The tension was thick on Thursday night as the very first elimination round of American Idol Season 9 sent four contestants packing: Janelle Wheeler, Tyler Grady, Ashley Rodriguez and Joe Munoz.
The elimination wasn’t a complete shock—except for maybe Ashley Rodriguez, who was billed as a frontrunner. But for Rodriguez and Wheeler, the judges felt they picked songs that were too big for them, and it looks like America agreed.
Happier parts of the night kicked off with the top 24 singing the first group performance American Boy. There were also some familiar faces dotting the telecast. Season 8 contestant Alison Iraheta returned to the Idol stage singing her new single Scars while Season 8 winner Kris Allen sang Let It Be (the song that helped launch his career!) complete with snapshots of his trip to Haiti playing in the background.
Other highlights included a funny video clip of Grady wearing a bathrobe to his rehearsal and host Ryan Seacrest’s chatter with the judges.