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Tonight's the night. After weeks of sitting through people who don't know how to sing or don't know how to look attractive or, quite often, both, we're finally getting down to the real people. The final 24. Only one more chance for the contestants to step up with a performance, or at least stick out from the crowd by going down in flames. I, for one, don't really care what happens either way.

This recap...available in high definition, super-crisp text! The contestants who made it this far nervously sit inside the Pasadena Civic Center. Some of the girls plan to try to be the next Rose Parade Queen if they get cut from Idol. Spread your seed wide! So the kids will sit in this holding pen until their name is called. Then they ride an elevator up to the judges, who hold their fates in their judging hands. Bobby Bullard. Sounds like an old time hockey player. Also sounds like a guy who just got cut from Idol.

Brooke Barrettsmith, your name is too long. Goodbye. Moving quickly! Tonight's show might only be ten minutes long. For the contestants who get cut, the good news is Seacrest will hug you for comfort. And Seacrest always smells like sandalwood. We need somebody to make it here. Break the seal. Now Bobby Dillard goes up. Wait a minute. Isn't this Bobby Bullard? Didn't already go up and get cut.

Downstairs, some girl is complaining about another girl not getting through. Which seems sorta like complaining that somebody was left on a sinking ship as you paddle away on a lifeboat. Bobby Dillard and Bullard both got cut. Gents, avoid that hairstyle and purple sunglasses if you're looking for success!

If Katherine McPhee makes it, do you think she'll quit and demand that Brooke get her spot? Right. Probably not. You know, I think Randy is wearing the same style glasses as yesterday, but these are black instead of blue. I guess when you're a rich celeb, you buy things in multiples and variations. Katherine makes it and kisses abound. For once, I wish I was a judge. Maybe I can get myself some hot smooch action when I interview the finalists.

For the record, Katherine does not offer to turn over her spot in the finals to Brooke. Maybe she'll at least mention Brooke in the liner notes for her first album. Ace is waiting to find out if he's going to pass flight school and be handed the throttle of an F-16. I still suspect Ace gave himself this nickname. Which, again, doesn't count.

Boy, the judges certainly don't mind sitting there and upping the tension. I guess it's no problem to them. When Ace gets downstairs, Chris is so exciting he gives him a big dude hug.

The next cut is Virginia, who declares her life to be over. This tactic does not change the judges' minds. Maybe the gum cracking and rampant cursing will. Or maybe not. Hello, Robert. I like your Pedro-style mustache. The judges liked it so much that they Voted for Robert and put him into the finals. By the way, Robert, when you buy a suit coat, you're allowed to cut the label off the cuff. In fact, you're supposed to. Live and learn.

Mandisa strolls into the room. Mandisa! Mandisa makes the mood in the room a little...tense...by confronting Simon about his earlier comments. The atmosphere is substantially relaxed when Mandisa makes it to the finals.

Let's all get nervous! Mark Adam, you have one name too many. Sorry, we can't fit you into the finals. Lisa Tucker is now in the hot seat. You know, I think I've seen too many kids go through over the years. It's lost all emotional resonance with me. One makes it, one doesn't, more come next year, like a mighty river flowing down. Whatever.

David Radford wore his lucky turtleneck today. If he makes the finals, will he pay royalties to John Stevens. Now Sway. Sway and David, they have two different styles. Sway sashays through to the finals. Ellllllllllllllllliott. He's in too. Brenna sat at the front on the top of a wide open double decker bus in the Hollywood round. Then she couldn't sing. I guess cold, polluted air rushing into your throat at 40 mph is not good for your voice. Who knew?

Simon thinks that Brenna could be difficult to work with. She helps prove his point by not letting him finish his speech. Brenna comes back downstairs and announces that she's in, much to the surprise and disappointment of a few. Yeah, Marcy could definitely not hide her gut reaction when Brenna came down with good news. And she can't hide the fact that she got cut.

Neither can these other people, most of whom we haven't seen at all until right now. So, really, it's not that emotional wrenching. Even if you cry as easily as Cowboy Garet.

