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

American Idol, Feb. 22 – “Bozos On the Bus”

Reed Grimm is going through the scenario of walking through to the final judgement, and has been preparing for this his whole life. His parents met and fell in love in a band, and on New Year’s Even 2005 his dad passed away from pancreatic cancer. He wishes he could be here to see him today. Reed played the drums in his performance of Georgia On My Mind after Nigel wouldn’t let him sing a cappella. He played the drums again on It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) and hopes to “show the world what’s going on here.”

Reed faces the judges and tells them he thinks the drums showed more of his drumming and playing abilities. Randy tells them while they know he can really scat, they want him to really show his vocals off, as he has that. Jennifer feels that’s what they missed in his final performance, as they were missing the “American Idol singer.” Steven tells him that would be him, and he’s going through. His dad is proud wherever he is. Randy says after he leaves, “That kid is so mad talented, I cannot believe it.”

Erika van Pelt has been impressing the judges from the beginning as well and impressed everyone in Hollywood when she sang Glitter In the Air. She still hasn’t wrapped her head around being in the top 40, but once she sang Don’t You Remember for her final performance, J-Lo didn’t like the song on her. Now it’s a matter of hoping and praying they take everything into consideration from the beginning.

J-Lo tells Erika some people blew them away, but others didn’t do as amazing as they thought they would, and unfortunately she was one of those, as they had their eyes on her from the beginning, since she had that voice. They’re all such fans, so the final performance was difficult. They have to decide who they’re going to take a chance on, and who they’re going to say maybe next time to. They’re deciding to take another chance on Erika.

Chelsea Sorrell grew up in Stokesdale, North Carolina, and has always said she wanted to be a country singer when she grew up, but in her final Hollywood performance, she blew the lyrics of I Told You So. It would mean everything to her to make the final 24. Jennifer gives her the spiel about having to say goodbye to good singers and they feel they have a group of them this year who have blown them away. Randy talks about raising the bar this year, and Chelsea doesn’t even remember what she has done because of her nerves. Steven tells her by her demeanor, she already knows what the answer is … she’s going through.

Chelsea hugs Baylie Brown after she makes it. The judges first met Baylie when she was 16, and now that five-year wait has made all the difference. In her last performance she sang Here Comes Goodbye. She hopes she has matured a lot with her music. Steven asks how she feels about how she has performed. She feels she could have done better on a few, but also thinks she has some good ones. Steven notes her consistency wasn’t always there, and it doesn’t give him great pleasure to say this, and actually makes him sad … she’s going through.

Richie Law and HeeJun Han have had their struggles together since Hollywood when they worked in a group together. Richie also didn’t get along with his partner in Las Vegas. In his final performance, he sang Burning Ring of Fire. The further he goes the more he wants it, and the more it will hurt to have it pulled away. He feels he’s picked up so many cool thing and has had a lot of great moments, but could work on some things. The judges think he has had some great low notes and think it was great he got it every single time. But unfortunately, he didn’t make it this year. He’s only 19 and will only get better with time. No Scotty McCreery repeat.

HeeJun is sweating water (duh!) and for how overwhelming this has been. He had a bad depression once back home, and the special needs kids he works with pulled him out of it. He just wants to give something back to them, as they were his motivation to come out here. For his final performance he sang New York State of Mind. Jennifer likes his buttery tone. He says if he makes it he’ll hug and kiss J-Lo, as that’s every Asian man’s dream.

HeeJun is asked what he thinks of himself on the monitor, and says, “He’s ugly.” Steven finishes that he’s “one ugly great singer,” like himself. HeeJun does like the hat. It was his first time doing stuff like this, and he realizes he’s always nervous, but whenever he’s singing it feels like someone else climbing into his body. He’s a better star than he is a singer, so they’re putting him through. He gets that hug of J-Lo, along with the other two judges as he cries. Steven tells him they’re all bozos on the bus until they find a way to express themselves, and he lets it all out every time he’s up there. Phil Phillips is there to congratulate him.

Jessica Sanchez was 5 when she first started watching American Idol and has always wanted to be on it. She’s ready after initially impressing the judges in San Diego and Las Vegas. Her family has sacrificed a lot for her, and that’s why she’s working hard. For her final performance, she sang The Prayer and seems like she’s singing a finale, not audition. She wants to help support her family. She’s crying walking into the judgement, saying she wants it so bad. J-Lo gets it. She did a good job on her final performance and is being invited to the top 24.

Phil Phillips is up and has some serious doubts about his time here. He didn’t do well on group night originally, and it embarrassed him, as that’s not who he is. He now feels like this is his only shot. After an exhaustive lyric search, I still can’t find the song he’s singing, but it’s amazing like always. It’s insane how much he wants it. Randy tells him it’s tough this time, and he’s so unique he’s different. While they love it about him, you never know how it will play out for folks at home. If they send him home, he’ll feel good inside. J-Lo shakes her head and tells him he’s not going home.

Colton Dixon didn’t audition this year after doing so last year, and just came to support his sister. The judges put him through anyway. His sister went home, but he’s still here. He dedicates his final performance, Fix You to her, accompanying himself on the piano. Man, they better put him through. J-Lo loves the dedication. It would mean a lot to him to have this chance, despite missing his sister. He tells the judges the reason he didn’t want to try out again was because he was still running on what they gave him last year. They have amazing talent this year, and this time he’s part of it. Randy tells him sometimes you have to come back home to get it together. I have no idea how that applies here.

Brielle von Hugel, daughter of Stage Mom, is up next. Stage Mom thinks she looks fat next to Ryan Seacrest, and he thinks he looks tall. She wants to get the airbrush out of her luggage. Brielle also auditioned last year, but was eliminated in Hollywood. She sang Killing Me Softly for her final performance. She feels she has done everything she could. Steven talks about her fighting her way the whole time. She’s passionate and just wants to sing. She’s going through to the top 24 this time. Stage Mom is outside to congratulate her, and to tell the others waiting, “I love all a yas!”

Adam Brock has been thinking about his wife and daughter the whole time. When he clicked and felt the most at ease was when he sang Georgia On My Mind in Hollywood. He thinks his daughter being able to say one day her dad was in the top 24 of American Idol would be the coolest thing in the world. For his final performance, he sang You Don’t Know Me. J-Lo loves the way he sings, but thinks he still needs to figure out who he is, jazz or soul. He gave it his all.

Looking at his picture, Adam starts to cry and says that guy tried to sing his heart out every time he stepped up onstage. He was looking at a picture of his daughter, and remembers a friend asking if you took time, money and resources out of the equation, what would you do. His answer is always to sing. It’s where his joy comes from and how he knows that God blessed him. Wow, now I’m crying. They believed in him, but didn’t think he did. J-Lo says it’s hard to say good bye, and Randy notes it’s not unanimous. And they cut the show for the night. Damn them!

From the way the judges were playing this, I think Adam made it. The “look at that picture” is always someone who makes it, as is “it’s hard to say goodbye.” However, I’m going to sweat this out until tomorrow night. I will not check the spoilers out there. I won’t, I tell you!

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