American Idol: The first results (spoiler alert)
(Jermaine, Colton, Eben and Deandre wait to hear their fate from Ryan Seacrest in a Fox photo by Michael Becker.)
In the excess that was a two-hour American Idol results show (why? no need for it to be that long) there were two things that gladdened my heart: most of the top 13 choices and the return of Jimmy Iovine.
Jimmy, curmudgeon that he is, was a welcome breath of fresh air in Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson's land of "everything is beautiful." I agreed with almost everything he said about the contestants and it was nice to hear some honest assessments.
Basically on Thursday night, Ryan Seacrest brought the 25 contestants on stage in groups of three or four, sent some directly to the top 10 as chosen by voters, and some to await the judges' wild card picks.
Near the end of the show, the judges chose six people to sing for their lives and put three into the top 13.
Here's a look at who made it through:
Phillip Phillips: I would have been shocked if Phil hadn't made America's top 10. He's got a good voice, honest delivery and an endearing aw-shucks manner. Jimmy said, "We desperately need originality on this show. Phil Phillips has that ... I believed every word he sang. I'd sign this guy on the spot."
Jeremy Rosado: I thought Jeremy sang very well on Tuesday but wondered whether votes for cuter boys would bump him out of the top 10. Jimmy said he was one of the nicest people on the show, "but you have to have much more than that these days to win this thing." Those words may yet prove prophetic, but Jeremy basically opened his heart and bled all over the stage during his save me song, earnng a wildcard spot. He couldn't even finish the song for crying and broke into even bigger sobs when he heard he'd made it.
Hollie Cavanagh: Hollie has a quieter personality than some of the other girls and you never know how that's going to play, but I figured her big voice would see her through. Jimmy said she could have been more believable, "but give her the right material, she could do some real damage in this game."
Jessica Sanchez: Here's another no-brainer. This powerhouse has the potential to go all the way to the end. Jimmy said, "she has talent from A to Z. If anyone has a pole position in this race, it's Jessica. She's the one to beat."
Joshua Ledet: After stealing the show on the boys' performance night, Joshua was a shoo-in. Jimmy said, "This Joshua's the real deal ... and there's no question in my mind he's gonna get through. If he does get through, it's my job to make sure we don't turn it into Sister Act 3."
Heejun Han: Heejun wasn't at his best on Tuesday, so I can see why Jimmy was confused, but I also figured that voters have taken him to their hearts and would put him into the top 10. Jimmy said Heejun has "sort of a good voice" but "this isn't American Comedian, this is American Idol."
Shannon Magrane: Jimmy and I part ways on this one. I hated Shannon's song choice and I wasn't digging what she did with her voice on Wednesday, but Jimmy said she had a great voice and sang beautifully.
Skylar Laine: I wasn't as big a fan of Skylar's rock chick turn as the judges, but I am not surprised that the energetic performance got her voted through. Jimmy said Skylar brought a lot of charisma and stage presence. "I would have voted for her."
Erika Van Pelt: Erika did not make top 10 but got a wildcard spot. She has one of the better female voices in the competition, so I'm not sure what isn't connecting with the voters. "I like this girl," Jimmy said. "She has music in her blood. It's very, very natural to her." Her save-me song, Lady Gaga's "Edge of Glory," didn't seem like a great choice but was still more convincing than Jen's or Brielle's offerings.
Elise Testone: I think Elise is brilliant and it would have been a serious upset had she not made top 10. "She has a lot of character," Jimmy said. He added that he'd like to see her sing her own material and that she should be careful not to push her voice too much.
Jermaine Jones: Man, would it have sucked for Jermaine Jones to get called back to the top 25 only to be booted off the next night. Luckily, he made top 10, but I didn't get to hear what Jimmy said about him.
Deandre Brackensick: I didn't love what Deandre did with Earth, Wind and Fire on Tuesday and agree with Jimmy that he wasn't ready for that song. Deandre was not a top 10 pick but did earn a wildcard berth with a performance that was more heartfelt than what he did earlier in the week.
Colton Dixon: I didn't buy Colton's jumping on the piano performance on Tuesday, but America did. Jimmy called him "really talented, probably one of the most talented kids on this show" but said he should pace himself and not do too much too soon.
Here's what Jimmy said about the ones who didn't make it.
Chase Likens: "You have to bring something fresh, original and exciting, and I saw none of that." Couldn't agree more.
Brielle Von Hugel: Jimmy said she has a lot of charisma and is a real entertainer. I find her so grating I can't really agree with that. Brielle picked Adele's "Someone Like You" for her save-me song, despite Jimmy warning contestants off being Adele wannabes, but didn't do anything original with it and messed up some of the notes.
Hallie Day: I enjoyed Hallie's performance Wednesday but wasn't sure how it would play with voters. Jimmy said she was "really poised, restrained" and had "great tone in her voice. I'm not sure who the audience is gonna vote for, though."
Adam Brock: To me, Adam was just dull. Jimmy said, "Supposedly, Adam has a large black woman trapped in a white body. As of right now, he's not pulling them off at the same time. He's got to merge them and come as one person."
Baylie Brown: Baylie had no chance after her pitchy performance on Wednesday, no matter how pretty she is. "Beautiful girl, nice tone, but she lost the plot," Jimmy said. "Out of tune, I believe out of here."
Chelsea Sorrell: If you're going to cover one of Idol's most famous alumni, you better blow it out of the water and Chelsea failed to do that. "Carrie Underwood karaoke is just not gonna fly," Jimmy said.
Reed Grimm: I'm still a Reed fan, but I concur with Jimmy: his Tuesday performance was too far off the beaten track to win votes. "It was way too cutesy for me, way too cabaret," Jimmy said. Surprisingly, Reed got a chance at a wildcard spot but squandered it with an erratic, self-indulgent version of Bill Withers' "Use Me."
Aaron Marcellus: This was a mild surprise. I thought Aaron was one of the best male singers even though his Tuesday performance didn't knock my socks off. "Now this confused me," Jimmy said. "Because the judges and audience gave him a standing ovation and I'm watching this, saying 'This is cheesy.'"
Creighton Fraker: I didn't think Creighton stood a chance at top 13 way back in his first audition. As Jimmy put it, "Creighton has an interesting voice (but) the top end is screechy. It annoys me."
Jen Hirsh: If you'd asked me during Hollywood Week, I would have called Jen for top 10 for sure, but her Wednesday performance was lacking. Jimmy said it was "a lot of vocal pyrotechnical techniques in place of soul," which sounds right on the money. Unfortunately, after she was picked as one of the six to sing for their lives, it was more of the same, with the addition of some unpleasant screamy notes near the end.
Haley Johnson: She was a dead girl walking mere seconds into her awful version of "Sweet Dreams." "Wow, she sang out of tune the entire song," Jimmy said. "How do you get around that?"
Eben Franckewitz: Yes, that Adele song was way too big for Eben and it cost him. Jimmy said he's "a really talented kid with a lot of great potential, but in my opinion he's not ready for prime time." He lamented the fact the show's rules won't allow Eben to come back next year.
That's it till next Wednesday at 8 p.m. on CTV when the top 13 perform. You'll find the recap right here.