There’s never a dull moment with America’s favorite talent competition, and this year’s crop of singers is no exception. Here’s the list of Season 9’s Top 24, and more information that maybe you want to know – do you know, for example, which female contestant reportedly dated Florida Gators’ quarterback Tim Tebow and which male contestant spent time in county jail for DWI?
But first – what’s the deal with Chris Golightly? Sharp viewers noticed him ion the background when Ryan introduced the Top 24, but when the individual names were announced it was Tim Urban dancing for the cameras.

Joe’s Place Blog reports that Golightly was disqualified after a question arose over a contract the singer had with a boy band. The contract allegedly expired in June 2009, and Golightly was given a release that allowed him to legitimately say when he applied for Idol that he wasn’t under contract anywhere else. Then just this week, someone called Idol and claimed Chris was still under contract. Neither Chris or his manager could find the release in time for producers to keep him in the competition. You can read more at Joe’s Place Blog.
One thought: now that the contract question is resolved, bring Chris back for a Top 25, and eliminate 3 guys next week. Although, Chris has been talking to media, so that option may be off the table now. Idol doesn’t like it when contestants give interviews.
And now, on to your Top 24!


THE GIRLS


1. VERED “DIDI” BENAMI – Didi Benami credits “God first for everything”. She attended Belmont University, where she met best friend and inspiration, Rebecca Joy Lear; Didi says on her MySpace page, “It was destiny and God’s work” that brought the friends together; Rebecca was killed in a car accident in 2005.
2. KATELYN EPPERLY – This 19-year-old came to her first audition explaining that her family had had a tough year because her dad left her mom. Simon asked her which parent she sided with. She is a sophomore at Millikin University in Decatur, IL, and according to a Fox press release, enjoys playing the piano.
3. LACEY BROWN – Lacey made it to Hollywood’s top 54 in Season 8, and was sent home after a sing off with Megan Joy Corkrey. When asked this season by the judges if she thought it was the right decision, she said yes, that she needed another year to prepare. Lacey’s parents are co-pastors at Victory Church in Amarillo, Texas, where Lacey serves at the venue director for the college age members. On the church’s website, Lacey says, “I have a heart for the un-reached college aged generation here in Amarillo and in Canyon. I love showing them that God is a real God and so we, as Christ followers, should be real too! I work at showing people that they can be themselves, not the person people have labeled them to be but the original, creative, non- compromising person that God created them to be!”.

4. ASHLEY MAKAILAH RODRIEGUEZ – Ashley is a 21-year-old student from Boston, MA who attended Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music. She toured with the school’s gospel group Overjoyed. You can visit Ashley Rodriguez’s MySpace page
5. CRYSTAL BOWERSOX – Bowersox is a single mom to a son (born 9/08). She was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when she was 6 and wears an insulin pump. Surfing around her MySpace, I found a really interesting blog post from 2006 where she writes that she felt God was telling her to buy blankets and distribute them to the homeless. She didn’t do it and then came upon a homeless woman deeply in need. I don’t know where she stands spiritually, but that story should inspire anyone to follow the prompting of the heart to help others in need.
6. PAIGE MILES – We don’t know a lot about Miles, but according to a Fox press release, Paige started singing in church when she was just 5. She teaches in an after-school program outside Houston, TX. When telling her she made the Top 24, Simon said, “You are better than you even know. You are a really, really good singer.”
7. SIOBHAN MANGUS – Siobhan is the former singer in a band called Lunar Valve. According to the Fox press release, she graduated from Barnstable High School in 2008. She has been singing since age 9, and counts glassblowing as one of her hobbies.
8. LILLY SCOTT – We don’t know a lot yet about this 22-year-old, except she is the former member in a band called Varlet. Scott sang the national anthem at Mile High Stadium when she was 5
9. HAELEY VAUGHN – lists herself a “Christian/other” on her MySpace page; said repeatedly last night “I’m blessed, I’m blessed”. Vaughn wants to be the first black country singer. Simon pointed out in her first audition that she sings with a slight lisp, and told her in Hollywood that sometimes she’s fantastic and sometimes she’s annoying. You can see more on her MySpace page.
10. MICHELLE DELAMOR – Michelle is a soloist with the Unity of the Bay choir, where I’ll go out on a limb and assume Michelle is a member. The mission of the music ministry is “To heal, enlighten and minister through music in order to inspire and transform our world.”
11. KATIE STEVENS – 16 year old from Middlebury CT was singing for her grandmother, who has Alzheimers. Katie, who is 16, said before her first audition, “I want her to see me succeed before she forgets who I am.” Katie was named the Westbury CT’s 2009 Outstanding Teen and is a senior at Pomperaug High School. She has been singing since she was 3 years old. She enjoys playing the guitar, piano, flute and cello,
12. JANELL WHEELER – According to The Big Lead, is the former girlfriend of Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow; the LA Times calls her is “on-again, off-again boyfriend”. Although who really knows; they could just be friends and people are reading into the pics of them with his arm around her. They are very platonic. Wheeler won Orlando’s Got Talent last September. She graduated from the University of Florida at Gainesville in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in theatre and enjoys playing the guitar and writing music.
THE GUYS

