Feb. 23, 2012 at 10:59 PM ET
If you’re reading this, congratulations. Steven Tyler’s show-stopping striptease and waterplay at the end of Thursday’s “American Idol” episode did not cause you to go blind. You’re one of the lucky ones.
But not as lucky as 24 of the show’s contestants. “Idol” finished picking its semifinalists on Thursday, and while there weren’t a lot of surprises, the show did feature the usual drama that naturally occurs when a group of desperate hopefuls has to sit together in a crowded room, waiting to be called one by one into the chamber where the three judges will let them know if they have a future in singing, or if they should go back to their day job.
First of all, for those of you who lost sleep after Wednesday’s cliffhanger, fear not. Adam Brock got to make the call home he was hoping for. “I’m not able to come home right now,” he told his wife, adding, “Tell [infant daughter] Whitney she’s going to see her dad on TV!”
Shannon Magrane was also a predicable yes vote. Steven owes her that much for the inappropriate comments he made in front of her family at her audition, and they still weigh on his mind. “Does your daddy still hate me?” he asked, though well after she had left earshot.
Of course, while she was learning her fate, host Ryan Seacrest was bringing up that very topic to her parents.
“Somebody said, ‘Awkward,’ ” her mother said.
“America,” Ryan answered.
Not awkward, but also perhaps not smart, was Jeremy Rosado’s question. “Are you sure?” he asked the judges when he received their congratulations. What if they had taken a step back and said, “You know what, we’re really not sure. Forget it.”
Among the other non-surprises to make the semifinals were Skylar Laine, Hallie Day, DeAndre Brackensick and Aaron Marcellus. Chase Likens was a little more of a shock, only because we haven’t seen as much of him.
Brackensick also is someone we haven’t seen a ton of this season, but “Idol” fans will remember him as one of the final cuts from a year ago. Marcellus was part of the supergroup Groove Sauce, which sent four of its five members to the semifinals. (Pity poor Nick Boddington, who was bounced out of the competition in Vegas.)
As for those who got the bad news, Jermaine Jones took the news the hardest, sobbing before the judges and ducking as best he could behind his mom on the way out. Also, it’s hard not to feel sorry for those who got this far only to become stealth eliminations, kicked out without even having their names flash on screen. In particular, poor Wendy Taylor not only got no prominent airtime all season, she got tossed off Thursday with no fanfare, and at 29 years old, can’t audition again.
Most of the drama came late, as “Idol” continues its beloved tradition of forcing the last few hopefuls to walk the green mile and hear their fate together. This year, the women were Hallie Cavanagh, Ariel Sprague and Shelby Tweeten, with Cavanagh advancing. She then had to walk out and pretend not to be totally thrilled because Tweeten and Sprague were standing right alongside her, devastated.
As for the guys, it came down to David Leathers Jr. and Eben Franckewitz, and the chance that Franckewitz could win over the Bieber Believers was too much for the judges to resist. Leathers got sent home – but perhaps not for long. In the much ballyhooed twist, either Leathers, Jones, Richie Law or Johnny Keyser will return as a 13th male semifinalist next week.
At that point, their fate will be in the hands of the voters. Because finally, more than six weeks after the season premiere, the audition rounds are over and the live shows begin next week.
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