student, Boston, Alex Lambert, 18, singer, North RIchland Hills, TX, and Joe Munoz, Huntington Park, CA. They celebrate over the backdrop of Lacey singing What A Wonderful World.

Crystal Bowersox, 23, a musician/mom, Elliston, OH shows a picture of her baby, saying it’s her piece of good luck. She thinks mainstream music right now needs a little pick-me-up to get back to the roots of real music. She isn’t worried about today, but can’t deny it’s huge. Being told 30 million watch and not 3 million, she says that just made her nervous. After all those others just went through, I’m worried she won’t make it. This is the one woman I want in. Simon guesses she would have normally not felt this was a platform for someone like her, and she agrees, but wants it so bad and feels she can surprise all the judges. She’s glad she came. He tells her they were all in agreement to have her in the top 24. She cries and shows a picture of her son who is outside waiting in jammies half asleep.

There are only ten empty spots left. Katie Stevens, 16, Middlebury, CT is next up to hear her fate. She wants to be able to tell her grandmother with Alzheimer’s that she made it to the top 24. Ellen asks if she was watching people come in and out and getting nerve-wracked. She admits she was. Ellen says her life is about making people happy, and she doesn’t want to give anyone bad news. She thought she did great … more pause … more pause …. so she’s going through. Katie never would have thought out of all these people she would be standing here. Simon asks how her grandma is, and tells her she will be happy.

Angela Martin, 28, a singer, Chicago is making her third attempt here. The first time her dad died just before Hollywood, and the second time she had to go to jail on a traffic warrant. She did well in the Group Round, but after day one in Hollywood, Simon told her he had heard that audition a million times. She isn’t a person that gives up. Angela cries on her way up to the stage, and Kara comes to sit next to her, telling her she’s shown such incredible growth this year and worked so hard. It was so difficult to pick, and she didn’t make it, but they want to encourage her to keep going. Kara tells her she is one of the bravest people she’s ever met. It was a rare tender moment from Kara, but this is where I miss Paula Abdul. Ryan wants her to promise she’ll look back and see it as a positive thing.

The jazz stylings of Lilly Scott, 20, a musician/sandwich maker, Littleton, CO who sang Lullaby of Birdland on day one blew the judges away. But the last day in Hollywood, singing Rich Girl didn’t go well for her. She’ was disappointed with how it went. Kara asks how she thought it went, and Lilly knows she slipped up on the last day, but thinks it went well other than that. Kara wonders if she stayed true to herself, and Lilly thinks she did. Kara likes that she’s unique, and while she doesn’t have the biggest voice, the show really is about that. But she doesn’t always believe that’s the best thing, and that’s why Lilly is going through. Hopefully the stylists will make her get rid of those peacock earrings.


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