Tears of both joy and heartache were the order of the night Wednesday on American Idol, as the pool of 40 hopefuls was reduced to 24 semifinalists.

After the group performances shown on Tuesday's episode, Hollywood Week contestants were given a final chance to impress the judges with their solo vocals before learning their verdicts.

Each aspiring singer met with Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, who kept the nervous contestants hanging for as long as possible, with statements such as, "We're very sorry but...(dramatic pause)...you're going to be seeing a lot more of us."

Some of the standout male semifinalists included Sanjaya Malakar, who auditioned for the show in Seattle with his older sister, Shyamali. The siblings provided a touching moment for the cameras on Tuesday's episode when they collapsed sobbing into each other's arms after Shyamali was eliminated.

Phil Stacey, who missed the birth of his daughter in order to audition for the show in Memphis, was also given the go-ahead to the next round, as was Jack Osbourne look-alike Chris Sligh, who won the judges over with his sense of humor.

Despite displaying more of a flare for beat boxing than for actually singing, frosty-locked Blake Lewis earned a pass to the next round, as did Paul Kim, who vowed that he would always be barefoot while on camera. (Exactly why remained unclear.)

With a made-for-television name and a look perhaps better suited for radio, Sundance Head, the son of oldies singer Roy Head, snared the final spot in the guy's top 12.

In the ladies' category, the second time was the charm for rocker chick Gina Glocksen, who had previously tried out for the show last year.

The judges also shone their favor on single mom Lakisha Jones, who was overcome with emotion upon learning that she would be continuing on to the next round.

Corkscrew-haired Jordin Sparks, the daughter of former NFL player Phillippi Sparks, earned a spot in the semifinals after generating early frontrunner buzz thanks to Randy Jackson's prediction to Entertainment Weekly that "someone with curly hair" would go all the way.

The last spot was claimed by Jersey Girl Antonella Barba, whose best friend, Amanda Coluccio, was eliminated during Tuesday's episode.

Viewer voting begins next week, with the guys in the hot seat on Tuesday, followed by the girls on Wednesday.

Here's a rundown of the 24 American Idol semifinalists:


Chris Sligh
Sanjaya Malakar
Brandon Rogers
Philip Stacy
Blake Lewis
Rudy Cardenas
Paul Kim
A.J. Tabaldo
Nicholas Pedro
Chris Richardson
Jared Cotter
Jason (Sundance) Head.


Melinda Doolittle
Gina Glocksen
Haley Scarnato
Jordin Sparks
Stephanie Edwards
Leslie Hunt
Alaina Alexander
Sabrina Sloan
Lakisha Jones
Nicole Tranquillo
Amy Krebs
Antonella Barba

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