You have to have it. You have to have it. You have to have...it. It. You have to have it. This it we're talking about. It's a must. You. Have. To. Have. It. Maybe Gideon and Brenna can couple up in the finals and give us a few Whitney and Bobby moments.

White pants in winter! Even in Southern California, that's a bold move by Stephanie. In fact, white pants are a bold move by any person at any time anywhere. So many things can go wrong. Like, what if you want to eat spaghetti Bolognese for lunch, followed by a happy little chocolate ice cream cone? Hope you're not wearing white pants.

Next up is genetic lottery winner Ayla Brown. And still, no challenges in her life. How pleasant. Now her Dad can form a PAC to raise funds for her future. Ah ha ha! Chris is stuck in the elevator. That's fun! I'm sure however Chris handles this situation, his reaction will be intense at the very least. Oh, you have to push the button to go up? This must be one of those old-fashioned elevators. I'm used to the new ones that use mind control. Chris is through and he can get back to making Jack Bauer look relaxed.

Hey, has anybody seen Terrell and Derrell today? There's no way they could go this long without complaining about something. Maybe the show has forced them to wait outside so they don't have to listen to them. It's 5pm and we're not done yet. Here's Paris Bennett. Come on, there's no way she doesn't make it, right? Let's get serious here. So what about Rebecca, aka hot twin? She can do arithmetic! She can also scream. Two sure signs of a winner.

April Walsh enters the room and gets the show's first ever floor-level far away camera angle. And she gets cut. I remember when Bucky was named Bo Bice. Patrick thinks he deserves to be here. After all, he can sing, he can dance, he's the king of romance. And he has the courage to wear the ugliest shirt ever made.

Scraggly Kevin Covais is about to get his verdict. And he made it! Of course, nobody is left in the room to celebrate except his parents. Paris Bennett has a chance of making it four girls in five years. Maybe Idol should just bar male singers all together. But Randy still gives Paris a shot of false humility. Downstairs, Paris' mother, Jamecia, nervously awaits words. Interestingly, jamecia is one of my favorite flavors of ice cream.

Oh! There we go. "Shocking news" about Terrell and Derrell. Hard to believe. They're usually so level-headed. What? Oh man! Ha ha ha! I...I don't even know what to say about that. Identity theft! Such upstanding people, too.

Kelly Pickler! The happiest little sad girl in the whole wide world. Kelly gets perhaps only the second piece of good news in her entire life. Taylor Hicks confuses me. I mean, he seems like a great guy. But we already had a Ray Charles. We already had a Joe Cocker. We already had a John Belushi doing Joe Cocker. And now a harmonica? Or, as some would say, mouth organ? We already had a John Popper. But Taylor is through to the finals, where I actually think he'll do well. Hopefully he'll last long enough that I can figure out his deal. Because right now, I have no idea.

Four people remain for two open slots. Mathematics is absolute! You can't change numbers! First the girls. The judges pick the one girl and not the other. Now the guys. The judges pick the one guy and not the other. Fairly simple, actually. And once again, dreads are not the ticket to the finals. Amusingly, when William found out he was in, he stared at Sid, perhaps trying to figure out who was named William.

And that's that. Now the show really gets started. Exciting!

Source: Idol on Fox

TOP 24:

1. Ayla Brown
2. Becky O'Donohue
3. Ace Young
4. Bobby Bennet
5. Brenna Gethers
6. Heather Cox
7. Bucky Covington
8. Chris Daughtry
9. Katharine McPhee
10. Kellie Pickler / Kelly Pickler
11. David Radford
12. Elliott Yamin
13. Kinnik Sky
14. Lisa Tucker
15. Gedeon McKinney
16. Jose 'Sway' Penala
17. Mandisa
18. Melissa McGhee
19. Kevin Covais
20. Patrick Hall
21. Paris Bennett
22. Stevie Scott
23. Taylor Hicks
24. Will Makar
Season 5 Stand Outs:

