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‘American Idol’ top 24: Zachariah Smith and Colin Stough advance

Photos courtesy of American Idol

The American Idol journey is continuing for two Mississippians.

Zachariah Smith, a burger-flipping stepfather out of Amory, and Colin Stough, an HVAC technician from the 79-person town of Gattman, are both heading to the competition’s semifinals in Hawaii after stellar performances in the showstoppers round.

Smith, 19, found redemption after forgetting the words to Elton John last week with an electric rendition of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

Near the end of the rocker’s performance, Luke Bryan can be heard screaming, “He might have just won the damn thing” as fellow judge Katy Perry pitched in, “Drop the mic!”

“I love American Idol,” Smith said afterward. “This is where I want to be.”

Fast-forward to Monday night’s installment of the showstoppers round where viewers found out the fate of Stough, 18, in the very final minutes of the episode following his performance of Chris Stapleton’s “Cold.”

With just one spot remaining in the top 24, Stough and two other contestants – Matt Wilson and Iam Tongi – were called in by the judges, who informed them that Tongi was heading to the next round.

All three stood with Stough and Wilson congratulating Tongi before turning to thank the panel of judges. And that’s when the plot twist hit.

“Us judges, we like to change it up every season. We have so much talent this season, we don’t think there’s a top 24,” Perry revealed. “You guys are in the top 26!”

That means both Stough and Smith will be back on the stage this Sunday when American Idol returns at 8/7c on ABC.

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