Top 13 announced

Results:

Scotty and Robbie went out first; Scotty is in, Robbie out.

Junebug, Jordan and Jovany next; None made it in. So far Dialidol has been correct.

Girls next, just like the fellas.

Results:

Pia and Lauren Alaina came out first. Lauren is in (duh), Pia is also in (whew). DialIdol is still right on the money. Dammit….

Tatynisa and Julie are next. DialIdol had both of them in. Tatynisa is OUT!!! Julie out, too!!!! So much for dialIdol, and this is a huge, huge relief. If Julie and Tatynisha had made it in, that would have knocked a couple of deserving singers out of the running. I can dream a little, and hope that “other” Lauren made it in. I’m still not confident, though. I’ll take hopeful.

Kendra, Ashthon and Karen next. Ashthon is out, Karen is IN (so much for last place on dialIdol), Kendra is out.

Tim, Casey and Jacob are next. Jacob is in, Casey is in (major whew), Tim is out. No surprises, and dialIdol can suck it.

Naina, Thia and Lauren Turner are next. Thia is in, Lauren and Naima are out. This means that either Haley or Rachel made it in. Haley was better, but it’s 50-50. The voters can be fickle, can’t they?

Brett and Paul are next. Paul is in, Brett is out. This leaves one spot for Stefano and James. I sort of expect it to be James, but it’s far from sure.

Haley and Rachel next. Winner in, loser almost certainly dead. I bet the voting was really close, too. Both of them are repeats, coming back from past rejection. It’s comforting that one of them will get their Idol dream. Haley IN!!!! I feel for Rachel, but it’s looking a lot better now, isn’t it? The voters did a much better job than I thought they did based on the dialIdol results.

James and Stefano are last up. I expect that the loser will get a wild card, so this isn’t as dramatic as it could be. James gets the spot, while Stefano immediately becomes the wild card front runner.

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The Top Ten:

Scotty McReery-17

Pia Toscono- 22

Lauren Alaina- 16

Karen Rodriguez- 21

Jacob Lusk- 24

Casey Abrams- 20

Thia Megia- 16

Paul McDonald- 26

Haley Reinhart- 19

James Durbin- 22

I have to say that I am hugely relieved.America’s choices are damned close to my own choices. This is a very strong top ten; with a variety of styles, looks, and ages. The fear that Idol was going to skew towards teenagers didn’t really happen. All three high school kids are solid performers, and worthy choices.

None of the bad singers made the list, so the wild card competition will give the best of the rest a fair shot. My hope is that Stefano and Lauren Turner will get spots, but frankly I don’t expect Lauren to get one. It’s her name. She will always be the “other” Lauren. Stefano is not a lock either, but I do expect him to get one of the spots. Are there two spots, making this the traditional top twelve, or three spots, one for each judge? We’ll find out soon.

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They still haven’t said how many wild cards will be given, but they are picking three from each gender to sing for their life.

Randy chosen Ashthon first: She’s singing “And I am Telling You I’m Not Going”, her round three song (Jennifer Hudson):

She let it all hang out, and she was doing fine until the ending glory note, when she completely missed it and she knew it. She has the heart of a lion, but her voice just isn’t strong enough to pull off the diva act.

Judges: Polite, but curiously hesitant to say anything really positive.

Jennifer chose Stefano: “I Need You Now”:

He was singing from a very nervous throat at first, but he gained confidence as the song went on and he transformed into a giant, and blew the doors off the song.

Judges: They gushed. I think Stefano has one spot locked up, but we have four left to sing.

Steven chose Kendra: “Georgia on my Mind”:

She brought it, and hit some huge notes in her not so huge voice. It was pretty good, but sing songy more than an emotional performance. The good news: She did as well as she can. The bad news: She did as well as she can.

Judges: Well, Randy liked it.

Jennifer chose Javony, dammit: “Something something angel”

This was his top 61 song, a very good choice for him. He sings the shit out of this song. Dammit dammit dammit.

Judges: Jen damned him with faint praise, I think, or is it that she just loves this guy? We’ll know which when they make their choices.

