Idology: We've Got Our Season 11 Top 24! Who's Ruling? And Who's Just Fooling?

After 257 weeks of auditions, American Idol has finally whittled down the Season 11 field to a very evenly matched Top 24. On this week’s Idology, Season 6’s third-place Idol Melinda Doolittle and I each name our three favorite contestants thus far. (Spoiler alert: both of us agree on a singer who reminds some folks of a Season 10 finalist whose name rhymed with Gray Shrub Husk.)

American Idol Recap: Semi-Sweet Dreams

Plus, we dish the weak wildebeests at the back of the pack, and talk about that totally random dramatic twist. So press play below, and for all my Idol news, interviews, and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Templar says:

    Obviously, Brielle is there to give us someone to despise.

  2. JJ says:

    I don’t really get why everyone is upset about L. Gray”s being cut. I didn’t like her personality at all.

  3. Elise, Baylie, Jessica and Erika are my favorite girls. Jeremy, Aaron and Heejun are my favorite guys. Heejun maybe more for his personality, but overall he’s pretty decent as well. It’s gonna be an interesting Top 24/25. I hate that we didn’t get to see Hallie, Aaron or Chase’s induction into the Top 24, but instead we got 3 or 4 minutes on that Scott Dangerfield guy. We literally saw nothing from him the whole time, and then all of a sudden we get a backstory and the judges’ decision, such a waste of time. It honestly just puts the 3 of them at an intense disadvantage. Hopefully they can rebound.

    • Ben says:

      I think Aaron is awesome – but his edit probably means he won’t make it unless he blows it out of the park. Which is frustrating to me.

      • Pat says:

        Agreed, Aaron’s screen time is noticeably lacking but his voice is so good, I think he can pull out of it.

        • My Alter Ego says:

          I love Aaron’s voice. Can/will he be the Season 11 Haley Reinhart? (And, by that I mean, little early exposure, but through extraordinary performances, stay in the competition week after week?)

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        I also have liked what I’ve heard from Aaron. I was a bit surprised when all of a sudden they decided to give Scott Dangerfield a bunch of air time – and then cut him. I think that “Jailhouse Rock” group did him in.

  4. Matt says:

    My Top 3
    Elise Testone
    Hollie Cavanagh
    Bailey Brown (I read that she was a bit sick in Hollywood and I still have faith).
    The guys suck this year. I would have 4 other girls ahead of the next guy (Jenn Hirsch, Jessica Sanchez, Erika Van Pelt, and Hallie Day).
    I disagree with Joshua Ledet. He can have great performances but I’m convinced he has no clue what he’s doing with his voice. He doesn’t have the musical sense. There were a couple times in Hollywood that he really came close to just screaming and I have no earthly idea how they said yes to that audition. His audition was horrendous.
    I DeAndre but I don’t personally like singing in the falsetto. Hit a couple notes there to get the point across, but full on singing there just bothers me. But his falsetto is great and he has a nice chest voice.
    Reed Grimm makes me want to punch him in the face. He is easilly the most annoying contestant ever on Idol. And he isn’t even that good a singer.

    • Ben says:

      I’d have about 10 guys ahead of Hallie, Elise, Baylie or Erika. But most people I talk to about idol see the guys as a stronger group than the girls this year, with a lot of samieness to many of the girls. However… I do think a couple of the girls (particularly Jessica) are better than any of the guys and a top 2 of girls may be possible this year.

    • Vetle says:

      Matt, we have to same top 7 girls. :) Put them in this order: Jessica, Elise, Hollie, and you have my top 3.
      I do think I prefer Colton and Deandre over Erika though, and possibly Hallie and Baylie since we’ve seen so little.

  5. Josh says:

    The girls are better than the guys who mostly suck espically overrated Phill Phillps
    Ben Sadly with a lot of women only voting for who they think is cute and ignoring their vocal Ability and they control the votes along with them finding any little reason to hate a more talented woman i don’t see a final 2 of women which sucks

    • Tarc says:

      Or the girls aren’t terribly interesting compared to several of the guys, in particular to the record-ready Phillip Phillips.

