Thursday, February 24, 2011

American Idol, Season 10 -- Episode 12, Naming the Top 24

So many reality TV shows have their own signature way to say goodbye to a contestant.  One of my favorite moments of How I Met Your Mother was when Barney Stinson, apparently an avid reality TV watcher, ran through the list of all the ways you could tell someone to take a hike:

You are the weakest link, goodbye. Punchy, the tribe has spoken. Please pack up your knives and go. Your work of art didn't work for us. Your time's up. I have to ask you to leave the mansion. You must leave the chateau. Your tour ends here. You've been chopped. You've been evicted from the Big Brother house. Your dessert just didn't measure up. Sashay away. Give me your jacket and leave Hell's Kitchen. I'm sorry, you did not get a rose. You have been eliminated from the race. You are no longer in the running to be America's Next Top Model. You're fired. Auf Wiedersehen.
If there is one thing missing from American Idol, it is the lack of a signature kiss-off line.  Tonight, eleven contestants will be sent packing with an apology, an explanation, some comforting words and perhaps a tear or two.  But no catch phrase.  Let's see.  Exit, stage right?  Your microphone has been unplugged?  No stool for you?  We'll have to work on this.

It doesn't look like Jennifer Lopez is up to bringing down the axe on anyone else, but those are the rules.  Now, I know a lot of you think she's faking all this concern.  But, honestly, we all know she's just not that good an actress.   

First up is Karen Rodriguez, who can sing well in two languages.  I don't why that impresses me, but it does.  Possibly because I'd like to sing as well in just one.  She was the MySpace auditioner, proving that the internet is not all bad.  Where else could you be contacted by a Nigerian prince?  With her good looks, mature, solid vocals and consistency, I'd be shocked if she isn't getting good news. No shock here, she's in, and very enthusiastic about it!  She even gets the lift and spin of victory after leaving the room!

Robbie Rosen sang Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word as his "sing for your life" song.  It was not an ironic choice.  His angelic, painfully beautiful voice is not hearing "sorry" any time soon.  What he does to a song should be against the law, or at least kept away from small children.  It's too provocative, too intimate. He has such command over his voice, he can make it do whatever he wants so effortlessly.  Can you tell I'm a fan?

Tatynisa is up next and she's had a bumpy ride to the top 40.  But they must have seen something in her and she is cute as a button, for what it's worth.  So possibly on that alone, she's in the top 24. 

I am reminded that I did not like Tim Halperin during his audition.  Not just because of his unfortunate facial hair, but because of what I thought was a snarky comeback to JLo when she asked his age.  For the record, men, replying, "What's yours?" is never the right choice.  His final song is ... okay.  It was an original which is risky at best, suicidal at worst.  He has a nice sounding voice, but this was his shot to nail it and it was a tad sleepy.  So, that of course means...he's in the top 24!  After killing it in Vegas with that beautiful duet on Something, I'm not surprised!

His equally gifted partner in that performance, Julie Zorilla, has it all.  Voice, looks, she plays the piano, her skin is flawless and she dresses cute. They worry she may not have the emotion, the feeling to connect with an audience.  Because, what audience will connect with a gorgeous, multi-talented young woman?  Oh, all of them?  Yeah, she's in.

They pit the two cowboys against each other which strikes me as unfair. It's Scotty McCreery v. John Wayne Schulz.  Ryan asks them if they're worried if there's room for both and while they say they're not concerned, it's clear they should be.  It sure is feeling like an either-or proposition.  Scotty, like, Tatynisa, had blown the group round in Hollywood, stumbling over then adlibbing the lyrics to his song, but was allowed to move on.  His final song was really country, with references to trains and, I'm sure if he sang more, there'd be dogs and guns, oh, yep, there it is, there's the lord!  He's adorable, I'll admit it.  I can see him being hugely popular if even I like him.  And, yes, Scotty's in the top 24.

But, sadly, he'll be our only country guy as John Wayne Schulz is out. 

Next is Jovany Barreto, who sounds better than he did during Hollywood week.  Very pristine, clear voice.  Nice, very nice.  In case you forgot, he was the guy who took his shirt off for no apparent reason.  After he had the golden ticket.  Comparisons to Casey James came to mind, naturally, and so it was curious that Ryan tonight used the same line in reference to Jovany that he did last year after Casey made the top 24.  "Now he's in your hands, America."  Curious.

Lauren Turner auditioned in New Orleans and she's faded since then.  But my handy dandy spoiler list from Joe's Place Blog says the unmemorable one made it, and she does.  No more cleaning other people's messes for this former maid.  Hmm, maybe JLo felt a connection because she once played a maid?  Boy, this would have been the year to audition if your name was Gigli. 

Rachel Zevita, who had made it far, but not far enough, in Season 6, is nervous about hearing the verdict from the judges.  She shouldn't be.  Her voice is so unique, so memorable, so polished, they're lucky to have her.  She showed a totally different side of her vocals in her last song, went way over the top, her desperation to make it almost palpable.  It worked, and she's in.  I question the crying with no tears, but I do feel her shock was genuine.  I hope she stays around for a while and always brings grandma with her.  However studied her granddaughter may be, that lady was real!

