American Idol’s top 24 announced, doesn’t include Chris Golightly, who was disqualified, replaced at the last minute

After the three most tedious American Idol hours I can remember, and I remember Idol Gives Back, the show’s ninth season has its top 24, although with one change that was revealed in the final few seconds: Chris Golightly was replaced by Tim Urban. Next, the show gets more tedious by stretching into a third night every week for three weeks, with results shows airing Thursdays at 8.

Last night, Chris Golightly was edited out of the episode except for the group shot of the top 24 at the end, and was replaced in the official list of the top 24 by Tim Urban, who appeared in the dancing segment at the end. In its post-episode press release, Fox said, “It has been determined that Chris Golightly is ineligible to continue in the competition. AMERICAN IDOL contestant Tim Urban has replaced Golightly as part of the Top 24.” (Despite a rumor that Michael Lynche had been disqualified, he is still in the top 24.)

Chris told Joe’s Place that he was disqualified because of an old recording contract that expired last summer, but the person he used to be under contract with contacted the show and said it was still valid. Although Chris was eventually able to prove that he was released from the contract, it was too late, even though he sold his car and got out of his lease to appear on the show.

Meanwhile, the final Hollywood episode dragged as much as the first, despite the fact that something was actually happening. There was also a ton of sloppy editing: We kept seeing contestants in the holding room who’d already been told yes or no. And they showed the same contestants getting told yes three or four times, while some people got only a few seconds. The show tried to add weight with music, especially by using Bird York’s “In The Deep” for sad moments, and then Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah”–not exactly a pick-me-up–for a montage of those moments. On a positive note, at least they dispensed with that two people, one spot bullshit that just tortures.

Fox has given all of the contestants official (read: controlled and censored, maybe even publicist-written?) presences on MySpace (still?), Facebook, and Twitter, and included all those links in its press release.

Here are the top 24 women:

  • Didi Benami, 23, Los Angeles, CA
  • Crystal Bowersox, 24, Toledo, OH
    Lacey Brown, 24, Amarillo, TX
  • Michelle Delamor, 22, Miami, FL
  • Katelyn Epperly, 19, West Des Moines, IA
  • Siobhan Magnus, 20, Marstons Mills, MA
  • Paige Miles, Houston, TX, 24
  • Ashley Rodriguez, 22, Chelsea, MA
  • Lilly Scott, 20, Denver, CO
  • Katie Stevens, 17, Middlebury, CT
  • Haeley Vaughn, 16, Fort Collins, CO
  • Janell Wheeler, 24, Tampa, FL

and men:

  • Lee Dewyze, 23, Mount Prospect, IL
  • Andrew Garcia, 24, Moreno Valley, CA
  • Tyler Grady, 20, Nazareth, PA
  • Todrick Hall, 24, Arlington, TX
  • Casey James, 27, Fort Worth, TX
  • Aaron Kelly, 16, Sonestown, PA
  • Alex Lambert, 19, North Richland Hills, TX
  • Michael Lynche, 26, Astoria, NY
  • Joe Muoz, 20, Huntington Park, CA
  • John Park, 21, Evanston, IL
  • Jermaine Sellers, 27, Joliet, IL
  • Tim Urban, 20, Duncanville, TX

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.