American Idol Season 9: 12 finalists revealed

“American Idol” got down from 16 contestants to 12 last night, in effect reaching the “magical” Top 12 final round. From here on out, everyone will perform on one night and the results, with one person being eliminated each week, will be announced the following night. There were a few surprises last night, and probably two that America really got correct. As Seacrest would say, “dim the lights, here we go….”

The show opened with the Top 16 singing their ridiculous weekly group number, this week a Michael Buble song that I’m happy to report I’ve never heard before. Then Ryan announced that next week the contestants will be choosing songs by The Rolling Stones. I’m pretty excited about this….it doesn’t get any more legendary in rock than the Stones, and it should be fun trying to guess who will sing what.

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American Idol: Song choice still hampering some

“American Idol” is really heating up, as we’re now getting down to the real talent, and this season boasts at least five and maybe seven with a serious chance to win it all. Last night after the ridiculous booming voice introductions and the annoying banter between Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell that just never seems to end, the nine remaining contestants were asked to sing anything they wanted, so long as it was a popular iTunes download. Pretty easy, right? Well, not when there are a few singers in this thing who just simply don’t get the art of song choice. Some do, though, and they do in a big way. But more on that in a minute. Here is your Top 9 America, in my take of the good, the in-between, and the bad:

THE REALLY GOOD

Danny Gokey has an amazing ability to connect with the audience, and he picks the right song week after week. We all know the back story, that Gokey lost his wife at way too young of an age recently. And he smartly draws from the grief and channels it effectively through song, as he did last night with Rascal Flatt’s “What Hurts the Most.” And if dude gave Mrs. Mike as well as judge Kara DioGuardi goose bumps, I imagine he did that for many of you as well. Paula said that type of song is where Danny thrives (what?), Simon said no one else so far (he went third) was in the same class and that it was Danny’s best performance yet, Randy said “the show starts here,” and Kara correctly pointed out that Danny moved everyone in the room emotionally.

THE GOOD

Scott McIntyre stripped down his performance last night to take on Billy Joel’s classic “Just the Way You Are” and it was easily his best showing yet. I actually didn’t find anything wrong with it this time, and I’m not a huge Scott fan. Kara said it was a smart decision to strip the song down, Paula said the best part about Scott is that everyone forgets about his “challenge,” Simon said it was Scott’s best performance by a mile, and Randy said it was the best of the night. Um, hello Randy…Danny Gokey?

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American Idol: Did you have to pick that song?

Okay, before we get to the recap of last night’s performances on “American Idol,” can I just say, WHAT ARE THESE CONTESTANTS THINKING? It seems like they are choosing the wrong songs with regularity, not understanding the urgency of giving it their best shot while they have the opportunity. It just makes me crazy and I think it makes the judges crazy as well. Last night the performances were less than stellar. In fact, many of them were flat-out awful. But it wasn’t always that maybe the judges mis-calculated and sent the wrong singers through to this round. It was mostly about poor song choice. With that, here were the good, the in-between and the bad from last night, with a prediction for tonight’s results show.

THE GOOD

Alison Iraheta is only 16 and as Simon Cowell correctly pointed out, she looked out of her element when Ryan Seacrest was interviewing her, and then when she took the stage she was a completely different person. This girl has unbelievable vocal ability at such a young age, and last night she sang Heart’s “Alone.” Randy said she “blew it out of the box,” Kara said Alison doesn’t know how good she is, Paula said she was the best so far (she went fifth), and Simon said she was the best so far by a mile. Alison would not have advanced last week, but with the way last night’s semi-finalists performed, she has a great shot now.

Kris Allen is a 23 year old dude from Arkansas, so you wouldn’t expect him to sing Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” would you? I was scared, but dude pulled it off nicely. It was rough at the start but he really nailed it as a whole and could be a dark horse. Kara said she thought it was the wrong song, Paula disagreed and so did Simon, saying Kris showed confidence, and Randy said he did a nice job without his guitar, as he had done before in Hollywood.

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