Welcome to Night Two of “American Idol”: Return to Judges’ Island: The Final 24, Finally.
When we last left Judges Island 640 commercials ago, the show had ended abruptly with Adam Brock tearfully awaiting a verdict. Would judges Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez whack a loveable guy who sang really well, was crying into his grandfather’s hankie, had a photo of his adorable toddler on his ATT iPhone, and probably drives a Ford and drinks Coke?
“I love to watch a man cry, so I hate to do this but you’re going through,” Tyler ays. Exit Adam, sobbing.
Next is Jeremy Rosado, the jolly 19-year-old who is not only a loud cheerer for all the other contestants, but is one of JLo’s Goooosieees! (we’re talking goose pimples here) so we know he’s going through.
Shannon Magrane at 16 is one of those disconnects: Looks like she should be captain of a corn belt high school girls basketball team, but sings soulfully if wobbly. We get a replay of Tyler calling her “hot, humid and happening” in front of her father, former pro pitcher Joe Magrane, who tells show host Ryan Seacrest backstage “everyone told me to wring his neck.” She’s a shoo-in. “Does your Daddy still hate me?” Tyler pretends to ask her – after she leaves Judges’ Island.
Remember 23-year-old Scott Dangerfield, who is a second-time auditioner, when he made it this far last time but dropped out? Neither do we, but JLo does, because she loved him last year. This year – not so much so, with not a lot of regret, she gets to give him the bad news.
Seventeen year old Skylar Laine is a country shouter who’s feeling plenty nervous because “country” women have already been put through into the Top 24. During her final song, she’d performed Reba McEntire’s “Fancy,” and to say she’s no Reba is putting it mildly. But “Idol” is doubling down on country women this year and she gets her ticket off the island. She’s so excited, she’s tempted to jump in the water but “my momma would kill me.”
“Somebody’s got to do it,” says Tyler, ominously.
Next, Hallie Day, “country crooner” Chase Likens, and another returnee named Aaron Marcellus make the Top 24 in short order, Seacrest tells us on his way to promising “a shocking turn of events that will change everything” while we hear someone scream.
Deandre Brackensick, another repeat auditioner, who looks alarmingly Milli Vanilli but who actually can sing – well -- gets congratulated by JLo: “We could see your confidence has grown, we could see your voice has grown. ” Deandre’s a go this year.
Poor Jermaine Jones, the big guy with the big baritone voice, is cracking under the pressure of waiting for the next ferry to the island, and Idol’s award-winning Cracking Under the Pressure Documentary Unit just won’t get the camera out of his face. Finally, he gets the call, while Seacrest holds his mother’s hands outside. Randy starts out by pulling a long face and calling him “one of the most different artists we’ve had in a long time” so right away we know Jermaine is heading for more weepies. And so is JLo. “I’d thought I’d become a singer in this business to break people’s hearts in a good way,” Tyler says sadly, though mostly sounding like a rocker who misses his early touring days.
The clock must be running out on Idol’s rental of Cirque du Soleil’s soup cauldron set, because three girls get invited to Judges’ Island at the same time: Shelby Tweten, Ariel Sprague, and Hollie Cavanagh. Only Hollie makes it through. It’s extremely underwhelming.
Meanwhile, Seacrest, sensing this episode of “Idol” is getting just a wee bit repetitive and dull-ish, is back with another “shocking piece of news that will have everyone talking” tease, while we hear Randy shout, “Oh, my god!”
Two of the cutest guy auditioners are all that’s left: David Leathers, Jr., who hails from the Michael Jackson Singing Academy, and boys choir breakout singer Eben Franckewitz are sent in together. Tyler sums up their situation: David, the lady stealer, suffers from over-confidence, while Eben suffers from under-confidence — which apparently is better, because Eben makes it into the Top 24 and David does not. They return backstage to their families for a hug for Eben, and a shrug and hug for David.
But wait! Seacrest promised us a shock and we’re not leaving till we get one!
What could it be?!
After serious consideration — and observing the Google trending when “The X Factor’s” Supreme Mentor Simon Cowell decided last fall to add one extra member to his team, cause who was gonna stop him, and she turned out to be the eventual competition winner Melanie Amaro — the “Idol” judges have decided to add an extra guy. But we won’t know till Tuesday whether that lucky guy is:
a) Jermaine Jones, the Gentle Giant
b) Richie Law, the Arrogant Cowboy
c) David Leathers, Jr. the New Michael
d) Johnny Keyser, The Singing Waiter Who Gave JLo the Vapors
And, in re that chick screaming and Randy shouting “Oh, my god!”, once the Top 25 were picked, Tyler took off his shirt, dropped his pants, mooned the camera, walked to the edge of Judges’ Island, and dove into the Cirque du drink.
“I’m coming, Mom!” Tyler said as he swam.
So that’s it, America, your Top Nearly 25:
Brielle Von Hugel
Erika Van Pelt