1. David Avram 
2. Carol Banawa 
3. Brooke Barrettsmith 
4. Leah Barrettsmith 
5. Ryan Baysden 
6. Bobby Bennett 
7. Paris Bennett 
8. Megan Bobo 
9. Antonio Bridges 
10. Derrell Brittenum 
11. Terrell Brittenum 
12. Ayla Brown 
13. Matthew Buckstein* 
14. Kenneth (Chase) Bush 
15. Kevin Covais 
16. William (Bucky) Covington 
17. Heather Cox 
18. Chris Daughtry 
19. Steven David 
20. Bobby Dillard 
21. Rochelle-Elaine Dye 
22. Jason Edwards 
23. James Gaerries 
24. Brenna Gethers 
25. Gina Glocksen 
26. Yvette Gonzalez* 
27. Ashley Gudamuz 
28. Patrick Hall 
29. Roy Harcourt 
30. Rickey Hayes 
31. Taylor Hicks 
32. David Hoover 
33. Jason Horn 
34. Mandisa Hundley 
35. Ashley Jackson 
36. Garet Jackson 
37. Syd James 
38. Cortney Jetter 
39. Kaitlin Johnson* 
40. Shelby Johnson* 
41. Jessica Jo Santos 
42. Eden Kenter* 
43. Brooke Kilgarriff 
44. Eugenia Littlejohn 
45. Mark Locklear 
46. Mecca Madison 
47. William Makar 
48. Shontai Marshall 
49. Gedeon McKinny 
50. Katharine McPhee 
51. Melody Mertz 
52. Brian Miller 
53. John Munro* 
54. Ronnie (R.J.) Norman 
55. Tina Novak 
56. Rebecca O’Donahue 
57. Nicole Ortiz 
58. Jose Penala 
59. Kendall Phillips 
60. Kellie Pickler 
61. David Radford 
62. B.J. Rich 
63. Jayne Santayana 
64. Tyla Juliette Schwartz 
65. Stephanie Scott 
66. Cory Sellers 
67. Jennifer Sieminski 
68. Jarrett Simmons 
69. Joshua Simmons 
70. Lisa Simmons 
71. Murcellia Smith 
72. Zachary Smits 
73. Jordan Southerland 
74. Crystal Stark 
75. Brianna Taylor 
76. Halicia Thompson 
77. Torah 
78. Lisa Tucker 
79. Kinnik Tune 
80. April Walsh 
81. Heather Ward 
82. Tatiana Ward 
83. Lauren Weckerly 
84. Shawna White 
85. Stephanie White 
86. Nick Whitten 
87. John Williams 
88. Kendra Winston 
89. Laura Wright 
90. Elliott Yamin 
91. Ace Young 
92. Megan Ziegler* 
93. Adam (unknown last name) 

Ayla Brown
O'Danahue Twins
Tatiana Reed
Kenneth Maccarone
Michael Sandecki
Jason Horn
Ricky Hayes
Ashley Jackson
William Makar 
Taylor Hicks
cowboy kid
Kevin Covais
Bucky Covington
Season 3 Final 32:

Amy Adams
Fantasia Barrino
BRE RAMIREZ-RIAL
CAMILE VELASCO
CHARLY LOWRY
Diana DeGarmo
Ashley Thomas
DONNIE WILLIAMS
ELIZABETH LETENDRE
ERIC YODER
Erskine Walcott
HEATHER PICCININI
JASMINE TRIAS
Jennifer Hudson
JESUS ROMAN
NOEL ROMAN
JOHN PREATOR
JOHN STEVENS
JON PETER LEWIS
JONAH MOANANU
KARA MASTER
Katie Webber
LATOYA LONDON
LEAH LABELLE
LISA LEUSCHNER
LISA WILSON
MARISA JOY
Marque Lynche
Matthew Metzger
MATT ROGERS
SUSAN VULACA
TIARA PURIFOY

Season 3 Hollywood Finalists:
Martha Krabill
Leah Vladowski
Jesus Roman
Noel Roman
Michael Keown
John Stevens IV
Nicole Tieri
Amy Adams
Laketa Booker
Alan Ricthson
Lauren Enswiler
Terrance Gaines
Fantasia Barrino
Marcus Butts
Heather Piccinini more...

