February 17th, 2010
09:18 AM ET

'Idol' builds suspense for Top 24

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Fox really knows how to work the suspense.

And by “suspense,” I mean making two hours feel like four hours on Tuesday night when announcing the first of the top 24 contestants.

We viewers spent a great deal of time in rooms number one, two and three where wannabe contestants awaited a visit from the judges to find out if they would be moving on. Apparently, chairs aren’t allowed in said rooms because everyone was sitting on the floor looking alternately glum, hopeful and stressed.

Now, if I was a contestant I’d be checking to make sure I was in the room with Andrew Garcia. I’m going to go on the record now with saying that if that dude doesn’t make it into the Top 24, I am going to be lamenting it the entire season.

Back in the rooms we were treated to voiceovers from the contestants meant to impart what they were thinking while Seacrest constantly hyped the intensity of the wait. At one point I seriously thought he was going to say “Coming up, it’s our most dramatic rose ceremony EVER!”

Rooms one and three made it through with the usual jumping, screaming, crying and drop-to-the-knees-in-prayerful-gratitude posture while the folks in room two got the ax. Before you could feel too happy for the “winners,” you realized that all they really won was the opportunity to go sit in another room (this time with chairs) and wait to be called in to see the judges.

Then there was the very long walk down to the stage to sit in yet another chair and learn whether or not they had made it to the Top 24.

My “Most Gracious Award” goes to Shelby Dressel who took not making the cut with lots of dignity.  Jessica Furney should have taken some pointers from Shelby because the former totally lost it when she got cut.

Not only did she keep insisting that the judges just had to put her through, but when Ellen tried to offer support by telling her it wasn’t the end of her music career, Jessica snapped “How do you know that?” Wow.

Congrats to “Big Mike” Lynche, Didi Benami, Casey James, Aaron Kelly,Todrick Hall, Lee Dewyze, and Katelyn Epperly for making it into the Top 24. I thought for sure cutie-pie Aaron was out because he forgot the words to his songs not once, but twice!

Were there any surprises for you Tuesday night?

soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. tyra

    american idol is amazing i dnt know wat yall are talkin about

    February 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jantsan

    I think there is some strategic choices that judges made. I mean some of them has been chosen to be not voted of easier.

    February 19, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bg

    It's only a TV show, get a life.

    February 18, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joshua Weikel

    DO NOT FORGET THE LYRICS....unless a 17 year old boy in the mold of David Archuletta, with a decent, at best, when he does get the lyrics right.

    I mean C'mon, this was such an obvious ratings grab, put through a babyfaced kid to keep the teenie boppers interested and voting for the rest of season. Thanks alot judges for putting this kid in, at worst, the final 4. We all know that's what's gonna happen. I just hope Casey James takes some of his votes, at least that guy has talent. And if there is any justice, Crystal Bowersox will go long long way, I think she is leagues above the rest.

    February 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DeWayne

    Lets face it, Idol is on life support. There has not been a star coming from it since probably Daughtry. That makes 3 actual stars out of 8 season. Sure a few have sold some albums, but will they ever appear again? Probably not. The show has become so orchestrated, telling them what songs they will sing and so many ringers coming into the mix, and yes people who have been on other tv shows etc I call ringers.
    Look back to the beginning, When the first groups performed there mas much more individual attention given to their performances, not the glitz and glitter of today's production. Simon is right to bail, the ride is over.
    After all these years there is little fresh in what comes to the stage, it is predictible and boring any more. Personally it shows exactly what is wrong with the music industry, its about putting on a show, not about the songs and the performer. I would much rather see U2, or any other band just stand on stage and sing great songs than watch the likes of todays performers such as Spears and the rest dance and have 20 people putting on a show behind them singing gobblely gook songs. Man I miss the 60's and early 70s!

    February 18, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. Just a Thought

    Folks, IF this is even true! AI has made no statements on this that I have seen. If it is though – it's Big Mike's own fault! He was the one who told his father – Big NO-NO in AI – then his father told the media. All Mike had to do was keep his mouth shut just like the everybody else! Things like this is why they sign confidentiality agreements! Mike broke the rules plain and simple!

