If there's one thing that irks me about
American Idol, it's the incessant product placements and cross-promotions. Tonight did not get off to a good start, as
Ryan did his shtick with a clearly uncomfortable Hayden Christensen in a cringe-inducing promo for
Jumper. To finish it off, Hayden even had a can of that omnipresent
Idol sponsor, Coke, in his hand. Blech.
But then it came time for the actual eliminations, which were far more exciting. It always amazes me that at this point, with all the auditions and the Hollywood-week performances, there are still a number of contestants we've never seen before. In general, I'm very pleased with the top 24, though there were a few shockers tonight. Foremost among them was baby-faced, British-accent-singing Josiah Leming; granted, his last audition in Hollywood was really not good, but he remains one of the more memorable people we've seen this season, and I was frankly surprised to see him go. I hope he'll be OK out there in the big, wide world; I hope he finds a place to live that's a bit more comfortable than his car.
Another surprise for me was Kyle Ensley, who made it to the dramatic "final two" guys' showdown. I was impressed with
Simon's candor; he told Kyle, "There are a lot of people who will like you; I wish I had what you have." But he apparently was overruled by the
Randy voting block on this one. "Wholeheartedly I disagree with this decision," he said. "I'm really disappointed." I can't remember Simon ever getting that demonstrative with a rejected contestant, particularly not a
male contestant. It was sweet. (Of course, Paula's reaction to Kyle's dismissal was to give him a hug.)
One other disappointment (for me, anyway) was Drew Poppelreiter, the rosy-cheeked farmer boy who seemed so promising in his initial audition but whom we never saw again. "Well, there's one good thing about this," said Drew. "I don't miss turkey season."
But there were some favorites who made it through - and a few new faces for us to get to know together.
The top 12 guys are:
Chikezie Eze - He really impressed in the "best of the rest" episode; plus he's got a disarming smile and some endearing dance moves.
Danny Noriega - Makeover time apparently came early for Danny, who has a whole Brit-rock thing going on with his hair now. The main thing about him, though, is that his voice is big and powerful - and very surprising, coming from him.
Jason Yeager - Not sure who he is. It's nice to have a little mystery, though, no?
David Cook - He of the blue tongue and the rocker attitude had perhaps the night's best line: "I don't have to get a job now."
David Hernandez - You all know that I really liked this guy after yesterday's audition. Simon's unconvinced, but we shall see.
Luke Menard - Who?
Michael Johns - If anything, the weirdly geeky dance he did at the end actually made me like him more, because it showed a less polished side of him.
Jason Castro - Dunno yet what he sounds like, but gotta love those dreads!
Robbie Carrico - The onetime boy-bander has scruffed up his act to good effect. I was a little surprised he made it through, but I'm curious to see what he can do.
Colton Berry - The polished performer who was competing with Kyle for the final spot. I'll try to get over the fact that he took the tie-wearing would-be politician's place (I know, I know, not really).
David Archuleta - It was sweet that he worries other people were tone-deaf and that's why they told him he could sing; plus, those dimples could set a thousand girls crying (à la Sanjaya's fans).
Garrett Haley - Again, no idea what he sounds like. But I'm digging the '70s hair!
The top 12 girls are:
Kristy Lee Cook - The horse trainer made it, after a close call in Hollywood. If she keeps up those body-bending dance moves, she'll have at least the fellas on her side.
Amanda Overmyer - She had maybe the most understated reaction to making it through, but I'm glad we'll be seeing more of the rock-'n-roll nurse.
Alexandrea Lushington - Imagine how proud her 93-year-old great-grandmother must be!
JoAnne Borgella - We didn't see much of the gorgeous plus-size model in Hollywood, but I'm glad she's still in the mix.
Brooke White - Funny, they didn't show her messing up the piano part in "Beautiful" last night. If she can keep it together, she should go far.
Syesha Mercado - Paula is so weird; she had Syesha do this whole thing about spelling out her name to get the secret "yes" message... oy. Anyway, her "Chain of Fools" yesterday absolutely blew me away, so she definitely deserved to show what she could do.
Alaina Whitaker - This is the girl who said
Carrie Underwood looked like
her (and that's about all I remember about her).
Asia'h Epperson - I'm not surprised she made it, given her performance in Hollywood, though I stand by my comment that her breathing is going to be a problem. (Even if it sounds cool, you can't sing breathless
all the time. Among other things, it's just not healthy.)
Amy Davis - I barely recall her from her original audition (she sang "Blue Bayou"). Let's see if she does something more memorable next week.
Kady Malloy - The vocal impressionist should have fun tackling the different artists and genres later in the season (if she makes it that far).
Carly Smithson - I'm starting to worry that Carly is going to turn into this year's
Katharine McPhee for me, aka someone with genuine talent who ends up grating on my nerves (and getting tons of votes week after week).
Ramiele Malubay - The female Danny Noriega: She's tiny, has a giant voice, and she, too, got a jump-start on her makeover.
What do you think? Do you agree with the top 24?
Weirdest line of the night:
"You know, you took it like a man" - Paula to 16-year-old David Archuleta, on how he responded when hearing that he'd made it through.
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If theres one thing that irks me about American Idol its the incessant product placements and cross-promotions Tonight did not get off to a good start as Ryan did his shtick with a clearly uncomfortable Hayden Christensen in a cringe-inducing promo for Jumper To finish it off Hayden even had a can of that omnipresent Idol sponsor Coke in his hand BlechBut then it came time for the actual eliminations which were far more exciting It always amazes me that at this point with all the auditions and the Hollywood-week performances there are still a number of contestants weve never seen before In general Im very pleased with the top 24 though there were a few shockers tonight Foremost among them was baby-faced British-accent-singing Josiah Leming granted his last audition in Hollywood was really not good but he remains one of the more memorable people weve seen this season and I was frankly surprised to see him go I hope hell be OK out there in the big wide wo