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'American Idol': Top 24 finally revealed

Here's Janell:
Whoa, I did not know this episode would be another 2 hours. After everything they crammed in last night, tonight they’ll just stretch out the pain and agony. And, spoiler alert, you might not be happy at the end.

Oh, but first, remember how Jennifer Lopez was sad last night, and they replayed it a lot, and built it up, like, could she even go on? Ryan Seacrest’s voiceover has everything hanging on Jenifer Lopez’s mental stability. Can she pull it off? Executive Producer Mr. Nigel Lythgoe (Sir!), makeup artists, and random people are hovering around her. Then, like a summer hailstorm, suddenly it’s over. J.Lo’s a professional, she pulls it together. I think this was a case of overenthusiastic editing, and Jennifer’s probably embarrassed that they built it up so much.

Karen Rodriguez is now introduced as Jennifer Lopez’s biggest fan, instead of MySpace’s K.Rod. I guess that’s progress for her. She sang a Selena song during her Airplane Hangar Solo. The judges put her through.

Now it's Robbie Rosen, who is so awesome that I forgot his tragic backstory that he was in a wheelchair when he was younger. Steven Tyler delivers the news in an attempted rhyme: "I'm positively sure that you made it into the top 24." It works if you pronounce "sure" like "shore," which I do sometimes. Steven isn't very good at the fake-out deliveries, so I'll give him credit for trying. As Robbie walks away, Randy Jackson mentions that Robbie is so unassuming, you wouldn't know he's a genius.

Next is Tatynisa Wilson, who messed up the lyrics of "I Hope You Dance" in Hollywood. She blathers to the judges that her natural high is the adrenaline of the stage. Randy says she nosedived at one point, but then again, she makes it in. Let's all try to remember her natural high, and see if she gets performance anxiety. She's so weepy as she backs away from the judges that I worry she'll miss the stairs and fall off the platform. But she doesn't.

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Brittany Mazur and Jimmy Allen are rejected without even a name caption, so I can't even do them the courtesy of spelling their names correctly.

Ooh, Tim Halperin. His Hangar Solo is an original song (how close is Hangar Solo to Han Solo? Yeah, think about it. I'm getting subliminal messages, now). He makes it in, which is a yay! for me.

Remember Julie Zorrilla? Her parents left Columbia with nothing. She always wears exquisite party dresses and fancy shoes. The judges tell her that some of her performances lacked depth and emotion. She makes it in, and they advise her to feel, not think. She dances down the runway, and then picks up Ryan in celebration. Then she falls down, but thankfully her dress does not betray her.

Ryan couch interviews the two country boys, Cowboy Scotty and John Wayne Schulz. Scotty's HanSolo sounds like old school country, a song about the devil driving the long black train. Jennifer says he made a Bronx girl love country music. Scotty says that his Grandma told him to tell her that he's one-quarter Puerto Rican. He makes it!

Unfortunately, there is not room for another cowboy. John Wayne Schulz is cut. As he walks away, J.Lo whimpers to Randy, "Ooh, John Wayne is leaving us!" John Wayne leaves through a rusty exit door.

Jovany Barreto is the ship builder who took his shirt off. During his interview, I learn the judges' "tell": any time they mention "only 24 spots," that means it's a yes. I mean, there are only so many ways you can pretend to let someone down. So Jovany gets through.

Lauren Turner, a housekeeper from New Orleans, makes it.

We bid quick farewells to Erin Kelly and Tyrone Strong.

Here's Rachel Zevita. I've been wondering who that girl is with a big black flower stuck in her hair and a retro black dress. It's her. She's a Hollywood veteran from Season 6, and she brought her Grandma. Grandma to Ryan: "You've lost weight. But you look beautiful." I didn't really remember her, but the flashbacks show some range and some spice, and in her HanSolo she reminds me of Fiona Apple. I think I like her. She also has feathers on her shoes. She makes it.

Kendra Chantelle's HanSolo is a repeat of her audition song, "Fallin'." She makes it, then goes out to the waiting area and tries to fake people out. Ryan scolds her, "Why are you playing their trick on us?" Then he jumps on the footstool in front of the interview couch. I'll admit that in the past, when I wasn't recapping this show, I usually fast-forwarded through everything Ryan said. Now that I'm watching him, I sense that he's in his own universe. Am I right?

