American Idol Recap: Meet the Top 24!

It’s good to know that 15 seasons in, American Idol hasn’t lost its ability to send me into a teeth-gnashing, plate-smashing, imaginary mascara-running rage.

OK, no fine china was harmed in the writing of my Top 24 Announcement Episode recap — decade-old Crate and Barrel still beats a Dixie paper plate — but still, that’s not to say the “Final Judgment”/”Green Mile” announcement didn’t make me fantasize about the satisfying shatter of ceramic against the living-room wall.

Watching Season 15 standout Jessica Cabral get booted for an alleged lack of “connection” — without so much as five seconds of supporting evidence from her Dolby Theater showcase performance — had me ready to dial 9-1-1 and report a case of felony idiocy.

Hearing Thomas Stringfellow’s trademark squeak at the end of every single line — and then suffering through the judges telling him his special “something” outweighed his questionable vocal ability — had me double-checking The Voice‘s Season 1o return date.

And do I even mention Harry Connick, Jr. waxing about how Manny Torres “looks like a guy you wanna go see a ball game with” — as if that has anything to do with the process of finding a bookend to hold up the legacy of Kelly Clarkson (and all the Idol greats who followed her)?

Sigh. I haven’t even touched on the eliminations of Kayce Haynes and Lindita in the always cruel, end-of-episode, “we’re down to just two guys/girls” showdowns — though at least producers ditched the bloodthirsty singoffs this time around.

Ultimately, though, Idoloonies know this is how the process works. There is joy and pain, sunshine and rain. (Did I just quote Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock? Oh, you know I did!)

That said, there are at least 8-12 vocalists in the mix with the potential to inherit Nick Fradiani’s crown and sash. Naturally, Melinda Doolittle and I will debate ’em to the death on the next episode of Reality Check (posting Monday here on TVLine) — but for now, allow me to break down the “Final Judgment” performances by the two dozen singers advancing to the Season 15 semifinals.

TOP 24
Mortal Locks for the Voting Rounds
Trent Harmon
La’Porsha Renae
Avalon Young
Manny Torres

Originality > Voice
Mackenzie Bourg
Olivia Rox

Voice > Originality
Shelbie Z
CJ Johnson
Sonika Vaid

Absolute Wild Cards
Jeneve Rose Mitchell
Jenn Blosil

Not as Strong as Their Edits Indictate
Dalton Rapattoni
Tristan McIntosh
Jordan Sasser

Likely Cannon Fodder
Stephany Negrete

Already Struggling Vocally
Amelia Eisenhauer
Emily Brooke
Thomas Stringfellow
Gianna Isabella

Treated by Producers as Afterthoughts
Jenna Renae
James VIII
Kory Wheeler
Adam Lasher

Slightly Better Than Expected
Lee Jean

Michelle Marie
Colette Lush
Ameet Kanon
Zach Person
Chynna Sherrod
Mary Williams
Laurel Wright
Anatalia Villaranda
Isaac Cole
Jon Klaasen (but he looked so good in those red pants!)
Kassy Levels
Andrew Nazarbekian
Malie Delgado
Sara Sturm
Jordyn Simone
Kayla Michelson
Mionne Destiny
Tiffany Lamae
Christian Eason
Ariel Sprague
Kelsie Watts
Shevonne Philidor
Kayce Haynes — even though his “Hold On, We’re Going Home” was so so good
Lindita — even though you cannot tell me her “Mama Knows Best” wasn’t among the 10 best ladies’ Final Judgment Performances

What did you think of the Top 24 announcement? Who are your early faves? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments — but please, no Top 12 spoilers!


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