LOS ANGELES — "American Idol" opened the door this season for 15-year-olds to audition but none made it into the semifinals at that tender age.
For round-faced charmer Jacee Badeaux, 15, of Lafayette, La., that means the music stopped Thursday, although he earned a comforting hug from judge Jennifer Lopez.
The 24 contestants who advanced in the singing contest did include two teenagers who were 15 when they auditioned but have since reached sweet 16. Along with a few 17-year-olds, it was mostly singers in their early 20s who got the nod from Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler.
California, New York, Tennessee and Louisiana are the states best represented among the two-dozen semifinalists, who are split evenly between males and females.
They won't have long to savor their achievement. Next week, only about half will make it to the finals after the men perform on Tuesday and the women on Wednesday. The results of audience voting will be announced Thursday.
The male semifinalists include Casey Abrams, 20, of Idyllwild, Calif.; Jovany Barreto, 23, Harvey, La.; Jordan Dorsey, 21, Donaldsville, La.; James Durbin, 22, Santa Cruz, Calif.; Clint Jun Gamboa, 26, Long Beach, Calif., and Tim Halperin, 23, Fort Worth, Texas.
Others are Stefano Langone, 21, Kent, Wash.; Brett Loewenstern, 17, Boca Raton, Fla.; Jacob Lusk, 23, Compton, Calif.; Scotty McCreery, 17, Garner, N.C.; Paul McDonald, 26, Nashville, Tenn., and Robbie Rosen, 17, Merrick, N.Y.
The females semifinalists include Naima Adedapo, 26, Milwaukee, Wisc.; Lauren Alaina, 16, Rossville, Ga.; Kendra Chantelle, 22, Nashville, Tenn.; Ashthon Jones, 24, Nashville, Tenn.; Thia Megia, 16, Mountain House, Calif., and Haley Reinhart, 20, Wheeling, Ill.
Others are Karen Rodriguez, 21, New York; Pia Toscano, 22, Howard Beach, N.Y.; Lauren Turner, 24, Slidell, La.; Tatynisa Wilson, 20, Aurora, Ill.; Julie Zorrilla, 20, Los Angeles and Rachel Zevita, 23, New York.
The Fox singing contest had lowered the eligibility age from 16 to 15 for its 10th season. The maximum age remained 28. For the first time, viewers will be able to vote online through Facebook as well as by phone and text message.