Reality Rocks - Archive

The ‘American Idol’ Lucky Thirteen Selected!

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

Last year, the top 12 results show was the turning point of "American Idol" Season 9: the night when it became all too clear that it would be the Worst Season Ever, as many early favorites were bizarrely, prematurely voted off. Anyway, luckily the talent pool was a little deeper this year, all but guaranteeing that whoever advanced from the top 24, it would make for a very strong final dozen. (Or 13, as it turned out.)

Then again, regular viewers know all too well that nothing is really guaranteed on "Idol." So we couldn't just assume that frontrunners like Casey Abrams and Jacob Lusk would get through, or that fodder like Ta-tynisa Wilson and Jordan Dorsey wouldn't. And with the largest and quickest cut in "Idol" semifinals history--the top 24 trimmed to a top 13 in just one week--the depressing fact was, some very deserving contestants, who would've been total shoo-ins for the finals in any other season (ESPECIALLY last season), would be gone all too soon.

Man, this is one season when I wouldn't have minded the semifinals being stretched out over a few weeks. I am going to miss some of these kids.

Well, speaking of stretching things out, at least I had a plenty of time to bond with the castoff contestants before they exited stage left, since Thursday's results show clocked in at a ridiculously unnecessary two hours, with the first finalist (Scotty McCreery, hardly a shocker) not even announced until 30 minutes into the broadcast. I was beginning to worry that the teenagers in the competition would go through career-ending voice changes before the episode was even over, it was taking so dang long. But finally, after all the filler recap packages, corny interviews in which the contestants claimed to be the best of BFFs, and J.Lo's video premiere, we had our top 13.

When it came to the top 10 as voted by America, there were no truly huge surprises, unpleasant or otherwise. The top five boys were all the ones I predicted (Casey Abrams, James Durbin, Jacob Lusk, Scott McCreery, and my personal fave, Paul McDonald), and among the girls, I predicted four of them correctly (Lauren Alaina, Thia Megia, Karen Rodriguez, and Pia Toscano). Only Haley Reinhart sort of came out of left field; I assumed the fiercely divalicious Ashthon Jones had it locked, and besides, I figured if America was going to pick a cute, all-American blonde, Kendra Chantelle was the better bet.

And then some of the eliminated contestants got even more screentime, as six of them--Ashthon, Kendra, and the divine Naima Adedapo for the girls, and Stefano Langone, Jovany Barreto, and Robbie Rosen for the boys--were given one more chance to show what they could do in the Wild Card round, with three of them eventually selected by the judges to round out the official top 13. All gave pretty solid performances--some of them (Stefano, Kendra, Naima, Robbie) even sang better than they had earlier this week--but in the end the judges went with Ashthon, Naima, and Stefano. The Stefano decision didn't sit very well with me--I'd have picked Robbie in a heartbeat over him--but Ashthon and Naima's hard-fought victories were well-deserved, in my opinion. This show needs a couple of divas like them.

I agreed for the most part with America and the judges' choices, actually...with some exceptions, of course. It was a MAJOR bummer for me that lovable free teen spirit Brett Loewenstern, with his hippie vibes, hot-topic anti-bullying stance, and crazy ginger hair, didn't make it through (although when his elimination came in the same breath as Ryan Seacrest's announcement that the wonderful Paul McDonald had made it, it was hard to get too upset). I was also disappointed, if not all that surprised, that my girl Rachel Zevita--who, granted, misfired in a major way with her cabaret Fiona Apple cover Wednesday night, but at least was interesting and unique--didn't get another chance to rock her awesome capes and veiled hats on the big stage. And I so wished that flamboyant karaoke cutup Clint Jun Gamboa, who was spazzing out and hyperventilating like a true drama queen before Ryan even told him the results, had gotten another shot. I think Season 10 would have been a LOT more fun and exciting with those three on board. Oh, if only they'd auditioned last year...

But overall, this is a pretty great top 13, a cast I'm actually psyched to see compete over the coming weeks. But until then...Parker out!

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