LOS ANGELES — It's good news for Tim Urban and 23 other singers on "American Idol."
The 20-year-old college student from Duncanville, Texas, was among the 17 remaining semifinalists revealed Wednesday on the Fox singing competition after seven were unveiled Tuesday. "Idol" judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi and newcomer Ellen DeGeneres delivered the news to the 36 contestants left standing at the conclusion of "Hollywood Week."
"This year it was a bit more tough," Cowell said of selecting the female semifinalists.
Observant viewers may have noticed that curly haired shoe salesman Chris Golightly, 25, of Los Angeles was among the semifinalists on stage at the end of Wednesday's episode, but it was Urban who was among the 12 dancing male semifinalists. A statement from Fox said Urban replaced Golightly because Golightly was "ineligible to continue in the competition." No further explanation was provided.
It's not the first semifinalist switcheroo on "Idol." Last season, Joanna Pacitti was shown advancing to the top 36 after "Hollywood Week" but was later replaced by Felicia Barton. Pacitti released an album in 2006 and had ties to 19 Entertainment, which produces "Idol" with FremantleMedia North America. She was also deemed "ineligible to continue" in a Fox press release.
The other male semifinalists revealed Wednesday were Andrew Garcia, 24, Moreno Valley, Calif.; Tyler Grady, 20, Nazareth, Pa.; Alex Lambert, 19, North Richland Hills, Texas; Joe Munoz, 20, Huntington Park, Calif.; John Park, 21, Evanston, Ill.; and Jermaine Sellers, 27, Joliet, Ill.
Janell Wheeler, a bubbly 24-year-old wine sales representative from Tampa, Fla., was the first crooner crowned with a spot Wednesday. Wheeler impressed the judges during her first solo "Hollywood Week" performance with an acoustic rendition of Estelle's "American Boy" but her group disappointed with Ne-Yo's "Closer" and she flubbed Taylor Swift's "Love Story."
"I just can't stop thinking about calling into work and saying I'm not coming in," Wheeler said.
The other female semifinalists were Crystal Bowersox, 24, Toledo, Ohio; Lacey Brown, 24, Amarillo, Texas; Michelle Delamor, 22, Miami; Siobhan Magnus, 20, Marstons Mills, Mass.; Paige Miles, 24, Houston, Texas; Ashley Rodriguez, 22, Chelsea, Mass.; Lilly Scott, 20, Denver; Katie Stevens, 17, Middlebury, Conn.; and Haeley Vaughn, 16, Fort Collins, Colo.
Among those cut was Angela Martin, the 28-year-old Chicago songstress who twice previously made it to "Hollywood Week." After earning her first golden ticket, she dropped out after her father was murdered. And she lost her second spot because of a traffic court summons over an outstanding ticket. DioGuardi joined her on the Kodak Theater stage to deliver the bad news.
"You know what, there are other ways to do it," DioGuardi told a weeping Martin.
The previously announced semifinalists were Didi Benami, 23, Los Angeles; Lee Dewyze, 23, Mount Prospect, Ill.; Katelyn Epperly, 19, West Des Moines, Iowa; Aaron Kelly, 16, Sonestown, Pa.; Casey James, 27, Fort Worth, Texas; Todrick Hall, 24, Arlington, Texas and Michael "Big Mike" Lynche, 26, Astoria, N.Y.
The top 12 women will perform live next Tuesday with the top 12 men taking the stage live Wednesday. Viewer votes will determine which two women and two men will be eliminated.
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