Next week, in a bid to cut right through the fat and get to the meat, American Idol is taking the remaining contestants to Las Vegas, where they'll have to learn Beatles songs on the fly.
To get to Sin City, 100 guys and gals got one last chance to sing, either with the band, a cappella or while playing their own instruments.
The most consistent hopefuls in the bunch barely batted an eye, warbling sweet solos that ensured them some Love in Vegas. But the group was slashed nearly in half, meaning plenty of contestants didn't bring their A-games. And one attention-getter didn't even stick around to sing...
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Oh sure, last night's basket case, Ashley Sullivan, did indeed freak out, badly. She sounded beautiful at first, but then got in her own way, stopping herself unnecessarily when she missed a word to Michael Bublé's "Everything," obviously distracted by her boyfriend's presence (how patient is he?) in the audience.
But she didn't quit. In fact, Ashley ended up making it to Vegas.
It was Jacqueline Dunford, previously one-half of an ooey-gooey couple with Nick Fink, who called in sick and dropped out of the competition. Her departure, plus the ouster of ex-boyfriend Rob Bolin, left Chelsee Oaks flailing and she was one of the 40 who were cut today.
Joining her in the castoff pool, among others, were Casey Levoy, Mark Gutierrez and Frances Coontz.
Meanwhile, two of the four waiting areas were packed with the judges' favorites, including James Durbin, Chris Medina, Robbie Rosen, Brett Loewenstern, Julie Zorrilla, Lauren Alaina, Ashthon Jones, Sophia Shorai, Casey Abrams, Scotty McCreery and Carson Higgins, all of whom are headed to Vegas.
Twenty more will be booted after the Beatles round, after which the judges will do the whole one-by-one, "you made it, you didn't" thing. Until they end with two best friends, of course, one of whom will complete the top 12 while the other hits the road.
Feel the Love next Wednesday.
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