American Idol Episodes

2002, TV Show

American Idol Episode: "Judges' Wild Card"

Season 8, Episode 18
Episode Synopsis: In a wild-card episode, the judges' favorite remaining contestants compete for a position in the next round of the competition.
Original Air Date: Mar 5, 2009

American Idol Episode Recap: "The Wild Card Round and the Top...13?!" Season 8, Episode 18

Well here we are, kids — the night we finalize the Top 12, er, 13. That's right, Simon waited until the last minute to drop the bombshell on one lucky contestant — and us at home — that Season 8 will have 13 finalists. So which half of the Wild Card singers made it through? Let's find out.

Jesse Langseth
This soulful redhead is definitely not my style, but I can say with certainty that I enjoyed her performance a week ago much better than tonight's rendition of "Tell Me Something Good." (Though, this one might have been better vocally.) She does have stage presence, however. Randy said he wasn't blown away by Jesse, but both Paula and Kara were impressed by her soulful swagger. Simon preferred this performance to her last outing, but thought it was a bit indulgent. As usual, I have to agree with Simon on that last part.

P.S. Paula has already started mouthing off way too much, and with only an hour to get through this, Ryan finally just cuts the judges off short. More of that, please!

Matt Giraud
For my money, he's the most deserving of his second chance, and boy did he prove it. His version of the Jackson 5's "Who's Loving You?" made me completely forget he ever even attempted to sing Coldplay. The judges all agree that the Matt they put through is back, and Paula says there's no doubt that America's "loving you." (Wink.) Randy perhaps said it best when he noted that all the other finalists should be a little scared of Matt getting into the final round.

Megan Corkrey and Von Smith
Of all the nights in the world, my DVR flaked on me and I completely missed these two singers. One of my handy colleagues informed me that Megan sang KT Tunstall's "Black Horse & the Cherry Tree," while Von opted for Elton John's "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word." Again, no idea what happened with these two (fill me in below!), but I will confess that neither of them were personal favorites of mine, especially Megan, who the judges love because she's "current." Current or not, her voice doesn't do it for me. Apologies for the technological snafu.

Jasmine Murray
As soon as Jasmine was announced as a Wild Card, my money was on her. Unfortunately, she chose Christina Aguilera's "Reflection," which I thought was way too big a song for her. But she didn't fail miserably. Like Randy, I think she had some shaky moments, but some real bright spots as well. Kara was shocked to hear a more powerful side of Jasmine's voice, and Simon, while equally impressed, thought she sounded like a young girl trying to sound grown up. But, he says, she definitely put herself back in the running.

P.S. Paula is completely out of control. She was basically molesting Simon during his critique. Ryan, where are you? Keep this thing moving!

Ricky Braddy
Paula's clear favorite turned up the tempo with "Superstitious." It was a nice change of pace from his boring, if "flawless" performance a couple weeks ago, but I honestly couldn't understand half of his lyrics. Enunciate, dude! Kara reminds us that Ricky can sing his butt off, but she and Paula were shocked by his song choice, even if he did loosen up. Simon says he didn't make the impression he should have in his last-ditch effort. Again, Simon is right.

Tatiana Del Toro
Heaven help us if she gets through! Her pre-song package was as looney as everything else she's done, but where did that accent come from? She sang "Saving All My Love for You"...for the third time. As usual, when she starts to sing, you can almost forget how wacky she really is. But Simon's had enough, calling her excuses for not picking a different song "rubbish". Paula is still hung up on her new accent, which Tatiana claims comes out — similar to Jorge — when she is emotional (Read: desperate). For the first time, Simon foreshadows a bit: When Kara notes that at least Tatiana isn't crying, Simon says, "She will."

P.S. I think Ryan has been infected by Paula, as he makes another Season 8 blunder. While Tatiana is on her knees (who knows why, really), Ryan tells her she can "stay down there," sending the crowd into a frenzy of inappropriate laughter. Come on, Ry, it's a family show. Quick, someone grab the blind guy for another high five!

Anoop Desai
Finally, the moment my wife has been waiting weeks for. Anoop also chooses to repeat a song, and performs "My Prerogative," which you may recall from Hollywood week. He has the crowd behind him, and plays to them well, earning comparison to an "enthusiastic dog" from Simon. Randy doesn't mind the repetition since Anoop was even better this time around, and Kara wanted to get up and dance. (Please don't.) Speaking of dancing, Paula loved Anoop's "nasty moves."

The Results
After some last-minute conferring, the judges begin handing out those final spots in the final round. Jasmine hears the news first, but for her, it's good news, as she makes it through. Kara sadly tells Ricky goodbye, as Megan and Tatiana face the music together. Thankfully, Megan (the lesser of two evils, in my mind) goes through. Tatiana cries, Paula coddles, Simon stares awkwardly, Ryan sends us to commercial.

With two girls through (and an evening of the gender imbalance), I began to worry about Matt and Anoop remaining on the couch. Jesse and Von both have knowing looks on their faces as they are called up separately to hear the bad news. (Jesse, unfortunately, got some salt in the wound, thanks to Simon telling her she "nearly made it, but didn't")

So it all comes down to Anoop and Matt. I would try to build the suspense, but since you know there is a Top 13, I'll simply acknowledge that Simon's sly reveal that Anoop had also made it was by far one of the best moments of the season. Anoop went from dejection to elation as Simon revealed that the judges had "very recently" decided to make a Top 13. Personally, I could have lived without Megan, but as long as Matt and Anoop are along for the ride, I can live with 13.

So, now that the roster is set, who do you think will take it all? Vote below in our very first Season Power Rankings poll!

Are you pleased with the judge's choices? How shocked were you when Simon announced a Top 13? Any parting words for poor Tatiana? Share your thoughts and comments below, and check back next week as the Top 13 begins the battle!

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Well here we are, kids — the night we finalize the Top 12, er, 13. That's right, Simon waited until the last minute to drop the bombshell on one lucky contestant — and us at home — that Season 8 will have 13 finalists. So which half of the Wild Card singers made it through? Let's find out. read more

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Premiered: June 11, 2002, on FOX
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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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