The Boys: So, I will be taking you through my picks of which 6 boys should make it through to the MAIN STAGE, and which 6 should think themselves lucky to get this far, and then Steve will do the same for the girls. Mostly because I can’t remember more than about three of them, and I’m convinced two of those are in fact just Shannon Migraine twice. The boys this year seem to fit neatly into three categories : firstly there’s the obvious pool of White Guys With Guitars And A Slight Jazz/Soul Flavour, which has given us, in recent series’, Paul McDonald, Shirtless Casey, Nipple Face and Dave Lee Travis. Still, onwards and upwards eh? The pick of these contestants for me so far has been Phillip Phillips and not at all because he’s the fittest and I find his epileptic styling quite adorable. A strong early audition, a solid voice of calm through the various MIT dramas, and also quite fit. Some people have compared him unfavourably to Taylor Hicks, but I don’t really know who that is and, from a cursory Googlie Images search, he erm…wasn’t nearly as fit? Anyway, natural selection of the fittest having taken its cause this leaves a straight-up threeway battle between Adam Brock (aka “Fat Elvis Costello”), Creighton Fraker (aka “Papa was a Megadeth”) and Reed Grimm aka “CREEPER ALARM”). They’re all of them capable of a strong vocal performance (well except Adam, who sucks, but that’s by the by), but at the end of the day only Reed Grimm really brings the spontaneity, weirdness, and limitless capacity for self-destruction that I like to see in my Idol performances. Also they may bring in TV Theme Tune Week just for him, which is a LONG-TIME DREAM of mine, so in the end, he gets my vote.
Next grouping is “Black/Mixed/Latino Men Who Are A Bit Soulful And Don’t Really Have A Chance Because The Only Non-White Male Singer Chris Has Seen Ever With Even A Chance Of Cracking The Final On This Show Was Fat Mike And He Was Dragged There”. Which is a little wordy, but which I think gets my point acorss adequately. Yes, yes, bring up Jacob Lusk, but he was not a man, he was…a whole other category of intergalactic organism entirely. Most obvious cut at this point is Aaron Marcellus, because he has done two series of this now and I still have no idea who is. Which leaves Jeremy Rosado, Joshua Ledet and Deandre Brackensick. My ballots at this stage are directed at Joshua Ledet and Deandre Brackensick, who just have the edge in terms of the most stellar of their stellar performances (“Jar Of Hearts” and “This Woman’s Work” respectively). Jeremy can take solace in the fact that J-Lo clearly likes him best, and also Deandre’s hair would have won it for him in a tie-break anyway.
This just leaves “Others”, because erm…turns out this whole grouping thing wasn’t as clear-cut as I thought, oops, and also possibly kind of racist. Never mind. Obvious stand-out of this group is of course, America’s Sweetheart Heejun Han. I feel like at this point I shouldn’t have to explain why this is, because he’s amazing, so I’ll just move on to the three remaining guys : the kid from Two And A Half Men, The Dixon Boy, and…some guy who has appeared on the show I think…once up to this point? Called Chase Likens? And, yes, that bolding does indicate that he is my pick, because he seems like he can carry a tune in a bucket, and also the other two have underwhelmed me and ticked me off AND underwhelmed me respectively in the competition thus far. Oh, and there’s also the matter of this “OH MY GOD THE BOYS ARE SO TALENTED WE JUST HAVE TO BRING ONE BACK!!!!” thing which…they’re better than the girls, let’s not go nuts here. Anyway, the options are apparently David Leathers Jr, Barry White but DEEPER, Cowboy Douche and that guy who bled from the forehead. To be honest it’s…kind of an uninspiring roster. Personally, I am happy with the Top 12 Boys we had, unless this results in a Heejun -Cowboy BRAWL TO SETTLE IT ALL, in which case I’m all in favour.
The Girls: I feel I’ve landed myself a slightly more complicated task than Chris here because the girls don’t really divide into nice, recognisable categories in the same way that the boys (sort of) do. In fairness, I’m not even sure that all of these girls are definitely real people. I mean, Chelsea Sorrell? Jessica Sanchez? I know that occasionally my mind wanders during this show and I start thinking about how much I miss the days when Ryan used to turn up for the live shows in jeans and t-shirts, but even so, I feel like I would recognise these people if I’d ever seen them before, and I don’t.
I do, however, recognise Jen Hirsh (now apparently going by “Jennifer”), who was my standout contestant of the girls throughout most of the Hollywood/Vegas/Ipswich round and easily earned herself a spot in the Top 12 – though I worry that this is broadly how I felt about Pia Toscano last year, and look how that ended up. Another people who stood out for me, vocally, was Haley Johnson, who was one of the few people who was memorable from the horrifying performance of ‘Night Has A Thousand Eyes’ for the right reasons, so I’d like to see what she can do all by herself.
In direct contrast to all of these people who have suddenly appeared on our screens for the very first time this week is Shannon Migraine, who’s been very prominent across the season, but has singularly failed to impress me so far. I think she’s got the beginnings of talent there, but I think she might have done better by taking a year or two off to get some training and really work out how to use her voice, so I’m not putting her through on this occasion. And while I’m cutting people who’ve had a fair bit of story so far, I’m going to discard Erika Van Pelt as well – as much fun as it has been to discover how a mobile disco works, I just feel like now that I know that, I have little use for her any more.
Elise Testone has had one of those journeys of above-average reliability, in which she’s never particularly shone but never particularly embarrassed herself either. This may not sound like a ringing endorsement in itself, but considering how people like Ashthon Jones kept getting chances last year and kept stinking the place up until the public were like “ENOUGH ALREADY”, I think we need a few decent workhorses around the place. I also feel like the inclusion of Skylar Laine is a foregone conclusion, because we need a country girl in the Top 12.
As sympathetic as I am towards Baylie Brown for suffering through the indignity of being bounced in favour of Antonella Barba in season six, I’m not sure that this is reason enough in and of itself to put her through, and I’m running out of slots, so I’m afraid she might just slip through the net. I can, however, make room for Brielle Von Hugel, largely because I am terrified of what her mother might do to me if I don’t.
So that just leaves two girls vying for one spot, and I’m feeling broadly the same about Hollie Cavanagh as I do about Baylie – all I have for her narrative-wise is the fact that she didn’t get through last time she auditioned, which is sad and all, but I’d prefer to have a bit more to go on, so I’m going to give that last spot to Hallie Day, just so we can continue to enjoy the redemption of a former girlbander who got eaten up alive by Los Angeles in her youth. At least until she ends up eliminated in like ninth place or whatever. That’s showbiz, I guess.
Our OFFICIAL Top 12 :
- Brielle Von Hugel
- Chase Likens
- Deandre Brackensick
- Elise Testone
- Haley Johnson
- Hallie Day
- Heejun Han
- Jen(nifer) Hirsh
- Joshua Ledet
- Phillip Phillips
- Reed Grimm
- Skylar Laine