    Hammer – Racist – PLEASE, as of right now they have a white, asian, black, mexican, and maybe other races that weren't obvious to me. AI is far from racist; gimme a break!

    As for 12 guys / 12 girls, this must be done to prevent folks like hammer saying they are discriminating! Imagine what would happen if they put thru 24 guys or 24 girls, someone would be screaming AI discriminated because Im a (put sex/race/whatever here) and they only put thru the other (put sex/race/whatever here)! From here forward it's up to the votes..which takes it out of AI's hands.

    February 18, 2010 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. mm

    Big mike deserves to be won....

    February 18, 2010 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. Randy

    Jermaine Purifoy was in room 2. He was shown several times and listed as "an early favorite". He nailed every performance, including group, and always new his words. I guess he should have been big and muscular, or asked by Kara to take off his shirt, or made up some background story that had nothing to do with his awesome singing talent. What happened to "this is a singing contest" and how do experts so totally miss how well someone like Jermaine connects with an audience?

    February 18, 2010 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. windy

    Idol is missing something this season. The air time of actual singing competition is down to like 15 mins outta the hour, that's not giving the audience a lot to go on. I love ellen but she does seem to be a little tensed. Simon is very quiet so far also. umm, maybe we're just getting burned out..who knows. Next week , I hope it picks up......A LOT !!

    February 17, 2010 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Owen

    I love american idol but last night was horrible they kept repeating the same thing over and over agian. I couldn't believe they sent that Rocker Mom home she was amazing. I disagree when the judges say its the best talent yet , I dont think this years talent is that impressive.

    February 17, 2010 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. arielle

    i just wish they would show more of the super talented people, like that one extremely blonde chick...she is a badass and i think we saw her for like 20 seconds on last night's show. andrew garcia should totally win though, everyone sounds like amateurs compared to him...and he is about 10x better than kris allen already.

    February 17, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Allison

    Shelby shouldn't have gone home. I too miss Paula's dumb ditzyness and the entertainment she brought to the show. I also think Ellen is a little on the boring side but much better than Kara! Katie Perry should totally be a judge on the show....cute and brutal!

    February 17, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. YOU/ME

    Todrick Hall will win...........Yayyyyyy

    February 17, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nina Martell

    American Idol is just like Good Morning America - without Diane Sawyer and Chris Cuomo no Good Morning America! Without PAULA no American Idol !!!!!!!

    February 17, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tim L

    I like shelby very cute but dont like to see her sing, kind of freaks me out but she is very talented girl. They should bring her back.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Stevie

    Yeah, they really milked this into the ground.
    The only good points was when someone was SINGING.
    I want to hear the SINGING.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Gerry

    Although I think she is beautiful, my girl Kara needs to wear a bra.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Dona J. F.

    Thank you Idol for putting me too sleep.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  19. stacy

    I thought shelby was good, and the comment about her face above, well was just rude. Talent is talent, and I think this last round was confusing as we saw really good raw talent being let go, and some remaining that is questionable. Even to be in the group this round is a priviledge, i just got board when the judges went into each room, basically saying the same thing, by a different judge..was weird. It was good when ellen did it first, but it became a broken record. I think they should just be honet, be fair, and be done. Don't string these people along, they have already stood up their with courage and confidence. I think I am going to like ellen, but I think she needs to get more interactive to make it interesting. Simon's atmosphere seems to be less critical than in the past, which is what made him who he is, hope he hasn't given it all already...HMN.. guess season will tell.

    February 17, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  20. cullenpest

    I wouldn't know whats up. I quit watching when Ellen took over the show. Who needs her anyway? They only need three judges, and Simon isn't any good this year since he is just coasting through his last season. Bring on Howard Stern to save the show, or watch it slowly die.

    February 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  21. KM Van

    Everyone is saying that Big Mike shouldn't be kicked off because someone ran his mouth off....isn't that someone Mike himself????

    February 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  22. robert d

    i think the whole big mike thing is just about the worst stuff they have ever pulled... how can he control what his dumb father says

    February 17, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  23. T Maddux

    Thank goodness for DVR!!!! We record and then skip past the blah, blah, blah...talk, talk, talk ! I was excited to have Ellen on the show, but I wish she would bring a little more of her personality into the judging. Let's see a little scrapping between Simon and Ellen – at least there would be some entertainment. Some fun talent from all the contestants, but good grief.....can we get on with the competition?????

