Washington man among 24 'American Idol' semifinalists

| Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012

Western Pennsylvania's hometown boy • Adam Brock of Washington • has broken into the Top 24 semifinalists of "American Idol," after an emotional moment of truth with the judges and a Wednesday night cliffhanger that was resolved at the beginning of Thursday's episode.

Brock, 27, cried hard as he waited for Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez to inform him about his fate. The judges, who criticized Brock's final solo performance in the cutthroat competition, seemed to be preparing to deliver bad news.

Yet, as so often happens in reality shows, those agonizing pregnant pauses end up with a surprise. Brock • a soulful, robust singer who has described himself as a "large black woman trapped inside a 27-year-old man's body" • talked about how he was looking at a picture of his daughter, baby Whitney, on his iphone while someone asked him what he most wants to do in life. Randy Jackson started the conversation with the same kind of question.

"Is this your dream?" Jackson said. "Is this what you really want?"

Brock -- creative-arts director at Central Assembly of God Church in Houston, Washington County • tearfully replied: "It's the most complex thing to sum up. • I have to sing."

The "Idol" cameras showed Brock calling his wife, Joanna, and telling her he wouldn't be coming home for a while. She screamed, and said "I knew it! I knew it!"

"I love you so much and please kiss Whitney for me," Brock told his wife. "Tell her she's going to see Daddy on TV."

Sarris Candies of Canonsburg put a picture of a Brock "White Chocolate" candy bar on its Facebook page, with a picture of Brock, who called himself white chocolate, on the wrapper. The candy is not for sale yet.

Tears of both joy and heartbreak flowed after the contestants walked down the smoky corridor, sat down with the judges on the dark hotel platform surrounded by water, and heard both feedback and the verdicts. Many contestants practically fell over in gratitude or grief, while their families stood outside the room waiting to celebrate or comfort.

Latia Lee, a West End singer who made it to the "Idol" Hollywood rounds, was listed on the "Idol" Web site as one of the Top 42. Although Lee was not shown, she is not one of the Top 24.

On Tuesday, Brock and the other 11 male semifinalists will perform along with an additional mysterious, eliminated contestant that "Idol" producers foreshadowed at the end of the episode. The 12 female semifinalists will ?perform on Wednesday, and the first elimination episode will be on Thursday.

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