American Idol: Episode Twelve of Season Nine--The Final 24, Part 2

2/18/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

On a whole, this final episode before the live "American Idol" competition, which begins next Tuesday, was pleasant. There were no huge surprises. There wasn’t much emphasis on the negative. And, most importantly, it didn’t seem to drag on nearly as much as Tuesday’s episode did. Going into Wednesday’s episode after enduring a two-hour episode where only nine decisions (seven positive and two negative) were made, seemed a little arduous. But because the bulk of the Top 24 unveiling was to be crammed into one hour, Wednesday’s episode kept it moving.

I find this Top 24 to be one of the best in "American Idol" history, and that’s not because essentially all of my predictions made it. I’m not sure if I’d change a person on it if I could. It’s true that the talent grows each and every season, and I think that’s clear in the breadth and diversity of the talent pool this season thus far. But I am genuinely excited to see each one of these 24 finalists perform next week, since I think they’re be great and I believe they’re all going to bring something unique and exciting to the table. There are so many new types of people and sounds that will be making their "American Idol" debut, and I just have very high hopes for an entertaining live competition component of the season.

The most shocking part of the episode was Angela Martin getting the axe. I wasn’t surprised by her omission from the Top 24, but I was shocked by the reaction of not only all four judges, but of Ryan Seacrest. Not once in an episode of "American Idol," on his E! talk show, or on the clips of his radio show that make it to the Internet or television have I ever seen him so somber.

As soon as Kara sat on the chair with Angela, I had a feeling this wouldn’t be good news. Despite telling her she wouldn’t be continuing on in the competition, all four judges gave Angela an incredibly positive, uplifting and optimistic speech. Everyone wants her to continue on, everyone, including Ryan, made her promise that she’d continue singing, reminding her that she has “star power” and a serious future in the industry. For someone who’s made it to Hollywood week three times, it’s tough now imagining when is her time, but to the four judges and Ryan, it seems like it’s coming. This is just one of the pitfalls of a season as full of female talent as this. Only 12 females can make it to the Top 24, and while there’s no doubt that Angela Martin had a great voice and could have made the finals in past seasons, she was certainly, even in my estimates, a bubble contestant--she was good, but I wasn’t fully convinced she’d be there next week.

As soon as I saw that Thaddeus Johnson, a contestant I had grown to like over Hollywood week, and Andrew Garcia, one of my favorites from day one, were the final two competing for the last spot, I felt bummed out for the first time during this entire episode. I really liked both, and was sad to see one go, although before the decisions were delivered, I was confident that Andrew Garcia would be the one to continue on. I still think that Andrew is a serious contender for the crown, and I am thrilled to see him sing next Wednesday and in many weeks to come. But I liked Thaddeus a lot, and it was heartbreaking watching him break down and sob. The plus is that he’s very young (he’s only 16) and came across as extremely likeable, and if Lacey Brown’s success story proved anything this year, he always can come back and redeem himself in a future season.

I wasn’t shocked to see Andrew Garcia, Katie Stevens or Lilly Scott make the Top 24. And I was excited to see Janell Wheeler, Tyler Grady and Ashley Rodriguez make it, since I’ve always enjoyed their performances even if some dipped under the radar a bit. I think that Crystal Bowersox has the total dark horse potential in this competition--as Simon pointed out, this may not be her “thing,” but no one can argue how seriously multi-talented she is, and I think she’ll bring something new and necessary to the live show.

The Top 12 females sing on Tuesday.  For clarity, here is the full list of females: Didi Benami, Katelyn Epperly, Janell Wheeler, Lacey Brown, Ashley Rodriguez, Crystal Bowersox, Katie Stevens, Lilly Scott, Paige Miles, Siobhan Magnus, Michelle Delamor and Haely Vaughn.

The Top 12 males sing on Wednesday: Michael Lynch, Casey James, Aaron Kelly, Lee Dewyze, Todrick Hall,Tyler Grady, Alex Lambert, Joe Munoz, Jermaine Sellers, John Park and Andrew Garca.

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