Idol: Top 13 Guys

The first live show is finally upon us! It was filled with useless banter and irresponsible praise from the judges (not that we expected anything more) but the show itself was actually pretty great, with a couple of exceptions.

First, say hi to my dear friend Anna who will be making appearances on my AI posts. Our Idol journey together began from almost the very beginning, during the tail end of the first season in the fall of 2002. We even road tripped to Cleveland to see the first American Idol Live Tour (we got lost and missed half the show). Who knew that after fate brought us together as college roommates, we'd still be sharing notes on this show?

But I digress. Let's start with the duds.

DOESN'T STAND A CHANCE
  • Chase Likens ("Storm Warning")
    I feel bad. Is this the first time we've really heard this guy sing? I'm afraid it might be the only time we hear him sing. Was he really the best male country singer they saw during auditions? Or did they want to make sure they would have someone other than a Scotty McCreery clone win this year?

    "This is where I started taking notes. Did you notice that double-stomp twist move he did at the end of his song? I laughed out loud and wondered if he choreographed that. It was awkward and endearing at the same time. I don't think he has a chance of getting through." -- Anna

BATTLE FOR THE BIEBER VOTE
  • Eben Franckewitz ("Set Fire To The Rain")
    Umm, yikes. The good news is, this was the only truly awful performance of the night. The bad news is, I wish I could be more sure that this is the end of Eben's Idol run. I didn't think he deserved to be in the Top 13 before, and his performance most definitely did not change my mind. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that the youth of America won't send him through. Sigh.
  • Deandre Brackensick ("Reasons")
    He has a very cool voice and that high note was impressive (as was his early '90s Mariah hair) and his different-ness makes him interesting- but his different-ness might also keep him from moving on. Deandre is one to keep an eye on, but I think his best shot at continuing on in the competition will be via a wild card spot.

DESERVES BETTER

  • Adam Brock ("Think")
    Speaking of personal grudges... there was only one thing wrong with Adam's performance: the Terrible Towel in his back pocket. That does it for me. Not a fan.
  • Aaron Marcellus ("Never Can Say Goodbye")
    I really enjoyed Aaron's performance (and consequently had this song stuck in my head for the rest of the night) but I think the combination of his lack of screen time and being stuck in the middle of the group is going to end his Idol run. His best chance of making it in is if J-Lo makes him her wild card selection, but I don't see that happening.
  • Creighton Fraker ("True Colors")
    I always end up liking Creighton more than I expect to. While he showed tendencies to over-sing in the earlier rounds, he proved that he could show restraint at times as well. I would really to hear more from him, but Anna and I don't see America connecting with him and doubt he'll get the opportunity to continue.

PERSONALITY RULES
  • Heejun Han ("Angels")
    Fist, an example of how personality (and lots of camera time) can guarantee a good run on the show. This wasn't Heejun's best performance, and he's not one of the strongest vocalists of the group either- but he's good enough. I expect he'll have a pretty decent run on the show, outlasting some better vocalists, but perhaps for the first time in Idol history, I won't care.
  • Reed Grimm ("Moves Like Jagger")
    Next, an example of how personality can be a total turn-off. We get it, judges. He's jazzy like Casey and can play instruments like Casey... but I'm just not finding him anywhere near as likeable as Casey. In fact, I texted Anna after his performance to see if I was the only one irritated by his apparent cockiness. Her response:
 

WTF
  • Jermaine Jones ("Dance With My Father")
    YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. How am I not writing about Johnny Keyser in this space? My utter disappointment may keep me from fairly critiquing his performance. I'm not saying the guy isn't a great singer- he is- but he's never going to win this show, and that's why I just don't understand why they'd bring him back the way they did. I think the judges have to waste a wild card spot on him just to save face.

BEST OF THE NIGHT
  • Colton Dixon ("Decode")
    Anna's favorite was also one of my early faves going into tonight's episode, and I loved how his song started with just vocals and him on piano. I'm a little uncertain on his personality though and fear he may eventually move into James Durbin territory (that's not a compliment coming from me) but I am hoping for the best.
  • Jeremy Rosado ("Gravity")
    This performance was easily one of the best of the night, but I feel uneasy about his chances of moving on. He had a decent amount of TV time during the early rounds and was always shown extremely favorably- who couldn't love the guy who loves everyone else?- but his presence is so gentle and unassuming that I worry he will be overlooked by voters. 
  • Phillip Phillips ("In The Air Tonight")
    Phillip is the only lock for being voted on to the Top 13. My David Cook loving heart just can't get enough of this guy either. Hey, was anyone else amused that Phillip Phillips chose to sing another Phil's song? Not so much? Just me? But seriously: he's gotta win this whole thing. Love. 
  • Joshua Ledet ("You Pulled Me Through")
    Mantasia is an awful nickname and should never, ever be repeated again BECAUSE JOSH IS SO GOOD. So good. I suspect that his picking a Jennifer Hudson song is foreshadowing a similar fate- a too early departure over less deserving contestants- but we'll surely be treated to several more weeks of his spectacular vocals.

MY TOP 5
  1. Phillip Phillips
  2. Joshua Ledet
  3. Colton Dixon
  4. Creighton Fraker
  5. Heejun Han (over Jeremy)

MY GUESS FOR AMERICA'S TOP 5
  1. Phillip Phillips
  2. Joshua Ledet
  3. Colton Dixon
  4. Heejun Han
  5. One of Eben/Chase/Jermaine because someone who shouldn't always makes it through. Jeremy and Deandre (and Jermaine?) are top contenders for a wild card selection.