American Idol: Season 10, Episode 12 – “I’ll have what he’s having.”

American Idol: Season 10, Episode 12 – “I’ll have what he’s having.”

Last night was the night.  The top 24 was completed.  It’s the last show before the judges turn the decision making power over to the voting public. After 6 weeks of auditions we finally got to see who made the cut for season 10 of American Idol.  Just one more hour and…wait a minute.  You’re kidding right?  Another 2 hours of Idol?  God help me, these two-hour shows are cutting into my beauty sleep…

Oh well – the show must go on, and so must I.  The question is – will Jennifer be able to go on?  After the heart wrenching (but correct) decision to send Chris Medina home, Jennifer was struggling to pull herself together.  As the drama unfolded, my son piped up from the couch – “Maybe they should have given her ‘saying no’ lessons.”  I’ll say it again; my son is a genius.

Jennifer eventually collected herself and the road to the top 24 continued unabated.  Here’s how it all went down:

  • Karen Rodriguez was the first to take the long walk down the hangar floor.  For her final song, she chose to sing a song from Selena (after singing one of Jennifer’s songs in Hollywood).  It evidently worked – she made it to the top 12 girls.  When she came out, I think Jacob Lusk was more excited than she was.
  • Next up was Robbie Rosen.  I will say it once again – this kid can REALLY sing.  For only 17 years old, he has incredible vocal control and a calm confidence that surrounds him.  His final song was “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” – and he nailed it.  His interpretation with the Spanish guitar was beautiful.  There was little doubt he would make the top 12.  Jennifer summed it up for him in the end – “Honestly, you’re one of the best singers we have.” I agree.
  • Third in the hangar was Tatynisa Wilson.  We were treated again to a replay of her creative lyrical interpretation of “I Hope You Dance”, from Hollywood week.  Her final song was “Unbreak My Heart” – although we didn’t get to hear much of it. The judges milked it for a bit, but put her through to the top 24 in pretty short order.
  • Brittany Mazur and Jimmy Allen didn’t make it through.  No big surprise there – this is the first time I’ve had to look up their names all season.  That’s never a good sign.  Jimmy may have a career ahead of him, however, as a LL Cool J impersonator.
  • Tim Halperin chose to sing an original song for his final performance.  He sounded good, but what little we heard of the song didn’t really grab me.  Still – he impressed everyone on his duet with Julie Zorilla in Vegas; enough it seems to land him in the top 24.
  • The aforementioned Julie Zorilla followed Tim into the hangar.  The judges encouraged her to try and connect more with the lyrics and the audience – very sound advice.  She made it to the top 24, so we will get a chance to see if she can heed their counsel.  As she exited, she almost flashed everyone as she jumped up and down – then picked Ryan up, stumbled, and ended up in a very awkward position with him on top of her.  Family show people…family show.
  • Hey look – it’s a commercial for Venus featuring Jennifer Lopez.  I wonder how many more times we will see that between now and the finale?  Hey Steven – where’s your endorsement deal with Chapstick?
  • Scotty McCreery was next up.  What would a look back at his journey be without highlighting his “zoo talk and nuts of wonder” line from Hollywood.  No matter, his final performance of “Long Black Train” was the second best of the night (Casey Abrams was far and away the best.  I’ll get to him soon).  He had confidence, he had poise, and he owned the stage.  The little sideways glance he gave before landing on the last note was pure performance genius.  It was enough to “make a Bronx girl love country music”, and enough to get him through to the top 24.  Scotty again showed his character in admitting he wasn’t the man he should have been during Hollywood week when Jacee was kicked out of his group.  Good for him.   Now he just has to prove the he can sing something other than Josh Turner songs.
  • John Wayne Shulz was not as lucky as Scotty.  I guess there was only room for one country singer amongst the guys.
