Photo Credit: Kevin Winter/American Idol 2011/Getty Images
Well, America, it's your turn now. On Thursday's episode of American Idol (Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET, on FOX), the judges whittled the contestant pool from 42 down to 24 hopefuls, plus one, yet-to-be-named male for good measure. Next week, the show will commit their pop dream destinies into your hands. The guys will sing live on Tuesday, followed by the girls on Wednesday, and your preliminary verdicts will be read on Thursday.
Who will you be judging? Here's the list:
The girls are Jen Hirsh, Haley Johnsen, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Chelsea Sorrell, Baylie Brown, Jessica Sanchez, Brielle Von Hugel, Hallie Day, Shannon Magrane, Hollie Cavanagh and Skylar Laine.
The guys are Creighton Fraker, Joshua Ledet, Reed Grimm, Heejun Han, Phillip Phillips, Colton Dixon, Adam Brock, Aaron Marcellus, Eben Franckewitz, Chase Likens, Jeremy Rosado and Deandre Brackensick.
And of course, we were glad to see that all of our suggestions made Thursday's final cut.
But it was hard to watch that other Fayetteville, N.C. native, Ariel Sprague, go home. Jennifer Hudson had urged this down-to-earth teen to audition (they met after an Idol concert), and her voice has a lot of promise. But then, she can always try again; Brackensick, Dixon, Brown and Marcellus are all returning contestants who made the cut this time.
As Jennifer Lopez graciously put it when all 24 had been selected, "Glad that sh*t is over."
Who will be the next American Idol? We can't wait to see -- and we're sure it'll be a long and bumpy road to the finale!