Monday’s American Idol may not have solved the mystery of who put gum in Catie Turner’s hair, but it did reveal which 24 singers are advancing. (Let’s just hope the unidentified mean girl isn’t among them.)
Since the show did enough beating around the bush — I’m pretty sure we’d already seen at least half of that footage — let’s jump straight to the 24 singers moving forward:
LAYLA SPRING | Dixie was waiting to receive her big sister with open arms after Spring received the first slot in the season’s coveted Top 24. The judges appreciate how receptive she’s been to their feedback, which is why they’re letting her through — despite being “wary” of admitting someone so young.
MICHAEL J. WOODARD | Real talk: This guy’s come a long way from the time Lionel Richie literally had to shake a song out of him. He was worried that the judges wouldn’t love his showcase song choice (Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know”), but his fretting was for naught. Of course, it helped that he put his own energetic spin on the alternative classic. And don’t even get me started on that denim jumpsuit! This guy’s full of wonderful surprises.
GABBY BARRETT | What do you do when the judges specifically tell you not to perform Carrie Underwood’s “Church Bells”? If you’re Barrett, you do the song anyway — and show the judges that they don’t always know what’s best. Her showcase performance was a little shaky at first, but she more than made up for her mistakes with a jaw-dropping finish, which included notes that Underwood herself might not even recognize. The judges weren’t, ahem, blown away by Barrett’s latest showing, but they put her through in good faith.
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CATIE TURNER | Never one to shy away from the unexpected, Turner served up a bouncy, jazzy take on Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” exhibiting more attitude than we’ve ever seen from her — a feat I honestly didn’t think possible. Though Perry insisted that “wasn’t” a star-making performance, she gladly delivered the good news to Turner. (Is it too early for me to get excited about Perry and Turner’s first collaboration?)
JURNEE | I know I’ve publicly declared Turner as my favorite contestant, but she’s facing stiff competition from Jurnee, whose wife was able to make it to her showcase performance. Which means she got to watch Jurnee crush “Never Enough,” a breathtaking ballad from The Greatest Showman. (The second that piano started playing, I knew what was coming — and I knew I was not ready for it.)
SHANNON O’HARA | This season’s trend of singers performing Perry’s songs better than her continued tonight, with O’Hara delivering a gorgeous, stripped-down rendition of “Unconditionally.” Moved to tears, Perry happily welcomed the “secret spiritual ninja” into the Top 24.
ADAM SANDERS/ADA VOX | You could hear a pin drop when Vox began her stunning, emotional performance of Radiohead’s “Creep.” Then came the applause. Then the screams, both from the audience and from the singer, who nailed notes typically reserved for keeping dogs in line. (And I know that “Creep” is a little overdone, but if it always sounded this good, I’d happily keep it on replay.) For his meeting with the judges, Sanders chose to arrive out of drag, saying, “I wanted to face you all as myself. I wanted you to see who I truly was.” When Perry asked if he thinks he stands the same chances out of drag, he said he believes that his talent speaks for himself — and I agree, but I also really hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Vox.
JONNY BRENNS | A spot in the Top 24 would have been enough of a gift for Brenns this week, so I suppose his father’s long-awaited acceptance was merely a wonderful bonus. Everyone Brenns has ever been related to showed up to watch him slay his showcase performance — a sexy, soulful rendition of Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down” that put the singer’s incredible range on display — after which his father proudly declared, “He’s a winner in my eyes!” He’s also a winner, or at least on his way to winning, in the judges’ eyes. Any minor doubts they had about him during the solo rounds vanished into thin air, carried away by his soaring vocals.
MARA JUSTINE | The youngest singer left in the competition attempted to take us to church with a high-energy performance of “Something’s Got a Hold on Me.” Unfortunately, she got a little carried away and ended up looking… kind of possessed, if I’m being honest. Still, her vocals were on point, a fact that even the judges couldn’t deny — though Perry did formally limit Justine to one hair flip per song moving forward. “You’re starting to develop some bad habits,” Perry explained before welcoming her to the Top 24.
EFFIE PASSERO | For her showcase performance, Passero chose “The Dance,” a song her mom — who was in the audience — has been singing to her since she was a baby. That warm hug of a backstory certainly helped, but I’m pretty sure Passero would have gotten through regardless. (I only wish the show hadn’t pitted her against the “really, really fabulous” Maddie Zahm. They were both terrific, so it just felt like a cruel thing to do.)
MARCIO DONALDSON | Donaldson did his baby boy proud with a smooth rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “If You Really Love Me,” which he capped off with that glorious whistle tone.
DENNIS LORENZO | Another singer with his family on his mind, Lorenzo also impressed the judges with his performance of “Home.” Though it appeared to come down to Lorenzo and Donaldson, the dads (and I) were relieved that they both received spots in the Top 24.
The judges also delivered a “yes” to… Michelle Sussett, Dominique, Trevor McBane, Maddie Poppe, Ron Bultongez, Alyssa Raghu, Kay Kay, Amelia Hammer Harris, Brandon Diaz, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Garrett Jacobs and Cade Foehner.
Unfortunately, not everyone we’ve gotten to know this season will be continuing in the competition. (If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this reality show was playing upon our emotions!) Here are a few of the more noteworthy eliminations, some of which were more surprising than others:
TREVOR HOLMES | The first “no” of the night was also arguably the most bizarre moment of the season. Considering how much camera time Idol has given Holmes these past few weeks — not to mention his faux love triangle with Perry that’s been beaten to death — his departure was rather unceremonious. It was almost… funny?
THADDEUS JOHNSON | Perhaps Johnson shouldn’t have chosen Jill Scott’s “Hate on Me” for his showcase performance, because the judges — especially Perry, who played bad cop tonight far more often than Bryant or Richie — snatched up the invitation. Color me crazy, but I was shocked when he was told that “now isn’t the right time.”
NOAH DAVIS | From the moment Davis and Perry bonded over their shared appreciation for wigs, I’ve operated under the assumption that the goat farmer was a shoe-in for the Top 24. Hell, I could have pictured him going all the way. But that was before his flat showcase performance of Gaga’s “You and I,” which did enough damage to sever his unspoken bond with Perry. “You need to step into your power,” she told him. “The journey must continue, but it’s not going to be here.” Unfortunately, Davis didn’t reveal whether he’d still be getting that alpaca.
MADDIE ZAHM | Richie may have declared “I love this girl!” as Zahm belted Pink’s “What About Us?” but Perry wasn’t quite as impressed. In fact, she straight-up said, “That was a great song choice… and a shaky performance.” (I don’t always agree with Perry, but she wasn’t wrong here.) That’s why, unfortunately, it didn’t come as a huge surprise when the judges informed her that she didn’t make the Top 24. But that didn’t make it any less painful!
Additional noteworthy eliminations included… Milo Sposato, Les Greene, Britney Holmes, William Casanova, Harper Grace, Carly Moffa, Samothias, Lee Vasi, Victoria “Idol Baby” McQueen and Laine “Just Burnin’ Gas” Hardy.
Did your favorite singer(s) make it through to the Top 24? Drop a comment with your thoughts on tonight’s eliminations below.