Final Judgement – Top 24 chosen

In the end it wasn’t as painful as I thought it might be, though there were the inevitable bummers. Idol’s final season final 24 is a solid group. My top two, Dalton and Olivia, sailed through – along with a surprising number of 15 year olds. I think the fact that this is the final season cost a couple of older contestants a spot because the judges couldn’t tell anyone to come back next year.

The judges didn’t seem to go for the well rounded types this season, choosing spectacle over more subtle musicianship in keeping fiddler Peppermint Patty and cellist Annie Oakley over showdown winner Laurel Wright and hipster Kayla Mickelson on the girls’ side, and Kory Wheeler and Jordan Sasser over Zach Person and Kayce Haynes on the guys’ side.

I was bummed that Colette Lush and Jessica Clark didn’t make it – especially Jessica since she never got any airtime singing – but they were close calls either way, considering the level of competition this year. Colette was awful on her final song, so it wasn’t an injustice that got her dumped, and as much as I like to listen to Jessica’s sweet little eighties voice that’s pretty much her only trick. Jenna Renae, on the other hand, showed off some moves she hadn’t tried before and put herself in position – with one more terrific performance – to make the tour.

The top 24:

The Men

  • Dalton Rapattoni
  • Mackenzie Bourg
  • Trent Harmon
  • Kory Wheeler
  • Adam Lasher
  • CJ Johnson
  • Lee Jean
  • Manny Torres
  • Thomas Stringfellow
  • Jordan Sasser
  • James Dawson VIII

The Women

  • Olivia Rox (Hill)
  • Jenna Renae
  • Jenn Blosil
  • Jeneve Rose Mitchell
  • Avalon Young
  • Sonika Vaid
  • Amelia Eisenhauer
  • Gianna Isabella
  • Emily Brooke
  • Stephany Negrete
  • La’Porsha Renae
  • Shelbie Z (Zora)
  • Tristan McIntosh

I think the early favorites are still Dalton and Olivia, but there are another five or so that I can easily see winning. The sneaky pick might be either Emily Brooke, who can pass for Carrie Underwood in a dark room, or Trent Harmon, who has an interesting bag of vocal tricks up his sleeve and the ability to not only hit hard notes, but to hit them in a way that feels intense, not just showy. The other three that I could see winning (don’t hold me to this yet, I’ll be more official on Saturday) are Mackenzie Bourg, James Dawson VIII and Jenna Renae. Since she never really got to show off, here is a video of Jessica Clark. If you watched the show she was the one they always showed wearing the floppy black hat.

By the way, if you double down and listen to the video behind the first one you will be rewarded for your diligence. I didn’t know it was there until well after I posted it. Jessica has layers, that song is catchy as hell, and YouTube videos are the candy sprinkles of the information age.