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January 19
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February 9
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February 23

In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN
Host Ryan Seacrest
Judges Randy Jackson
Jennifer Lopez
Steven Tyler
Mentor Jimmy Iovine
Creator Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP Nigel Lythgoe
Ken Warwick
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Simon Fuller
Packager 19 TV & FremantleMedia North America
Origins CBS Television City, Los Angeles
Web americanidol.com
Airs 8p Wed & Thurs, Fox

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Final Judgment Part 2
February 24

Last night, the top 40 returned from Vegas to face the Final Judgment. Naima Adedapo, Clint Jun Gamboa, Haley Reinhart, Paul McDonald, and Ashthon Jones would emerge on the other side of the lonely road as Top 24 contenders vying for your votes next week. But the road ended for Chris Medina... and perhaps for a judge as well. We pick up the Final Judgment from there...

An undisclosed hangar...

After a few moments with Randy and Steven... she takes a short break. But the show must goes on, and it does so with Karen Rodriguez. She's one of Jennifer's greatest fans... She is known for taking big chances. Karen decides to take one more with "No Me Queda Mas" by Selena... It pays off. The bilingual beauty is IN. She promises that we haven't seen anything yet.

Robbie Rosen was a breath of fresh air, nailing soul-stirring classics. Will "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" lock him in? YES!

Tatynisa Wilson is next. Hollywood Week was a challenge with this one. She took full advantage of her chances with "Unbreak My Heart" by Toni Braxton... it's worth it. SHE's in. The news would not be good with Brittany Mazur and Jimmy Allen.

But what about Tim Halperin? He sings an original number with his final shot... Big risk... Big payoff. He's in. What about his partner Julie Zorrilla? Another big risk... another big payoff.

Next up, a pair of country boys, Scotty "Babylockthemdoorsandturnthemlightsdownlow" McCreery and John Wayne Schulz. Scotty is first, as he had to face... not singing "Your Man" by Josh Turner. He sings another Josh Turner song for his last chance, "Long Black Train". "I know you can't tell... but I'm a quarter Puerto Rican." That's nice. But is it 100% yes? Yep. Would there be room for John Wayne? Nope.

Jovany Barreto heads for his judgment bared it all... for his final performance of his "Your Man" tune, "Angel" by Jon Secada... Angels brought him here... but talent will keep him around.

Halfway up, halfway home. Lauren Turner was a hard-working housekeeper who worked hard up to her performance of "Steal Away". But will she steal another spot in the Top 24? She... WILL! Not following her, Ti-Juan Strong and Eryn Kelly.

Next up, Rachel Zevita, who has only made it as far as Hollywood in season 6. Now, four seasons later, she stands in the face of her final judgment. She chose "Speechless" by Lady GaGa on her final performance. She hopes that the feathers on her shoes will take her to the live shows... They WILL!

Kendra Chantelle is hoping to get a spot in the Top 24... She tried to open up after being too stiff in Nashville. She did. But was it enough after performing the song that she started her journey with, "Fallin'"? It WAS.

Hoping to follow her is Jordan Dorsey, as he remembers schooling a few of the players in Hollywood in both word and deed. In Vegas, he got dragged down to earth. He hoped "So High" by John Legend was impeccable... It WAS.

Sixteen spots have been claimed. With eight more to go, let's pause 10 seconds for station identification. This is "American Idol" on Fox Broadcasting Company.

(10 seconds lapse)

Welcome back from commercials, everyone. Next up is Lauren Alaina, who enters the final walk in a poofy dress. She has real talent and a way to show it off. In Las Vegas, things took a turn for the worst when she delivered a shaky performance. She tried one more time with "Unchained Melody".... and redemption is hers. She's IN.

Next is Stefano Langone, who had to overcome a lot of obstacles just to have his moment. He sang a song of his own in the last shot... And it paid off for him. HE's in.

Just after 7p, and spots are at a commodity. Jackie Wilson missed the words on her final performance of "Because of You". That misstep costs her a shot in the final 24. Jacob Lusk has been sailing through on his voice and his personality. And as we've said before... This cat right here. This. Cat. Right. Here. "A Song for You" hit all the high notes... ALL OF THEM... and he's in.

After 9p local time... we're down to eight more... Pia Toscano is one of them. NYC in Harmony wouldn't be the same without her in group day. Then she tore it up with Karen in Las Vegas. But it was when she sang "Doesn't Mean Anything" by Alicia Keys... that's when she had her moment. And it gets her into the Top 24.

James Durbin is next. He's been a fighter all through the process, and his distinct style either hit home or fell short. He would need to deliver a killer SFYL if he wanted to survive with "A Change Is Gonna Come". His high register and long range sends him into the Top 24 guns blazing.

At 9:30, we're down to six. Casey Abrams is fighting for one of two spots in the guys' bracket. He was fearless and nothing short of versatile in the Hollywood and Vegas Round. He wants to prove that people that look like Seth Rogen can be sexy with Peggy Lee's "Why Don't You Do Right". Is it smooth enough for the top 24? IT IS.

The final two ladies - Thia Megia and Jessica Cunningham - enter. Thia came into this as the natural talent that went from strength, but would it carry her into the highest of all TV stages, or would it falter her? Jessica, on the other hand, was a dark horse all the way through, using seven years of Idol experience to her benefit. This road would end with a fork. One Idol dream continues. One will fall. The last female through to the Top 24... is... THIA. Jessica has made it this far before... and the second time is just as hard. Yeah, happy birthday indeed.

Down to three guys... Brett Loewenstern, Jacee Badeaux, and Colton Dixon... and they're all fighting for ONE spot. Jacee and Brett relied on charm and being different. They were in the same group of outcasts in Group Day. The two have been buddies ever since. Jacee's SFYL: "Gone Too Soon"... eerily prophetic, as he is gone too soon. Brett tried his own songs... and that risk didn't pay off. Colton Dixon has been flying under the radar... but his potential started to shine in Hollywood. The final spot goes to... COLTON.

So to recap...

Casey Abrams
Naima Adedapo
Lauren Alaina
Jovany Barreto
Kendra Chantelle
Colton Dixon
Jordan Dorsey
James Durbin
Clint Jun Gamboa
Tim Halperin
Ashthon Jones
Stefano Langone
Jacob Lusk
Scotty McCreery
Paul McDonald
Thia Megia
Haley Reinhart
Karen Rodriguez
Robbie Rosen
Pia Toscano
Lauren Turner
Tatynisa Wilson
Rachel Zevita
Julie Zorrilla

These are the 24 who'll sing for your votes, America. Next week, the deepest public cut in Idol history, as the top 24 become the FINAL 12. The road to Nokia Theater LA Live begins NEXT TIME!

To see extras from this episode, go to www.americanidol.com.