American Idol finds its top 24 (+1!) but gets rid of long-time vocal coach Debra Byrd

Debra Byrd, who has been an American Idol vocal coach since the show’s first season, is out as live performance episodes begin next week with the top 24, who were revealed last night, and who will be joined by one additional male, because that’s the kind of shocking twist that will help defeat The Voice. Byrd will be replaced by people brought in by awful mentor Jimmy Iovine.

While she “has been shown during auditions and the Hollywood Week rounds, according to show sources, Byrd will step aside for the rest of the season so that in-house mentor and Interscope Geffen A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine can bring in his own people,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Byrd told the paper only that “we’re not continuing in the studio.”

The show finished its drawn-out auditions last night, as the judges selected the final men and women and, in the most entertaining moment all season, Steven Tyler stripped and jumped into the water surrounding the stage in the Le Rêve theater in Las Vegas.

But there was, of course, a dumb twist/cliffhanger/desperate move to get us to watch: either Jermaine Jones, Johnny Keyser, Richie Law, or David Leathers will become the 13th male. Snore. Also next week, we move to the three-nights-a-week semi-finals. The men perform Tuesday, the women perform Wednesday, and the results will be drawn out over an hour on Thursday.

Here are the semi-finalists, who do have fun, diverse names, unless you count Haley/Hallie/Hollie. The men are: DeAndre Brackensick, Adam Brock, Colton Dixon, Creighton Fraker, Eben Franckewitz, Reed Grimm, Heejun Han, Joshua Ledet, Chase Likens, Aaron Marcellus, Phil Phillips, and Jeremy Rosado; the women are Baylie Brown, Hollie Cavanagh, Hallie Day, Jennifer Hirsh, Haley Johnsen, Skylar Laine, Shannon Magrane, Jessica Sanchez, Chelsea Sorrell, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, and Brielle Von Hugel.

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.