"Phenomenal singers are going home today," Jennifer Lopez said to open tonight's, Feb. 19, final American Idol judgement episode to decide the Top 24. She wasn't kidding either. The group of 23 remaining contestants was cut in half to round out next week's crew of live performers. Harry Connick Jr., Keith Urban and J.Lo have been shelling out some solid advice, but for some it was "better luck next time."
There was a rare moment between Ryan Seacrest and one contestant to start the show. Hollywood Anderson was devastated after learning he didn't make it to the next round. The host offered a few encouraging words to the singer before giving him a big hug. It was a nice change of pace, since most of the time Seacrest just states the obvious ("Didn't make it?").
As the Top 24 starts to take shape, it's only fair to start picking favorites for who will make it to the Top 12. Right now, Clark Beckham and Savion Wright are two standouts for the gentlemen. Jax and Adanna Duru are leading the ladies.
Shi Scott and Jelly Joseph put on spectacular performances at the House of Blues in Los Angeles (and their hair was tremendous). Scott earned the final spot with a rousing version of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground." She's a major contender, having conquered classic soul, bluesy pop and, now, rock.
Here are a few of the notable losses who just missed the Top 24:
Josh Sanders, Hollywood Anderson, Maddy Hudson, Jaq Mackenzie, Hunter Larsen, Emily Brooke, Ricky Dale Hendricks, Jelly Joseph.
And here's who pulled off some nice performances tonight:
5. Joey Cook, congratulations on picking the best song possible for your voice. Amos Lee's "Sweet Pea" probably surprised most viewers, but the judges were totally into it. J.Lo crowned her the "kiwi of the bunch" (the rest being apples and oranges). She continues to move on because of her unique voice and style.
4. Sarina-Joi Crowe falls under the category of singers who flew under the radar. Her rendition of Jessie J's "Big White Room" was stylish and powerful, albeit a little safe. It took four different auditions, but she finally made it to the Top 24. Well-deserved.
3. Katherine Winston was stellar on her slowed-down version of Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon." The judges think something magical happens when she gets onstage. She'll be looking for more of that magic as she continues her journey from Massachusetts to superstardom.
2. Mark Andrew sang a reverent cover of "Take Me to Church" by Hozier. It was a tough song choice considering the song's popularity, but he powered through. "Are you different enough?" Connick asked. He is. The elder statesman will do big things, but he's going to need some help from the celebrity mentors. Hopefully he picks some better tunes to complement his voice too.
1. Positivity has been Savion Wright's saving grace this time around on Idol. The singer tore through a soulful rendition of "I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)" by John Mayer. Look out for this guy.
(Props to Qaasim Middleton. That looked like a fun performance).
And your Top 24 is...
— Savion Wright (@SavionJWright) February 20, 2015
Thank you all SO MUCH for all the love! I can't contain myself but I'm gonna try to and go to bed! Goodnight :) pic.twitter.com/80tWny2eAX — Clark Beckham (@ClarkBeckham) February 19, 2015
God is so good. I can't say it enough. Trust him.
— Adanna Duru (@adannaduru) February 19, 2015