American Idol (Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET, on FOX) is heating up! Throughout Wednesday's nail-biting episode, the contestants fought hard for a spot in the Top 24, then waited on pins and needles for the verdict. Emotions ran high: "I feel like I’m going to explode," declared the gravely voiced Elise Testone of Charleston, S.C. And while the episode ended with a cliffhanger -- did poor, weepy Adam Brock get through?! -- the judges have advanced 14 contestants.
Here are the first six of the top 12 guys who'll perform live next week: Creighton Fraker, Joshua Ledet, Reed Grimm, Heejun Han, Phil Phillips Jr. and Colton Dixon.
And here are the first eight girls: Jen Hirsh, Haley Johnsen, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Chelsea Sorrell, Baylie Brown, Jessica Sanchez and Brielle von Hugel.
Who else should make the cut? Out of the remaining contestants who'll be competing tonight, here are a handful we think deserve a place among the names above.
Adam Brock: This Pennsylvania native comically describes himself as "a large black woman trapped inside a 27-year-old's body." His renditions of "Walking in Memphis" and "Georgia On My Mind" were fantastic. The judges were divided on his version of "You Don't Know Me," but we know he deserves to get through. "I have to sing," said Brock to the judges. "It's where my joy comes from. It's how I know God blessed me." We're rooting for him!
Eben Franckewitz: He's the adorable 15-year-old from Loveland, Ohio. After he belted out "Ain't No Sunshine," Jennifer Lopez declared that he was born to sing. Plus, did we mention that he's adorable?
Aaron Marcellus: It's the second time around for this talented Atlanta native, who tried out last season, too. How many times are they going to make this smooth R&B guy come back?
Hallie Day: The 24-year-old waitress from Baltimore survived a rough childhood and a suicide attempt. She got through to Hollywood by singing "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. With a story like that, and a voice to back it up, she's on her way to the live shows, no doubt about it.
Hollie Cavanagh: The 17-year-old bundle of nerves from McKinney, Tex. (originally from Liverpool, England) got through to Hollywood when Lopez gave her a second chance during her audition. She sang Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" -- and made it through. It was one of the season's most genuine and uplifting moments. Hopefully she'll get through to the live shows and provide some more!
Whoever does make the cut, one thing is for sure: This show only gets more interesting when it goes live. We can't wait!