      • Brandon R. says:

        The only kind of record he’s ready for is one I would most certainly not buy. I just can’t get behind his tone…there’s too much grit in it with nothing to show for it. (I have to say, it always sounds like he’s singing while constipated…a problem I had with Danny Gokey a few seasons ago.)

    • Jaded says:

      I want to like Phil Phillips but I just feel like I’m watching a growly Dave Matthews impersonation!

      • Joe says:

        It is a Dave Matthews impersonation. It’s a good one but he never should have made it to the show doing a Dave impression. It’s bizarre he got through since there is nothing original to his act at all.

  6. Josh says:

    Im pulling for Elise Testone and Baylie Brown

  7. Julia says:

    Slezak! I love your idology why are they only 10 minutes?! I remember idolatry used to be so much longer and it was great. I to fix my Idol craving!!

    • Tina says:

      I agree, this needs more Jason Averett.

    • Stephie33 says:

      I agree – I waited all day for this to post. MORE PLEASE!!

    • I Heart Chuck Bass (and Damon Salvatore) says:

      They’ll probably get longer when we get to the “meat” of the show and we have complete individual performances and eliminations (on top of nonsensical Randy Jackson critiques) to evaluate and dissect. And, by “we” I mean Melinda, Michael and his arsenal of random yet strangely appropriate clips. :)

    • toastyred says:

      Totally agree! First time I’ve ever posted on this site to ask for more idology! 10 mins is not enough!!!

      • toastyred says:

        I just checked out last year’s top 24 Idoloonies. We had 10 mins about the girls, 10 mins on the guys and 10 mins of ‘other’. You’re starving us here!!

        • Tusk says:

          Nice of you to read my post on IDF LOL.
          Maybe the new 10 minutes has to do with the legalese or their deal with enTV to post on youtube.
          Let’s just be happy that we had the 4 chapter Idoloonies last year, selfishly because it showed Haley’s Journey, how Michael hated her “God Bless the Child” and Growl atthe beginning to one of Haley’s biggest stans now…. :D
          Too bad fans of this season won’t get that…:P

    • mailmanjimmy says:

      I agree with Julia..this is the best 10 minutes I spend on the laptop each week. Melinda is great.the two of you have me in stitches. I could go for a 30 minute show!!

  8. IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

    EMERGENCY! Idol fans rally! Read this whole thing! I know I already posted this somewhere else on this website, but it’s that urgent!
    After some social media sleuthing, I discovered that while both David Leathers and Jermaine Jones have “ai11″ Twitter accounts, only David has an “AI11″ Facebook, so I was certain he’s the wildcard man. He’s even sited as a “musician/band.” But to my shock and dismay, that cowboy’s legal name isn’t Richie Law, it’s Richie Lawson! And guess what else I found? A Twitter account labeled “RLawsonai11″ and a “RLawsonAI11″ Facebook page, listing him as a “musician/band!” There’s a chance Richie could be the extra guy! Everyone, quick! Write angry messages to the American Idol producers and make it very clear that we do not want this terrible, horrible, awful young man back on television!
    Do it for your ears and mine! Do it for Heejun and Phillip! Do it for all the people who appreciate quality TV and don’t buy into the trash! PLEASE?!

    • Ben says:

      Of course, if you read spoilers elsewhere (as I know you do), you might already have an idea about who number 13 is… and I’m pretty sure it has already been determined by the powers that be.

      • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

        First of all, I have never read Idol spoilers until this season. Secondly, they aren’t always right. So please, don’t hate. I’m just venting because I’m scared.

  9. Justin says:

    I don’t agree with those who keep saying that the females are better than the guys this year. As far as I can tell, Elise and Erika are the only two females who stand out, though I think that side was intentionally stacked with blondes that viewers will no dount confuse. Why? Clearly to give youtube sensation Jessica Sanchez a boost. And what’s with all this Baylie Brown love? Looks great but her voice ia average as best and has zero character to it. But yeah, there’s more diversity on the guy’s side for about the fifth straight year in a row.

  10. ejones says:

    Making decisions based on the audition process is why AI2011 ended up with 2 finalists who didn’t provide a single memorable moment during the live shows. The competition is so very different when the marathon starts, the auditions are a sprint in comparison. Keep an open mind is my motto.

