American Idol, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson, Ellen Degeneres, Ryan Seacrest,

Michael Becker / FOX

They came. They sang. But only 24 conquered.

The remaining 17 candidates for American Idol season-nine glory were revealed Wednesday, with most of the slots going to those you saw coming a mile away, a couple going to people you've barely seen at all, and a few yanked from the mouths of potential greats.

For instance, what is up the annual torture of Angela Martin, the single mother of a disabled little girl whose dad passed away a few days before she auditioned for season seven? She got cut in round two of Hollywood week.

Then she had to leave the top 50 in season eight because she had to go to court to settle a traffic violation. And her mom went missing just this past December.

This year, Angela, 28, made it to the final face-to-face with the judges, where Kara DioGuardi told her she was a star, only to send her on her devastated way yet again, in what was her last year of eligibility.

Well, such is the TV-tailored story of American Idol, which also broke the hearts of 19-year-old Thaddeus Johnson (and his mom) and 17-year-old Tori Kelly, who lost the coveted teenage ingenue spot to none other than 16-year-old Haeley Vaughn.

She will be joined by:

Janell Wheeler
Tyler Grady
Lacey Brown
Ashley Rodriguez
Alex Lambert
Joe Muñoz
Tim Urban
Crystal Bowersox
Katie Stevens
Paige Miles
Siobhan Magnus
Michelle Delamor
Jermaine Sellers
John Park
Lily Scott
Andrew Garcia

They join a group that already included Casey James, 28; Todrick Hall, 24; Didi Benami, 23; Michael Lynche, 26; Aaron Kelly, 16; Lee Dewyze, 23; and Katelyn Epperly, 19.

And none of them appeared at all shy when it came time to rock out to Fefe Dobson's "Watch Me Move" for the usual montage.

All 24 go live next week, starting with the top 12 girls on Tuesday, followed by the guys on Wednesday. Kris Allen will perform on Thursday's results show and clips will be shown from his trip to Haiti on behalf of the latest Idol Gives Back campaign.

Tune in, and then come here, because you know we'll have plenty to say about all of it.


Maybe a few of these 24 teens and twentysomethings will be hobnobbing with the folks in our Big Picture gallery one day.

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