American Idol Episodes

2002, TV Show

American Idol Episode: "First 12 of 36 Compete"

Season 8, Episode 12
Episode Synopsis: The first 12 of the Top 36 semifinalists perform. Viewer voting begins.
Original Air Date: Feb 17, 2009

American Idol Episode Recap: Top 36, Group One Season 8, Episode 12

Tuesday night marked the first time America will vote for our Season 8 American Idol hopefuls. Things are going to work a little differently this season: the top 36 have been split up into three groups of 12. Your vote will send through the highest ranking girl and boy, as well as whoever earns the next highest amount of votes. That's right, only three will make it through to the top 12 this week.

Yo, dawgs! So, I'm glad to see we were all pretty much on the same page about Tatiana last week. And, a lot of you were pretty upset about Nick Mitchell, aka Norman Gentle, making it through as well. But, let's focus on Tata for now, since she is going to be performing Tuesday (let's hope for the last time). Our nervous contestants will be belting out Billboard Hot 100 hits and trying to make a big enough impression on America to make it to the coveted top 12. I already feel sick over the fact that more than three people in this group deserve to get through to the next round. Cutting nine singers in one swoop feels weird and unjust. How can you gauge talent from one night? We shall see.

Jackie Tohn
I'm already annoyed by her while watching her pre-taped intro segment. I think she has a fun voice, but she is one of those chicks who really needs to relax and take it down a notch. She sings "A Little Less Conversation" by Elvis and looks like she stole her outfit from a Minnie Mouse-inspired "entertainer" on Hollywood Blvd. She definitely knows how to work a song, and Paula is rockin' out in her seat. Randy says she's a great entertainer, but isn't sure about her vocals. Kara says she knows how to work a stage, and she showed who she is. Paula tells Jackie that she makes everyone fall in love with her (except me), while Simon says she played the clown and that the public won't like it much.

Ricky Braddy
We don't know much about Ricky, but Ryan makes sure to tell us he was serving chicken fingers just a short time ago. Ugh. He seems like a real sweetheart. Ricky sings "A Song for You" by Leon Russell and I'm impressed. He's expressive, soulful and commercial but he needs to keep his free hand from waving so much. Randy feels like he was unbelievable and was just the way to start the night. Kara says he killed it with awesome rifts and fine interpretation. Paula is really happy he's finally getting a chance to show his gift off to America. Simon liked it but says he doesn't have any star quality.

Alexis Grace
I love this girl and her spiky pink hair. She's so little, yet has such a big voice! She's tackling Aretha Franklin's "Never Loved a Man," and looks fantastic doing it! I think she's a bit nervous in the beginning and holding back a bit. But, once she warms up, you can tell the camera loves her and she's got the pipes to make it through. But will America embrace this song choice? Randy says she's found the "dirty" she needed, and she worked it out. Kara says the genie is out of the bottle, and she loves the new Alexis. Paula loves that she showed so much soul and passion even though she's in a tiny package. Simon thinks she's the best so far tonight, and she does, indeed, have soul. He even says she's the dark horse of this competition.

Brent Keith
Poor Brent's tape doesn't play right away and there's an awkward minute where Ryan tries to cover. Now that the tape is playing, we see Brent is the guy who had to deal with Paula and Kara going under the table at his audition. That enough should get him a free pass. Brent sings "Hicktown" by Jason Aldean, but I can see right away that he is as stiff as a board. He loosens up a little with his vocals, but he just seems too wooden to make a great impression. Randy says he likes that he went back to his country music roots and that he has an old-school, country swagger. Kara says he was a little safe tonight and wants him to take more risks, and Paula sees him as a great country artist. Simon thinks he was forgettable, but Brent defends himself, and I love him for it.

Stevie Wright
I still can't believe that Stevie is only 17! She seems so much older than that, but from her audition tapes, we can see that the judges want her to act young and bubbly. So, she's singing Taylor Swift's "You Belong to Me," and almost instantly, I can tell this is absolutely the wrong song for her. Her voice is so much better than this song can show! Oh, the judges are gonna rip her apart. (Tear!) Randy says it's not hot for him, and she's a better singer than this song showed. Kara agrees and says she has an identity crisis going on, while Paula says it was not the right song. Simon just says straight up that it was a terrible performance.

Anoop Desai
'Noop Dog is in the house! He's taking it down a notch tonight (after his awesome version of "My Prerogative" in Hollywood) and sings "Angel of Mine" by Monica. Man, can this dude work it. He doesn't hit every note perfectly, but who cares? He's adorable. And, even though he's not the smoothest guy out there, I feel like the camera does love him... and so will many 13-year-old girls. Randy says it is an interesting song for him, which translates into: not a great choice. Kara says he has great potential and is connected to his songs. Paula says America already loves Anoop and that even if the song was sharp, she thinks he'll be around for a while. Simon thinks his song choice was too grown up, but admits he has massive likability on his side.