I remember thinking Kendra Chantelle Campbell had a sweet voice and did a nice job on Blackbird.  She's pretty and, until she was goosed in the middle of her final song, she has a strong, radio-friendly voice.  I worry she may be a bit bland, there's nothing yet that stands out about her.  But I do like her little trick on Ryan, giving him the disappointed, kiss off explanation before coming out with the great news!  She's in.

Jordan Dorsey started his final song flat and it hurt my ears.  It did not improve from there.  So why do I fear I'll be seeing -- and hearing -- more from him?  Jordan skates over the issue of his petulant, superior behavior during Hollywood week, but then being a singer is about singing, right, not being a mensch?  So he'll be around for at least another week to show everyone how it's done.

I have loved Lauren Alaina's voice since her audition and every time I've seen her since there, she's blown me away.  And it just occurred to me that she's actually younger than my daughter!  She's just a baby, with such a powerful, confident voice.  How does this happen?  I guess that's why it's called a gift.  However, as gifted as she is vocally, she is confused sartorially as her outfit is psycho cowgirl on crank.

Stefan Langone overcame a horrible car accident and now faces a tougher challenge, singing an original song that appeared to lack any melody whatsoever.  But he does have a unique sound, using a higher register than a lot of the male (and many of the female) contestants.  As long as he sticks with covers, he should be fine.

Jackie Wilson had one of the strongest voices during the audition round, but she apparently fell a little short during her last performance.  She's not taking the news that she did not make the top 24 well, as she is suspicious, as I am, that it's based on something other than her vocals.  But, sadly, TV is a visual medium.

Jacob Lusk makes me want to throw my TV out the window, but it's a really nice TV and a lot bigger than I am, so I'll have to settle for the mute button.  Oh, now he's done it!  He took one of my favorite songs, A Song for You, and destroyed it -- in a bad way.  Not in the "you killed it" way, but in the, "what did that song ever do to you" way.  Leon Russell should sue.  But the judges do not hear what I do.  They still are talking about his overwrought God Bless the Child performance like the second coming and I worry about their ears and their sanity.  It was an indulgent, unnecessarily over-the-top performance that was a bad SNL skit come to life.  The Khmer Rouge did less damage than he just did.  Awful, simply awful.

How can I go on when my faith in humanity has been put to the test like that?  I'll try to pick myself up.  Pia Toscano has renewed my hope.  Oh, this is what singing well sounds like.  She's already crying, probably because Jacob made it, which means someone great won't.  But Pia, you will!!

Now it's James Durbin, whose Tourette and Asberger combination makes him need to sing like Adam Lambert at every possible opportunity. Hide the wine glasses, he's about to sing at the shatteringly high range only he can find.  Dogs across America prick up their ears.  But you apparently need a shrieker ever year, so James is in.

Two spots left for the guys, but just four guys left, including judges' favorite Casey Abrams.  He is more of a lock than Rahm Emanuel was on Tuesday.  Casey's got a jazzy, too-cool-for-school vibe, that rubs me the wrong way, but apparently makes the judges all warm and gooey.  I want to put my foot through his face.  Why do people who sing jazz seem so arrogant to me?  It's like they're saying, yeah, I could just sing a melody, but that's for slackers.  Let me riff for an hour, to show how awesome I am.

Jessica Cunningham is having a birthday.  It's her seventh time trying out for American Idol and she's gotten this far, but no further, before.  Did I mention she's having a birthday and she's vying for the last remaining spot with Thia Megia, who has one of the best voices in the competition?  Yeah, this is not going to be a birthday to remember.  Jessica will be known for the rest of the night as American Idol bubble girl for the giant AI logos used to cover the middle fingers she was giving the judges after she learned of her fate.  Thia has a muted celebration.

There are three guys left, but only one spot.  Jacee Badeaux, Brett Lowenstern and Colton Dixon.  All have great voices.  Jacee is just a babe, fifteen, but a young fifteen.  He has a sweet voice, which cracks slightly during his last performance.  Brett has a really different sound.  He sang an original song, which is risky, but I think the risk paid off.  It showcases his range and quirkiness.  I remember being blown away by Colton during Hollywood week and as I hear him tonight, I think this is a tremendous voice.  One of the best of any guy I've heard.  All three deserve a spot, but it goes only to Brett.  Which would explain the Tweet I saw from Colton earlier.  He's fine and will keep going, so follow him here.  Jacee is young and his voice will only improve as he matures. 

So we have our top 24, which I list here from my favorite to my least:

Guys                                                      Girls          
Robbie Rosen                                        Lauren Alaina

Tim Halperin                                         Julie Zorilla

Brett Lowenstern                                 Rachel Zevita

Jovany Barreto                                     Ashthon Jones

Scotty McCreery                                  Karen Rodriguez

Casey Abrams                                      Naima Adedapo

Stefano Langone                                   Pia Toscano

Clint Jun Gamboa                                 Thia Megia

Paul McDonald                                     Tatynisa Wilson

James Durbin                                        Lauren Turner

Jordan Dorsey                                       Haley Reinhart

Jacob Lusk                                            Kendra Campbell

Guys will go next Tuesday, girls will follow on Wednesday, results on Thursday.  See you then!