    • Gorm says:

      That makes no sense. Everyone must make decisions based on the audition process, its the entire reason for its existance, making decisions… otherwise you are using a random draw.
      Regardless, the reason for the lack of memorable moment is also half attributed to Jimmy “Baseball Hat At All Costs” Iovene and his crew of overproducers.

    • MissHeels says:

      Completely agree with you ejones.
      Gorm, i get where you’re comin from too, and agree with the jimmy stuff you said. I think you didn’t understand what ejones said, it’s not that the auditions are not to be taken into consideration, but they’re supposed to be used to make decisions on the first rounds, once the live show begins, the public must take into consideration the performances the contestants give each week, otherwise the must crucial part of the show becomes meaningless. So nobody’s saying that you can’t have favorites from as early as the auditions, but to take only that round into consideration is unfair, and just doesn’t make sense, since there are people who really grow as the competitions goes on and others who decay.

  11. A says:

    Why does it seem like no one sings properly anymore? The vocal acrobatics are really annoying.

    • Tom22 says:

      The “vocal acrobatics” are sort of a product of making singing a competition. I agree with you that more times than not they don’t fit the song, and particularly very short versions of songs. Usually any acrobatics in good songs come a fair ways in…in a climax chorus or solo period. Its almost like a skating competition where a few “double axels” get included whether they fit the music to the peformance or not.

      • My Alter Ego says:

        @Tom22: I suspect that I know what you intended to say, but I’m going to comment anyway. In the initial auditions, these singers have very limited time to make an impression that will get them to the next level. Does throwing every vocal trick they have in their bag demonstrate good musical judgement? No. Do we understand the why they do it? Probably most do. If they make to the live shows, hopefully they will have the good sense to know when to use and be effective. Some don’t have that ability (who can forget dear Jacob “they can’t look themselves in the mirror” Lusk? — Although, I’m sure most of us wish we could — forget, that is).
        And, while I understand the analogy (and in the years since I haven’t been able to avidly follow the national and world competitions, things may have changed more than I think possible), the elements of a skating program are required. So if a skater misses an element at an earlier point, there is usually a built in second opportunity (within the choreography), even if it might not be as well placed as the original was.

  12. Sean D says:

    Jason, I’m THRILLED that Elise Testone seems like your favorite at this point. Mine as well sir.

  13. Aaron says:

    Ashlee Altise again?? There was nothing great about her, yet you talk about her every single time you can. Give it up.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I agree – she never did a thing for me, either.

    • My Alter Ego says:

      Au contraire! But musically speaking, I believe that you are correct. (Like Michael and Melinda I was mesmerized but that audition.)
      As I have reflected on her initial audition and, as I think I posted on an earlier board (I might have just intended to so much that I thought that I actually did it), Ashlee had a delightful and captivating personality! And because of that, she got a lot of screen time.
      However, again reflecting back on that audition, I think that it was a carefully honed piece of choreography that could distract (along with that sparkling personality of hers) our attention away from the fact that her musical abilities were — umm — kind of so so.
      If my suspicion (about the carefully crafted audition piece) is correct, then once Ashlee got to Hollywood where there were far better singers who could far more quickly adapt to the pressures and rigors of H-week, Ashlee was left in the dust.

  14. Pat says:

    Oh, joy. Another Idolatry, another episode where AARON MARCELLUS’ fantastic voice is completely ignored by our wonderful hosts due to lack of screen time. I swear, for all the trash talk Michael does on Nigel, he’s starting to get as bad as him when it comes to spreading the love.
    Oh, and if you want to know why Johnny Keyser was cut, watch his Vegas performance on American Idol’s youtube page that they didn’t air, he was terrible:

  15. Rebecca Parker says:

    Is it going to be this short all season? I really hope not!

  16. Pat says:

    I still CANNOT believe Joshua Ledet is still on your favorite’s list. The high notes and oversinging on his Sing For Your Life performance could not have had more Lusky Stank unless Jacob himself swam onto that stage and the two performed the most overwrought and whiny duet in world history.

  17. Muriel says:

    I totally agree with Melinda, DeAndre is one of my favourites! I’m excited about the talent this year.