  • Jovany Baretto tried to make his way into the hangar next – but Ryan had to first help him take the tags off of his, apparently, new suit.  He has a powerful voice to match his powerful abs.  I respect the fact he wants to be taken seriously as a singer, not just the guy who took his shirt off for Jennifer at the auditions.  I think he has the pipes to back that up.
  • Lauren Turner was the next person in the judge’s chair.  She was hot and cold throughout the auditions, but she did make an impression on me during Hollywood week.  She really thought she wasn’t going to make it – the shock on her face when Randy told her she was in, told the story.  I don’t know that she’ll go very far, but she’s got her chance now to prove me wrong.  (By the way, I loved Thia’s apathetic applause when Lauren came out, and the wonderful fake faint from Lauren’s friend/family member.)
  • Before I forget – I have to say, the hangar made for a spectacular venue for the contestants final numbers.  It was beautifully lit and sounded amazing.  Kudos to the Idol producers for taking a chance and creating something unique.
  • Neither Tiwan Strong nor Erin Kelley made it through.  Moving on…
  • Rachel Zevita (wearing – well, I’m not sure what she was wearing, but my kids liked her sparkly tie), strode to the stage next as Ryan flirted with her 83 year-old grandmother.  Her final performance did absolutely nothing for me and I was convinced she was going home.  Shows what I know.  After the judges told her they wanted to see her, not what she thought they wanted to see, they put her in the top 24.  It sounded like good advice.  Let’s see what happens the first time she does it and they don’t like what they see.
  • Kendra Chantelle was the next girl moved through into the top 24.  She had been very under the radar until her duet with Paul McDonald in Vegas.  Evidently the judges saw potential in her.  What I really want to know is – why was Ryan jumping up and down on the table like a monkey on speed, when she come out of the hangar?
  • The next addition to the top 24 was Jordon Dorsey.  He hasn’t really blown me away so far, and his attitude during the group numbers didn’t score him any points in my book.  We’ll see what America thinks.  Riddle me this, though.  During his final performance, he was accompanied by a piano – a rather large grand piano.  But when he exited the stage, there was no piano – only a man with a guitar.  How did that happen?  Exactly how many “final performances” did he do? Inquiring minds want to know.
  • Oh my stars and garters – up next was Lauren Alaina as Cowgirl Barbie.  There was no doubt everyone will remember her outfit – but everyone will remember her singing ability as well.  As soon as she got to the judges, she walked over and gave them all a big hug – before she knew anything about her fate.  That infectious charm will serve her well.  As I said during her first audition, she’s like Kellie Pickler – but with talent.  I think she really thought she was going home right up until the moment Steven let her off the hook.  Yep – I like Lauren.
  • Stefano Langone was the second contestant of the night to perform an original song.  Like Tim, I like Stefano’s voice, but I didn’t really connect with his song.  It didn’t hurt, as he made it into the top 24.  He told everyone he hadn’t slept in 4 days.  I hope he slept well that night.
  • Jackie Wilson forgot the words to “Because of You” in her final performance.  Ryan dubbed her an early favorite – but I wasn’t convinced from her first audition in Nashville.  She didn’t make it through.  On the plus side, she will now have more time to spend with her awkwardly old boyfriend.
  • Jacob Lusk strolled in to the hangar next.  He may be growing on me, just a little bit, but as my wife said – “He exhausts me just to watch.”  Randy told him his performance of “God Bless The Child” was the best performance on Idol – ever.  I don’t think I would go that far (Carrie Underwood, “Alone” – anyone?), but every time I hear it, I appreciate it a little more.  My only question is this – what was that victory dance he was doing as he left?  The spastic chicken?  I think he was just a wee bit excited.
  • Pia Tuscano (I still want to say Pinky Tuscadero), sauntered to the stage next.  We’ve seen a little of Pia, but not a ton.  I wasn’t sure if she would make it or not – but she did, claiming the 11th girl’s spot in the top 24.  I really don’t have a lot to add – she hasn’t made a big impression on me so far.  Let’s see what next week brings.
