“American Idol” revealed the remaining 17 of its top 24 season nine contestants on Wednesday night (Feb. 17), following the previous night’s unveiling of the first seven finalists and capping off over a month of audition rounds.
One by one, each auditioner entered the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles to hear their fate directly from “American Idol” judges Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson. Among the male contestants who made it through to the top 24 were Andrew Garcia, who charmed the judges throughout Hollywood week with acoustic covers of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” and Adele’s “Chasing Pavements;” Todrick Hall, who has performed with season three “Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino in “The Color Purple” on Broadway; and Casey James, a 26-year-old Texan who sang Ray Charles’ “I Don’t Need No Doctor” and has been designated as a potential heartthrob of sorts.
The female contestants who were ushered into the top 24 include Crystal Bowersox, a single mother who played both the guitar and harmonica in Hollywood; Lilly Scott, an eclectic 20-year-old who impressed with Ella Fitzgerald’s “Lullaby of Birdland”; and Lacey Brown, who made it all the way up to the same point last season, but ultimately lost her top 24 slot to Megan Joy Corkery, a contestant who would later finish in ninth place.
Not everyone was given good news, though. “Idol” hopeful Angela Martin had auditioned twice before but was ultimately rejected, a controversial decision made even more poignant by the Chicago native’s personal story. Martin left the show’s 2007 auditions rounds when her father was murdered, and her mother has been missing since late December, just weeks before she’d return to Hollywood for her third attempt at making the cut.
Almost immediately after Wednesday night’s episode aired, a rumor surfaced online that one of the original top 24 contestants had been disqualified. Viewers noticed that auditioner Chris Golightly appeared in the final group shot of the top 24 with host Ryan Seacrest, but he was not shown in the dance montage that immediately followed, during which Seacrest listed each top 24 finalist one by one. Golightly appeared to have been replaced by Tim Urban, who was not visible in the top 24 group shot but was named and shown individually during the montage.
Neither Golightly nor Urban’s moment of truth before the judges aired during this week’s episodes. The “American Idol” fansite Idol360 reports that Golightly was disqualified for an unspecified breach of contract and replaced with Urban, but Fox representatives were not available for comment on Wednesday night regarding the apparent switch.
Here is the complete list of ‘American Idol’ Top 24 finalists: