The semifinalists move on; Steven Tyler strips. Plus: Four guys will get a second chance

By Annie Barrett
Updated February 24, 2012 at 06:04 AM EST
Fox

American Idol

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The Hollywood Week/Vegas Pool Party portion of American Idol season 11 has been a long, strange trip — and last night Steven Tyler provided a very convincing “closing argument” to the madness with a long, strange strip. A whole lotta ladies have professed their lust for this aging stripper, presumably in order to get on camera but hey, maybe not. As I gaze into Steven’s visible gems — the piles of bracelets, the delicate spots at which skinny calves pour into leopard-print ankle boots — I wonder if I, too, might suddenly have a taste for some Fruit of the Loon.

The moment passes. Hope they were watching!

They probably weren’t, because holy crap that was a long wait for 24 measly names. It took three hours over two nights to show (not even!) 42 kids shuffle miserably down a smoky catwalk. Next week, Idol will be on two hours for three nights. That’s six hours of singing and sobbing. I better haul ass to the custom hanky store and and get me some fancy ladytissues à la Adam Brock.

Here they are, America…Your Top 24!

THE GUYS

Creighton Fraker

Joshua Ledet

Reed Grimm

Heejun Han

Phil Phillips Jr.

Colton Dixon

Adam Brock

Aaron Marcellus

Eben Franckewitz

Chase Likens

Jeremy Rosado

Deandre Brackensick

PLUS one of these four guys: Jermaine Jones (operatic gentle giant who sang a beautiful “I Believe in You and Me” as his final solo), Richie Law (awful cowboy), Johnny Keyser (wait a minute, wasn’t he kicked off?), and David Leathers, Jr. (ohhhh baby give him one more chance). We’ll find out Tuesday which one.

NEXT: The Top 12 Girls THE GIRLS

Jen Hirsh

Haley Johnson

Elise Testone

Erika Van Pelt

Chelsea Sorrell

Baylie Brown

Jessica Sanchez

Brielle Von Hugel

Hallie Day

Shannon Magrane

Hollie Cavanagh — remember her?

Skylar Laine

After my heart broke a little for Adam Brock’s daughter — who has to wear an itchy scratchy gold-sequined headband so her parents have a way of letting people know she’s a girl — it was time to shed some spotlight on Jeremy Rosado. I love that he sang Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” for his Hollywood Week solo, but his final Vegas solo for the judges was even more magical — “I Know You Won’t” by Carrie Underwood. The Dawg, flummoxed, had to yelp “What? What? What?” during Jeremy’s terrifically long high note. “What was that?!” J. Lo demanded to know, expanding on Randy’s inquiry. At the end of the catwalk, J. Lo said they’d been watching Jeremy “very vividly” and had noticed what a kind soul he is. She also called his singing style transcendental, but it came out “trans-i-dental.” I feel like in some strange way, that might explain his very yellow tongue during his solo. It was either trans-i-dental work or a lollipop.

J. Lo got the goosies — which I suspect is a best-selling children’s book I could write, but then of course she’d sue me — during Shannon Magrane‘s final solo, “The Trouble With Love Is.” The trouble with Shannon is that I’m not bowled over by her actual voice. I love that she’s tall and extremely brave for a 16 year-old, and I guess way to go having a famous dad. But I’m not feeling her as a performer just yet.

Three people fail; we never learn their names.

Skylar Laine doubted her chances after country singer Chelsea Sorrell had walked the plank and made it out alive. I hadn’t realized she was the one who had to visit the hospital for “three liters of fluid” during the Hollywood Week Plague, and now I’m wondering if I or any of you are in any way enhanced by knowing this. Oh well, I already typed it, there it is. A scintillating detail emerges. Anyway, this little 17-year-old growler sang-yelled “Fancy” for her final solo. “I love the deep rawness of country,” she told the judges. Steven had an idea: “I hope you put a little rock and roll into that country.” And then Skylar planted an idea in Steven’s brain, because it’s all about the deep rawness of the deadly pools of plasma. “I REALLY WANNA JUMP IN!” Skylar shouted. J. Lo was all for it; Dawggy Dad said no way. Steven just sat silently, the wheels spinning.

“I’ll bring you some deer meat!” Skylar called out behind her. So it was all worth it.

Hallie Day, Chase Likens, and Aaron Marcellus made it through without a hitch — or any footage of their final solos.

NEXT: The traumatic final rounds of ‘This or That?’ Deandre Brackensick and his tremendous head of hair wowed everyone with his final solo of “This Woman’s Work.” Apparently J. Lo had been dying to hear him sing this since she’d first heard his voice. [cough] Yeah right. [cough] He’s a confident performer and so, so pretty, but I’m not sure there’s enough dimension in that falsetto. If you squinted really hard at the faraway shot of his solo, he looked like early ’90s Michael Bolton, or maybe Jesus. So either way, that’s a plus. “GOOD LOOKING,” bellowed Randy as Deandre walked away. Perfect.

Time to break some teenage hearts in the dreaded “only one of you can stay” final conferences! Up first: Ariel Sprague, Shelby Tweten, and Hollie Cavanagh. Hollie’s season 10 audition spanned two different segments of the Austin episode, so I’m shocked the producers didn’t want to trot out that footage. She is truly the kept woman of season 11. We had never heard her sing, and I think her shiniest moment prior to last night’s spotlight segment was when she briefly hugged Jermaine Jones. And that was in the same episode! It’s baffling. Anyway, Hollie showed much more confidence during her final solo, “The Change,” than she had last year. I’m glad she’s through, but poor Ariel! I loved Ariel’s surprisingly powerful (but not showboaty) voice in the Hollywood group round, and J. Lo said her smile lit up the stage. Poor Shelby, too, obviously. Poor all of us.

The David Leathers Jr. vs. Eben Franckewitz final showdown was cringe-worthy in every possible way, mostly because I’m a sick bitch who decided to play back the “moment of truth” — when David leaned his head back in terror and Eben sank his head in his hands in grateful shock — about 10 times. WTF is wrong with me? Anyway, Steven pointed out David’s “overconfidence” and Eben’s “underconfidence.” I’m okay with this decision, but I probably would have picked Jermaine Jones over either of these two.

Jermaine will get that chance on Tuesday. See you then for a special recap on a special night. Always remember that you are special. Now go jump in a pool.

How do you like the Top 24? Which four girls do you think will get a second chance if they decide to extend the baker’s dozen concept to the ladies?

Follow @EWAnnieBarrett

Read more:

Watch Hollie Cavanagh’s season 10 audition — VIDEO

Wednesday’s recap: On the Threshold of ‘Le Rêve’

Watch Baylie Brown’s season 6 audition here — VIDEO

Deandre Brackensick, Jessica Sanchez early frontrunners for hairography, cuteness

Is Reed Grimm the new Casey Abrams?

‘American Idol’: 10 Hollywood Week Breakouts — PHOTO GALLERY

Ask Annie anything about ‘Idol’ (or whatever) in the video player below. To see her answers to previous questions, click on the text links below the picture.

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