Since I was schooled by so many of you last night on what Vote for the Worst is really all about (not who is untalented, but who we inexplicably end up hating on American Idol), I have to eat my words a bit, since a few precious snowflakes made it through into the Top 24 tonight, who I don’t think were as unobjectionable as those who made it last night. Maybe since Chris Medina got cut, I figured only totally rad people would make it through. Maybe I was also irritated by the predictability of the episode (if we’ve heard of you and we saw a flashback to your last-chance performance, you probably made it.)
I did like the first girl of the night to make it through, though. (Jennifer Lopez, by the way, found the strength to go on despite her slightly smudged mascara, so don’t worry.) Karen Rodriguez is charming and made a special connection with Jennifer by singing one of her tunes and a Selena song. We don’t know a ton about Karen, but she’s pretty likable from what I’ve seen so far.
Robbie Rosen is not dislikable, per se, and he can definitely sing, but, well, I don’t like the faces that he makes when he performs (by the way, he’s the kid who used to be in a wheelchair when he was younger, and there are conveniently no photos to prove it). He sang his dick off though, according to Steven Tyler, and Randy likes that he’s so unassuming, so he made it to the Top 24. I hope he gets styled better though because so far he’s dressing in that way a lot of male Idol contestants do that says “Hey! I’m a ‘cool’ guy, right? Only cool guys wear jackets like this!"
I was surprised that Tatynisa Wilson, who muffed the lyrics so badly on “I Hope You Dance” made it through, plus I didn’t think her last chance performance of “Unbreak My Heart” was so great—she was one of the few people to make it to the Top 24 whose talent I doubted a bit.
Tim Halperin, the guy who sang “Something” with Julie Zorrilla also made it through, as did Julie Zorrilla. Like I said, I’ve come to admit that she’s actually pretty talented, but let’s face it; even if she were a weaker singer, she’s a tough package to turn down. What I mean is, I want to kiss her on the mouth and run my fingers through her hair and also borrow her shoes and dresses. I also liked that she picked up Ryan after she got the good news. The judges urged her to make more of a connection with the audience in her future performances
Someone else who made it through who I don’t think is as good as everyone else is Scotty McCreary. Yes, he can sing a nice baritone country song, but I think he’s going to look foolish when it’s time for him to sing anything else. He would do much better on a CMT singing competition. John Wayne Schulz did not make it through, though. Since he basically already has a music career, I don’t feel bad for him, but I wouldn’t have minded looking at his mug for a few more weeks.
Jovany Barretto, the guy who took his shirt off for Jennifer after his audition, made the Top 24. I don’t know much about him, but for me, he’s going to have to overcome the fact that he wore his sunglasses hanging on his open-collared shirt as a fashion accessory.
Lauren Turner also made the cut, which was a bit of a surprise since we didn’t learn much about her in the audition process, although I think last week I picked her out for being strong during the group performances. Also a relative stranger to us who’s in the Top 24: Kendra Chantelle.
Rachel Zevita also made it, and Jennifer continued to pretend to remember her from season six. Thanks to Rachel, though, we got some of that hot grandma-on-Seacrest action this season has been somewhat lacking.
Jordan Dorsey, the guy who was a dick to people by making them audition for him at Hollywood Week also made it through, as did Stefano Langone, the dude who was in a car wreck but bounced back against all odds. Several of the singers who made it into the Top 24 sang original songs for their final audition, and Stefano’s was the weakest, the lyrics mostly consisting of the phrase “Come on.”
Lauren Alaina is another contestant who I’m a little prejudiced against: I didn’t like how she relied so heavily on Steven Tyler for her audition and on Group Night. Jennifer inaccurately compared her to Dolly Party, mostly because Lauren was wearing a loud dress and boots. That’s like saying I’m like Jesus just because I wear sandals. (And yes, Dolly Parton is Christlike in her goodness.)
Jackie Wilson, who had such a great audition in Nashville, had an unfortunate lyrics situation in her final audition and got cut. I also wonder if, image-wise, she wasn’t quite as polished as lot of the other girls who made it through the process: she was pretty pissed about her elimination and questioned the judges.
I find Jacob Lusk very likable, but I could see his over-the-top singing getting annoying pretty quickly on the show, but America will decide that. His special moment was pretty fun and joyous, though.
Pia Toscano also joined the Top 24, which I have no beef with. She’s beautiful and a strong singer. Maybe they’ll pit her against Julia Zorrilla to see who can outsing and outpretty the other.
I didn’t want James Durbin to make the Top 24. But he did. We already had an Adam Lambert and Adam Lambert did it better (and often Lambert drove me crazy, too). It is sweet to see how much Steven Tyler has taken to James, though: He’s somewhat like a proud uncle to him.
Like I said, the episode was predictable, the next reveal even moreso thanks to a commercial preview that let us know that Casey Abrams would be on the chopping block, and then so would the three remaining boys. Did anyone notice how much shorter Casey’s beard was in his last-chance performance than when he went to meet the judges? I wonder what the timing was, there. Randy informed Casey that he was the most talented performer they’ve ever had on the show and that he was in. I still hate Casey’s scatting and the fact that sometimes I think he’s trying too hard to sound like an old black blues singer. But he is talented and he seems like an all right guy. I will say this about the Top 24: It’s going to be a very diverse group.
The last two girls were Thia Megea and Jessica Cunningham, who has auditioned seven times for the show. (It was weird that the judges called her the only “rocker” in the competition: I thought that they’d consider James one, too.) I really like Thia, but I was hoping, as a fellow old person, that for Jessica’s sake they’d give Thia the ol’ “You have time to mature,” speech. I think Jessica knew she was getting cut, though. She interrupted the judges to let them know that it was her birthday (Thia remained stoic and silent.) But Jessica was cut once again, and like Jackie, she was not pleased, giving the double-bird to the camera, a reaction you don’t usually see at this stage in the game. It wasn’t exactly classy, but I can’t say I totally blame her. Meanwhile, I like Thia a lot, but I wonder if the fact that she's such a cool customer might mean she'll have a hard time connecting with her audience.
Finally, Jaycee, Brett, and Colton Dixon all went up together. I didn’t know much about Colton Dixon up until tonight, but based on what I saw of him tonight, he had a sort of whiny emo way of singing, and I don’t care for that. What happened next was something of a mystery to me, though, since my DVR swallowed up the rest of the episode from here on out. My colleague Maura Johnston summed up what happened next for me thusly: “Brett made it. Colton looked really pissed off about the whole thing. Then outside Brett told the other two that they were ALL STARS and Jaycee was sorta like 'ha ha,' and Colton just brooded more.” As with Scotty, I also don’t see Brett making it super-far in the competition, but we’ll see. I’m mostly mad that I missed the Top 24 doing their happy dances.
So there you have it. Now let’s see what happens when these crazy kids go head to head for our votes and our hearts.
- Here is your average judge patter. “Hello contestant. How are you doing? Nervous? Why? Ha ha. Well, we think that you were up and down in the competition. And you know it’s so hard to pick people because some people have to go. So we are sorry to inform you that you are not going to make it tonight, and it is also opposite day! Hugs!”