<
1. MICHAEL LYNCH – Lynch’s wife gave birth to their first child while he was in Hollywood. Rumor had it that he was disqualified after his dad told papers his son made the top 24. But Lynch is still here, and with good reason. He’s got a great voice.
2. CASEY JAMES – Kara has been drooling over James since his audition in Denver, when she convinced him to take his shirt off. I don’t know what the fuss is. Taking his shirt off only made it worse. But there’s more! RadarOnline.com reports that James had some problems with the law back in 2001 and 2002. In 2001, he was found guilty of DWI, driving without a valid license and reckless driving, and served 30 days in county jail and was placed on probation for a year. On December 29, 2002, James was busted for driving with an invalid license. The same day, he was also busted for DWI. Both charges resulted in fines and more jail time. On a positive note, James has a great voice, and will definitely be a contestant to reckon with.

3. LEE DEWYZE– DeWyze released an indie album “So I’m Told” in 2008 and, according to indie label Wuli Records website, released another, “Slumberland,” in 2010. Both avail at CDBaby.com.
4. AARON KELLY – This 16 year old had a home life that wasn’t so great, so his aunt adopted him. Kelly won the Disney American Idol experience, which got him a fast track through the preliminary auditions. Kelly also participated on “America’s Most Talented Kids.”
5. TODRICK HALL – Todrick Hall started singing and dancing in church and has toured with the show The Color Purple. But he has has some problems with his own show Oz: The Musical, which reportedly had financial and credibility problems. Former Idol Diana DeGarmo was promoted as being in the production, something she assured media she had never agreed to.
6. ALEX LAMBERT– During group night, Mary Powers called him “the weakest link”. Ironically, Powers was eventually sent home
7. JOE MUNOZ – We don’t know very much about this 19-year-old yet, other than he graduated from Universidad de Sonora ’09 and sings in Spanish.
8. TYLER GRADY – This 19-year-old is a college student and drummer for the Nazareth, PA based pop/synth rock band Wailing Waters. Grady auditioned with casts on his arms after he shattered both wrists falling from a tree.
9. JERMAINE SELLERS – This 26 year old from Joliet, IL finished third in 2007 on BET’s Gospel competition, “Sunday Best” and says he’s “working on a new show with BET called 106 & Park Generation Gospel”. Jermaine toured for a year and a half with pop artist Monica and currently cares for his mother, who suffers from spina bifida.. You can learn more on Jermaine’s MySpace page
10. JOHN PARK – This 20-year-old student wanted to study voice after high school, but his parents were against it, because, as Park says, “they wanted me to have a job when I graduated.” During his first audition, guest judge Shania Twain told him he had “a beautiful bottom end and nice lips.” Musically speaking, of course
11. TIM URBAN – Christian/alternative singer songwriter from Dallas; performed at Six Flags in TX and also has listed quite a few shows at The Door, a club that says, ” Religion, philosophy, entertainment and belief systems are inseparable”. Tim was added to the Top 24 after Chris Golightly was disqualified.
12. ANDREW GARCIA – The 23-year-old husband and father shared a story about his parents’ involvment in gangs, and that they got out and moved so their kids would have a better life. Garcia is a strong contender for a top spot this season.
Got a gospel or Christian music news tip? Send me an email!
Click here to subscribe to Gospel Soundcheck by email and have the Gospel Soundcheck headlines delivered daily to your email inbox. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!
AMERICAN IDOL POSTS:
American Idol contestant Justin Williams was also a Season 8 contestant
Boston Auditions – blogging live play-by-play
Boston Auditions – recap
Atlanta audtions – Blogging live play-by-play
Auditions Recap – Vanessa Wolf, Jermaine Sellers, Holly Harden, Miriam Lemnouni, Noel Reese, and Pants on the Ground
Chicago auditions – Blogging live
American Idol Season 9 Chicago auditions recap – Angela Martin, Charity Vance, Katelyn Epperly, John Park and boob boxing
American Idol Season 9 Los Angeles auditions – Blogging live!
American Idol Season 9 Dallas auditions – Blogging live!
American Idol Season 9 Spoiler Alert: Is this the Top 24?
American Idol: so how do those auditions really work, anyway?
American Idol Season 9 “Road to Hollywood” auditions – Blogging live
American Idol Season 9 Christian artists
American Idol Season 9 Denver auditions: Blogging live (& the scoop on Nicci Nix)
American Idol contestant Angela Brown’s mother missing
Will Howard Stern take over for Simon Cowell on American Idol Season 10?
American Idol Season 9 Hollywood Week – Blogging live!
American Idol Season 9 Hollywood Week group auditions – Blogging live
American Idol season 9 more Hollywood auditions – blogging live (and missing the Olympics!)
More from Beliefnet and our partners