VIDEO: Tears, Tantrums And Celebrations As American Idol Gets Closer To The Final 24

Feb. 17 2010, Published 4:57 a.m. ET

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American Idol featured more solo auditions on Tuesday night as the 71 contestants battled it out for a coveted spot in the final 24 - and just 7 made it through.

Contestant one Angela Martin opened with her swingy version of Kanye West’s American Boy, and judge Kara Dioguardi bobbed her head in appreciation and mouthed “I love her.”

Casey James, the handsome crooner who went shirtless in his first audition, was nervous about the dancing aspect of the show. “I’ve never danced in my life,” but he managed to impress the judges with his version of Afterward, in a backstage interview, James claimed to not be “super excited.” about his performance. But in the end, he was chosen for one of the coveted places.

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26 year-old Jermaine Sellars pulled a diva move after his performance, offering a senseless explanation of a change he’d made to the song, Man in the Mirror, and admonishing the band.

Siobhan Magnus was told “Have fun and don’t be so old,” by Ellen Degeneres.

Crystal Bowersox brought down the house with Sheryl Crow’s “If it makes you Happy.”

Alex Lambert played the ukulele and sang Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours and cameras cut to clips of him being admonished.  ‘You had no spark,” Simon told him.” “You are the weakest link,” a fellow performer remarked.

AI next featured Thadeous Johnson and his hyper supportive mother, celebrating his successes and  consoling him through his failures. Thadeous performed but the band started playing Bubby. He shot them a look to kill and said, “I’m not Bubbly, I’m the Man in the Mirror.” After an awkward silence, he said “but I’m a bubbly person.”

Anxiety was reaching a fevered pitch.

Next up Charity Vance sang, Set Me Free, and was chosen to go to the next round.

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Idol hopeful Mary Powers sang Katy Perry’s Hot N Cold. Cameras showed her with her young daughter. But, alas, in the end she was not selected.

Lloyd Thomas, 29, got emotional talking about his wife and his kids back home “how much this is going to change everything for them.”

The singing police officer was very confident in his performance, saying “It went very well.” But he overestimated the judges reaction. He was not chosen for the next round.

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“Emotionally fragile" Hope Johnson, 20, shared about her poverty stricken childhood and paid homage to AI alum Chris Daughtry, with Home. Ellen praised her energy and voice.

Johnson struggled with the lyrics during audition and during practice with the band, and broke down in tears, but nailed her performance, singing Boston’s More Than a Feeling. She was picked to be among the 36 going into the second hour. In the end though, she was not picked to be in the final 24.

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Aaron Kelly, 16,  shared his emotional story about being adopted by his aunt.  He sang Sarah Mclachlan’s Angel.

22-year-old Ashley Rodriguez performed Battlefield by another AI alum, Jordin Sparks.

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Janell Wheeler claimed to be “struggling with my voice all week". And had an emotional break down after singing Taylor Swift’s song Romeo and Juliet. “I couldn’t handle the pressure.” But at the end of the first hours, she was one of the chosen few.

The rigorous schedule was taking a toll on contestants as judges divided them into yes and no groups.

Three judges went into room one, Ellen faked everyone out and made them think they were going home, and then at the last second, told them they were through to the next round and everyone was overjoyed.

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Room two was sent home, and the singers were inconsolable.

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Room three erupted in celebration after being chosen for the next round.

26-year-old Michael Lynche’s wife was giving birth to their first child. “How do think you’ve done over the last 2 or 3 days,” Simon asked him. “Our problem is that you don’t feel like you can do this.” But he made it through and he said “This is for my wife and my little girl Layla, Big Daddy’s comin’ home.”

Didi Benami confided about losing her best friend during her audition, and took her place on the stage with the 3 judges to find out her fate. She was in. And she too broke down in tears, so happy to have been picked.

Katelyn Epperly, the curly haired blond shared her pain about her parents splitting. Ellen teased her when she took to the stage to find out how she fared, dragging out the answer, but in the end, she was chosen, and she ran right to her mom to share the news.

The show made a joke out of Kara’s crush on Casey James, and the hunky blond was selected to compete in the final 24.

Aaron Kelly had ups and downs in his performances, but won the judges over to compete with the top 24. “I’m on American Idol, It blows my mind,” he gushed.

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Lee Dewyze also had a rocky road. During his final interview with the judges, he raved about how confident he was in his performance, and Kara said “We didn’t agree, until about 5 minutes ago.” He made it through.

There was a montage of friendships forming and it showcased Todrick Hall proposing to three blonds in bikinis. He was also selected.

Jessica Furney stole the show not with her singing but with her meltdown on stage when judges told her she hadn’t made it through. “It sounds pathetic to beg up here, but seriously you have no idea what I can do,” she pleaded. The judges rallied together and gave her a pep talk before giving her her matching orders. Another one bites the dust..the road to stardom is a tough one to walk.

Contestants that made it through Tuesday were, Casey James, Mike Lynche, Didi Benami, Todrick Hall, Aaron Kelly, Lee Dewyze, Katelyn Epperly


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