Previously on American Idol: 61 wide-eyed hopefuls went on a road trip to Vegas, where they were told to perform classic Beatles songs. There were tears. There were weird and wonderful props on stage. There was even a trailer trash wedding.
40 returned to LA to sing one more time in an aircraft hangar, in order to accommodate the longest Green Mile ever. Five of the top 24 places were filled, while five contestants were told that this was the end of the road for them, leaving 30 people to fill 19 remaining spaces (ten male, nine female). J-Lo had a break-down as she sent Chris Medina home, and threatened to throw in the towel. She won’t be winning an Oscar for her performance any time soon.
Shock, horror as J-Lo returns
Despite being at what
Kermit the Frog Ryan Seacrest called “an emotional crossroads”, after some reassuring words from fellow judges R-Jack and S-Ty and a short break, J-Lo was soon back in her accustomed place as the Green Milers continued to troop in one by one to be told their fate.
First up was Karen Rodriguez (K-Rod?), one of the Fame school twins. For her final performance she sang a number in Spanish by Selena (fact fans: murdered at 23 by the president of her own fan club) and was ushered into the top 24, where she was later joined by her LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts friend Pia Toscano.
Robbie Rosen, the Sopranos‘ Christopher Moltisanti lookalike who overcame a childhood disability, warbled his way through Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word and also received good news from the judges. I remain unconvinced about his ultimate prospects, though.
Next to take the long walk was Tatynisa Wilson, who survived Hollywood Week despite inconsistent performances and twice forgetting her words. She survived the cut here to make her way into the top 24.
Just to remind us that it’s not all plain sailing, we waved goodbye to Brittany Mazur and Jimmie Allen, neither of whom had been significantly featured thus far.
But it was good news for both Tim Halperin and Julie Zorrilla, who impressed in Las Vegas with their piano duet of the Beatles‘ Something. Both contestants again sang at the piano for their final performance, and both are good bets to make the top 12.
In every season’s Green Mile episode, there are always a few contestants who are nailed-on certainties to be put through, and this year is no exception. Did anyone really think any of teenager Lauren Alaina, Jacob Lusk, Tourette’s/Asperger’s sufferer James Durbin or melodica/double bass-playing Casey Abrams were in any danger whatsoever? Of course not. Abrams in particular is now one of the hot favourites, especially after R-Jack told him:
In the history of this show I don’t think we’ve ever had a musician as talented as yourself.
Certainly his final audition was one of the few truly memorable and jaw-dropping ones, strumming his double bass along to Peggy Lee‘s Why Don’t You Do Right? However, the recent news that he has been hospitalised with severe stomach pains must cast severe doubt over his continued participation. If so, the competition will have lost not only a great talent but also a big character.
Others making it through to the top 24 included Jovany Barreto, the shipbuilder who showed off his six-pack after his initial audition; Rachel Zevita, a Hollywood week casualty from season six who sported a pseudo Paloma Faith look here; Jordan ‘I Abandoned My Group’ Dorsey, Stefano ‘Scarred in a Car Crash’ Langone, Kendra Chantelle and Lauren Turner.
And for all those who took their eliminations with good grace, there were those who found the bitter pill of rejection harder to swallow. Erin Kelly left in tears, declaring:
Going back to reality, cos this was nothing but a dream.
Of course, the Green Mile episode traditionally builds to a climax with the last two boys and the last two girls going head-to-head for the final spots, and this season did not disappoint in that regard.
We were given a taster of what was to come early in the episode, as country boys Scotty McCreery and John Wayne Schulz were summoned in back-to-back. Unsurprisingly, it was the heavily featured Scotty who went through – although I fear for him the moment he has to sing anything up-tempo or outside of the country genre – while the talented but somewhat dull John was sent home.
But as the clock wound down at the end of a long day, we were left with two girls – Thia Megia and Jessica Cunningham, the latter on her 25th birthday – facing off for the 12th and final girls’ place. Jessica was the last rocker left in the competition, while Thia’s powerhouse voice seems to be coupled with a lack of consistency and maturity. After the usual stretching-out of the process by the judges, a relieved Thia was granted the last spot, while a distraught Jessica (for whom this was her seventh attempt at auditioning for Idol) could barely contain her disappointment bordering on anger.
Which left just three boys sweating it out to hear which of them had earned the last boys’ place in the top 24: Brett Loewenstern, the Shaggy (from Scooby Doo) lookalike, Jacee Badeaux (aka Justin Blubber), who had been ruthlessly ejected from Clint Gamboa‘s posse in the group round, and dark horse Colton Dixon. I would happily have seen all three through, albeit with major concerns over the relatively immature Jacee’s ability to hold up under the pressure, but it was always likely that Brett – whose group Jacee had finally been welcomed into – would win the day. And so it was.
And that, as they say, was that.
So now we know the full line-up for season ten’s top 24. The boys are Brett Loewenstern, Casey Abrams, Clint Jun Gamboa, Jacob Lusk, James Durbin, Jordan Dorsey, Jovany Barreto, Paul McDonald, Robbie Rosen, Scotty McCreery, Stefano Langone and Tim Halperin. And the girls will be represented by Ashthon Jones, Haley Reinhart, Julie Zorrilla, Karen Rodriguez, Kendra Chantelle, Lauren Alaina, Lauren Turner, Naima Adedapo, Pia Toscano, Rachel Zevita, Tatynisa Wilson and Thia Megia. (Full details of this season’s top 24 can be found here.)
Who will shine under the spotlight of a live show, and who will shrink into the background and depart on the road back to obscurity? Next week we will start to find out.
American Idol posts
Hollywood week group round – the 10 Idol Commandments
Link: American Idol website