‘American Idol’s’ top 24 Final Judgment features shocking goodbyes, standout performances

With the American Idol top 50 being slashed to a top 24 on Monday’s Final Judgment night, it was inevitable that there’d be some tough goodbyes. But some goodbyes were tougher than others — and some were quite surprising.

The saddest cut had to be Noah Davis, whose American dream of buying an alpaca farm with his Idol winnings came to a bittersweet end. But the formerly confident contestant struggled so much during his showcase of Lady Gaga’s “You & I” Monday, the judges were visibly cringing. Suffice to say, no wigs were snatched during Noah’s pitchy performance.

Another early frontrunner, Laine Hardy, had once been declared this season’s champ by Luke Bryan — and while that prediction was obviously premature, I think Laine’s top 50 song choice, Lynyrd Skynrd’s “Curtis Loew” — a performance much more solid than Noah’s — proved he could’ve been an interesting addition to the live shows. But Laine’s Idol journey also ended Monday.

Thaddeus Johnson’s elimination — at the same stage of the game during which he was cut in Season 9 — was the most shocking, considering how amazing his Sunday solo performance of “Rise” had been. And there was nothing to hate about Thaddeus’s Monday top 50 performance of Jill Scott’s “Hate on Me.” This particular decision made zero sense.

Also leaving the competition Monday: Katy Perry’s crush-boy, Trevor Holmes (apparently, she’s “over him”); Britney Holmes (the contestant “saved by America“); Victoria McQueen (the “Idol baby”); surviving Sposato twin Milo; suave shoe salesman William Casanova; Harper Grace; Lee Vasi; Ricky Manning; and Maddie Zahm.

It should also be noted that Taylor John Williams, a TOP FIVE contestant from The Voice four years ago, made it all the way to the top 50 as well — but none of his Idol performances even aired this year. Well, at least he got a girlfriend out of the experience.

Despite all these eliminations, by the end of Monday’s episode we were still left with a pretty fantastic top 24, comprising Gabby Barrett, Johnny Brenns, Ron Bultongez, Brandon Diaz, Dominique, Marcio Donaldson, Cade Foehner, Amelia Hammer Harris, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Garrett Jacobs, Jurnee, Mara Justine, Kay Kay, Dennis Lorenzo, Trevor McBane, Shannon O’Hara, Effie Passero, Maddie Poppe, Alyssa Raghu, Layla Spring, Michelle Sussett, Catie Turner, Ada Vox, and Michael J. Woodard.

That’s a lot of names, and not all of them received equal screentime this week. But below are my favorite performances from Monday’s top 50 night.

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