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'American Idol' recap: We (finally) meet the top 24

After seven long weeks, the finalists are revealed.

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Michael Becker/Fox

American Idol

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Ryan Seacrest
Reality TV

FINAL JUDGMENT. Look at how hard they’re working to make this dramatic! Is it working? (A little bit, yes, but MAN aren’t we all ready for this audition season to be over?)

Why we start this episode with the fate of Josh Sanders, another contestant who I sincerely don’t remember, I’ll never understand. When you’ve given so many constants SO MUCH airtime, why introduce us to new people now? Sorry, Josh. We barely knew you. We didn’t know you at all.

So tonight we’re back at the House of Blues, and we’re going to see 23 folks cut down to 11. Is this the LONGEST elimination process ever? This is our 14th episode. FOURTEEN. They teased the top 24 to us in the first episode, and—though we have a pretttttty good idea who they are—we still haven’t met them. I’m just, at this point, so ready for some live-show competition.

Back to the show, and Hollywood Anderson is about to get some news. We’ve liked Hollywood throughout this process, but J.Lo fell a little bit out of love with him the last time we saw him. I’m surprised that they let him go. Truly surprised. Hollywood is also surprised. He bawls, and it’s really sad. I hope he comes back next year.

Purple-haired Joey takes the stage in a dress she stole from Zooey Deschanel’s closet (is that where she got her ukulele too?!!) and sings “Sweet Pea,” that song that you know from 100 TV commercials, and you know what? I like Joey. She’s sweet. I keep waiting to find her annoying (and I definitely have in past performances), but she’s so earnest and truly talented and humble. So when she makes it through, I am so happy for her! Joey is so happy for herself and is crying so hard when she emerges from her talk with the judges, it looks like she’s been sent home. Joke’s on you, other contestants! She’s staying.

Remember when Idol used to, in the early stages of Hollywood Week, split the remaining contestants into two rooms and tell group A that they got to stay, and then group B would hear group A cheering through the wall and know that they were rejects? That was SO brutal. I’m glad they’re not doing that anymore.

Katherine Winston makes a smart song choice with Rhiannon (and maybe less of a smart life choice by putting all of her eggs in the Idol basket and not having “a back-up plan”), but I’m not convinced I want to see more of this gal. Totally good, but I don’t remember her. And I know we’ve seen her before. So that concerns me. But I’ll get my chance to remember her because she gets a spot as well.

Maddie Hudson, who looks a bit like Emma Stone and wears aggressively colored lipstick effortlessly (it’s literally gray tonight, kudos, girl), seems to have blundered her House of Blues performance. From what we see, it was an off-key version of “Diamonds,” and the judges tell her she needs some time. They are correct, and like Hollywood Anderson, I hope she comes back. Girlfriend’s only 16, after all.

J.Lo is disappointed in Alexis Gomez because her performances have become same, same, same. (“You said you were Mexican,” J.Lo says. Brilliant cutting, producers.) So she sings a The Band Perry song in Spanish, which sounds weird. Whatever, they send her through. Seriously, WHO ARE WE ELIMINATING?

NEXT: The verdict is in on Savion’s second chance.