Three weeks ago, the judges on American Idol decided who they wanted in the semi final of the competition – the top 24. After each week, two boys and two girls get cut from the competition and the public vote is the only factor in deciding this. Usually, I feel that the public get it right, or almost so, but as the results show for the final semi final episode is over, I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth, aimed towards the American public voters.

Now, I’m not narrow-minded or completely clueless about music. I enjoy almost everything and appreciate each genre respectively, so I don’t think I’m biased towards a particular sounding voice, or based on gender/race. But as I sat down to watch the final performances of the girls, shown on Tuesday nights in America, two particular performances stand out, and not necessarily for the good. Paige Miles, a 24-year-old from Florida, picked her final song of the semi finals and she chose “Smile” by Nat King Cole. In the two previous weeks, Paige had struggled to find a song that suited her as an artist, so this one was a bizarre choice also. Nevertheless, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and hoped she’d do something amazing with it. Unfortunately, she did not. Not even close to good, in my opinion. Katie Stevens, a 17-year-old from Connecticut, chose a Kelly Clarkson hit ‘Breakaway‘. She had been called old-fashioned and needed to sing something “younger” so this seemed fairly logical. Now, I’m all for a Kelly Clarkson song being sung, being the huge fan I am, but it was just ‘okay’. There was nothing special, and it was just going to be compared as a poor version of the original.

In the results show, the presenter, Ryan Seacrest, had put through two contestants from the top row of seats – 4 in total on each row – leaving Paige and Katelyn Epperly, a 19-year-old from Iowa. From the beginning of the live shows, Katelyn had been my favourite girl, along with another girl I’ll speak about a bit later, and even though Katelyn’s performance was okay, it wasn’t her best. It was rather forgettable and the song she chose wasn’t the one to propel her into the top 12. But the previous weeks, one including a beautiful rendition of Coldplay’s The Scientist on piano, she had shined and I felt she was more than on her way to making the themed shows. After recapping the performances, Paige Miles was sent through, sending Katelyn home. I was positive Paige was going home, and I was shocked and disgusted that the American public had dismissed the very talented Epperly. Maybe my other favourite girl would get through?

Again, Seacrest put through two girls on the bottom row, leaving the final two as Katie Stevens and Lilly Scott, a 20-year-old from Colorado. In the past two weeks, Lilly had been at the top of the pack, shining with her unique voice, and her style which she wouldn’t change for the show. She was an indie artist, as pointed out by judge Randy Jackson, and she made every performance on the show her style. She chose a Patsy Cline song to close the show, and, although she didn’t really do a whole lot with it, she still sang the song well, albeit maybe lacking a bit of energy. Lilly Scott, being my joint favourite girl, was my last favourite left. But in a de-ja-vu moment, Stevens was put through, much to the shock of many people in the studio, and fellow rejectee Katelyn Epperly, whose face showed the shock and disapproval of the decision. Scott was clearly disappointed, and surprised by the turn of events, as I’m sure she felt she did enough to make it through.

For the boys results, I picked two favourites also, just so I had plenty of choices in the top 24. Alex Lambert, no connection with the previous years runner-up, and Aaron Kelly. Lambert, a 19 year old from Texas, had a unique voice that was definitely destined to be a recording voice. All he was lacking was confidence, the rest of the tools were there. Aaron Kelly, a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania, had a voice made for country/pop. There is just something special about his voice that I can’t quite put my finger on. Luckily, Kelly made it through to the top 12, but that left Lambert and a previous YouTube singer Andrew Garcia. When Lambert was paired with Garcia, who sang Genie In A Bottle by Christina Aguilera, I just knew that the YouTube singer’s fans would be helping him through. And shockingly enough, Garcia made it through, and Lambert was sent home, extremely unfairly. He had so much potential, and I don’t remember any semi-finalists making a successful career out of music. Or even making an album. Which is extremely disappointing for him because he deserves it.

Another two boys were put through, completing a top 11, only one spot was left. Lee Dewyze and Todrick Hall were in the final two. Both performances were, I feel, the best ones. Lee’s version of Fireflies was edgy and well performed, and Todrick’s performance of Somebody To Love by Queen was amazing. His gospel/R&B feel worked brilliantly, and his vocals were great. Neither of them should be considered to be booted from the competition, whereas a forgettable performance from Casey James was rewarded with a place in the top 12. If I had to decide which performance I preferred, I’d have to say Todrick’s as his vocals were the best they’ve been in the live shows. The results were revealed, and Todrick was sent home.

America’s top 12 is:

  • Didi Benami – a 23-year-old from California (6)
  • Crystal Bowersox – a 24-year-old from Ohio (2)
  • Lacey Brown – a 24-year-old from Texas (11)
  • Lee Dewyze – a 23-year-old from Illinois (10)
  • Andrew Garcia – a 24-year-old from California (12)
  • Casey James – a 27-year-old from Texas (5)
  • Aaron Kelly – a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania (7)
  • Michael Lynche – a 26-year-old from Florida (4)
  • Siobhan Magnus – a 19-year-old from Massachusetts (3)
  • Paige Miles – a 24-year-old from Florida (8)
  • Katie Stevens – a 17-year-old from Connecticut (9)
  • Tim Urban – a 20-year-old from Texas (1)

Now I have to decide who my favourites are from the remaining 12. I feel Michael Lynche is a front-runner, his performance brought judge Kara DioGuardi to tears, I need another week or two to decide whether I agree with the front-runner status. Aaron Kelly is my only remaining favourite, and I think I shall add Lee Dewyze as my second boy.

Quirky Siobhan Henry has really caught my eye in the past week or two, and Didi Benami whose performance was brilliant will be my favourites from now on. I shall keep my eye on Lacey Brown, even though I don’t feel she can win, her voice appeals to my ears. Crystal Bowersox has a weird attitude, I don’t think she wants to be in the competition, she’s just doing it so she can get money for her family.

If, in the next few weeks, my choices for American Idol get knocked out, maybe I should keep my opinions to myself. Do I think my choices jinx the competition? Maybe. We’ll find out next week. If one my choices go out again, I’ll think about favouring Casey James.

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