On last night's American Idol, the remaining contestants sang one last time and 54 of them found out they had made the cut. But they only sort of did, as tonight, we'll learn which 36 actually made it through. (The judges are making one last cut after rewatching the footage of all of them.)
Instead of going up the elevator and walking down a hall, the contestants will walk through this Hollywood mansion to find out whether they've made it.
First up: Anoop Desai, whose performances I've really enjoyed. He is in!
Von Smith says he is more prepared for them to say no rather than yes. He tells Ryan Seacrest, "This is why I'm alive." Overdramatic, much? Well, that's kind of his thing. He gets crazy-overanalytical in front of the judges, and they finally tell him he has made the cut.
Waitaminutewait, we have to go through two hours of people walking to the judges and getting the news? Come on!
Amateur horror film maker Cody Sheldon is the first person to deal with tonight's twist -- the sing-off. He gets to the judges, and they tell him he has to sing one last song right now. He sings "The Love Remains the Same." Meanwhile, Alex Wagner-Trugman is the other victim, and, of course, these two are friends, so it ups the drama quotient. Side note: Do you think it's distracting having the camera swinging around them during this moment? Alex sings "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." The two friends sit outside and wait briefly, then get called back in. And this dragging out is why this show is two hours tonight. Grrr! Cody gets cut, and Alex makes it through.
Adam Lambert had been accused of being too musical theater, and he's a little worried. But he is through to the finals. Not a shock.
Taylor Vaifanua was called one of the best vocalists in her initial audition, but had a hard time during Hollywood Week. Well, that's what Ryan's narration says, but the clips show her singing well, albeit forgetting her words. And she is in the Top 36.
So are Jasmine Murray, Casey Carlson, Arianna Afsar, Megan Corkery, Mishavonna Henson and Stevie Wright. That wasn't much screen time for the women!
Joanna Pacitti, who caused controversy since she has already had a record deal, apparently forgot her words during nearly every performance of Hollywood week. Even so, the judges decide she deserves another (another) break, so she is a finalist. Or I guess that is semifinalist.
T.K. Hash, Chris Chatman and Reggi Beasley, all of whom we are seeing for the first time, don't make the cut.
Kendall Beard is hoping for the best but very nervous. Though they didn't love her song choices, she makes it anyway.
Jenn Korbee auditioned with her husband, and they hoped to both make it to the show, but he was cut during the group round of Hollywood Week. She stands up and sings "I'm Not Ready to Make Nice." Kristen McNamara is the other half of this sing off, and she figures it out while she waits in the hall and freaks out. She sings a few bars of "I Will Always Love You" with lots of runs that seem very nervous. Kara DioGuardi tells Jenn that was the wrong song choice, and Paula tells Kristen she has an identity crisis and that her look doesn't make sense. Then, all together, talking over one another, they say that it's interesting because if you put them together, you would have one great contestant. Which basically means they are telling Jenn she can't sing and Kristen that she's not cute. Ouch. Anyway, Kristen is through and Jenn is out. Which is weird because I thought Kristen's song choice was odd and oddly delivered and that Jenn did a better job. And Simon says he totally disagrees with the decision.
Alexis Grace will be away from her daughter if she makes it through to the Top 36. She makes it, so I guesss she will find a way to deal.
Scott Macintyre makes it, too. Ryan doesn't try to high-five him this time.
Lil Rounds hopes to make it through to improve her family's situation. The judges drag it out, but she makes it. On her way out, Simon Cowell comments that she is fantastic, "a good, old-fashioned singer."
Felicia Barton, Ashley Hollister and Devon Baldwin all find out they didn't make it. And like with the guys above, it's the first screen time they've gotten.
Frankie Jordan and Jesse Langseth will be in a sing-off, but Jesse hasn't really been on the show much, so I'm guessing Frankie is making it. Frankie is uber-nervous and her performance is not great. (Simon says: "Well, that made it easier for us.") Then Jesse sings, and she sounds better, but Simon tells her it was a horrible song choice. Jesse makes it, but Frankie doesn't. Simon says, "Frankie, if it's any consolation, you wouldn't have won anyway." Then he tells Jesse that, "based on that, you won't either." Yikes. And so much for my predictions.
