American Idol Recap: Season 11's Top 13 Are...

The moment we’ve been waiting for since Scotty McCreery’s confetti shower back in May 2011 finally arrived Thursday night: The Season 11 Top 13 announcement/Wild Card episode!

Below, find my pithy reactions to the biggest news that’s happened to Fox’s reality franchise since Kris Allen’s “The Vision of Love” hit YouTube.

But first, can we discuss Jimmy Iovine? Yes, folks, the Interscope honcho, dressed as usual in his 15-year-old nephew’s “dopest” duds, is back this season. And on Thursday, he was employed as a bracing tonic to the judges’ “everyone gets a gold star!” critiques, a ghastly ghoul to toe the soulless record-industry party line, and a killer of suspense. (Indeed, over the course of the show, Jimmy gave his own pre-recorded critique of each member of the Top 25, and every time he expressed that he loved a contestant, that person made it through to the top 13). Among his more eye-popping/astute/hideous remarks:

* He’d sign Phillip and Jessica on the spot, and considers the latter singer “the one to beat.”
* He found Aaron to be “cheesy” and “Don Cheadle”-ish.
* He likes Joshua but doesn’t want him to turn into “Sister Act 3.” (Um, offensive much?)
* He gets Heejun’s shtick, but doesn’t think the show should be turned into American Comedian. (In the night’s best moment, Ryan asked Heejun what he thought of Jimmy’s comments, which resulted in this hilarious response: “Who’s that?”)
* Erika shows “great restraint,” Jimmy said, and that’s a quality Idol is too often missing. (Truth!)
* He could listen to an entire album of Jermaine’s voice (I don’t believe that for a second); thinks Deandre desperately needs a coach (very true), and would like to change Idol‘s rules so Eben can audition again in a few years (blasphemy!).

Gah! Jimmy is the worst, isn’t he? And yet he was also correct about 90 percent of the time on Thursday, so he’s also kind of the best. I mean, seriously, if these kids are going to have any real hope of succeeding, they’re going to have to be confronted by some of the ugly, un-sugar-coated truths of the music industry, not just be judges on a scale from “That was beautiful!” to “Beautiful just gave birth to a little bundle of beautiful!”

And with that, I’m going to cut to a rundown of how the Top 13 got built, along with my first-impression responses to each bit of news:

Voted Through By America into the Top 10!
Phillip Phillips: Smart going by Uncle Nigel to get the least suspenseful announcement out of the way first.
Jessica Sanchez: And the pimping of Jessica “the one to beat” Sanchez begins, but girls need all the help they can get on this show, so I’ll put the kibosh on my kvetching.
Hollie Cavanagh: Oooh, Jessica, watch your lunch, girl! Hollie’s got her eye on it!
Joshua Ledet: God himself would’ve smote the Idoloonie nation had Joshua been eliminated tonight. And seriously, Jimmy Iovine can eff off with that Sister Act 3 comment.
Heejun Han: Personality prevails! But if he keeps mocking Jimmy, I could get aboard this train for a spell.
Shannon Magraine: Uff da. She seems like a sweet kid, but honestly she was about as interesting as lukewarm tap water on Wednesday.
Skylar Laine: HERE’S YOUR ONCE CHANCE, SKYLAR, DON’T LET ME DOWN!
Elise Testone: Did Jimmy just say he’d like to hear Elise perform some of her own material? Could that be a hint that original songs night — or songs written with the help of A-list writers night — is coming?
Colton Dixon: And see, Uncle Nigel? His sister is happy for him!
Jermaine Jones: He seems like such a sweetheart that it’s almost impossible for me to say how I can think of at least five other singers from the Top 25 more worthy of a spot in the finale. (Hey, also, whatever happened to Cortez Shaw?)

