Michael Slezak
February 16, 2010 AT 12:00 PM EST

The Sims people of American Idol‘s heinous opening credits have faces! Well, at least seven of ’em do. So to speak. Tonight, in an unprecedented move, the nation’s most popular TV series turned the doling out of the identities of its semifinalists into a two-night event. Five men and two ladies of season 9 received the good news that their future earning potential now lies in the hands of a motley band of rabid, speed-dialing Americans, while just two of the “final 46” were unceremoniously kicked back into the harsh reality of doing the 9-to-5 shuffle in a piteous economy. And so it goes… [SPOILERS AHEAD, SO WEST-COASTERS, I IMPLORE YOU TO STOP READING] The following people were put “through to the next round” after vaguely transparent games of bait-and-switch by the judges: Katelyn “divorcing parents” Epperly, Didi “give DioGuardi a good name” Benami, Michael “she’s at 8 cm!” Lynche, Casey “will strip for Golden Tickets” James, Aaron “I am the inspirational teen” Kelly, Lee “Google me already!” Dewyze, and Todrick “survived that Gaga group messerie” Hall. Meanwhile, the “holding room” cuts saw the horrific elimination of Jermaine “ballsy enough to sing ‘Brick House’ Purifory, Tasha “streetwise preacher by night” Layton, and (okay, not so horrifically) Mary “I got the ‘beast edit'” Powers. Tomorrow, the judges will fill the remaining 10 slots for ladies and seven for guys. If Crystal Bowersox is not among them, well, brace yourselves, Idoloonies, because I’m gonna be whining about it well into season 10. All together now: Bow-wer-sox! Bow-wer-sox! Right? Agree or disagree — and share your additional thoughts on tonight’s ep in the comments below. And to get alerted to all my Idol coverage (such as my recent collection of awesome, under-the-radar streaming tracks from Idol alumni) follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak!

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