Steven chose Naima, leaving the three horrible singers and my girl Lauren Turner out in the cold. I knew her name was going to screw her. Oh well, what can you do? Change your name? Lets all root for Naima. She’s singing “For All We Know”

Naima is a little bit shouty when she blows it out, but she has everything else; the emotions, the control of the moment, and command over the feel of the song. She might have a chance.

Judges: Steven’s turn, and he said what he always says, so who knows?

Last pick: Poor Brett, he’s screwed. Robbie, or Junebug?

Randy picked Robbie. Good choice, though I feel sorry for Brett and Junebug. “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”

You try walking that road. Robbie took a winding trip through the melody, and he never took a wrong step. It was technically perfect, and very emotional. Did he redeem himself?

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My guess is that they keep Robbie, Stefano and Naima. Well, they might keep Kendra instead of Naima, or just keep the two guys. If they keep Jovany I’m going to be pissed. He’s a good singer, but he ain’t going to win anything. Robbie can win, and Stefano can go deep. Ashthon screwed the pooch, so I don’t think that she has a chance. Is it too late to give Lauren a shot? No? Crap.

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Holy shit, Ashthon got one of the spots? Ok, that surprised me, and that is probably the end for Naima. I’m ok with the choice.

Stefano got the second spot. That was expected, and they are keeping one more. Got to be Robbie, right?

Wow, Naima got the last spot!!!!

Robbie deserved a spot, probably over Ashthon, but that’s my only real quibble. My guess is that they decided that they wanted the older contestants. Robbie is only 17, and a high school junior. Ashthon is 25.

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Here are the final thirteen contestants. Idol letAmericapick most of them, andAmericadid a very good job this year. I’m fine with the wild card picks, though I would have liked Lauren Turner to have gotten a chance to sing again, and Robbie to have gotten a spot in the finals. I have no real beef with any of the contestants left, and Idol got a pretty good mix of looks, styles, demographics, and personalities. Here are some short takes on the contestants that we are going to be listening to for the next three months, looking at them through the lens of the casting director:

Scotty McReery-17: Scotty is a deep voiced country crooner with a slow, southern drawl. He’s also a teenager, a jock, and a tall guy. Mothers, teenage girls, girls that love tall young men, country music fans, maybe baseball fans, and anyone that talks in a way that can be timed by a clock radio will love him.

Pia Toscono- 22: Pia is a huge voiced crooner fromNew York, with big brown eyes that seem to be out of focus even when she looks directly into the camera. Dogs all overAmerica are going to love her face and her body, and she is obviously going to win over the true fans of the show, that care about the singers and how good their voices are. Is she Spanish, or Italian, or somewhere else in that neighborhood? I think that she is Spanish by her ancestry, but I’m not sure. She also seems to be more serious about things than some of the others, and she might win over some of the fans that like to look for the best “game face” on the stage.

Lauren Alaina- 16: She called Ryan “Peaches”, but it seems like she should be the one that we should call “Peaches”. Lauren has that perfectly thick southern accent that tags her as a southern belle, and she exudes the Dolly Parton vibe that Jennifer talked about. She wins over teenaged boys that want her, teenaged girls that want to be her, mothers that love how she supported her sick sister, and fans of country music. Lauren might get some opposition from the jaded side of Idol, who think that she’s been overhyped and overrated. She will be polarizing, which is a net positive for the casting of the show. If she is great, terrific. If she isn’t, that might be even better. Simon is gone, so somebody is going to have to be the heel this year. It’s going to be somebody on the stage, because the judges are all pushovers. Lauren might go either way, but there is zero chance that she will be somewhere in the boring middle.

Karen Rodriguez- 21– Idol started out casting Karen as the MySpace girl, and they might keep up with that theme as we go on. She is old friends with Pia, so the best friends scenario will get some airtime. She is Latino, and she is every bit as fluent in Spanish as she is in English, if not more. She gets the Spanish vote, the MySpace vote, the “Karen is soooo cute” vote ( all of them get this for their own cuteness), and her beautifully pure tone might get her some “she’s really good” votes once she gets to sing something that shows her off.

