(CBS) "I don't want to do this anymore."
These were Jennifer Lopez' words after deciding on who should go through to the top 24 of "American Idol" - last year. And yet here she was, one year later, ready to break more hearts, more dreams and more records for tears shed in one show.
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"This is not just about being a good singer any more," said Jen Hirsh, the first of the remaining singers prepared to put their souls and tear ducts on the line for fame and television.
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Seated in front of the three judges as if seeking a job as a marketing assistant (which, in a way, she was), Hirsh's top lip wobbled. Then her bottom lip gave way. Then her eyes began to leak. Then Randy Jackson told her she was through.
And so one checked that one's seat belt was fastened. Turbulence was to be expected. It was made worse by the fact that we were only shown snippets of most of the final auditions.
The emphasis was on the smoky stage, with judges' chairs surrounded by water. Were piranhas in that water? One could see no obvious signs of record company executives peering above the waterline, but Lauren Gray managed to keep her tear ducts dry when told she was gone.
Lopez told her she wanted her to come back.
"I'll consider it," said Gray, graciously. Then she left the piranha tank. She took one look at Ryan Seacrest and she cried.
Joshua Ledet, with tears in his eyes, was given a long, long speech from Randy Jackson about nothing very much. It was the wind that ultimately propelled Ledet to further pain. Yes, he was through.
Though watching these young hearts having their valves unplugged was difficult, even more painful was staring at Steven Tyler's pants. Purple and psychedelic and yellow and gray and just terribly suburban hippie, they seemed to offer a desperation to attract attention away from the suffering singers.
Indeed, when one of the contestants admitted it was a very difficult experience, Tyler felt moved to remind them that it was even more difficult for the judges. Of course it was.
Fortunately, Reed Grimm, perhaps the most absurdly talented ego of all the pretenders, was allowed to take his scatting, drumming, singing, dancing self further.
As the show dragged on longer than some ambient albums, the judges tried to find longer, more amusing (to them) ways to keep the tension twanging.
"It doesn't give me great pleasure to say this....actually it makes me ecstatic," said Tyler to Chelsea Sorrell.
But then we had Richie Law, the overly large-headed country singer with a huge Stetson, large crucifix and humungous ego. The judges praised him. They told him he was wonderful.
"Unfortunately for you, you didn't make it," said Jackson.
Richie jutted his jaw. Richie didn't cry.
"What are you sweating?" Ryan Seacrest asked Heejun Huan.
"Mostly water," was Huan's reply.
When Huan considered his fate, he declared that if he was dismissed he would kiss Jennifer Lopez because this was "every Asian man's dream."
Naturally, several journalists were immediately dispatched to question Jeremy Lin on the matter, but Huan's beautifully dry humor has illuminated proceedings thus far.
"What do you think about that guy?" Huan was asked about his performance being played on a big screen.
"I think he's ugly," Huan replied.
Tyler tried to depress him with negative words, then told him: "You're a better star than you are a singer."
Huan wept. He hugged Lopez. Then he wept some more. A lot more.
Jessica Sanchez was also weeping. She's 16. She's allowed to weep. Lopez was merciful enough to keep her cliffhanging short
. Yes, she was through. Well, 인제출장샵
Sanchez has been watching the show since she was 5. How could they not let her progress?
Phil Phillips was also through, but didn't cry. The pawnshop worker has seen real pain, such as, perhaps, when people pawn their wedding rings. This, surely, was nothing.
Colton Dixon, he of the tall, blond-streaked hair and sister who didn't make it, made it. Having been rejected at this stage last year, who could deny him the opportunity for tears? He didn't disappoint.
And then there was Brielle Von Hugel, the little girl with the very opinionated and largely irritating mother. Von Hugel seems to be one of those people desperate to be famous.
She received good news. She didn't cry.
All that remained - for last night, at least - was Adam Brock. The nerdy family man (yes, his tiny daughter is Whitney) stood on the island that was the stage and sang his heart all the way down the river. But was he through?
Ah, that'll have to wait until Thursday. "Idol" adores a cliffhanger. Well, at least Brock didn't fall off the stage. But he did cry - a lot - even before he knew his fate. How could the producers be so cruel? Easily.
The full list of 14 who made it through on Wednesday's episode: Jen Hirsh, Creighton Fraker, Joshua Ledet, Haley Johnson, Elise Testone, Reed Grimm, Erika Van Pelt, Baylie Brown, Chelsea Sorrell, Heejun Han, Jessica Sanchez, Phil Phillips, Colton Dixon, Brielle Von Hugel.