Oh, this does not bode well for the rest of the hour: we open atop the Sphinx with Ryan Seacrest and Hayden Christensen (hey, where are you going??), and what follows is a cross-promotional hurricane pimping Jumper, Coke, Idol, and the idea that Seacrest wants to take Hayden back to his place to "watch some tapes of the Emmys." Way to make me feel like an asshole for wanting to see Jumper, guys. This...is corporate synergy at its most obvious.
So here's where we're at: there are now the Top 50, and there's no more performing to do, it's just down to the judges to pick the Top 24 using their no doubt crackerjack memories. The contestants, one by one, will go up the elevator, sit in a chair in front of the judges, get accepted or rejected, and they'll cry either way. This is also the last chance for the show to introduce us to some of the heretofore unseen semifinalists before they're sent out to get eliminated next week. Fun!
Downstairs, contestants like Brooke White and John Michael Australia or whatever his actual name is tell us they're nervous, while we're led to believe the judges are making their last minute decisions. Knowing this show, it's probably fake, but I'm not sure it matters. What I honestly don't think is fake is the fact that Simon is dissatisfied with the Top 24. It's something I've always believed about Cowell, that he's calculating in what he says but that he doesn't feel it necessary to engage in fabrication. I think he believes he's compelling enough on his own. So if he's making a big show about how he doesn't agree with all the choices, I think that's the way it is.
I'm sparing you all an extensive report on Ryan walking us through the elevator-to-chair-to-judges journey and all the emotional significance Ryan believes it's fraught with. I'll take you right to Ronald Hodge, who's up first. Ronald has jacked-up teeth, a neck tattoo, and (from what we see) twitches like mad when he sings. So you can see how he's made it this far. Ronald is: OUT. Everybody pretends to be shocked when he comes downstairs with the news, while I busy myself by snickering at his yellow Red Sox hat. After Ronald, a few girls I'm pretty sure we've never seen before get passed over, and then Ryan tries to tell us that this news has the remaining contestants "worried." Because...they think the judges are going to keep this up and choose zero people? Come on, Ryan. The tutors on the Star Search circuit totally taught these people basic math.