  18. raftrap says:

    The twist at the end would have been better if it included Ashlee and Candace for the girls, no doubt about it. I don’t have a favorite yet, but I agree on the weak links.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      The “twist” at the end would be better if it weren’t so obvious! What would really make it great is if they brought back the cowboy and he got together with Brielle VonHugel for a Showmance. Toss in her ultra-annoying mother and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

  19. Lunakit says:

    MICHAEL! You NEED to address the whole “10 minute” issue we are having with idology…. ((please))

  20. PatD says:

    Hollie Cavanaugh FTW. I was upset when they sent her packing last year, but as much as it pains me to admit it, the extra year seems to have done a world of good for her.
    Hopefully, that was the same mindset for sending Lauren Gray home.

    • Yursare says:

      I actually believe Lauren can vastly improve if she does take this time to learn more dynamics, play more gigs, get on more (and bigger) stages, work on the dynamics and the stage presence. I too don’t think she’s in top form this year, performance-wise, not like her colleague Erica is.
      Besides, having so many good but similar in style female vocals will disperse the vote this year, and all of this great talent will probably be cut because of the stupid voting system that the AI employs.

  21. dddd says:

    soooo enjoying slezak and melinda together. she understands the contest and what it takes to sing. unlike the kristen and slezak combo, with melinda it’s interesting, professional and naughty but without being mean…

  22. darcy's evil twin says:

    Great commentary on “Idology”. Like everyone else I wish it were longer – I could listen to Michael and Melinda all day long! there’s SO much to talk about this year as there seem to be so many strong vocalists in the Top 24. Apparently Randy, Steven, and Jennifer have clauses in their contracts that require them to be given more screen time than the contestants, even if they’re blathering on about NOTHING. I’m still waiting until I hear more actual SINGING before I make definite decisions since I feel as though I’ve heard precious little of it at this time.
    So far I really like a lot of these singers – I’m really liking what little I’ve heard from Hollie Cavanaugh. I’m not quite on the Jessica Sanchez bandwagon yet – time will tell. Why she got to sing an entire song (and a deadly boring song, at that – Celine Dion, anyone?) and we didn’t get to hear anything from Hollie Cavanaugh and Hallie Day is beyond me. I’m liking Elise, Skylar, Jeremy, Joshua,and Deandre. I’m kind of on the fence on Jen Hirsch. I might like Hallie Day and Aaron Marcellus if I ever get to hear a little more from them.
    And now for the people I don’t care for but everyone else is crazy about – Phillip Phillips, Heejun, Creighton Fraker, Reed Grim, and Baylie Brown. I’m not crazy about Haley right now. They’ll probably all make the Top 12,LOL.
    Really wish Candace Glover had made it through rather than Brielle VonHugel. And although there are no black women in the Top 24 there are three strong black male singers – something I don’t believe we’ve seen in any other season.

    • Bonnie A says:

      Good comment–I bet Steven, J-Lo and Randy DO have contracts that require they get most of the screen time! Never thought of that. And it’s SO annoying.

  23. betsy says:

    candice was robbed.

  24. Templar says:

    I’m just hoping that Reed “Class Clown” Grimm is booted quickly. I’m still a bit blurry with the Hallie, Hayley, Hollie, Baylie smoothie. I haven’t sorted out those flavors yet. When RG performs it’ll be time to go to the fridge or the head.

  25. Danielle Notaro says:

    No way is Joshua Ledett Stanky. Kid has a completely different voice than Lusk and more control. And I just don’t get your Jeremy Rosado love.

  26. Felish says:

    I just want to be sure, because I’m watching on my phone here, but is Idology only 10 minutes long now? I’ve been meaning to ask for a few weeks, because I look forward to it every week!

  27. Malcolm says:

    I agree with Danielle Notaro about Jeremy; he’s a ‘good’ singer but nothing that stands out, he’d be destroyed on the charts if he ever got close to them.
    My favorites so far are Jessica Sanchez, Deandre Brackensick and Hollie Cavanagh. I really hope they make top 12/13.
    I’m on the fence where Jen Hirsh and Joshua Ledet are concerned, though. I really loved Jen’s first solo in Hollywood and how she began that Georgia On My Mind (sexy!), but she needs to reign in that fifth octave belting, dang. Joshua has been impressive but I need to see a live show or two before I’m sold.
    Then there’s the group who have impressed me or who I know are good but I can’t find myself caring too much: Erika, Elise and Colton.
    GL to everyone! :D

  28. Brigette says:

    I’m also so irritated that they are giving a GUY another chance when a girl hasn’t won since 2007. That “twist” is random and contrived and unnecessary. I’m excited though that I get to vote starting tomorrow, but then maybe when I see the results I’ll also be mad at America, not just the judges and Uncle Nigel (flashback to Country Idol 2011).