Jordan Dorsey is the music teacher who auditioned people for his group in Hollywood. The judges make him talk about it and admit that he may have dissed some people. Then J.Lo tells him that there are only 24 spots, so he makes it.

Perky Lauren Alaina is wearing a pink and purple dress that includes sequins, ruffles, and possibly a reptile pattern. Plus shiny pink cowboy boots. She admits that people have been calling her Barbie Cowgirl. She sings "Unchained Melody" for her HanSolo, and nails it. Steven fakes her out, then tells her she made it. Lauren: "You're mean!" Jennifer corrects her, "He's not mean. Randy's mean." When Lauren leaves, Jennifer mentions that she's cute like Dolly Parton.

Stefano Langone is the guy who was in an accident and has lots of scars. Another tragic backstory I'd forgotten. He also sings an original song for his HanSolo, and the lyrics are something like "Come home, baby, just come home." But it takes a minute to sing all those words. He makes it, and he's relieved because he hasn't slept in 4 days. Shall I now call out a pattern, that those who sing original songs make it in? (SKK: That'll be a first. In previous seasons, the original song was always a kiss of death! All bets are off this season.)

Jackie Wilson fumbled some words in her HanSolo. She does not make it. She is the first to ask why. Randy says that she wasn't consistent and seemed to lose confidence, and she wants them to change their minds. Nope.

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Jacob Lusk is also in his own universe. Randy tells him that his performance of "God Bless the Child" was the best performance on Idol ever (really?). Bam, he's in. He shrieks and wails and dances down the runway. Ryan meets him halfway, and they race out, Jacob totally winning.

Here's Pia Toscano. J.Lo keeps it short and sweet -- she's in.

Now it's James Durbin, the rocker scarf-tail boy, aka the guy with Tourette's and Asperger's syndromes. He name checks Adam Lambert while explaining that he wants to show control and not just scream all the time. His HanSolo still has a lot of screaming, but it works. He ends with a high note while bending way way back. J.Lo: "That's not easy to do." I think she would know. When he meets the judges, his hair is actually flat and normal, and he looks a little like Matt Damon. Steven says, "You let me down singing 'I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing,' because you did it better than me." James is in. When Steven stands up to hug him, he says, "I didn't know you were taller than me, also! 'Sup?!" Hah!

Casey Abrams is next, the guy with the melodica and the bass. He tells the camera he's just excited to hug Jennifer Lopez after the news, good or bad. He prefaces his HanSolo by saying, "I'm here to prove that people like me can be sexy." And he does. Randy tells Casey that he's the most talented musician ever on the show, and he makes it. When Casey jumps up to hug everyone, he knocks over his chair, just like a rock star.

Down to the final 2 girls: youngster Thia Megia, and 7-time audition veteran Jessica Cunningham. It's Jessica's 25th birthday, by the way. She hasn't been highlighted much, but she's in the rocker category. Surprisingly (or not?), the judges keep Thia and tell Jessica to come back an 8th time. I don't know if Jess will be back, as she flips off the cameras and says they ruined her birthday. In jest, of course. But not really. Rusty exit door for her.

Oh, crap. There are 3 guys and 1 spot left: Adorable Tomato Brett, Babyface Jacee, and Other Punk Guy Colton Dixon. Jacee's HanSolo is so high and clear, it's incredible. Brett sang an original song. Colton is said to have been under the radar until his piano solo, which I remember because I said, hey, who's that Other Punk Guy who could be awesome, why can't I see more of him? Apparently they are all young and could all come back. I keep hoping for a last-minute twist that lets them all go through, but no. It's Brett. He did sing an original song, remember. I love him, and Jacee is awesome, and I really could have thrown a lot of love at Colton, if given the chance. That was just harsh.

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So. Deep breaths. Everyone OK? Why don't you take a few days off from Idol. Get some rest. Because, starting next Tuesday, it's up to You, People of America. The guys sing on Tuesday (yes, Tuesday), the girls sing on Wednesday, and the results are on Thursday. Oh my gravy, we've got 3 days of shows, I'll never get any sleep.

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