After tonight, we will know who the 24 finalists are for the fourth season of American Idol. Could this be the greatest night of our lives? Probably. We started with 100,000! By the way, I'm looking forward to the 15-hour Presidents' Day weekend special, American Idol: The 99,976 That Couldn't.
The kids are shuffled into a holding pen and forced to wait. And wait. Seacrest demonstrates how an elevator works, then shows us where the judges will be waiting. He also shows us how to pull off a velvet blazer. So how do you do it? With a giant touch. First to head upstairs is Matthew Kester, who dressed himself as a tribute to Scott Weiland today. He gets cut and we're all left to wonder if he'll ever have another chance to wear that pink tie. Then a bunch of other people, most of whom we've never seen before, also get cut. So we're...sad? I dunno. There's not much connection to these phantom people.
David Brown, wearing a snappy bellhop's uniform, takes the ride upstairs to get his verdict. At least if he gets cut, maybe he can catch a gig as an elevator operator at some fancy hotel. Or possibly a doorman at the Paris Hotel & Casino in Vegas. But he makes it through and is forced to return the uniform. Next up is Jessica Sierra, who borrowed Nikki McKibbin's lucky hair for the Hollywood round. Meanwhile, Tammy Nash is bawling once again. The good news is, she keeps her streak alive. Seven straight days of breaking down in tears! Jessica makes it, but Tammy gets cut. I assume she's going to cry so much here that her head will shrivel up like a raisin. But...she's happy? Hmm. There's one you can't figure out.
Nikko Smith is through. Aloha Mischeaux, wearing a recreation of the black sun of Pinador on her neck, makes it through as well. Mikalah Gordon's mom supports her, which is nice to see. Most of the Idol moms think their offspring are terrible singers that have no chance compared to the rest of the people in the room. Mikalah makes it through and celebrates with all of the quiet dignity we've come to expect from her. Out in Malibu, Barbra Streisand exclaims, "THIS is what I sound like? Why didn't somebody tell me?!" Downstairs, it's quite a beautiful moment in reflected glory history.
"Coming up, who stays? And who goes?" Yes. Um...that is exactly what will happen. It's like they're not even trying to tease us any more. Over seven hours have elapsed since the kids first entered the theatre. They only had like 50 people! What's the holdup?? Anthony Fedorov is the next person to make it through. Hopefully the fauxhawk's trendiness won't die before May. I don't want the kid to have to restyle.
After a few successful verdicts, Erin Furey remarks that handling rejection with class is a true mark of talent. Is that foreshadowing of irony? Oh. No. She actually handled it really well. BOR-ING! Faith Gatewood, will you be as noble as Erin Furey? Mmm, I'm guessing not. She's off to a bad start, as she can't tell the difference between an empty hallway and a crowded lobby. "I didn't make it, everybody. You thought I was good, I didn't make it." Who thought she was good? Faith yells at some guy who wants her to calm down, then she complains about how her entire life is nothing, including her worthless boyfriend. So, that went well. Then Jaclyn Crum joins her in a sympathy cry.
Sarah Mather and Celena Rae make it through. I don't really have anything to add to that. Upstairs, some dude and his Mohawk are being sent home. Outside, JP says he doesn't think any of their lives are going to be the same. Actually, and I say this having watched three previous seasons, if you don't make the finals, your life will be exactly the same. Because nobody outside of your family will remember you ever being on the show. "Hey, I'm JP. You might recognize me from American Idol!" "Hmm. Did you make the finals? No? What season were you on? No, no, I can't say I remember you. Sorry. Anyway, the position is in sales and it starts off at $48,000, but you have a six-month review and potential raise based on your commissions. Are you interested?"
Joseph Murena sits down for his verdict and we all have to wonder who left that giant handprint on his shirt. Whoever it is, we must study him for science! Cage him! Jamar Jefferson gets cut, but his bandanna is immediately commissioned for display in the eventual George W. Bush Presidential Library. It'll be on a mannequin along with a Kenny Chesney t-shirt. John Zisa falls to a split decision, which makes me wonder. Anytime a contestant makes it through with a 2-1 vote, is there anybody but Simon who could possibly be the no vote? I'm just wondering.
JP gets the news that he's been passed over for a promotion in favor of some jerk from Albany and the news devastates him. He's given 12 good years to this company! JP tries to shake Randy's hand, but Randy swats it away. Hugs only at this point! You're an almost-finalist, JP! You only get hugs! They ironically play JP out to his own version of "That's Life." Ouch. He only got cut, he's not dying.
After a few more comings and goings, Simon tells Bo Bice that his verdict wasn't unanimous. And he calls him Harold. This must be like being in the principal's office after getting caught with a can of Cope in school. Bo says he understands and starts to pack his bags. He even adds in a polite "sir." But wait! Bo, you've actually made it! Not unanimously, but who cares about that now?! Nobody, that's who! Down in the lobby, Bo and Constantine share an ultra cool metal hug. Gwah!
Amanda Avila and Jaclyn Crum are struggling with the math of remaining contestants and remaining spaces. Jaclyn promises to stay calm. "They do crazy stuff on this show and I'm not doing nothing. Okay, I will cry. Possibly as many as three more times whether I get cut or make it. I just like the way crying feels, okay?!" The girls are sent upstairs together. Jaclyn anxiously awaits the results. Amanda rushes downstairs to celebrate with her family and Seacrest tries to use the frenzy as a distraction to steal the baby he's always wanted.
After Scott Savol ekes through, Warren and Travis Tucker are the last two to face the axe. Randy pulls the super psyche-out job on Travis by starting off with, "I'm sorry to do this." Travis then, naturally, calls Randy a, well, hopefully you heard it, because I certainly can't write it.
Hey, remember all those moments we lived through this season? The laughter, the tears, the recaps, the worst first pitch in Major League history? Well, here they all are again. Enjoy! And enjoy your finalists -- 24 of the most special people in the history of our country, not counting anybody from the world of science.