Eliminated!
Jeremy Rosado: BOOO, America! (But methinks J.Lo is gonna give him that Wild Card.)
Chase Likens: I have already forgotten him.
Hallie Day: I’ve got this feeling they’ll let her sing for her Wild Card life, then send her to the guillotine anyway.
Brielle Von Hugel: True confession: It is possible I could grow to like this girl over time, but as far as the Wild Card goes, as Aretha once sang, “there ain’t no way…”
Adam Brock: True confession: White chocolate (the food) has never made any sense to me.
Chelsea Sorrel: Poor dear had about as much chance as I would in a Welterweight boxing match.
Baylie Brown: True confession: I will always wonder what might have been with this one.
Aaron Marcellus: I hate to ever agree with Shrimpy McSourmug, but yeah, he was seriously overrated by the judges on Tuesday.
Creighton Fraker: His “True Colors” was definitely among the five best performances on guys’ night, but man he pulled some annoying facial expressions when he was mugging for the camera tonight.
Reed Grimm: Even if you voted for the guy, you have to admit it’ll be nice to not hear Randy breaking out the Casey Abrams comparisons all season, right?
Erika Van Pelt: Blasphemy! If she doesn’t get a Wild Card I’m gonna send a strongly worded Tweet to @YO_RANDYJACKSON!
Haley Johnsen: Wait? She has no regrets? Srsly? She obviously hasn’t had time to watch back her Wednesday night catastrophe.
Jen Hirsh: Her family owns a vineyard, so hopefully she can chardonnay the pain away.
Deandre Brackensick: They are so gonna give him the Wild Card and take it away from Jeremy, when really Jeremy should be taking it from Jermaine. And yeah, I’ll probably be referencing Jeremy well into April.
Eben Franckewitz: If he gets the wild card I will “set fire to the staaaaage, watch it burrrrnnn…”

Wild Card Peformances
Jen Hirsh, The Beatles’ “Oh Darlin”: A pedestrian, occasionally screechy opening half, followed by an awesomely breathy high note on the word “die,” and a massive closing note. Muted response from the judges — “it was good” — makes me think she’ll soon fall to Erika (who really deserves some quality time with the Idol stylists).
Jeremy Rosado, Carrie Underwood’s “I Know You Won’t”: Not a great start, but that last note was so amazing, it made me cry a little bit.
Brielle Von Hugel, Adele’s “Someone Like You”: She hit a couple rough patches, but I felt it more than Jen’s performance. I just wish she’d extended that tender moment toward the end, and dialed back on the power growl.
Deandre Brackensick, “Georgia on My Mind”: Missed opportunity to sing Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair.” (I kid, I kid!) Seriously, that was wretched excess piled on top of ridiculous runs, but he’s got a killer voice, and if he learns to use it, he could actually go very far.
Erika Van Pelt, Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory”: That was so electrifying, I almost forgot to update this blog post! She might’ve botched a note or two, but who cares? When a grown-up vocalist feels every note and every word of a song — and the song is good — everybody wins. (On a petty and unrelated note to Erika, when your BFF said you’d be able to re-use your bridesmaid dress someday, she didn’t mean on Idol!)
Reed Grimm, Bill Withers’ “Use Me”: Ugh. An insufferable souffle of self-indulgence, vocal tics, shout-outs to the audience, and general foolery. I hope J.Lo meant it when she said they wanted to give him “one more chance” to show his stuff to America. Let’s leave it at this, please.

Judges Picks to Round Out the Top 13
Randy: Erika Van Pelt (HELL YEAH!)
J.Lo: Jeremy Rosado (Can I get an AMEN?)
Steven: Deandre Brackensick (Woohoo! I have to put my rage back in the closet and store it for Season 12!)

Well there you have it! One of the most evenly matched groups of finalists in Idol history. Honestly, I feel like at this point in the season, 9 or 10 of these contestants still have a legitimate chance to win Season 11. And that’s pretty exciting — even with a Stevie Wonder/Whitney Houston theme next week. (Oy!)

What do you think? Hit the comments with your thoughts!

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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584 Comments
  1. Marta says:

    DEANDRE AND ERIKA! What a back-to-back!! They better both get in…… I don’t even care about the final spot.

  2. YowzaPowza says:

    Anyone else watching Parks and Rec in Mountain Time and refreshing their browser every few minutes on here?

  3. Tom says:

    Shannon’s face during Reed’s performance said it all. LOL.

  4. Brittany says:

    If Reed gets through I will be very upset!

  5. Johnny says:

    Favorite moment thus far tonight: Shannon Magrane’s look of sheer horror and confusion during Reed’s whacko scatting spasm. I think I like her a little more now…

    • Johnny says:

      Oh, and it would be a travesty if Reed got a spot over any of the other Wildcards.
      Honestly, all three Wildcard guys have been judge favorites. The judges have already pretty much ruled out Brielle.
      I’d give it to the three girls, to be honest, but I’m thinking the judges will go with Reed, Deandre, and Erika.
      Erika Van Pelt FTW!!

