updated 03/01/2012 AT 10:00 PM ET
•originally published 03/01/2012 AT 10:30 PM ET
After two nights of live performances, American Idol’s top 25 contestants – 12 women and 13 men – got a big reality check on Thursday as they faced their first elimination, which would cut their numbers down to just 13.
For 12 singers the dream of winning Idol would evaporate.
Ryan Seacrest announced that 33 million votes were cast over two days and explained how the dramatic night would unfold: The five guys and five girls who earned the most votes would be declared safe. Then, six singers would take the stage to try and prove themselves to judges Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler in hopes of getting one of three wild card spots.
So who’s in and who’s out? Keep reading for results:
The Top 10
1. Phillip Phillips
2. Jessica Sanchez
3. Hollie Cavanagh
4. Joshua Ledet
5. Heejun Han
6. Shannon Magrane
7. Skylar Laine
8. Elise Testone
9. Colton Dixon
10. Jermaine Jones
And for the wild card spots, the judges first called Jennifer Hirsh, who sang “Oh! Darlin’.” “You went for the gusto,” Randy told her. “It was a good performance.”
Wild Card Contenders
Jeremy Rosado was next – and he sang “I Know You Won’t” by Carrie Underwood, fighting off tears. “I believe in this kid. I believe in ‘Jer Bear’,” Jennifer told him.
Brielle Von Hugel put her heart into “Someone Like You” by Adele but the judges weren’t impressed. “Brielle may be in a little bit of trouble,” Randy said. “That wasn’t great.”
Deandre Brackensick sang “Georgia On My Mind,” and Jennifer appreciated his effort. “I’m feeling the fire from you,” she said. “You should sing like that every single time you get up there.”
Erika Van Pelt took on Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory,” and the crowd went wild. “Out of the park, baby, out of the park!” Steven screamed.
And the last one to get another chance was Reed Grimm, who performed “Use Me” by Bill Withers. “You’re probably one of the most different artists we’ve had on the show,” Randy told him.
In the final minutes of the two-hour show, the judges revealed their picks for the three remaining spots in season 11’s top 13. And they were Erika, Deandre and Jeremy, who fell to the floor in tears before rushing to the judges’ panel for hugs.
American Idol returns Wednesday, when the contestants pay tribute to Whitney Houston.