From left: Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson
After two nights of live performances, American Idol‘s top 25 contestants – 12 women and 13 men – got a big reality check on Thursday as they faced their first elimination, which would cut their numbers down to just 13.
For 12 singers the dream of winning Idol would evaporate.
Ryan Seacrest announced that 33 million votes were cast over two days and explained how the dramatic night would unfold: The five guys and five girls who earned the most votes would be declared safe. Then, six singers would take the stage to try and prove themselves to judges Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler in hopes of getting one of three wild card spots.
So who’s in and who’s out? Keep reading for results:
The Top 10
1. Phillip Phillips
2. Jessica Sanchez
3. Hollie Cavanagh
4. Joshua Ledet
5. Heejun Han
6. Shannon Magrane
7. Skylar Laine
8. Elise Testone
9. Colton Dixon
10. Jermaine Jones
And for the wild card spots, the judges first called Jennifer Hirsh, who sang “Oh! Darlin’.” “You went for the gusto,” Randy told her. “It was a good performance.”
Jeremy Rosado was next – and he sang “I Know You Won’t” by Carrie Underwood, fighting off tears. “I believe in this kid. I believe in ‘Jer Bear’,” Jennifer told him.
Brielle Von Hugel put her heart into “Someone Like You” by Adele but the judges weren’t impressed. “Brielle may be in a little bit of trouble,” Randy said. “That wasn’t great.”
Deandre Brackensick sang “Georgia On My Mind,” and Jennifer appreciated his effort. “I’m feeling the fire from you,” she said. “You should sing like that every single time you get up there.”
Erika Van Pelt took on Lady Gaga‘s “Edge of Glory,” and the crowd went wild. “Out of the park, baby, out of the park!” Steven screamed.
And the last one to get another chance was Reed Grimm, who performed “Use Me” by Bill Withers. “You’re probably one of the most different artists we’ve had on the show,” Randy told him.
In the final minutes of the two-hour show, the judges revealed their picks for the three remaining spots in season 11′s top 13. And they were Erika, Deandre and Jeremy, who fell to the floor in tears before rushing to the judges’ panel for hugs.
American Idol returns Wednesday, when the contestants pay tribute toWhitney Houston.
PHOTOS: See a gallery of the top 13
DeAndre Brackensick. The judges are clearly enamored with the prospects of this California teen, who was raised singing Hawaiian pop, but the falsetto he favors seems to polarize viewers/voters.
Hollie Cavanagh. Rarely seen until this week, this British-born Texas teen got enough votes to make the Top 10, but she’s a true wild card. Her performance of Christina Aguilera’sReflection suggests things could go either way for her.
Colton Dixon. You’d have a hard time creating a contestant that could appeal to the Idol voting demographic on more levels than this Tennessean, who was eliminated just before semifinals last season.
Heejun Han. He’s not a bad singer, but his presence in the finals is as much a testament to his deadpan humor and offbeat tweets as it is to his onstage performances.
Jermaine Jones. This deep-voiced “gentle giant” got called back to the show as a ratings stunt, so it’s hard not to see his inclusion as a sympathy vote. He’ll have to show a lot more to get much farther.
Skylar Laine. A rollicking semifinals performance of The Faces’ 1971 rock hit Stay With Me vaulted this spunky Mississippi teen to the front of the pack of this season’s country-singing contenders.
Joshua Ledet.Idol has seen its share of smooth-voiced R&B crooners, but very few singers from the gospel shouter tradition. Ledet has the potential to be one of the season’s most dynamic performers.
Shannon Magrane. The 6-foot-tall daughter of a former major-league pitcher displays a poise beyond her years. Her performance of a contemporary Christian song may have helped her lock in a large, dedicated segment of Idol voters.
Phillip Phillips. An early favorite because of the way he turns songs inside out to suit his Dave Matthews-inspired style. Smart song choices and creative interpretations could take him deep into the finals.
Jeremy Rosado. Nice guys don’t finish last on Idol, and they don’t come much nicer than Rosado. He’ll have a hard time winning, but many tears will be shed when he leaves.
Jessica Sanchez. This 16-year-old delivered a stunning performance of Jennifer Hudson’s Love You I Do after a week of vocal problems and voice rest. Who knows what she’s capable of when she’s healthy?
Elise Testone. At 28, Testone has as much professional polish as anybody in the competition. Her self-assured, show-closing Adele cover immediately vaulted her to the front of the pack for the women.
Erika Van Pelt. This DJ comes with a confidence and a rich, deep alto that makes her a nice alternative to the less-experienced singers who want to live in the stratosphere.