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      After watching Reed perform, you know the judges were soooooo wishing they had chosen Creighton.

      I get where they were coming from, though. Reed was very distinctive in the early going, but he clearly, CLEARLY isn’t the right fit for the Idol stage. At least we know now for sure.

      • Johnny says:

        Completely agree. I actually would have chosen Creighton over any of the three wildcard guys, because I don’t think any of them could win. Reed is just too crazy and would be cut after a few weeks at most anyhow because he wouldn’t have a wide enough fan base. Deandre looks the part, but I can’t see his style as current in any way; he overuses that falsetto to the point where it’s like a show displaying tricks rather than a performance. Jeremy is a good singer but has the same problem Jen had, where he doesn’t seem to feel it; he also lacks star power. Creighton, on the other hand, can sing and could potentially be marketable because he has a versatile voice. I hope the judges didn’t pass over him because his sexuality may not agree with a wide enough fan base.

        • Miscellaneopolan says:

          His sexuality? Oh, so a man can’t sing in front of a giant rainbow without being called gay, now, huh?

          But yeah, okay, probably. I like Deandre a lot, and even though I’m not completely on board with Jeremy I think I can come around to him. Creighton deserved a place in that lineup, though. I would gladly swap out Heejun or Jermaine for him.

          • Johnny says:

            LOL, the gaydar detected that long ago. I’m referring to the judges’ vague comments on Tuesday night about Creighton being proud of who he is and being unique, which no other contestants received.
            If Deandre can figure out how to use his voice to not sound like a duet between a female singer and a tween boy whose voice is on the verge of changing, he can potentially do well. I just don’t foresee such a drastic change happening so quickly. Jeremy, for me, is a snoozer- does nothing for me.
            I actually like Heejun, though not at all for his voice. Phillip’s voice is growing on me. Otherwise, not a fan really of Joshua, Jermaine, or Jeremy.
            The deck is definitely stacked for a female winner. Love Erika and Skylar, like Hollie (although I can’t for the life of me figure out her accent- it alternates between British and Southern).

          • Miscellaneopolan says:

            My dream was for Heejun to be cut this round, but then given a weekly segment called “Heejun’s Commentary Corner” where he makes fun of the other contestants week to week. And then next year he takes Ryan’s job.

            I actually really like the guy, just not so much his singing.

          • Templar says:

            No one can do Ryan’s job. He’s the benchmark for talent competition hosts. Carson D, Nick C, that twerp on XF etc. all wish they had Ryan’s polish and savoir faire.

          • Miscellaneopolan says:

            Yeah, but… Heejun is funny.

        • Tarc says:

          There are plenty of out gay artists that make a good living.

          • Johnny says:

            That’s not really the point, though- America has tended toward more conservative contestants (ie: every winner ever . . . Kris Allen over Adam Lambert, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina in the finale over Haley Reinhart and James Durbin, the Season 9 top five over Siobhan Magnus, Carrie Underwood, etc.), so the judges maybe just assumed that the majority of America wouldn’t “get” or vote for Creighton. Which is a darn shame, because he (and Jen, for that matter) had some great Hollywood perfomances and probably had a ton of potential to succeed in this competition- vocally, I’d prefer Creighton and Jen to Heejun and Shannon (even though Heejun is hilarious).

          • Tarc says:

            Oh, I pretty much agree – though I’d take Creighton and Jen over Elise and either Jermaine or Heejun. But it’s not winning Idol that matters in the end, but the exposure of multiple weeks of the Top 12 rounds. I think seven of 10 of the last season got a record deal? Some high number. Creighton’s arangement and vocal was head’s above several of the Top 13 guys.

  6. Jensen says:

    I wish Eben would come back, he’s awsome and cute and funny. I have faith in you judges, please bring Eben back!!!!!!!!

    • Joseph says:

      @ Jensen
      Eben just never have sung Adele and should have waited 2 more years before trying for the show.

      • Debby says:

        Agree…remember the kid from last year that Scotty was nasty to? He had a sensational voice, but I think for some the need for experience far out weighs ability….

        • marsaili says:

          Scotty wasn’t nasty to him, the other kids were and Scotty was upset because he felt he should have defended him better. Scotty wasn’t nasty to anyone—if anything, people were nasty to him and his “Baby Lock them Doors”

  7. Reed Who? says:

    Why? Reed. Why?

