The first elimination show of the new season of “American Idol” has come and gone in history-making fashion. Host Ryan Seacrest announced on the show Thursday (Mar 3) that around 40 million votes were cast, narrowing the field of 24 hopefuls to 10 contestants, the biggest cuts in the show’s history. Three more wild card contestants sang for their lives and were later added by judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson to make a top 13.
When MTV News caught up with the involved parties at Fox’s afterparty to celebrate the “Idol” finalists, there were feelings of relief, joy and, for one judge, discomfort.
“Ugh. It was awful!” Lopez said of the deliberation that went on between the judges to select the three wild cards at the end of the show. “It was so tough. It was so hard, even up until the very last second. It was like, wait a minute, we really didn’t know who to choose at the last minute. It could have gone any way. Even when we did it, when we announced it, we were like, ’Did we do the right thing?’ I don’t know.”
Lopez went on to say that there was not really a right or wrong with so many talented contestants in the mix this year. “[We] were going to send somebody home that maybe deserved to be there,” she said. “Probably a lot of kids [went] home who deserved to be there.”
Stefano Langone snagged one of the lucky three wild card spots with his rendition of Smokie Norful’s “I Need You Now,” a decision he said he made for several reasons.
“I knew if it got to the point where I had to sing for the wild card, that I’d be singing for my life,” Langone explained. “I needed a song that I’d done prior to this point that was the absolute perfect song for my voice, to show my soul, everything that I have, everything I could bring to the table as a musician.”
Despite the anxiety involved in singing for his life, Langone said it was a great experience. “I had to work for that spot. I had to work to where I wanted to be, and I feel really blessed to have gotten that. I’m so thankful and honored and blessed. It’s a dream.”
Fellow wild-card winner Naima Adedapo felt the same way about her song choice, Donny Hathaway’s “For All We Know.”
“It really talks about what I wanted to talk about,” she said. “That is, ’Love me tonight. I need you to put me through tonight. Let me show you who I am.’ ”
Adedapo added that hearing her name called as part of the top 13 had her almost floating on air.
“Words can’t really express it, but it’s like a high,” she said. “It’s like being elevated somewhere. I feel like I wasn’t even on earth anymore, I just kind of was happy and in the moment. I felt like I had an opportunity to really show them how much I really want it.”
Don’t miss “Idol Party Live” at 10 p.m. Thursdays on MTV.com, following the “American Idol” results show, for analysis, celebrity guests and even some karaoke — get in the conversation by tweeting with the hashtag #idolparty! In the meantime, get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page , where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.