Shera Lawrence and Derik Lavers find out they aren't making it. They cry.
Allison Iraheta is 16 and worked really hard to make an impression during Hollywood week. And though we have barely seen her thus far, so she's not had a chance to make an impression on viewers, she is in the Top 36.
Danny Gokey is hoping he and his best friend make it through. Randy Jackson asks how he thinks he did, and he says that he thinks he did well under pressure. Simon and Kara ask if he thinks he can be relevant, and he says he thinks he is relevant. Randy welcomes him to Season 8.
Then it's Jamar Rogers' turn (that's the best friend in question). Kara tells him that she isn't sure the risks he took during Hollywood week paid off, but the look on her face totally says, "Psych! You made it!" Except that then she tells him he is not going on to the Top 36. The holding room is mute with shock. So is Danny.
Ricky Braddy, Matt Giraud, Marylander Ju'Not Joyner, Brent Keith and Jorge Nunez all learn that they have made the cut.
Stephen Fowler says he thinks he was doing an excellent job until the final day of Hollywood week, when he lost his lyrics and walked out. He tries to plead his case, but they tell him it's too late. Then they tell him he is in the Top 36. Didn't they say some time during Hollywood week that if you forgot your words, you were out?
Norman Gentle/Nick Mitchell kept trying to decide between his comedic persona or his real persona. He shows up at the judges' table as himself, but he tells them his dream is to perform as his character on the show. Turns out that is what they (not including Simon) want -- Norman is through. Really? Nick says it is unbelievable, and Simon says, yep, it is. I concur.
Jackie Tohn says she thought she did well during Hollywood week. Randy says it's been hard having to say goodbye to some people, but she makes it, and she jumps up and dances and takes her shoes off and sprints out of the room.
Tatiana del Toro is next. Please no. No, OK? Please. I cannot deal with her. She squeals when she comes in the room, and Simon tells her to be quiet and to try to not be annoying. She shows Paula the bracelet from her line that she bought, and Tatiana tells her how she really wanted the ring, but it was sold out and she cried. And Paula comes over and gives her the ring off her finger. Simon gives Paula crap for promoting her jewelry line "on live television." Oh, and Tatiana gets through. Bleh. Well, as they remind us in the clips, she can sing, she just shouldn't be allowed to get near the cameras otherwise. Ryan says they look forward to seeing what she brings to their live shows. Aha. It suddenly makes sense.
Jackie Midkiff and Nathaniel Marshall are best buds, and of course, are thus in a sing-off. Jackie hasn't gotten a ton of screen time, but Nathaniel has -- he was Mr. Drama throughout everything. Now we get his backstory -- he has lived with lots of members of his family because his mother is in prison because of a drug problem. As I am making fun of his outfit, Simon asks him, "What are you wearing?" Jackie sings, and Kara questions why he is in this position because he is good. Nathaniel sings, and then they make him leave and wait. Nathaniel sits by Jackie, crying about how he wants it so bad but doesn't want to take away Jackie's dream. Nathaniel makes the Top 36, but Jackie doesn't. Randy tells Jackie to come back next time. Actually, because of all the drama he created, I hadn't noticed before, but Nathaniel's voice isn't bad.
Probably no one will believe me, but during the first sing-off, I said to my husband that they were totally going to make the oil-rig worker and the welder face off. Guess what is happening after the break?
Jeanine Vailes, Kai Kalama, Anne Marie Boskovich and Kris Allen all learn they are in the Top 36.
Matt Breitzke and Michael Sarver will be facing off in a sing-off. Matt is the welder, and Michael is the oil-rig roughneck. They sing, and they wait. Simon says he likes both of them, but he's not sure either could win. Oh, twisty, they both get through. Awww. That's sweet, but I bet Danny and Jamar are sad.
For the next three weeks, the Top 36 will perform in groups of 12. Looking forward to it! What did you think of the choices for Top 36.