Season 2 Finalists:
Ashley Hartman - Age: 17 - Ladera Ranch, CA
Bettis Richardson - Age: 19 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Candice Coleman - Age: 22 - Toledo, OH
Charles Grigsby - Age: 24 - Oberlin, OH
Chip Days - Age: 23 - Brookfield, CT Clay Aiken - Age: 24 - Raleigh, NC
Corey Clark - Age: 22 - Nashville, TN
Equoia Coleman - Age: 22 - Memphis, TN
Frenchie Davis - Age: 23 - Washington, D.C.
George Trice - Age: 21 Henderson, TN
Hadas Shalev - Age: 21 - Woodland Hills, CA
Jacob John Smalley - Age: 19 - Edmond, OK
Jennifer Fuentes - Age: 18 - Homestead, FL
J.D. Adams - Age: 20 - Burbank, CA
Jordan Segundo - Age: 17 - Honolulu, HI
Joshua Gracin - Age: 22 - Oceanside, CA
Julia DeMato - Age: 23 - Brookfield, CT
Kimberly Caldwell - Age: 20 - Katy, TX
Kimberley Locke - Age: 24 - Nashville, TN
Kimberly Kelsey - Age: 18 - Macon, GA
Lashundra Cobbins - Age: 22 - Memphis, TN
Louis Gazzara - Age: 17 - Folsom, NJ
Meosha Denton - Age: 20 - Murfreesboro, TN
Nasheka Siddall - Age: 19 - New York, NY
Patrick Fortson - Age: 22 - Terre Haute, IN
Patrick Lake - Age: 24 - Athens, GA
Rebecca Bond - Age: 22 - Phoenix, AZ
Rickey Smith - Age: 23 - Keene, TX
Ruben Studdard - Age: 24 - Birmingham, AL
Samantha Cohen - Age: 20 - Boulder, CO
Sylvia Chibiliti - Age: 19 - Sacramento, CA
Vanessa Olivarez - Age: 21 - Atlanta, GA

Contestants who auditioned and made it to the Hollywood 234 before getting cut:
Ruben Studdard
Aldon Wynn
Corey Clark
Kellee Rene Ransom
Marcus Curtis
Rene Tim
Patrick Lake
Jessica Ramos
Jayson Bunch
Cheryl Bak
Candace Coleman
Stephen Franklin
Krystal Louten
Coffey Anderson
Annee Pinna
Sean Campos
Rhian & Cara Morgan
Kristen Barbara
Janine Falsone
Danny Rodriguez
Tirrell Anthony
Heidi Hall
Natalie Galan
Bechir Sylvian
Dana Clark
Victoria Meyers
James Visperas
Robyn Hanks
Carrie Hunt
Joshua Gracin
Alyson Roberts
Marie Lingbanon
Melody Lewis
Lee Dominguez
Kewanna Niblett
Michael Craig
Micki Nicholson
Jessica Cox
Stephanie Shultz
Joshua Strickland
Mitchell Asa
Maria Ward ("Take Forever and Shove it up Your Ass")
Other Contestants who auditioned but didn't make the cut:
Jeff Woodward
Amber Allan
Ira Lewis Jr
Kristen Barbara
Janine Falsone
Patsy Charles
Katherine Edmonson
Cedric Hunt
Edgar Nova
Cynthia Priester
Christopher Boehm
Robert Lovrin
Anthony Fitzpatrick
Daniel Anderson
Eric Charm Berry II
Dino Yazzie
Antoine Flowe
Bill Beumel
Kelli Gracey
Dennis Council
Teya Blackmon
Karissa Miccia
Joseph Daoud
Minaux Le Roi
Frederick Johnson
Nicone Porcaro
Johnny Lee
Omega Morris
Joshua Reece
Keith (Like Virgin) - "The Worst Singer In The World" -- 2003, Simon Cowell
Adrian Love
Edwin Buchanan Neager

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