"Idol" Cuts Short the Heartbreak — Mostly

By Craig Berman
|  Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010  |  Updated 11:48 AM PDT
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"Idol" Cuts Short the Heartbreak — Mostly

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It's now the viewers' turn to call the shots.

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American Idol” completed its selection of the 24 semifinalists on Wednesday, and the show was the polar opposite of Tuesday night’s snoozefest.

After picking seven singers Tuesday night — Didi Benami, Lee DeWyze, Katelyn Epperly, Todrick Hall, Casey James, Aaron Kelly and Michael Lynche — that left 17 more to reveal, plus the 18 others who were sitting in the waiting room not knowing they were doomed to get the dream yanked away like Charlie Brown’s football.

Fortunately for those who were fans of the rejected, there weren’t a lot of heartbreaking scenes to watch. No time. Most just got a few seconds to walk down the aisle of the Kodak Theatre and stumble back dejectedly, only to vanish from our screens forever — or at least until next year.

But for those sad stories that did get featured ... oh, the humanity.

I mean, Angela Martin? Really? They rejected Angela Martin? This is the woman whose dad was killed before she could take advantage of her golden ticket the first year she auditioned, and was in jail for unpaid traffic tickets despite her waiting invitation to Hollywood the second year.

This year, her mother has been missing since Christmas, according to news reports, and the car was found abandoned near the Chicago suburbs. And yet, there she was, in Hollywood, trying her best to make the semifinals instead of wondering whether the connection between the show and her misfortune was more than a coincidence.

But “Idol” continued to do Angela wrong, sending the 28-year-old home in her final chance at making an impact on the show. She did get the best treatment of anyone that day, as judge Kara DioGuardi walked over and sat right next to Martin while giving her the bad news.

“You know what? You are a great singer, and there are other ways to do it,” the judge said. “You are a star no matter what. You are one of the bravest people I’ve ever met.” But she won’t be a star or brave on “Idol.”

Thaddeus Johnson also got cut, and didn’t understand why. Of course, that’s because the judges didn’t tell him. “You didn’t make it, and I’m really sorry. You didn’t do anything wrong this week,” Simon Cowell said. What are the odds that a 17-year-old is going to be satisfied with that kind of crappy answer? Zero percent. Any teenager or parent of a teenager knows that you at least have to give an excuse, if only so the kid can immediately reject it.

If anyone knows how Martin and Johnson feel, it’s Lacey Brown. Brown was in the chair of despair last year as they brought her into the room with Megan Joy for the final spot in the season eight semifinals, and sent Brown home a loser. “I think it was the right decision, I think I needed to wait a year,” she told Simon this year. Brownnoser. But it worked, and she got through this time.

Alex Lambert also made it. You know, after calling his family and friends, his next call was to former group mate Mary Powers to give her the good news: “You thought I was the weakest link, buddy? Well, tune into Fox next week and watch me on the semis.” I would have loved to have seen Powers’ face when she heard that news. 

Apart from the rejection of Martin and Johnson, there were few surprises. One-woman band Crystal “Mamasox” Bowersox, the funky Siobhan Magnus and the jazzy Lilly Scott were popular throughout the auditions and were easy picks. Katie Stevens and Janell Wheeler were no-brainers. Ashley Rodriguez, Paige Miles and Michelle Delamore haven’t gotten much airtime yet, but apparently did great when the cameras were off because they’re in too. And Haeley Vaughn won the last spot for the women, breaking the heart of Tori Kelly in doing so.

Much less time was spent on the men, not surprising since five were selected yesterday. Partridge Family wannabe Tyler Grady got one spot. John Park, Jermaine Sellers, Joe Munoz and Tim Urban were selected with little fanfare. And Andrew Garcia beat out Johnson for the final slot, which wasn’t much of a surprise.

So here they are, your 24 “American Idol” semifinalists. As host Ryan Seacrest will no doubt remind us all over the coming weeks, their fate is now entirely up to you.

Choose wisely.

Craig Berman is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/craigberman.

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