The final 48 take the stage at the House of Blues.

By Stephanie Schomer
March 19, 2015 at 05:27 PM EDT
Michael Becker/Fox
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What’s Hollywood Showcase week? Who knows! We’re about to find out.

Hollywood Week is over, you guys. And that means there are 48 contestants left, and they are off to the House of Blues. This is a new step for this show, so anything could happen, I suppose! But this final challenge—performing in front of a live audience—is actually going to tell us a lot about these kids. This isn’t the audition room, this isn’t playing to a half-full theater of your friends, this is a real show. Remember why last season was so dull? Because the contestants had fantastic voices and no stage presence. So this step is, hopefully, guaranteeing a top 24 that can do it all.

Michael Simeon (yep, still J.Lo’s prom date), really has a great, smooth voice, and he’s got that straight-dude thing going on where he’s quirky enough to wear a bow tie but his jeans are still too big and he’s kind of a bro, which ladies seem to like. So I think he’s a good bet. He could use an extra dose of personality, but I have to imagine the Idol team sees $$$ when they look at him. He sang “Classic” and rapped a little, which he called a huge risk. Risk, sure. Huge risk? Jury’s still out. So Michael performs and we immediately cut to his weird starry-lit interview with the judges, positioned at the end of that very long runway that this show just loves so much. J.Lo is just so happy to tell him he’s in the top 24.

Remember how I came around on Loren Lott last week? I’ve changed my mind. She’s obviously talented, but this version of “My Heart Will Go On” (a weird thing to sing at the House of Blues, right?) is shrill, and I just don’t want to hear more of her. I’m so sorry.

Imagine my relief when Harry agrees with me. Thank god. But then, he lets her though. So Michael Simeon and Loren Lott, our first two finalists. Even though I don’t love her (I’m hoping I can be won over, seriously!), her reaction is super endearing.

I forgot that Adam Ezegelian, Idol’s resident toy designer, was still in the game! I don’t know why, but I thought he got kicked off. My apologies, Adam, seriously.

Guess what? They let him through. Is everyone going through tonight? We have to get rid of 24 people. Did anyone tell the judges?

Cody Fry gets the boot, poor sweet thing, so I guess someone did, in fact, tell the judges. Elimination time is here.

Ugh, Lovey James, with her silly name and gum-wrapper-looking headband. I’ve liked her leading up to this, but she’s sounding pretty flat on “Wings” and seems to be attempting to channel Meghan Trainor in a displeasing way. But when she meets with the judges, floppy hat in tow, she gets through. The judges seem super excited about her—“She’s adorable,” “She’s gonna be great,” etc. etc.—so we’ll see where she goes.

NEXT: Two contestants are forced to face-off.

Quick eliminations: J. None and his teddy bear, Reno, Zach (honestly, who’s that?), and Hannah (again, who’s that?). Next up, Adana Duru, who did not impress J.Lo at Hollywood Week but certainly seems to be impressing her at the House of Blues—she’s kind of throwing her into convulsions. Her performance of “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” is super passionate, super committed, and frankly, kind of killer. The performance was great, and the voice was on point. Perfect, no. But she earned it with that show. So despite Harry’s fourth attempt of the night to trick people into thinking they’re going home, Adana goes through, which is fantastic news for all of us.

Maddie Walker performs (I still don’t really love it) and the judges dismiss her. BUT, they immediately start second guessing their decision. Might they change their minds? More on that later.

Next up is Rachel (???) and they’re ready to tell her yes, but they’ve just been so captivated by Maddie’s weird blond/blood red ombre hair, that they’re forcing the two to do the ever-so-cruel on-the-spot sing-off. Judges, you are horrible people. You had all damn day to make this decision. Commit. Don’t torture these poor girls!

Maddie, with a total deer-in-headlights fear in her eyes, kills her impromptu performance, which is vocally the most pleasing I’ve heard her sound. Rachel’s rendition “Son of a Preacher Man” (my second favorite song of all time), is fine. Good, really. They’re both great singers, but I honestly don’t have strong feelings either way.

The judges ultimately decide to keep Maddie, which is great news for her, but truly TERRIBLE news for Rachel. She walked in there with a spot in the top 24! And the judges got confused, and they took it away from her. I get it, may the best person move forward, but that was a really, truly, horrible way to treat Rachel as a human being.

Whatever, that was terrible, moving on.

Clark Beckham, precious hottie busker, does a truly rousing rendition of “Georgia On My Mind,” and I don’t remember him being this powerful yet this season. Loving it. You know who else is loving it? ALL THE LADIES in the audience of the House of Blues. Harry can hardly contain himself watching the crowd’s reaction. Clark comes off like a professional. He’s playing off the band, killing it vocally but not playing it safe AT ALL. This is a performer you want to a) hear on the radio and b) play live. Nicely done, you hot busker. Top 24 for Clark!

NEXT: The verdict for tiny Daniel Seavey.

Daniel Seavey, flirtin’ with J.Lo, doing a Kris Allen-type version of “Straight Up.” Not his best performance, but he’s so cute and nice and genuinely talented (and frankly, the show needs him for the demographic, if I’m being cynical) and he’s in our top 24! You guys know I love him, so this doesn’t upset me whatsoever.

So Tyanna’s gotta make it through, right? She’s been one of the standouts all season, and she’s indisputably one of the most interesting, unique, engaging acts we’ve got. Singing Queen Bey’s “Love On Top,” she kills her key change, kills with her energy. She’s such a natural. Verdict? TOP 24. (How much do we love her for saying she basically blacked out during that performance? She’s everything.)

Dueling eliminations: Rayvon and Shannon. If they get rid of either of them, they’re fools. Shannon, admittedly, isn’t as great in front of the live audience as I would have liked her to be, but she held her own, for sure. She’s been consistently excellent (except for that Hollywood Week lyric flub), but her voice is wild.

Rayvon? Top 24. (As if there were ever any question.)

Shannon? Top 24. Good for you, girl.

My girl Jax sounds fab as ever on Lady Gaga’s (congrats on the engagement!) “You and I.”  She takes a long dramatic pause in the middle of the song, and it doesn’t hit the way she wanted it to, but I’m hoping the judges appreciate the effort and see that she’ll be interesting on the live shows. J.Lo didn’t love it, and tells her as much in the weird starry long-runway room. She calls her green, which is fair, to a point, but she’s too good to let go! The judges know that, duh, she’s through. Phew. That one made me a little nervous. But that’s that! A quick wrap to tonight’s show.

So these elimination shows have gotten a little sleepy, yes? The good news is, tomorrow is our last one, and then we have what is shaping up to be a really solid top 24. We’ve got some big contestants left tomorrow—Mark Andrews, Shi, Nick Fradiani. Who are we crossing our fingers for?

Ryan Seacrest hosts as Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan guide aspiring singers on their way to superstardom.
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