  1. sorry to see Brett and Durbin make it through.
    you have to have the looks along with the talent.loved to have seen John Wayne Shultz make it through.even though his music is pretty limited.

  2. Why Stefano Langone is IN ?????!!!!!! Why John Wayne Shulz is OUT??? !!! It's TOTALLY WRONG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Karen Smith from HillsboroFebruary 25, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    Well, I'm ready to eat crow. There's some darned good talent festering here. The grandsons are picking Lauren Alaina to win it and can't wait to see her the enticement of the younger viewer is working. Again, I agree with your comments, Shari. And I really tried, really hard, to put Casey James out of my mind and enjoy the show for what it is....but it just ain't happnin'!!

  4. You are so funny! "Put a foot through Abrams face" Ouch... I'm glad I don't sing Jazz. lol I'm really liking Tim Halperin. & Paul McDonald right now along with bloody Abrams. Not alot of girls are standing out for me, but cranked out psycho cowgirl! Yes she has IT, really like Lauren. But she did raid "big girl barbie's" closet! Great run down. Its always fun to see your views on the show, but please clean up the bloody mess when you finished! haha

  5. ..and..why Colton Dixon and Deandre Brackensick ???!!!!!! They both are better than Langone !!!

  6. Sorry...
    ..and..why Colton Dixon and Deandre Brackensick is out ???!!!!!! They both are better than Langone !!!

  7. I think Colton Dixon didn't make it for obvious reasons. He could win and this year they want the winner to be a woman.
    Colton is really good, young and gorgeous.. enough to get votes and more votes.

  8. I wonder if the judges go home and second guess themselves?! I sure would. Some pretty good talent was cut loose to get to get to this top 24. If you all had one wild card to use, who would you re-instate? My choice was cut awhile ago ~ Sophia Sorai, partly because she's a Minnesota girl I suppose, but also she has a truly interesting back story. Rest assured she's ok. I hear she's a consistent sell out at the Dakota Jazz Club downtown Minneapolis. You can ck her out here if you want:

  9. I just can't hear Brett or Casey Abrams or Lusk guy on the radio station in houston,if your not pop or country music where do you go?no market for anything else.i disagree with Randys comment about Casey Abrams being the best ever musician.Casey James holds that title.Tim Halprin is my fav so far.for some reason i liked Jovanny something about him keeps me pulling for him.

  10. I agree with Malu. It seemed like the producers worked hard not to let in guys that would appeal to the same viewers who have picked their dreaded WGWG (white guys with guitars) for 3 years straight. The closest things we've got to tween magnets this year (Robbie and Tim) both play piano.

    I also get the feeling the producers are trying to get us to forget about Casey James but they couldn't find just one guy to fit the bill, so we get 4:
    Tim (the cute guy from Fort Worth), Stefano (the accident victim who overcame the odds), Casey Abrams (the "best musician we've ever had on here"), and Jovany (shirt-doffing cougar bait). For Jovany, Ryan even uttered the exact line he did when Casey made the top 24: "he's in your hands America. Do with him what you will.". This might as well be code for "release the hounds".
    Randy must've had a memory lapse when he deemed Casey Abrams "the best musician we've had on here". If he was talking about Season 10, or that platform they were all sitting on, then I might buy it. But, he definitely doesnt top Casey James. I don't think Esperanza Spalding is gonna be letting Casey Abrams use her bass on a future live episode. As for Jovany, he sings well enough, but it's a little too Velveeta for me.

  11. To the Anons, I wish you guys didn't post as Anon! I'd love to know who said what! I love your comments!!

    To everyone, I have the coolest readers, thanks for all your comments!!

  12. I would have traded Colton Dixon for James Durbin or Clint (the as*hat). I feel bad that some seem to be blaming adorable, talented, equally DESERVING Brett for Colton's not making. I would have chosen both and I hate the contrived drama. Blech.

    I still can't believe that Randy said John Wayne Schultz isn't ready but Scotty apparently is? Really Randy. Yikes.

    And I guess I can't blame Jessica for being frustrated after all these years of trying out only to have he judges choose 15 year old Thia over her. Again, I hate the contrived drama.


  13. Ok Burn This I am the one who laughed out loud at your bloody comments & right now like Tim, Paul & Lauren! I admit it. There! :)

  14. See, Jake, that wasn't so hard!! :)

  15. people please don't vote for casey abrams he is nothing more than another taylor hicks he's gonna make this show into a joke and it will be canceled.i love this show it's been good for so many talented singers that other wise could not have gotten there foot in the door.i hate seeing viewers have all the say so in who wins. he's not pop and he's not country their is no audience for jazz music or what ever it is he sings.

  16. Would NEVER have looked sideways at Casey and thought "you're sexy!", until he sang that final line "you're mine". He went from rough and evil to soft and everso slightly more evil...WOW