It was the moment of truth for the Hollywood Week contestants on "American Idol." On Wednesday night, dreams were fulfilled, while others were slashed, as Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson, and Ellen DeGeneres announced the final 24 contestants.
Janell Wheeler, 24, from Tampa, FL was elated that she will progress to the show's next round. She burst out of the theater doors to Ryan Seacrest and pronounced, "If I was Bikini Girl, I'd kiss you right now."
Not everyone was a rookie auditioner. Lacey Brown, 24, returned after not making it through last year. She impressed the judges with her rendition of "What a Wonderful World," which offered as background vocals for a montage of other contestants receiving good news.
Unfortunately, not all veterans to the "Idol" stage were so lucky. Angela Martin met a disappointing fate for the third time. The mother of a special needs daughter had to pull out of her first attempt because she received news that her father was killed. On the next go-around, she had to serve six days in prison for a traffic violation.
Kara sat next to Angela on the couch to console her as she delivered the news that she had struck out for a third time. The judge said, "You are a star no matter what. You are one of the bravest people I ever met."
Angela accepted the rejection with stride, saying, "I can't give up. That's not an option. Music heals me." She was just one of many ejected from the competition pool on Wednesday night.
It was all smiles and some tears of joy for Katie Stevens. The teenager from Connecticut said, "I want to make my Grandma proud." Her grandmother is suffering from Alzheimer's. She reacted in the confessional: "I always dreamed about this, but never in a million years did I think that out of 110,000 people that I would be standing here."
The two dozen continuing on to next week are Didi Benami, Crystal Bowersox, Lacey Brown, Michelle Delamor, Katelyn Epperly, Siobhan Magnus, Paige Miles, Ashley Rodriguez, Lilly Scott, Katie Stevens, Haeley Vaughn, Janell Wheeler, Lee Dewyze, Andrew Garcia, Tyler Grady, Todrick Hall, Casey James, Aaron Kelly, Alex Lambert, Michael Lynche, Joe Muñoz, John Park, Jermaine Sellers, and Tim Urban.
The top 24 consist of 12 females and 12 males. Tuesday, February 23 is ladies' night and then the boys duke it out on Wednesday, February 24. Phone lines will be open for voting following each of those live performance shows. The first live results show will take place on Thursday, February 25 on FOX, as two more girls and two more guys are sent home.