    Please go away and never come back.

    Nonsense.

    • Miscellanopolan says:

      Worse still: Reed took a Wild Card spot that should have gone to Creighton. I’ll bet that’s what Steven Tyler was talking about when he spoke of “much deliberation.”

      • Jim says:

        “Much deliberation” is actually “much pantomiming as if we’re deliberating.” Uncle Nigel set up who the six performing would be and who the 3 wildcards would be. The “judges” are just his puppets. Bwaahahahahahaaahaahaha!

        • me says:

          Yeah it was so easy to tell to when what they said often was 100% different than their body language during a performance! A few times, jarringly so.

  8. Ben says:

    DeAndre, Reed & Erika are the best choices, but frankly I’m pleased to see the back of everyone that I don’t want in… and thats true no matter which of these wild cards they pick. I only wish Aaron got a shot to sing again too. But it is what it is.

  9. sandra says:

    Erika, Jeremy, Deandre, come on -please don’t pick Reed They tried that last season

    • Miscellaneopolan says:

      And next to Reed, Casey looks like a paragon of restraint. It’s a terrifying thought, really.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        You get a Made Me Laugh! :-)

      • Tarc says:

        Nah, Reed was an ADHD mess. Casey was just a genius with a thorough background in jazz, blues, and musical theory. His vocal choices were nearly always musically correct (but not alway perfectly executed vocally). Totally different things.

  10. Melissa says:

    Could Ryan please stop talking about the “Top 10″ – the top 10 will be determined in 2-3 weeks. right now, we have “10 out of the top 13″.

    • Henry says:

      To be fair those 10 did get more votes than the rest.

      • Adrienne says:

        Not necessarily… the top 5 girls and top 5 guys weren’t necessarily the “Top 10″ overall. It’s possible that all of the guys got more votes than any of the girls (though not likely) . . . if those ten truly did get more votes than the rest, they wouldn’t be split 5-5 by gender.

  11. Brittany says:

    I am so happy Deandre is through!!!! I was so nervous!!!!

  12. Coco says:

    Okay – so who is the first to go home? I’m thinking Deandre.

    • trippy41 says:

      I hope so. If he flips his hair or it hangs in his eyes one more time, I’m going to reach into my television and cut it off.

    • Ben says:

      Jeremy Rosado. He is just quite dull. I can’t see him picking up much of a bandwagon, unless he improves. He’s sweet and all. But I just don’t think he is going deep in this competition.

      • Muri says:

        Thank you. I absolutely agree. Perhaps I am being biased because in Miami I hear guys with his tone and melodic sensibility every other day of the week. For me he’s too generic of the hispanic male voice. If he could perhaps add a little melodic interpretation or something to make him stand out for me, then I may be inclined to like him more. Being a nice guy can’t be all there is to it to being an American Idol, or can it?

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          Holy crap, being a nice guy can’t be all there is to being an American Idol? Look at Heejun! He made it all the way to the top 13 by being a “nice guy” and wearing those ridiculous glasses with no lenses, because he sure didn’t get there on his vocal ability. At least Jeremy is a decent vocalist, even if he’s a bit generic, and I’m in the Midwest so I’ll take you at your word. I can’t imagine Heejun winning this whole thing. That would be the biggest upset since the ’85 World Series.

          • Ben says:

            HeeJun isn’t in it to win it, no. I’d vote for him for a long time, but I’d abandon him at the serious end if he was still there. I do like his voice a lot though, but I know it’s weaker than others. The reality is, HeeJun has personality (beyond just being nice, he is interesting). Jeremy is nice… but lacks personality.

    • Joseph says:

      You could be very right , Deandre. needs to make sure the next song has an arrangement that has tender moments and plays to his unusual voice , short of singing ” This Womans Work ” again which is his best song he could be toast.

      • Templar says:

        Deandre is this year’s “Hair Guy”. Jason Castro, Sanjaya etc. He won’t get that far going up against skunkhead and P “LSD” P. The twinkies will text those two into top 5.

    • Lo says:

      Jermaine. The only reason he got through this week was being the “surprise” guy pick and going last. He’s definitely gone before Top 10.

  13. shelbybb says:

    Way to go judges give the boys an extra player! We wouldn’t want the girls to have any advantage this year!

    • Ben says:

      Err, survivor is on CBS? This isn’t a team sport!