    February 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Margarett

    Ditto, Ditto, Ditto to Dennis Pence's comments – I do think Shelby will be brought back by a wild card (as last year) – I agree with everyone else the show last night was a complete wipe out – do they think we all are really that stupid and enjoy this type of boredom – the judges are totally ridiculous with the way they let a person know if they are in or out – for these people (judges) suppose to be professionals they are soooooo silly and it certainly adds nothing to the program except for many of us to change channels--

    February 17, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Nicole

    I was sad to see Shelby go, I thought she was good enough to stay. And I thought she was beautiful, I've been watching since the beginning & I barely noticed her smile was different after awhile. I don't understand why Aaron got to stay. And I missed the first 1/2 hour of the show & didnt' miss a thing!!! I'm glad I didn't watch from the beginning last night because it was dragged out way too long.

    February 17, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  26. COL Kurtz

    American Idol is Racist!! Did you notice how many minorities were voted off?

    February 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  27. SebFloRes

    Dennis Pence, thank you for that comment. Shelby and I are from the same area, I do not know her personally, but I have heard nothing but wonderful things about this young lady from the people that do know her. She left gracefully from AI, unlike many others on the show. Congrats Shelby on making it to Hollywood! Highlands County is proud of you.

    February 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  28. rod salazar

    I don't understand our viewers complaining about a lot of things, when the truth is, they are still watching every episode of AI. Even with the absence of Paula, Ellen is good for the show, and I believed I will watch it up to the end.

    February 17, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Jenny

    BORING, BORING, BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to make the top 24 into 3 hours is crazy. It was just repeating same sad stories of weeks before. Need to seemore singing and less stories.

    February 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  30. RL

    I used to love Idol but the production and editing of this season is horrible. They are not making good TV. Whoever is in charge – I hope you read these comments and adjust the show now. Simon looks totally bored.

    February 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Rebecca Ladnier

    To kick Big Mike out of the competition because someone else ran their mouth is absurd! He is a very talented man and to make the sacrifice he made (missing his first child's birth) seems so wasted because of this very wrong decision.

    February 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  32. DeeDee

    I read about a month ago that "Big Mike" was asked to leave b/c he broke the confidentiality agreement they sign. Once he made the Top 24 he wasn't suppose to tell anyone but he told his dad, his dad then turned around and reported it to the local newspaper. Once it was found out that it was in the paper, "Big Mike" was asked to leave the show. I wonder if they will address it.

    February 17, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Dennis Pence

    This post is for ERIC! You need a lesson in humility. Shelby Dressel had some bad luck with a physical problem at birth – but she is still a beautiful girl – inside and out. (something you appear to know nothing about – inner beauty). She is also very talented and in spite of her physical issues, she perseveres – something I doubt you would be much good at. She departed with class and Simon was right – it was the wrong decision. You are evidently a young person that places too much value on physical beauty, as many of the young people do these days – but take my word for it, the outer beauty will fade – but inner beauty can never be diminished. I would be proud to call this girl my daughter, sister – and I bet her parents feel the same way. Time to grow up Eric. I owuld guess you have a lot of years left to do just that – and I hope for your sake you do.

    February 17, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  34. MJ

    AI is dragging out the top 24 two nights, for what? Just tell us and move on, the sob stories do not matter one bit...we all have a sob story. Most people watch for the entertainment factor, last I checked this was still a singing competition, let us see the talent the judges see. Because the sob stories and tid bits of what we do hear the contestants sing make most people wonder why one peson made it and another did not. Picking the top 24 can be done away with all together and I would not miss it, I usually like it from beginning to end. But this is way to cheezy and ridiculous, trying to play on peoples emotions, more than their talent. Ellen was way over hyped, she is not bringing a positive vibe to the show, she is just being Ellen and for AI it is not enough. She needs to step it up a bit not having music experience like the other judges....at the same time I don't want another mean judge either....just an honest one that maybe gives some positive feedback, encouragement and sound advice like Paula did!!!

