First to learn her fate was Janell Wheeler. A recap showed her Orlando audition, her performance on day one, a disappointing performance on group day, and then her losing her voice on the final day. Ellen DeGeneres tried to put Janell at ease, asking her if she got any sleep last night. Ellen, with a twinkle in her eye, continued, "It's a crash course, and you're up against people who have been singing for a lot time. ... It's hard to tell somebody that has a great voice that they're not going to go through, because it doesn't make sense, because they've got a great voice. ... So I'm not going to tell you that. You're going through."
Next up was Tyler Grady, who had auditioned in Boston. For his final performance, he had performed Daughtry's "Home," wearing a '70s-style flowered shirt and jeans. He told the judges afterward, "Going home is not on my list of things to do, so don't take that too literally." Kara asked him about his '70s-influenced clothing and stage moves, and Tyler told her all his idols are from that time period, including Robert Plant and Jim Morrison. Kara observed that he "sort of went to your own place some times, sort of Planet Tyler" and concluded, "I think we want to see those moves again and that you're going to go through."
For Lacey Brown, this was the second time she'd made it to this stage of the competition (last year she was asked to do a last-minute sing-off with Megan Joy Corkrey and lost out to her). Simon asked her about that sing off and if it was the right decision. She said that it was, that she'd needed the year to grow. Simon told her, "We've made a decision, and the decision is -- it's really good news. You're through." At this point, we saw her day four performance of "What a Wonderful World," which host Ryan Seacrest described as "haunting." It actually was very good, and I could even see it being released as a single.
Also making it into the Top 24 were Ashley Rodriguez, Alex Lambert, and Joe Munoz.
Then, it was time for Crystal Bowersox, who is my favorite coming out of Hollywood Week, to enter the theater. I was worried for her only because they'd already shown so many people making it through. Simon noted, "I'm guessing you'd normally look at a show like this and think 'this isn't the platform for me,'" presumably a nod to her different, earthy approach to music. But he finished: "We were all in agreement on this decision. You're in the Top 24." As she left the theater, Randy Jackson cheered for her: "All right, Mama Sox." Her towheaded 3-year-old boy was in the waiting room to greet her.
Katie Stevens, who auditioned in Boston and is close to her grandmother, was next. Ellen gave her the news, saying that her whole life is about positivity and "it's the worst thing in the world to ever deliver bad news. I thought you did great." Ellen looks momentarily distressed, which almost faked even me out, and then she said, "So you're going through."
Then we saw a montage of no's, but no names were given.
For Angela Martin, this was her third attempt at making the Top 24. The first year she came, her dad was killed and her daughter was having chronic health problems. The second year, she had to miss Hollywood week because she had to go to jail for a traffic offense. This year, though she didn't mention it, her mother went missing before Hollywood Week. Perhaps sensing the outcome, Angela was in tears as she made her way up to the stage. Kara had her move over and shared the chair with her. "We just think you're so special and have improved so much." She added that she'd shown incredible growth. "I'm sorry. You didn't make it, but you are a great singer. There are other ways to do it, and you've got it in you. You are a star, no matter what." She also called her "one of the bravest people I've ever met" and promised "I'm going to remember you." Angela got hugs from all the judges.
Next was Lilly Scott, who did great on day one but wasn't happy with her final performance with the band. Kara called her very unique but said she's "not the biggest voice of all the girls." While Kara acknowledged that the show is often about who can sing the highest note, she said that's not always the best singing. She told her, "You're going through to the next round."
We saw a montage of several more contestants making it into the Top 24: Paige Miles, Siobhan Magnus, Michelle Delamor, Jermaine Sellers (really?) and John Park.
It was down to two girls, Haeley Vaughn and Tori Kelly. One spot was left. Instead of speaking to them both at the same time, they gave them their results separately. Simon told Haeley, "There are times we think you're fantastic, others you can be a little annoying. ... But you are super, super talented and you adapt very well." Tori's final performance was shown, which was very good. But sadly, Randy told Tori, "It's not going to happen for you this time." Simon delivered the news to Haeley: "You're going to be very happy. You're through."
Finally, there were just two guys left: Thaddeus Johnson and Andrew Garcia. For Thaddeus, it had been a week of triumphs, so he was shocked when Simon told him, "It was close. Thaddeus. You didn't make it, and I'm really sorry. You didn't do anything wrong this week." Randy added, "Just a lot of people, a hard time deciding." Thaddeus, who's only 17, was very disappointed: "I thought it was my time." He was crying miserably and met by his mother in the hallway. "I did everything I could," he said. "They said there was nothing wrong with me." Hopefully, he'll be back, because if anyone deserves a second chance, he certainly does.
Andrew Garcia had no idea that Thaddeus had just been cut as he took his seat. Ellen began, "This is -- this is so hard because there are only 24 people that we have to put through." Then she talked to him more about what he thought about his performance in Hollywood. Andrew said that he enjoyed "messing with my arrangements." Ellen said, "We like that, too. You made it." He also ends up in tears, but for different reasons, and hugged them all. I should mention that, of the two final guys, I would have chosen Andrew, as well.
Concluding the show was a montage of the contestants celebrating over season seven finalist Jason Castro's version of Leonard Cohen's "Halleluia." Then, the traditional montage of the top 12 girls and the top 12 guys dancing. Tim Urban was in the Top 12 guys, although he hadn't appeared in the show. Reportedly, this is because Chris Golightly was disqualified due to confusion over a previous contract. Since this happened shortly before the show aired, I guess the producers felt it was best to cut Chris out of the episode, as well. I suspect they might have known something sooner, however, based on how few of the Hollywood episodes have shown Chris.
Frankly, if they had to find someone to complete the Top 12 guys, they should have brought Thaddeus back. What they've shown of Tim Urban so far has not given any hint as to what the judges see in him.
Next Tuesday, the show goes live, with viewers voting for their favorites. Performing first will be the top 12 girls. Then, on Wednesday, it's the top 12 guys.
Once more, the site where I usually get my video clips did not post any today. Sorry!
You can find more on the Top 24 at the official site.
ETA: I've been corrected on the version of "Halleluia" that appeared at the end of the show. It may, in fact, be Jeff Buckley's version instead of Jason Castro's. Both versions are well worth checking out!
Sometimes even your best isn't enough.