Casey Carlson
Casey is stylish, appealing and beautiful before she even opens her mouth... so why, oh why would she pick "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police? She's making weird faces that I think she thinks are sexy and fun... but it's just uncomfortable to watch. She's completely stiff and I feel like this is a botched beauty pageant number. Sorry to say this, but I think it's buh-bye for you, cutie. Randy said it was the wrong song and weirdly karaoke. Kara wanted her to do something young and fun, but this was really flat. Paula says she had weird phrasing and didn't think about what she was singing. Simon says it was atrocious and doesn't tell anyone what kind of artist she wants to be.

Michael Sarver
Mr. Roughneck gives me hope by picking "I Don't Want to Be" by Gavin DeGraw. Why? Because that's exactly the kind of song he should be singing! I love this guy too. He's got such a natural confidence and doesn't come off as obnoxious. Plus, he looks like he's having fun! Randy says he can definitely can sing but his pitch was off, while Kara says he can do better. Paula disagrees and says that he showed a different side of himself, and Simon thinks if he gets through, it's going to be because people like him. Simon throws him a bone by saying he hopes America does pick up the phone and give him another chance. Though I think Simon is a jerk, he's kind of right here. Darn it.

Ann Marie Boskovich
You remember her as the girl Simon told to leave the audition room and pretty herself up. Well, those weren't his exact words, but you get my drift? She sings "Natural Woman," which is a huge risk as well. Ann Marie looks fantastic tonight, but this song is way too big for her. She also reminds me of a beauty pageant contestant. Randy says that this song was not the right choice. Kara says that she should have killed it, and she should sing something more like "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles. Paula says she thought Ann Marie did better than her other auditions and was smart to take a risk. Simon says her voice is not good enough for that song, and that she may have blown her one shot.

Stephen Fowler
Let's hope he doesn't have a keyboard-slammin' meltdown, because I love this guy. He sings, "Rock with You" by Michael Jackson, which feels risky to me... And I was right. He has such a great voice, but this song is all wrong. Why don't they help these guys more with song choice? Just say no! Randy is baffled by his song choice and says he was all over the place. Kara says she got more from him during the song when he forgot his lyrics, because they at least felt he was connected to it. Paula says singing this song is the kiss of death because it only belongs to Michael Jackson. Simon says he wishes Stephen had forgotten the lyrics because it was such a pointless performance.

Tatiana Del Toro
Sigh. I hate feeling this biased toward someone, but how can I help it? The producers have shoved this girl and her drama down our throats since day one. How are we supposed to take her seriously? And why does she seem obsessed with Whitney Houston songs? Anyone who has seen this show knows they warn contestants to stay away from the Whit. But Tata sings "Saving All My Love" and it's actually not as hideous as I thought it would be. But, her look at the end is enough to make me want to toss her ass out on the sidewalk. Randy says he was worried about her song choice but she did impress him in a few spots. Kara wonders where she fits in the industry, while Simon out-and-out calls her a drama queen. The judges are actually baiting her to be crazy again and I want to smack them all. Enough!

Danny
Did they save the best for last? Danny tackles a big ol' song, and I'm not sure how the judges will take it. He sings "Hero" by Mariah Carey and starts with his hand extended to the audience, which is a big singer pet peeve of mine. Danny can sing and sings with soul, but this song is boring and doesn't show off his strengths at all. Why are Paula and Kara freaking out so much about his performance? I rewound it and listened again to see if I missed something, and I don't think I did. He's way better than many of the others tonight, but they act like he's a freakin' rock star. Randy says that Danny was blazin' hot, and that he's the redeemer of the night. Kara says he's the hero of the night and gives them all hope. Paula says he'll have sold-out arenas, while Simon tries to bring them all back down to Earth by saying it was just a good performance. Thank you, Simon!

What did you think of the first group's performances? Who nailed it, and who bombed?

Do you like this season's new voting system? Weigh in now!

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Tuesday night marked the first time America will vote for our Season 8 American Idol hopefuls. Things are going to work a little differently this season: the top 36 have been split up into three groups of 12. Your vote will send through the highest ranking girl and boy, as well as whoever earns the next highest amount of votes. That's right, only three will make it through to the top 12 this week. read more

Who do you want to see make it through to the top 12?

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Premiered: June 11, 2002, on FOX
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (3,320 ratings)
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Premise: The smash reality series showcases wannabe pop stars competing for a record deal by crooning for a panel of judges, including, most entertainingly, the acid-tongued Simon Cowell, who departed the show in 2010 after serving for nine seasons. The judges review a performer's talent (or lack thereof), and at-home viewers then vote for their favorite potential star. The show helped launch the careers of such artists as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert.

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