    February 17, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Dumas

    I would like to see a lot less of the bad people and a lot more of the good people. It is not fair for some people to be in the spotlight and others not. Hollywood week is a joke.Why do they want to put them in groups when it is not a group competition? Not impressed with Kara or Ellen. It will really be bad when Simon leaves.

    February 17, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Good Grief

    Holy Mother of God, this was the WORST show ever. Not only do they NOT need TWO FREAKING NIGHTS to get it down to 24, they could have done last nights show in half an hour.

    But no, AI and FOX HAVE to get their air time vs. the Olympics. Couldn't just suck it up and make it a one hour show.

    Honestly, this was the worst two hours of TV I've ever seen. After it became 8:30 and I realized they were saying the same thing over and over since 8:05, I turned to the Olympics.

    Awful, awful television.

    February 17, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Abiah

    Even though I love american Idol I thought tuesday show was boring. I wasn't sad to see anybody go but I guess thats because I havnt chose any favorites yet. I swear seacrest killed the show, I mean he is doing his job but only a little too well. I mean come on!! really??? DO we need to spend an hour of the show on JUSt pointless suspense??
    Bu any ways I've always felst that each year Simon gets nicer. And I dont miss Paula too much. But Ellen wasn't being showed too much ont he screnn but she did do her procrastination joke on one of the contestants. (kinda funny)

    February 17, 2010 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  38. glenda taylor

    Toooo borrrring. Ellen is ridiculous and they need Paula back.

    February 17, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  39. hammer

    Shouldn't the top 24 be the "TOP 24" The best of the best whether it be all women all men or whatever the ratio is...I hate the fact that someone gets cut because they already have filled the 12 women or men spots...obviously it's not about who is the best but who would make for good ratings...

    February 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Idol Newcomer

    I started watching American Idol last season and I fell in love with it. I agree though that last night did get a bit boring. I really enjoy the show better once the final 24 actually begin singing and competing. I do miss Paula also. I think that she added a special something to the show.

    February 17, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Dinka

    I couldn't stand this show. I've never watched it until this season when a friend of mine got in (she was in room 2 last night, unfortunately...didn't deserve that AT ALL!). Every single person had some sob story. UGH. We would all seriously groan every time (you know, every two minutes) they started playing the sad background music.

    I mean, is this how it is EVERY year? People just playing the pity card?

    I would have preferred to watch a bigger variety of people SING, not a documentary about a handful of people.

    February 17, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Amanda

    I dont' care. Paula is gone and I am boycotting Idol because of it.

    February 17, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Jimbo

    I agree with Carol. I thought Ellen would bring a refreshing dynamic to the judging process. So far, she appears to be all business. Maybe she will lighten up a little when settled in.

    February 17, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Wink

    I TiVo'd it specifically for the BORING FACTOR. I buzzed thru it in an appropriate period of time. 15 minutes of actual content and 1 hour/45 minutes of FILLER. Yuch! I didn't watch any of the auditions because I am way over them, as well.

    February 17, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  45. lil_fatman

    it is a little boring with out pula and simon is being a little nice!

    February 17, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Carol

    I thought it woulg be funnier, with Ellen, but they don't even show her much. VERY BORING!!!

    February 17, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Colorado Reader

    I too was sad to see Shelby go. I thought she had a good voice and was worth a trip to the Top 24.

    February 17, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  48. bleh

    Let's not forget the wildcards. There's ALWAYS a couple wildcard spots, people! I bet Simon gets his way and Shelby comes back. There are some weak voices that have made it and forgetting the words AND making it to the final cut? SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?! Good Lord and baby Jesus.

    February 17, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Laura

    I didn’t watch it or record it because past shows were sooooooooooo boring. From what I’m reading here, I’m real glad I didn’t. I’ll start watching once the real singing starts next week – then I really enjoy watching how the talent gets better and better. I still love the show, and hope it goes on indefinitely – it’s so much better than that ridiculous Lost show.