  29. justafan says:

    i would certainly have chosen ariel sprague over ashlee as a cut i didn’t like … but i certainly agree we should have had lauren and candace also…. so i’ll take those 3 girls and get rid of brielle (who else), erika and (yes i will say it) jessica… just don’t like the screaming she did throughout the competition

  30. Paul says:

    I can’t believe there will be a 13th guy without a 13th girl as well. Probably they are waiting until the guys all sing to release the news about the girl.
    I wonder if they had the guywho left before the final zolo sing something to show about him – or that they had all 4 sing something extra that they can show scenes of on Tuesday.

  31. syb says:

    I find Baylie Brown overhyped and overrated, so I would put her at no worse than final 2.
    At this point, I like Jen Hirsch the best. That means she doesn’t have a chance at cracking the top 5, and I doubt she’ll even make it to the final dozen.

  32. I am missing some of the corny clips – there haven’t been as many this year. Melinda is wonderful, and this show would be very dull without the clips AND without her. I am curious if the reason for this change is because more people are paying attention and there could potentially be a “cease and desist” order or two at play? I’ve noticed the plugs you’ve been giving for the clips you do use.
    Still, this is better than the actual show right now, so keep up the great work!

  33. RealityCheck says:

    Can I just add to the long list of folks that would like more Idology? I love M & M’s take on the show! A lot more than the actual show without any black females :( I just feel that with 24 singers we could get some representation from every group, just like this Great Country. I am with you Melinda on Deandre, cute but not legal! I can still enjoy his singing though, right?

    • JoMarch says:

      I am saddened by your comments. I think we would have less racism and bigotry in this country if we were color blind when it comes to our relationships. Why should a black woman, or any person of color or white for that matter be picked just to make up a quota? This is a talent show,not a job in a factory or office where people generally have the same qualifications that try out for a job. Who you think is talented is more subjective, and perhaps there wasn’t a black woman singer that the judges felt was better than the women they kept. It’s silly that the show sends good people home to fill an even number of slots by sex; it would be even more ridiculous if they had to choose to fill ethnic quotas.

      • RealityCheck says:

        I am saddened even more by your response to my comments. My comment did nothing to provoke an imagery of racism, but rather simply state a fact. AI is a reality show first and foremost and is casting as such. To imply otherwise is an insult to the 100K singers of every shade that auditioned. If this was the case the best of the best regardless of color would be in the top 24 and not just those who could sing well, but had a better back story or tween appeal. I stand by my comments and my desire for my daughter to see a reflection of herself in the top 24 of this REALITY SHOW.

  34. Pat says:

    Another Idolatry, another episode where AARON MARCELLUS is ignored despite his fantastic voice because of his lack of airtime.
    You know, Michael you “talk a lot of craps” (thanks Heejun) on Nigel, but you’re getting just as bad as him when it comes to spreading the love around.

  35. Kevin Romano says:

    Slezak, watch Holly sing Mr. Sandman on the idol website, under the Las Vegas performances. She kills it. Why they didnt show that on tv beats me.

  36. James says:

    I hope its Jermaine that makes it into the top 25…

  37. Steve Z says:

    I’m amazed that you haven’t made a Deandre Brackensick vs Justin Guarini comparison yet for the hair alone. He definitely seems like one of the “heartthrobs” for this season.
    I’m also worried for Jessica Sanchez. I think she is tremendous, but I would hate for her to pull a Jasmine Trias and fold during the competition (don’t hate on me for this… Jasmine did show a lot of promise for her season). She is young.
    Also… was Hollie Cavanagh the same girl from last season that had such a problem with staying on key for “At Last?” If she is, she has grown SO MUCH in one year.

  38. Soarin829 says:

    Where is this week’s Idology???? I need my Slezak/Doolittle fix!!!!