Jacob Lusk- 24: Jacob is black skinned (if not actually African American, I don’t know. I see him asCaribbean for some reason), which is one demographic. He is a bit effeminate, which might or might not matter. He is funny, and he has command of his sense of humor every bit as much as he has command of his emotions. No, he has vastly more command of his sense of humor than his emotions, which tend to bubble up and overwhelm him. Jacob will get some demographic help, but I don’t know that it matters with him as much. He is just sooooooo good that he is going to dominate the “my vote counts, I want to vote for the best singer” part of the demographic.

Casey Abrams- 20: DialIdol scared me, having him so low on the list. Everyone that I know loves Casey, and if you don’t you need to hit reply and tell me about it. As far as I know (If you don’t TELL me, lol, you don’t get heard. Just hit reply and talk to me, I promise to answer every email) Casey is everyone’s favorite. I’m thinking Jacob now, with Casey right behind him, but that’s for this weekend. Casey is going to get so much “this cat gets it”, and so much “this cat is amazing, and entertaining” that his demographic group doesn’t really matter. Seriously, does he need young males that want to be him and young females that are in denial of the sad (but true) fact that a nice butt trumps a good sense of humor to vote for him? The guy blows up a crowd like Garth Brooks. It’s going to take a fairly horrible performance or an unfortunate sound byte to keep Casey from making the final three, at least.

Thia Megia- 16: Thia gets some Asian love, some teeny bopper love, some fans of ballads love, some “she shouldn’t have been voted off of America’s Got Talent” love, plenty of “she is soooo cute” love, and a bit of the “that Idol singing coach was so mean” love. Who was that girl on the show a couple of years ago, that sang Dolly’s “Jolene”, and got hosed one spot before the tour? If Thia is forced to sing something up-tempo, she is going to relive the horror that….. Alexis? Alexis Grace, that’s the girl. Thia is this year’s Alexis Grace? I’m not sure that I have that one right. Thia has massively better intonation that Alexis had, but if she is forced to sing at tempo she is going to blow up like Alexis did.

Paul McDonald- 26: Paul’s demographics skew way too old to help him get votes deep into the competition, but they help the show itself gain viewers for the next several weeks. He gets the old folk music fans, the Kenny Loggins fans, the “I love the scratch” fans, the “I’m smarter than you, I love Dave Mathews” fans, the Rod Stewart/Bonnie Tyler fans, the fans of subtlety, the fans of subtlety over power, the fans that want to take the show back from the tweeners. Paul’s chances are about as good as the chances that the older viewers will take over the speed dialing from the kids that invented it. He won’t go deep, but he’ll get to the tour. He will be a standout on the tour.

Haley Reinhart- 19: Haley will get love from the dogs, of course, but also from the serious tweeners that know how hard she worked to get to the finals. She will get votes from parents, fans of jazz, fans of the “lotta tricks, lotta style” intent of Idol, and those that think that giving your all is more important than having a huge voice.

James Durbin- 22: James gets the Adam fans, and it’s going to be touch and go whether they vote for him, or against him. He is positioned to get the hard rockers, but I’m not sure that he’s really a hard rocker. He will get fans of the huge voice, of course. He has the hugest voice this side of Jacob, and it’s going to take a couple of weeks for the huge voice fans to accept Jacob.

Ashthon Jones- 25: She gets some of the Black vote, of course. How much, I don’t know. She will get plenty of “great body” votes, and plenty of “so much energy and attitude” votes. It would be helpful if she got some “she’s good” votes, but the competition isn’t going to lay down for her. She needs to sing better, and I don’t think that she can.

Stefano Langone- 21: Latino, sweet voice, high range, overcoming obstacles, Stef might need to find a way to make himself sexy to get himself back in the game. He needs to get some attention somehow, or he will be a footnote.

Naima Adedapo- 26: Naima will get some black votes, but in her case it’s truly about being African instead of being African American. She will be competing for jazz fans, and fans of the big, emotional moment on stage. I see her as the family oriented contestant, but I don’t know that anyone else sees her that way. That could change dramatically next week, when we get to know her family.

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I’m so relieved that Idol didn’t get stuck with DialIdol’s results. This is going to be an amazing group, my friends. I’ll miss Robbie, and I’ll miss “other” Lauren, and I’ll miss quirky Brett; but it’s a terrific final 13.