On Tuesday night’s American Idol, we saw 7 of 24 finalists make it through. To recap, of the 12 available male and 12 available female slots, the following were filled:
Females: Didi Benami and Katelyn Epperly.
Males: Mike Lynche, Casey James, Lee DeWyze, Todrick Hall, and Aaron Kelly
Last night, there were 37 possible candidates of whom the judges had to choose 10 women and 7 men.
This was going to be a lightning round. This was only an hour show tonight and they had a lot of people to get through, so there was no time for frivolities or long-winded backstories.
First person to sit across from the judges, Janell Wheeler. We were quickly reminded in a montage of her Hollywood auditions, where she sounded pretty solid. Solid enough to make it to the next round.
Next up is 20-year old drummer Tyler Grady, who has been channeling Jim Morrison since his initial audition. This guy had Top 10 potential all over him, but he better be able to expand beyond the rock genre or he’s toast. His version of Chris Daughtry’s Home pushed him into the Top 24, but he was well on his way anyway.
The next girl to go in with the judges is last year’s “just missed making it” Lacey Brown. Last season, Lacey made it as far as the judges’ room and it was between her and Megan Joy. The judges’ picked Megan and sent Lacey home. This year, they put her through to the Final 24. Her montage included a beautiful rendition of her singing What a Wonderful World in the background.
Next, they showed a very quick montage of Ashley Rodriguez, Alex Lambert, and Joe Munoz all being put through to the next round, with Lacey’s What a Wonderful World playing in the background. There was little doubt that Ashley was going through right from the beginning, unless she blew it during the Hollywood round. She was great right from her opening audition and the judges loved her. I was never an Alex Lambert fan and I think he’s going to go very quickly. Um, Joe who?? I really don’t remember ever seeing this guy.
For a quick count, we are now up to 3 Men and 3 Women from last night’s show, plus the 2 Women and 5 Men from Tuesday night for a subtotal of 8 Men and 5 Women. More than halfway home.
The next girl to go in to in to the room was Crystal Bowersox. I still contend that A) she has a great voice, and B) she is in need of a makeover if she plans of going far in this competition. Her version of (You Make Me Feel) Like a Natural Woman was truly awesome and I really hope she does it again later in the competition. I would like to hear all of it. Of course, she’s going through to the Top 24.
17-year old Katie Stevens, from Middlebury, CT is next in the room. We see a clip of her singing Stevie Wonder’s For Once in My Life. She does have a very powerful voice for a teenager. There is little doubt that she’s going through, and she does.
Just as I was starting to wonder if all we were going to see this hour were people going through, we saw a huge montage of people being told “No”, “It’s not going to happen this year”, “You have a great voice, but others were better”, “I’m sorry, but it’s the end of the line for you”, and other things of that ilk. My Idol world was righted again.
But then Angela Martin walked in the room. Here is a girl who was trying out Idol for the third time. The first time she made it to the Final 50 and her father was murdered, and she had to go. The second time, she made it to the Final 50 (or thereabouts) and she had a warrant for tickets, and had to spend several days in jail, so she had to go. Now, here she is again. The very model of perseverance. Once could only hope that they put her through.
Kara sat down on the chair with her and put her arms around her. It was a very touching, tender moment. Kara told her that no one has grown more on the show, that no one has come farther. But she wasn’t going to make it through this year. If you didn’t feel for this girl, you just don’t have a heart. But, as Judge #5 (my wife, Lynn, who I will refer to all season), said, “You can only hope that this will cause something else to open up for her.” Amen to that.
Next in the room is quirky Lilly Scott from Denver. She of the poker straight white hair and crazy outfits. But, she has a pretty cool voice and she shows it during a nice jazzy version of Lullabye of Birdland. She’s unsure of her final Hollywood audition, but she makes it through anyway and I’m sure she’ll be around for a while.
Next, we see a quick montage of yes’s for: Paige Miles, Siobhan Magnus, Michelle Delamor, Jermaine Sellers and John Park. Paige and Siobhan are both very good. Siobhan improved dramatically from her initial audition to Hollywood week and if she continues along that path, she has definite Top 10 potential. Jermaine Sellers is good, but he’s not as good as he thinks he is. He better keep his attitude in check if he wants to make it past the Top 15. John Park had a very good audition and I was surprised at how smooth his voice actually was. Look for him to go far.
So, now we’re down to just two girls left Haeley Vaughn and Tori Kelly, and two guys left, Thaddeus Johnson or Andrew Garcia, and only one of each can still get in. Oh the drama…
They decided not to bring the girls in together as they’ve done in the past, but talk to them separately. The cameras cut to the judges talking to each of them. In my opinion, Tori is the better of the two by a long shot. Her audition of Katy Perry’s Hot and Cold was very good, but they went with Haeley anyway. She has a very good chance of being the first girl to go.
What they really should have done is not chosen either of them, and taken Angela Martin instead. She should have been rewarded for her perseverance and fortitude, not been told that Kara will always remember her or made to promise Ryan Seacrest that she will somehow turn this into a positive. She deserved better, and being selected over either of these two would have been more like it.
The two men left, in true Idol fashion, were both very good and both very deserving of a Top 24 spot. During the Hollywood round, Thaddeus Johnson sang an amazing performance of Man in the Mirror, and at his first audition, Andrew Garcia sang his own, unplugged version of Paula Abdul’s Straight Up, ala Kris Allen, that Kara deemed (correctly, I might add), brilliant. Even though Kara incorrectly said it was more like Adam Lambert, we all knew what she meant.
Since young Mr. Johnson is only 17, it really was no surprise at all that they selected Andrew Garcia. In this case, it was the right choice. It left Thaddeus devastated. He was inconsolable. He wanted to know what he did wrong and when Simon said, ‘Nothing, others were just better.” It just seemed to be worse. He couldn’t get that he did nothing wrong and he still wasn’t selected for a Top 24 slot.
Again, here’s where the judges could have made a different, and better, choice. They could have not selected Aaron “I keep forgetting the lyrics” Kelly, and put in a much more deserving Thaddeus Johnson.
Well, it’s all in the public’s voting hands now.
As a final recap, here are the SEASON 9 TOP 24 AMERICAN IDOL CONTESTANTS
*Note from Fox Press Release:
It has been determined that Chris Golightly is ineligible to continue in the competition. AMERICAN IDOL contestant Tim Urban has replaced Golightly as part of the Top 24.