On Wednesday, “American Idol” promised all night long to reveal its top 24 contestants, but we ultimately found out the identity of only five semi-finalists. On a Beatles-themed evening, we said hello to the likes of karaoke host (and onetime tormenter of fellow singer Jacee Badeaux) Clint Jun Gamboa, little featured but very soulful singer/songwriter Paul McDonald, and sweet-voiced Naima Adedapo, who left behind a life of scrubbing toilets at a Milwaukee concert venue for life crooning in Idol Land.
Yet we also said goodbye to a bunch of reality show hopefuls we’d come to know well. As we await word on Thursday (February 24) of the rest of the top 24, let’s take a moment to remember some of season 10’s most memorable singers who got the boot on Wednesday.
We can wonder why producers ever invited the alarmingly fragile 25-year-old to Hollywood — only falling onto her knees and bursting into riotous tears at the New Jersey audition earned her a golden ticket — but there’s no doubting that Sullivan became one of the season’s most recognizable faces (even if that face was most often contorted in tears). While she wanted to be the first show-tune pop star, Sullivan instead became another contestant who melted in the spotlight. She attempted to quit during group week, forgot her lyrics during a subsequent solo performance, and then got married, seemingly on a whim, to her boyfriend when the show made a Vegas stopover. Her wedding present from “Idol” producers? A one-way ticket back home.
Most “Idol” observers believed Medina was a lock to make the top 24. Not only did he possess an above-average instrument, but he arrived on the scene with a heartbreaking backstory. His fiancée suffered a traumatic brain injury following a car accident and Medina became her caretaker . Wheelchair-bound, she was ushered into the audition room in Milwaukee and made to clutch Medina’s golden ticket after his admirable take on Script’s “Breakeven.” He went on to be featured often in Hollywood Week but left judge Jennifer Lopez in tears when she said by way of booting him off on Wednesday, “It honestly breaks my heart to say this. …”
Molly DeWolf Swensen
We were seriously kind of surprised this White House intern was still in the competition. After being heavily featured during her Milwaukee audition — and judge Steven Tyler exclaiming of the high-heeled, blond-haired singer, “Who knew what was goin’ on at the White House?” — the 22-year-old virtually disappeared from the screen . When she popped back up on Wednesday, we were reminded of her killer audition of “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.” Alas, she’ll be heading back east to help President Obama run the country rather than assisting Randy Jackson’s attempt to rescue “Idol” ratings.
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