‘American Idol’ Reveals Final Top 24 Contestants

Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens, Janell Wheeler, John Park and other early front-runners make the cut.

In an “American Idol” first, seven contenders for the season-nine top 24 were revealed during Tuesday’s show. On Wednesday (February 17), the 17 remaining semifinalists were unveiled. Now, you can reacquaint yourself with those singers before next week’s live shows kick off:

Andrew Garcia
While Garcia’s story about his parents’ gangbanger past and trying to make a better life for his kid earned him some audition-round screen time, his Hollywood Week performances are what set him apart from the pack. His acoustic reworkings of female-fronted songs — Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” and Adele’s “Chasing Pavements” — earned him a ride to the top 24.

Katie Stevens
The precocious 16-year-old caught our attention with her old-soul vocal chops and compelling backstory. She backed up the positive first impression with Stevie Wonder’s “For Once in My Life” and her group performance of Alicia Keys’ “No One.” Her age begs the question: Will she be the next Jordin Sparks and go all the way or Lisa Tucker and flame out?

Janell Wheeler
Wheeler’s Hollywood Week was filled with ups and downs, between nailing her acoustic take on Estelle’s “American Boy” and choosing the “wrong song” (according to Simon) with Taylor Swift’s “Love Story.” But the judges must have kept her silky-smooth “House of the Rising Sun” audition into account, keeping her around for the semifinals.

John Park
Guest judge Shania Twain praised Park’s “bottom end” during his audition performance of Gary Moore’s “I’ll Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know.” The 20-year-old college student was able to show off all the other facets of his voice during Hollywood Week, earning a coveted spot in the top 24.

Ashley Rodriguez
The Berklee College of Music student proved she knows her way around a diva anthem, tackling Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You” in her audition, Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable” in the group round and Jordin Sparks’ “Battlefield” for her final Hollywood Week performance. Let’s see what divas she’ll take on next.

Jermaine Sellers
Despite Randy Jackson dubbing him “the real deal” during his audition, Sellers made a diva move that could have cost him his dreams. The judges called him out for throwing the band under the bus after his Hollywood Week performance of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” but his talent apparently won out.

Crystal Bowersox
How could the single mom not make it after her performance of Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” was so infectious her competitors joined in as her backup singers at the start of Hollywood Week. She also proved to be quite the threat with her take on Sheryl Crow’s “If It Makes You Happy,” pulling double duty on harmonica and guitar. Will she attempt three instruments at once in the top 24?

Alex Lambert
Will this Lambert fare as well as last year’s same-named runner-up? Well, his wonky track record in Hollywood would seem to indicate otherwise. Alex somehow survived the group round even though he was part of the nightmare ensemble that featured a frazzled Mary Powers. He was then told he had “no spark” while performing Maroon 5′s “Sunday Morning.” But his ukulele-strumming take on Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” apparently won the judges over. Either that, or the last name.

Tyler Grady
While Grady’s first impression made us nervous (shaggy hair, bellbottoms and “Let’s Get It On”? Next!), he surprisingly infused the potentially cheesy Marvin Gaye hit with soul and sensuality. Here’s hoping he surprises us again with new takes on old songs in the semifinals.

Haeley Vaughn
The 16-year-old has been charming the judges since the start, with her desire to be “the first black pop-country mainstream singer.” Her bubbly takes on Carrie Underwood’s “Last Name,” Taylor Swift’s “Change” and Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” sealed the deal.

Lilly Scott
Scott’s bleach-blond hair and peacock-feather earrings might be the first thing you notice about this eclectic songstress, but after hearing her acoustic-guitar cover of Ella Fitzgerald’s “Lullaby of Birdland,” “Idol” fans realized there was a lot more to the sandwich maker.

Lacey Brown
Brown lost out on a top-24 spot last year to eventual finalist Megan Joy, but now it’s her turn. Her quirky “Over the Rainbow” would seem to indicate that Lacey was well worth the wait.

Michelle Delamor
We haven’t seen much from the 22-year-old Miami native, but she proved she could hold her own with other powerhouse singers, joining Charity Vance and fellow semifinalist Ashley Rodriguez for Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable.” She’ll have to make an instant impression next week so she doesn’t fall victim to her lack of exposure.

Siobhan Magnus
Ellen DeGeneres had some harsh words for the 19-year-old — “Don’t be so old” — but Magnus apparently let loose enough on Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City.” Now “Idol” viewers will be able to see another side to her besides her group’s bananas performance of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”

Tim Urban
While his shaggy hair seems to be his most interesting attribute, the judges were won over by Urban’s cover of “Idol” winner David Cook’s “Come Back to Me,” with Simon even saying under his breath, “He’s got a good voice.” Perhaps he’ll show a little more personality in the semifinals.

Joe Muñoz
Muñoz only got a split second of screen time, capably performing “Man in the Mirror” during Hollywood Week, but the judges saw enough in him to send him through.

Paige Miles
While Miles’ name popped up during her group’s performance of “Bad Romance,” all we heard were background vocals from the singer. We’re excited to see what the judges saw in her next week.

Did your favorite make the cut? Are you excited about this year’s top 24? Let us know below!

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