The final judgment is here. After a stressful and sleepless Hollywood round last week on American Idol, 48 contestants performed at the House of Blues in front of a live audience. Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban watched from a far, and this time around there was no immediate critique or praise. The judgment came later, and it was the most nerve-racking encounter with the judges yet.
By the end of tomorrow's episode, we'll finally know the identies of the 12 women and 12 men who will advance to the live shows. Each round brings them one step closer to carving out an actual career without winning Idol. Remember, some of the show's biggest stars — Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson— became more recognizable and famous then actual champions.
A big surprise for many contestants came when Cody Fry did not advance to the Top 24. The talented singer had a bad performance, choosing an awkward arrangement for Coldplay's "Viva La Vida." He branched out beyond his quiet, ballad performances, and it didn't work out. Fry took it like a pro, knowing all too well that he misfired with the song.
The decisions for who to cut and who to keep were so difficult to make that after the young Maddie Walker was told to pack her bags, the judges brought he back in with Rachel Hallack to have a sing-off. Now this was pretty unfair to Hallack since the judges only asked Walker back after just seeing her for the decision. Ryan Seacrest said it was because they were too similar. Hallack was speechless after losing.
Here are the notable performers who we said goodbye to on tonight's episode:
Cody Fry, J. None, Reno Anoa'I, Zach Keltenbach, Rachel Hallack
Michael Simeon went off on "Classic" by MTKO. He swooned onstage before starting to rap a bit. Simeon was the first one to make it to the Top 24. No surprise here. Clark Beckham brought every ounce of swagger he acquired as a street performer to his gig. He reworked "Georgia on My Mind" into an amped-up pop tune. He has so much talent, range and showmanship.
Here were the other great performances from the first edition of the House of Blues round:
05. A Celine Dion song is a tough one to make work in a club atmosphere. Loren Lott pulled off "My Heart Will Go On" with ease. It was an interesting song choice this early in the competition, but it was a killer vocal performance. Another easy decision.
04. Tyanna Jones took on Queen Bey's "Love on Top." She's another natural performer, coming instantly to life right as she hit the stage. If there's anyone who wants this win the most, it's Jones.
03. Even on an off night, Jax is still one of the most interesting performers in the competition. She has a crazy amount of star power. Her voice is unique and so far her song choices have been superb. A definite favorite for the Top 12.
02. Adam Ezegelian ripped through "Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake. It was his best performance yet in the show. He absolutely owned the stage. He'll be the resident rocker as the show goes on. Unfortunately, Idol hasn't been kind to singer's with strong, classic rock vocals, but there's always a chance.
01. Adanna Duru rebounded exceptionally well with "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" by James Brown. If she can replicate that energy from here on out, she'll make it far. Where has she been this entire competition though?
Hollywood Anderson is up next tomorrow. Let us know if your favorite singer made it to the Top 24 in the comments section below.