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'American Idol' taps Janell Wheeler for top 24 semifinalists, then Tyler Grady, too

'American Idol' has just an hour tonight to announce 17 more of its semifinalists; not sure why they divided it up this way, with an hour last night to announce just seven contestants: Todrick Hall, Aaron Kelly, Lee Dewyze, Michael Lynche, Casey James, Didi Benomie, Katelyn Epperly.

Thirty-seven contestants are left to fight it out. Janell Wheeler up first; she's been linked romantically to ex-Florida Gators superstar quaterback Tim Tebow. I like her, think she has a good look and an interesting voice. She feels like she blew it with her last Hollywood performance, says she's "in awe" that she got this far, tears up, "dream come true."

She says she's a wine saleswoman; Ellen is just yammering on and on about how hard it is, it's obvious she's gonna tell her she's going through; she makes it, of course. She's got high likability, says "yay!" over and over on her way out.

She really wants it; glad she made it, totally looking forward to seeing her in the semis.

Tyler Grady next, who I really liked, the lanky 70s guy who's like Jim Morrison; Kara messes with him for a while, when he comes out he pretends at first he didn't make it with Ryan, but nobody's fooled, he does a big kick in celebration. He could grate on us with too much exposure, could be too self-centered; but so far I like him; he's got a really funky vibe.

UPDATE: Here's who made it by the end of the night, with my rankings:

1) Andrew Garcia, mad talent and huge charisma
2) John Park, Kara liked his lips
3) Jermaine Sellers, church singer
4) Todrick Hall, wrote his own song
5) Aaron Kelly, Florida Backstreet Boy
6) Lee Dewyze, told Kara he's always very confident
7) Michael Lynche, wife gave birth
8) Tyler Grady, 70s guy
9) Casey James, took shirt off
10) Alex Lambert, he's not Adam
11) Joe Munoz, have we seen him yet?
*12) Tim Urban, was shown as a semifinalist in the video montage at the end, but we never saw him make it through either yesterday or today. What's up with that? I actually liked him -- he's the one who I thought had real depth to him, sang "Come Back to Me" -- but until we figure out the story, I'm listing him with an asterisk.

**Speculation on other "American Idol" blogs was that Tim was a last-minute replacement for Chris Golightly, whose name was on some leaked lists and who may have been axed for one of the usual reasons between the taping of the show months ago and tonight's airing. Or he may have withdrawn, or who knows....

1) Katie Stevens, grandmother has Alzheimer's
2) Janell Wheeler, Tim Tebow's girlfriend?
3) Haeley Vaughan, flower in the hair
4) Didi Benomie, best friend died
5) Lacey Brown, haunting "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
6) Lilly Scott, white hair
7) Ashley Rodriguez, is in music school
8) Crystal Bowersox, with the cute son
9) Katelyn Epperly, father left them
10) Michelle Delamor, member of 'Faith'
11) Siobhan Magnus, sang 'Living in the City'
12) Paige Miles, don't know much about her yet



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