'American Idol' Recap: 14 Semifinalists Revealed
Another 10 will be announced on Thursday's show to round out the top 24 contestants vying for the Fox contest's No. 1 spot. Let the games begin!
The first 14 semifinalists were announced Wednesday on American Idol, leaving ten more spots to be filled on Thursday's episode. All in all, a total of 24 hopefuls will kick off semifinals next week, when voting begins and the Idol race gets down to the nitty-gritty.
Behold, the lineup of who's advanced to the next round (thus far):
Heejun Han: The secretly sensitive singer with the droll sense of humor wept (again) when Steven Tyler and company voted him through. "You're a better star than you are a singer," said Tyler, while Jennifer Lopez praised Han's "buttery" voice.
Jen Hirsh: She studied jazz at the Berklee School of Music, and it shows in her distinctive singing voice, multi-octave vocal range and confident stage presence. Hirsh's killer rendition of Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind" was a highlight of an otherwise brutal Hollywood Week. "One of the best singers this year," praised Randy Jackson.
Creighton Fraker: The Queens, N.Y., rocker revealed that he's adopted and his birth father is the lead singer of the '80s metal band Flotsam and Jetsam. Rock-star bravado = it runs in the family.
Haley Johnsen: The camera-ready college student said her "biggest goal is being able to break out of my shyness." To which Jackson responded with a Simon Cowell-esque bon mot: "See you on TV." Let's rephrase: Live TV.
Elise Testone: Aka, "Lady Gaga Sings the Blues." She nailed her cover of "It's a Man's World," blending a bluesy rasp with emotional delivery to sell the James Brown classic like a star. "Every time I sing, it's just such a feeling for me," said Testone, tears welling in her eyes. Jackson gushed: "You're one of the best singers we've seen. Very talented. Props to you." (A man of many words, this Randy Jackson.)
Reed Grimm: Aka, "Michael Buble After Downing 100 Red Bulls." The super-skilled, somewhat-manic goofball from Wisconsin lept to his feet to do a little dance after learning the good news. "That kid is so mad-talented," Jackson observed of Grimm, who wowed judges with a make-or-break performance of "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" on which he played the drums as well as sang. Fun fact: Grimm was practically raised on stage in a Partridge Family-style band led by his parents.
Joshua Ledet: A shoo-in for the semifinals with the soul of Otis Redding and the infectious spirit of an unjaded, hungry young artist whose talent has yet to be tapped. Ledet was so happy to make the semifinals, he ran up and hugged the judges, singing vocal runs the whole time.
Baylie Brown: The 21-year-old aspiring country star, eliminated during Hollywood Week when she was 16, hath redeemed herself as a professional singer with strong commercial appeal. Tyler (in semi-lecherous mode) praised her "consistency" and said he was "ecstatic" to keep her in the contest.
Chelsea Sorrell: The North Carolina cutie forgot the lyrics in her final performance for the judges, yet they gave her a second chance. (Not everyone gets one. Which means the likable Sorrell might have been a lock for the top 24 regardless of how she did. Or not. Just a theory.)
Also making the cut: Jessica Sanchez, who's got Whitney-style vocals at just 16 years of age; Phillip Phillips; Colton Dixon; Erika Van Pelt, and Brielle Von Hugel.
Here's who didn't: Lauren Gray, whose heartbreak-tinged Amy Winehouse voice was not enough to impress judges in the end; Neco Starr; River St. James; Clayton Farhat; and last, but never least, our favorite cowboy villain, Richie Lawson, archnemesis of Han and pretty much everyone else.
"I feel like I've walked away with a lot from this experience," intoned Lawson, stoic as ever, 19-years-old-going-on-Jeff-Bridges-in-True Grit.
Tell us, Idol Worshippers: Which hopeful(s) are you most excited about? Who doesn't deserve to advance? File under "Random Sidenote/Thing We Think About Often": what if Adele was in the competition? (Oh, right, there wouldn't be one.)