American Idol Recap: And Then There Were … 25

AMERICAN IDOL: Hollywood: L-R: Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson on AMERICAN IDOL airing Wednesday, Feb. 15 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Photo: Michael Becker/FOX

We pick up where we left off, with white-chocolate-with-hints-of-lavender Adam Brock in the hot seat, and our judges having made the realization that they can make him cry just by staring at him. So what do you suppose they do for roughly 37 minutes? Poor Adam might as well have an apple in his mouth the way they roast him on a spit here. He gives the usual spiel about how this is his dream, and how he’s doing it for his daughter, and how, “in three words: I have to sing.” I don’t know whether to blame his math teacher here, or his English for letting him think “hafta” is a word.

Anyway, after a good, cleansing cry, they let us all off the non-hook and reveal that he is through. If you were in doubt about that, please call me and say these words out loud: “This is exactly my first time at the rodeo.”

Jeremy Rosado is up next, and there’s not too much suspense here either. Jeremy is exactly the kind of overly-theatrical ham hock this show loves. In his final performance on the stage of Las Vegas’s Le Reve, he opens his jaw to reveal a bright-yellow tongue, which means he rubbed a dandelion on it and he likes butter. He is through.

Jennifer, in evaluating Jeremy, says this: “We watched you very vividly, and it was transcendental.” Earlier in the show, Adam told us that he would sing “even if time and money and resources weren’t an option.” Discussion time! True or false: we have stopped caring what words mean and are inching ever closer to a time when we communicate through noises and inflections, like dolphins. (True. Great discussion, guys.)

Shannon Magrane has the young-achiever-with-famous-dad thing that makes her this year’s Ayla Brown. This girl can really sing, and I wish her well, and mostly I wish the producers would stop replaying that moment when Steven Tyler called her “hot, humid and happening.” But they will not, because she is through.

On the Tyler tip, I have a proposal. As Elvis is “The King” and Bruce Springsteen is “The Boss,” let’s start calling Steven Tyler “The Wiccan Catherine Keener.” I appreciate your support in this matter.

Scott Dangerfield is a kid I remember from last year, who I then forgot last year, who apparently came back this year and I never found out. Unsurprisingly, he gets rejected. Surprisingly, he is wearing what is not so much a Cosby sweater as a Flip Wilson in Charlie & Company sweater. All those who get that reference, please report to my house for a good, firm handshake.

Hey, do you like that Reba McIntyre song “Fancy,” but wonder what it would be like if someone were singing it at the gates of Hell? Skylar Laine has you covered. She performs in front of a bare tree, surrounded by a roiling moat of lava, and I actually say — out loud, for the first time in my life — “This needs tumblers.” The judges spare her soul and send her to the top 24.

Also through, in a great big hurry: Hallie Day! Chase Likens! Aaron Marcellus! They have given themselves three whole hours to reveal 24 names, why are they rushing so? Ryan teases “a shocking turn of events that will change everything,” a promise that is accompanied by the sounds of splashing and screaming. Oh wait: did Final Judgment happen on the day the Wynn hotel capsized, when only a mismatched group of scrappy survivors fought their way to an escape? I guess we’ll find out.

Deandre Brackensick is one of those guys who you just look at and know he’s got a version of “This Woman’s Work.” Sure enough, he does and it gets him into the top 24. As he walks the long aisle back to the holding pen, his ugly cry and luscious mane make him look exactly like Taylor Dayne in the bridge part of the “Tell It To My Heart” video. If you were born after 1988, I’m sorry you can’t participate in today’s recap.

Gentle giant Jermaine Jones — no, seriously, that’s what Ryan calls him twice — does his final performance in a sweater vest with nothing underneath. Please do not give Rick Santorum ideas, Jermaine Jones. There is much holding-pen footage of him waiting for Final Judgment, quivering so hard I fear he will vomit his body weight. His version of “I Believe In You & Me” is shaky and way too bass-y and he doesn’t make it through, but his sobbing will serve as a perfect audition for the role of Gertie in “Tyler Perry’s Medea Sees an E.T.”

And then comes the part where they bring out more than one auditioner at a time and only choose one, which adds nothing and seems extra cruel to everyone involved. Ariel Sprague, Shelby Tweten and Holly Cavanaugh are trotted out for the last girls’ spot, which Holly gets despite being the one I remember least. All three sets of parents are waiting in the holding pen and nobody quite knows how to react, and Ryan attempts to Coach Taylor the situation, which is not one of his strengths. Weird.

Boy-wise, it’s down to David Leathers Jr. and Eben Franckewitz, who are infants. And the last spot goes to … Eben! There is an endless tracking shot of David crying while Eben serves up some teenage John Cusack awkward joyfulness right behind him. Again, the parents are waiting just outside, and as Eben jumps into his mother’s arms, Eben’s dad lunges forward, comes face-to-face with a crestfallen David, and straight-up recoils. It is simply mouthwatering. Ryan puts his hand on David’s shoulders and says “Where’s that chin?” Ryan Seacrest: Discount Life Coach.

Now that the pressure’s off, Steven Tyler decides to disrobe and jump in the Le Reve stage-moat thing, and his upper body looks like you left an onion out too long and it grew nipples. He swims right out of the room, yelling, “I’m coming, Mom!” That’s the Wiccan Catherine Keener for you.

Finally, it is time for our shocking twist! Are you sitting down? They are going to add one more boy to the top 24, and it will be one of these four: Johnny Keyser, Jermaine Jones, Richie Law or David Leathers Jr.! Yes, sure, you can stand back up now. Where are you going?

American Idol Recap: And Then There Were … 25