    February 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  50. vern

    I just wish Ellen would stop trying to make everything into a joke, she is only trying to get some attention and it"s driving me nuts. I really miss Paula she had some bad moments but she is a lot better than Ellen and so much hotter to look at. I do agree that there dragging the top 24 on for way to long, lets get some singing going on already.

    February 17, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Jimbo

    Shelby and Katelyn both should go. Niether are creditable for the top 3 spot...

    February 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Scott

    The show was very slow, too repetitive, and boring. I expect from past shows more entertainment. I think this year has good talent but the waiting, long walks to the stage, are a bit dramatical. I hope the future shows move along and start to showcase the talent.

    February 17, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  53. kathy9209

    Eric – your comment was mean! I'm sure you look in the mirror every day, what do you see? The biggest problem with this show is that (and I hate to admit this) but Eric is right about the show only allowing the kids with less talent and what might be considered better looks to advance. its a sad time when we do exactly what our parents taight us not to do, and that is judge a book by its cover. Simon knows they made a mistake by leting her go, can we hope for an alternate place for her later in the season?

    February 17, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Judi

    Lee–Great voice–has that voice like Daughtry and Cooke

    February 17, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Lou Do

    Shelby should have moved on. She's better than the chick that cries all the time.

    February 17, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  56. jan

    Wow Eric! You've got so much class!

    February 17, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Renee Carmen

    Why don't they realize that no one wants to watch the show for two hours for them to reveal the final 24? I couldn't take it. I gave up after 45 minutes!

    February 17, 2010 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Pat

    Snoozefest, waaaayyy drawn out, just to milk the sponsors & bore us with repeated footage

    February 17, 2010 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  59. McEvil One

    Shelby goes & Katelyn stays...don't get it!

    February 17, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Eric

    Hated Shelby! Her voice was OK only, but her face was so butt-ugly I couldn't look at her. I know she had some sort of problem with one side of her face, but I wouldn't be looking to see her on stage trying to wow the crowd. If you'll notice, all the people chosen so far are very telegenic. I will be very upset if Andrew Garcia gets cut, but not if that lisping country singer with the big smile. Her song choice at the final audition was horrific.

    February 17, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Angie

    I was very sad to see Shelby Dressel get cut. She has an amazing voice. I do miss Paula interacting with Simon it made the show so much better.

    February 17, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Libra2849

    Very Very boring show. Even worse than Hollywood week and I didn't think that was possible!! Less talk and more entertainment would be a welcome change. No wonder the view"ship" is sinking. The judges are boring, Seacrest is boring and for crying out loud..can we see more of the actual talent and less repetitivenss of situations/crying and calls to mom.
    Am I the only one to miss the interaction between Simon/Paula?? That at least had some entertainment value.

    February 17, 2010 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  63. vallary

    This show was awful. I think it was the worse one, they kept on repeating senses, talking to the same ones, It was to slow and awful. The show needs to go ahead and close down

    February 17, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  64. Just a Thought

    I agree John, I thought Aaron was gonna be gone – although he did make a nice come back – still surprised me he made it through. America won't cut him that much slack though.

    February 17, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  65. Anna

    I thought I heard somewhere that they were going to let Big Mike continue on even though his dad had said something. Either way I guess we will find out as the weeks go on.

    February 17, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  66. John

    In earlier years, forgetting the words meant that there was no way you would make it to the next round – Simon would always remind the contestants of this in the Hollywood rounds. When Aaron forgot the words twice (at critical spots also!) – he should have been done. This year, there has been an emphasis on 'being an entertainer' (quoting Ellen) – in past years, the quote was always 'this is a singing competition'.

    February 17, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  67. Maria

    I thought the entire night was really boring. I don't think they need 2 episodes to show who actually made it to the top 24!

    February 17, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  68. BigMikeFan

    Very sad about Big Mike. Unless something has changed, I believe that he was kicked off the show because his dad leaked to the press that he had made it into the top 24. Weird that AI is still featuring him in the show so much even though they know he's been kicked off.

    February 17, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  69. Just a Thought

    I was dissappointed that Shelby got cut; thought she had a very soulful voice and alot of potential. Even Simon said it was a bad decision. Guess we'll find out tonight who they put through in her place.

    February 17, 2010 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |

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