Breaking off from the tradition, "American Idol" announced seven out of the Top 24 finalists early. Those who made it among others are Casey James, the Texan who took off his shirt before the judges, and Michael "Big Mike" Lynche whose admittance to the final round was already spilled by his father to a local paper.
Casey and Big Mike are joined by Didi Benami, 23, of Los Angeles; Lee Dewyze, 23, Mount Prospect, Ill.; Katelyn Epperly, 19, West Des Moines, Iowa; Aaron Kelly, 16, Sonestown, Pa. and Todrick Hall, 24, Arlington, Texas. These bunch of people stood out among the 71 contestants who made it in the group round last week. They advanced from Top 46 to Top 24.
In this week's round, 71 contestants were separated in rooms after they were given one last chance to impress the judges in a solo performance without feedback from the judges. Casey sang Colbie Caillat's "Bubbly", taking the risk of a girly song, while Big Mike belted out a Jason Mraz song with a guitar. There were brief montages of the contestants performing but Aaron came to the spotlight for forgetting the lyrics to Sarah McLachlan's song.
Ellen DeGeneres was given the first task of announcing the fate of Room 1 where Big Mike was in. Lilly Scott, Siobhan Magnus, Tyler Grady, Thaddeus Johnson, and Katie Stevens among others went through. Simon Cowell headed to Room 2 which did not make it. These failed ones included little voice Charity Vance, rocker mom Mary Powers and police officer Hope Johnson.
In the third room, Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson teased them a bit before announcing that they went through. Some of the recognized ones were Janell Wheeler, Ahsley Rodrigues, John Park, Angela Martin, Jessica Furnery and Shelby Dressel.
The next 17 semifinalists of Top 24 will be announced on Wednesday, February 17 episode.