1) Jen Hirsh was the first one to take the long walk to learn her fate. A video package refreshed our memory of her audition in Galveston and her blistering solo performance in Hollywood of "Georgia." For her final solo performance, she went for a cutesy, kittenish version of sexy jazzy vocals which was almost embarrassing (all she needed was to do a "boop-boop-be-doop" and she could have been Betty Boop). Randy Jackson told her that he's seen her better, advising her to loosen up: "We're your friends, kind of." Jen told the camera she just wanted it to be over with, to have "the Band-Aid ripped off." Randy told her they're looking for the cream of the crop. Pulling the Band-Aid back really slowly, after a long pause, Randy told her she'd made it. Steven Tyler said to him afterward, "Did you have to string her along so long?" Yep. [JEN'S RESULTS]
2) Creighton Fraker, who had been a "starving artist," a.k.a. a busker, before coming to the auditions, had blown the judges away with "What a Wonderful World" in Las Vegas. An adopted child, he was a preacher's son who grew up singing church music. His biological father was a singer in an '80s hair band, Flotsam and Jetsam, and he encouraged him to audition; he was there in Las Vegas with him. For his final Las Vegas performance, Creighton sang "New York State of Mind" and, typical for him, over-sang it a bit. Jennifer Lopez told him the judges were looking for someone consistent who could touch America: "We think you have a chance of doing that." He's in the Top 24. [CREIGHTON'S RESULTS]
3) Lauren Gray is also the daughter of a musician, and she wanted to succeed for her dad. A flashback showed her initial audition and then some struggles in the Hollywood round. Her final performance was back to the potential she originally showed, and despite making some stank faces as she sang the Etta James song "I'd Rather Go Blind," she was really good. Randy told her this is the judges' least favorite day, because "you've become family." He asked her why she ran into trouble in Hollywood: "Did you get into your own head?" Then, after hearing her say that yes, that's what happened, Randy delivered the news: she didn't make it. [LAUREN'S RESULTS]
4) Preacher's son Joshua Ledet had auditioned in Galveston. The group round had been a little rocky, but for his final performance, he took it to church for his version of the Christina Perri song "Jar of Hearts." Joshua admitted to the judges that he was nervous. Randy told him that sometimes the better singers don't make it because things don't line up. Just stringing him along? Yep. He made it into the Top 24. Joshua celebrated by singing a few runs. Show off. [JOSHUA'S RESULTS]
Then came just a glimpse of two nos: Blaire Sieber and Naomi Gilles.
5) Auditioning in Portland, Haley Johnsen came into her own in Vegas during the second group round (but we hadn't seen much of her). Her final performance wasn't shown in the video package. As she sat down to hear her fate, she waxed philosophical about her goals as a performer. Steven told her that many performers didn't have that other side, by which I guess he means the reflective side. "You're going through." Guess we'll be seeing more of her! [HALEY'S RESULTS]
6) Neco Starr auditioned in Savannah and stood out at all of the various rounds. For his final performance, he sang an overwrought version of "Lady in My Life." He definitely has more growing to do. Jennifer told him that, because of all the talent, this stage in the competition was challenging. "We have to look at not only the best voices but are they ready? Do they know who they are as an artist?" Randy, after confirming Neco's age, 20, told him that he didn't make it this time. [NECO'S RESULTS]
Clayton Farhat also learned he was being cut, as did River St. James. And another contestant, Caleb Johnson, asked for a start over for his final performance after he messed up. Crickets. I suppose we should assume he was also cut.
