Things are getting intense for the top 24 contestants on American Idol. The top 12 males performed on Tuesday night's show, and the remaining females will perform on Wednesday night's episode. On Thursday, the final 24 will be whittled down to a mere ten semifinalists.

Tuesday's episode saw some sleek and sophisticated performances, as the male contestants belted out songs of their choice. The favorites appear to be James Durbin, who hit a home run with his rendition of Judas Priest's "You've Got Another Thing Comin'." Casey Abrams, singing "I Put a Spell on You" also rocked the house, inspiring Jennifer Lopez to tell him, "You're going to redefine this whole thing." Stefano Langone's cover of Bruno Mars hit the mark, and Scotty McCreery also earned praise from the judges for John Michael Montgomery's "Letters From Home."

Jacob Lusk wowed the crowd with "A House Is Not a Home," which almost sent Lopez into tears again. She compared his voice to that of the late Luther Vandross, and Steven Tyler declared that "divine intervention" brought Lusk to Idol. Clint Jun Gambao got a "brilliant" comment from Tyler for his interpretation of "Superstition," and Paul McDonald won over the judges with an understated performance of "Maggie May."

The judges were more split on the remaining contestants' deliveries, with Randy Jackson usually standing out at the naysayer. Jovany Barreto, Robbie Rosen, Brett Loewenstern, Jordan Dorsey, and Tim Halperin got mixed or lukewarm reviews from the judges, but the real decision will come from the audience. This will be the first year that Idol will add the option of online voting to America's ballot options. Host Ryan Seacrest also indicated that Tyler, Jackson, and Lopez will hold onto a "wild card" option, to be explained in further detail later. —KIMBERLY STEELE


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