  • James Durbin’s journey was up for review next.  I was impressed he was self aware enough after Hollywood to see he needed to not be just a screamer (like Adam Lambert became).  Of course, he then proceeded to do “Change Is Going To Come” for his final song – one of the songs Adam did for the top 2 show.  Here’s the thing, though – he blew the doors off the song.  That last note was pure, unadulterated rock-n-roll-bad-assery.  Steven said it best.  “I’ll take an order of that – I’ll have what he’s having.” It was an easy decision to put him in the top 24.
  • I’ll pause here for a moment to point out something important.  After James complained about the help “The Minors” were getting from their moms during group week, those very moms decided to talks smack about his group’s performance.  James made it to the top 24 and the live shows.  How many of “The Minors” did?  Zero.  That karma, she’s a real bitch sometimes.
  • Are you kidding me?  Only two spots left for the guys and Casey Abrams, Brett Loewenstern, Colton Dixon and Jacee Badeaux are all still left?  Holy crap.
  • Casey Abrams was called in next.  Looking back at his past performances, I was reminded of just how talented Casey is.  His stated mission in his final performance was simple.  “I’m here to prove that people like me can be sexy.”  I didn’t think he could top his version of “Georgia On My Mind”, but I was wrong.  I don’t what song that was he performed (and I didn’t find him sexy) – but I could have listened to it all night.  It was absolutely brilliant.  I had no idea an upright bass and a single voice together could be so rich and textured.  Randy told him they had never had a more talented musician on the show.  I would have to agree.  I only hope, when he gets to the live shows, America regards that talent and individuality.  Casey may not be sexy, be he’s sure cool.  (Bonus points to the Idol producers for playing a Sons of Sylvia, “Give Me Love” song while Casey exited.  SOS rocks.)
  • Only one spot left and there were two girls still sitting in the waiting room – Thia Megia and Jessica Cunningham.   Could Thia’s version of “You Raise Me Up” been any more emotionally flat or uninspiring?  I just don’t get what the judges are seeing.  They didn’t show Jessica’s final performance – so I was pretty sure she was going home.  I was right – Thia made it (hooray…).  Jessica had tried out 7 times before, and was just a bit miffed, getting cut on her birthday.  But, she’s only 25.  Maybe the 8th, 9th, or 10th time auditioning will be the charm for her.  As for Thia – well, I just can’t seem to make myself care enough to comment any further.
  • The end of the show and we had three guys left to fill one final slot – Brett Loewenstern, Jacee Badeaux, and Colton Dixon (although Brett was CONVINCED there were still 2 spots).  Jacee sang “Gone Too Soon” for his final number.  Foreshadowing?  Brett chose to sing one of his original songs.  For the third time in the show, the original song didn’t do much for me.  Colton Dixon sang something I didn’t recognize.  The judges sat them all down and Randy delivered the news that Brett would be going through.  It was very bittersweet.  When Jennifer hugged Jacee afterwards, you could see the emotion in both of them.  I really hope he comes back to audition again next year.  As for Brett, I’ve liked him from the start, but he seems to have cooled off a bit.  I need to see something pretty amazing in the live shows to get me back on the bandwagon.

So there you have it – the top 24 for 2011.  Next week sees the guys sing on Tuesday, the girls on Wednesday, and the live results on Thursday.  Who will I be voting for, you ask?  Based on everything so far, I’ll be pulling for Casey Abrams, Lauren Alaina, Robbie Rosen, and Paul McDonald as a dark horse.  I think the guys have the edge this year.  I can’t wait to start dialing and see what happens.  Until next week – Word Zombie out.

For those keeping score at home, the full top 24 is:

Ashton Jones

Brett Loewenstern

Casey Abrams

Clint Jun Gamboa

Haley Reinhart

Jacob Lusk

James Durbin

Jordon Dorsey

Jovany Baretto

Julie Zorilla

Karen Rodriguez

Kendra Chantelle

Lauren Alaina

Lauren Turner

Naima Adedapo

Paul McDonald

Pia Tascano

Rachel Zevita

Robby Rosen

Scotty McCreery

Stefano Langone

Tatynisa Wilson

Thia Meia

Tim Halperin

© 2011, The Word Zombie. All rights reserved.

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