Eyes were glued to FOX last night during the two hour episode of American Idol in which the judges revealed the first five slots of the top 24 contestants.

The Beetlemania-themed show was filled with surprises. Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson, and Jennifer Lopez greenlighted singers Naima Adedapo, Ashton Jones, Haley Reinhart, Clint Jun Gamboa, and Paul McDonald.

But the real drama happened when they had to send contestants packing. The energetic Ashley Sullivan, who fell to her knees and begged the judges for a "golden ticket" to go to Hollywood back in the first New Jersey audition, was sent on her way, as was White House intern Molly DeWolf Swensen and the adored Deandre Brackensick.

Perhaps most surprising, the new judges, who have helmed what is, so far, an immensely popular season of Idol, turned away frontrunner Chris Medina, who won America's hearts when he introduced his wheelchair-bound fiancee to the famous panelists. Medina was calm and collected as J-Lo broke the news in a measured voice. "At the end of the day, this is about singing, and it's about your voice and your talent," she said. Her voice cracked a bit as she told the Idol hopeful "I don't want to draw this out … and it honestly breaks my heart to say this, but you did not make it into the top 24."

Medina nodded with understanding as he assured the judges he would not stop following his dreams. He then approached the trio, hugged each in turn, and left the room. Before he was even gone, Lopez broke down in tears while Tyler and Jackson assured her that she had done all she could. –KIMBERLY STEELE

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