7) Elise Testone laid it all on the line for her final performance, the James Brown song "It's a Man's World." She showed she had chops, for sure, although it wasn't 100 percent perfect. Randy summed up that she's had "varying reports" from the judges. He told her that there have been some amazing singers. "I don't want to drag this out for you." He had Jennifer deliver the news: "You made it." Randy told her, "You're one of the best singers we've seen." [ELISE'S RESULTS]
8) Reed Grimm had been performing onstage with his family since he was very little, and his father died of pancreatic cancer in 2004. He auditioned in Pittsburgh and had made quirky musical choices throughout, including playing drums on his version of "Georgia" in Hollywood. For his final performance, Reed once more played drums as he did a jazz tune, Duke Ellington's "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," complete with a lot of scatting. Steven asked him how he thought he did. Reed said he thought he'd shown more of his playing and singing abilities. Randy counseled him to make sure he showcased his vocals, not just scatting. This seemed to be a universal idea among the judges, although Steven told him he was going through. Reed did a celebratory dance. [REED'S RESULTS]
9) Also auditioning in Pittsburgh was Erika Van Pelt. Her big voice helped her sail through in Hollywood. For her final performance, she sang a torch song, wearing a red blazer and a black top. Jennifer remarked that she didn't like the song for her. Jennifer told her that some people "just blew us away" but other people didn't do as amazing as we thought they would do." Jennifer added that Erika was one of those people, which made the decision difficult. The judges decided, Jennifer said, to give Erika one more chance. She's in the Top 24. [ERIKA'S RESULTS]
10) Chelsea Sorrell had always wanted to be a country singer but ran into some trouble, losing her lyrics to Carrie Underwood's "I Told You So" in her final solo round. But Steven gave her a chance to start over. The judges told her there had been a lot of great talent this year. Steven told her, "I can tell from your demeanor you already know what the answer is... you're going through." I don't think she expected to hear that. [CHELSEA'S RESULTS]
11) Baylie Brown, who first auditioned in season six, has grown a lot in the intervening years. For her final performance, of the Rascal Flatts song "Here Comes Goodbye," she was a little flat on some of the sustained notes. Steven told her there have been issues with consistency. "It doesn't give me great pleasure to say this. Actually, it makes me ecstatic. You're going through." Cute. [BAYLIE'S RESULTS]
12) Richie Law, who has had trouble working with others in the audition process, was next. He is a cocky son-of-a-gun. For his final performance he sang the Johnny Cash, "Ring of Fire," which sounded kind of comical, actually. The judges had nothing but praise for him, but Randy added, "Unfortunately, you didn't make it this year." He took it in stride, but I doubt many viewers will miss him. [RICHIE'S RESULTS]
13) Heejun Han, who works with special needs kids, has dealt with depression. For his final performance, he sang Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind," and despite some problems with enunciation, sounded beautiful. They asked him what he thought of himself on the screen: "He's ugly," Hee-jun said. Steven said, "He's one ugly, great singer... like me." Aww. Steven told him, "You may be a good singer -- and this is hard for us -- but you're a better star than you are a singer. We're going to put you through." Steven continued the quirky pep talk, telling him, "We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves." [HEEJUN'S RESULTS]
14) Jessica Sanchez, who auditioned in San Diego, has watched "American Idol" from the start, when she was just 5 years old. She impressed the judges with her soulful singing in Vegas. For her final performance, she wisely chose to sing a more modulated, controlled song, Celine Dion's "The Prayer," but a tricky key change almost derailed her. She was crying when she went to get her results, but Jennifer put her out of her misery quickly, telling her she's in the Top 24. [JESSICA'S RESULTS]
15) Phillip Phillips was nervous about his prospects, although for his last performance, he accompanied himself on guitar for Usher's "Nice and Slow," which put him in his comfort zone. Based on their reactions, the judges seemed to like it. Once more, they told him that it's hard to make these decisions. He needn't have worried, though: he made it through. [PHILLIP'S RESULTS]
16) Colton Dixon, who had decided not to audition this year, got talked into it by the judges. He dedicated his final Vegas performance to his sister, who was cut in the previous round. He accompanied himself on piano for Coldplay's "Fix You." Frankly, his vocals were kind of weak. This always seems to happen when he's playing piano. Still, Randy told him that this time he made it into the Top 24. [COLTON'S RESULTS]
17) Brielle Von Hugel, who auditioned in New Jersey, was eliminated in Hollywood last year. Her mom is a real stage mom who'd been at her side the entire time, making catty comments and egging on her daughter's ego. Brielle murdered "Killing Me Softly" for her final performance: pointing and making other heavy-handed gestures and just beating up the song with her voice. Steven said they loved her "get up and go." She was through to the Top 24. Oh, boy. I don't give her very long. [BRIELLE'S RESULTS]
18) Adam Brock, father of a young daughter, auditioned in Pittsburgh. He'd been pretty strong all along, but his final performance, he seemed to be having some trouble with words. He recovered from it pretty effectively. Jennifer told him that the jazzy, loungey arrangement of Michael Buble's "You Don't Know Me" didn't really show who he was. Randy also found it a little clumsy. They asked him to look at himself on the video and tell them what he thought of "that guy up there." "I think that guy tried to sing his heart out every time he stepped on the stage," Adam said, then broke down in tears. Steven said that they weren't sure he believed in himself. Randy said the decision was not unanimous, but "it is what it is."
Arrrgh! Another cliff hanger. This is getting irritating, but we'll learn his fate in the next episode. [ADAM'S RESULTS]
When the judges stretch out the results painfully, it might be good news.