FOX 1 / 3

There were exhilarated cheers and anguished tears alike on Tuesday night's "American Idol," as seven Hollywood-week hopefuls secured their spots in the top 24.

The anxious contestants trudged one-by-one to the judges' table to learn their fates -- and not all of them got the answers they wanted.

"Oh please … I know I can do better," Jessica Furney pleaded with the judges after they gave her the heave-ho. "Do not send me home, I have 'it'!"

"We're not going to change our minds now. … It's not going to happen," Simon Cowell told her. "This is not the end of the road of your career," Ellen DeGeneres reassured the shaken singer, prompting Jessica to snap: "How do you know that?"

Meanwhile, Didi Benami was crying even before the judges gave her their decision -- only this time the news was good; she'd made it into the top 24. "I'm in shock right now," Didi said, laughing through her tears.

Kara DioGuardi's apparent crush, tall tow-headed Casey James, also got the judges' stamp of approval. "OH YEAH!" he howled over and over, pumping his fist.

So, the first seven contestants to reach this season's top 24 are: Didi Benami, Casey James, Katelyn Epperly, Aaron Kelly, Lee Dewyze, Todrick Hall and Michael Lynche. Tune in to "Idol" tomorrow night to find out which 17 final contestants -- 10 girls and 7 guys -- make the cut.