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

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


Page Miles, 24, Naples, FL, Siobhan Magnus, 19, glassblowing apprentice, Cape Cod, Michelle Delamor, Miami FL, 22 a clothing store associate, Miami, Jermaine Sellers, 26, Joliet, IL, and John Park, 20, a college student, Northbrook, IL all make it through. Jermaine demands a hug from Simon. Interestingly, he gets it.

Haeley Vaughn, 16, Fort Collins, CO and Tori Kelly, 16, Canyon Lake, CA are the last two girls. They both are happy with what they’ve done and know they can’t do anything else. Simon tells Haeley at times they think she’s fantastic, and at others a bit annoying. Yet, she is super, super talented. Unfortunately, she chose a year with a lot of strong girls. Randy Jackson asks Tori how she thinks she did, and she admits singing Hot ‘n Cold on her last day in Hollywood was the most fun she’s had onstage. She had a blast working with the band. Randy, too, talks about how many talented people there were. Haeley make it through, yet Tori calls this an awesome experience as she goes home. Haeley feels truly blessed.

We’re down to two last guys, Andrew Garcia, 23, a musician, Moreno Valley, CA and Thaddeus Johnson, 16, Oklahoma City, OK. Thaddeus had good news all the way in Hollywood, with his proud mama behind him all the way. Andrew was always focused on doing it for his son and wife. He feels Paula would have appreciated his version of Straight Up. Thaddeus owned the stage the last night in Hollywood with Man in the Mirror.

Thaddeus is told by Simon there are only 24 places this year, but that it was close. He didn’t make it, and Simon is sorry. I have to give Simon credit for not drawing it out and just delivering the hard news. He then tells him chin up. For a young guy, it’s hard for Thaddeus to understand how you can do well and not get it. It’s honestly heartbreaking. Andrew Garcia sits down and Ellen tells him it was hard, as they can only put through 24 people. He still feels good about what he did and feels good about his arrangements. She tells him they liked that too. He made it. He gets handshaking and hugs around, then cries and calls his his wife, telling her to kiss his baby for him. Both guys end it totally emotional … but for different reasons.

Also making it through, as we see in the end is Tim Urban, 20, a college student/musican, Duncanville, TX. Why didn’t we see him making it through? The reason is because originally Chris Golightly made it through, but he was later disqualified. The rumors were out there that this happened to Big Mike, but apparently, thoser were not true and unfounded.

This is quite an impressive top 24. Interestingly, in a year where we lose Paula and look to be eventually losing Simon, we’re back to what the show seems made for. We don’t have 24 beautiful people on the stage that can sing. We have 24 singers on the stage, and some of them are beautiful. It’s a great cross-section of America and what I look for in my American Idol.

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