Idol recap: The Top 13!

At the beginning of the show, Ryan Seacrest revealed that for the first time at this point in the competition, the judges will have a little bit of a say in who goes home. They will have the honors of choosing between the male and female with the lowest number of votes. This seems to indicate that the producers are desperate for a female to win this year, or at least give them a better chance by attempting to stop the trend of having all the girls picked off one after another in the early going. While I still think Phillip Phillips has a good shot at the crown, there is a trio of extremely strong ladies who might just be able to take it away from him.

  • Shannon Magrane ("I Have Nothing")
    If Shannon nailed this song, I would have started to believe in all her hype- but alas, she did not. To put it politely, she was not good. However, I have a feeling her fans will rally for her and keep her around at least another week. I also give her bonus points on how maturely she handled the gentle criticism she knew she deserved.

    "OH THAT WAS A BAD NOTE." -- Anna
  • Jermaine Jones ("Knocks Me Off My Feet")
    I think I fell asleep for a second. As confused as I am about the return of Jermaine, I may be even more confused by Jimmy Iovine's infatuation with him. Actually, I take that back. I'm mostly confused by the styling decision to dress him in a light pink polo under a red jacket. So... when's Johnny Keyser coming back, guys? This isn't funny anymore.

  • Elise Testone ("I'm Your Baby Tonight")
    As uncomfortable as Elise seemed during this performance, she should still thank Jimmy for steering her away from "Greatest Love Of All" because that would definitely have been worse. Unfortunately, she was never able to commit to this new song, which troubles me. I hope it's not a sign of a stinker attitude or lack of professionalism. She was still able to show off the parts of her voice we all fell in love with, so hopefully that will prove to be enough to carry her through to next week, when she'll surely bounce bank.
  • Erika Van Pelt ("I Believe In You and Me")
    I am a big EVP fan and I actually found myself agreeing with J-Lo- Erika hasn't shown us everything she's got yet, and I really hope she doesn't hold out from us any longer or it just might be too late. She gave a solid performance, but I'm worried it wasn't memorable enough for fickle, fickle voters.
  • Jeremy Rosado ("Ribbon in the Sky")
    I really, really wanted to like this after his incredible sing-for-your-life performance last week, but I felt let down. If it weren't for Jermaine's snoozefest, I'd be even more worried for Jeremy.

  • Heejun Han ("All in Love is Fair")
    I do wish he would hold his notes out longer instead of falling off of them at the end of each phrase, but it can't be denied that he has a beautiful tone. I like Anna's idea. Isn't Ryan Seacrest's contract up after this season?
"When he gets voted off, I hope they keep him to host with Ryan." -- Anna
  • Deandre Brackensick ("Master Blaster")
    It was a nice change of pace for Deandre to feature the non-falsetto parts of his voice this week, and I got a kick out of the reggae groove added to this song.

  • Colton Dixon ("Lately")
    Hey Jimmy, I'm pretty sure the rest of America would also prefer to see Colton sing one of his own songs at the piano rather than Stevie Wonder. Maybe we shouldn't have such limiting themes?  Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed Colton's performance, although I couldn't help but wonder what David Cook could have done with this song. I also wonder what the Durbs will claim Colton stole from him this week- his buddy Stefano sang "Lately" last year. Hmmm....
  • Phillip Phillips ("Superstition")
    Didn't he sing this song during his first audition, J-Lo? Yes, yes he did.
He's not alone- several contestants could use some style help, ASAP!

  • Joshua Ledet ("I Wish")
    There isn't really much to say about a guy who sings perfectly. Joshua made a good choice in singing an uptempo song this week before anyone had the opportunity to question if he could sing anything other than ballads. However, the flying piano keys in the background made me double check that it was in fact a Diet Squirt I was sipping and not something with an alcohol content.
  • Hollie Cavanagh ("All The Men That I Need")
    Little girl, giant voice- dangerous ring! Did you guys see that thing!? I know she sang "Reflection" last week but even if she hadn't, she'd still remind me of young Christina Aguilera (minus all the crazy riffs). I hope that they bring in a strong mentor for her one of these weeks who can really help her master her powerful voice.
  • Skylar Laine ("Where Do Broken Hearts Go")
    At this point in the competition, there's only one thing I know for sure, and that's that the country music industry will welcome this girl with open arms. The restraint she showed in the first half of the song made her power notes that much stronger. She really doesn't need American Idol; Skylar is ready for the big time.

  • Jessica Sanchez ("I Will Always Love You")
    Nobody ever nails this song on this show, but Jessica Sanchez just did. Wow. This deserves to be embed.

Mary J. Blige surprised me. I gave her a solid B+ to start off the season.

Shannon Magrane WITHOUT A DOUBT.

My guess is we'll unfortunately see Erika Van Pelt at the bottom along with Jermaine Jones (with Elise Testone and Jeremy Rocado surviving close calls). The judges will have to give Jermaine the boot.