    • brandy says:

      There were more girls last year, and that only led to most of them going one by one for the first several weeks. Maybe more guys will make the fewer girls seem more special. (Wishful thinking.)

  14. Debby says:

    Wow….amazing outcome…could not have picked it better! Now next week will be a show that will be worth watching…(btw a sigh of relief that Briella is not in…sorry folks she has a talent but her attitude is downright narcisstic). My 5 faves are (in no particular order) Hollie, Jermaine, Philip, Skyler and Deandre….Bring it on!

    • C says:

      I give her a pass on her attitude. It’s been bred into her by her insane mother. There’s no way she was going to be able to continue into the show. They wanted to get her mother out of there!

    • Mike says:

      Give Brielle a break.

      Also I don’t know where you are from, but people give back and forth more freely in NY than in Middle America. It means nothing. She might even be a nicer, truer, person than some on the surface polite little saint from Middle America for all you know. Maybe not, but very possibly so. (and the other contestants did stand for her and appear to have her back pretty strongly which you wouldn’t expect if she was all the terrible things here that everyone say).

      I was once at once place in the South where everyone kept going on about how everyone from the Northeast was rotten and how awful the crime is up North, etc. etc. and while people were more polite I also never saw more sneaky behind the scenes back-stabbing in my life. But in the end people are people, deep down there are as many nice decent people in any region so it’s easy for some in certain parts to get up on their high horse, but in the end, believe they are not one itty bit better on average and at least in some other areas you know who is true and who is not and it’s not all hidden behind fake appearances.

  15. Amy says:

    Wow, I love this Top 13! There really aren’t any terrible choices here. Some I prefer over others, but thank goodness this year we get a really solid Top 13. Oh, and a small bit of faith was restored to the judges tonight by picking the absolute best Wild Cards.

  16. Cacity87 says:

    Deandre has an incredible set of pipes!! He may not appeal to everyone, but you have to give it to him. At 17, he’s MILES better than Justin Beiber. ;)

  17. Zach says:

    ERIKA WAS AMAZING & WOOT DENADRE <3

    • Tarc says:

      Sorry, I just don’t get Erika’s appeal. he style is old, she looks like a soccar mom, and what was she wearing? A wrinked blue garbage bag? I just can’t hear her selling records for 19.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Hey,watch what you say about soccer moms!
        Erika is very old school. I love her. She’s solid vocally. As I posted elsewhere I will eat this laptop if either she or Elise win but I intend to enjoy the ride!

  18. Stacy says:

    This is the best Top 13 we’ve had in a long time. I’m genuinely excited about a lot of contestants, and the rest I at least feel deserved it or are watchable, even if I’m not really on board. But it wouldn’t be Idol if they didn’t take at least one favorite from me in the semi-finals. I’m gutted that they didn’t even let Creighton sing for his life. His True Colors showed real vocal chops and emotional connection, not to mention he had the guts to sing in front of a giant rainbow on the Idol stage. I’m going to miss him terribly.

    • Ben says:

      Agree. I think the wild cards could have gone anywhere in that lot and this would be true. Creighton and Aaron were two more guys that deserved another shot… the honest truth is that there were few in the top 24 that didn’t deserve it, and none of them are still in. Looking forward to a great season.

    • Miscellanopolan says:

      I would have preferred Creighton over Jermaine, Heejun, or even Jeremy, but the top 13 is pretty solid nonetheless. I’m a little sorry Hallie Day didn’t stick around (give her Shannon’s spot), and I’m really sorry to see Creighton go, but I’m still pretty pleased. It should be a good season.

  19. AngieMann says:

    I can NOT believe that for the most part, America got the top 10 right and the judges got the other 3 right! WOO HOO! Going to be a great season… can Jimmy Iovine become a judge full time??

  20. IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

    What a wonderful night! I was up for more than an hour voting for Joshua, Heejun, Phillip, Jeremy, Colton, Deandre, Elise, Jessica, Hollie, Skylar, and Erika and hoping and praying Eben and Brielle didn’t make it, and look! For once the judges did the right things! And Jimmy finally voiced what’s on America’s mind about these kids. Looking forward to an exciting, entertaining season and another whole summer’s worth of iTunes recordings!

  21. Justin says:

    Surprisingly, I like almost all of the Top 13 and it’s been years since I’ve been able to say that. The only two I dislike are fundie pageant princess Shannon and emo cheeseball Colton (dude, skinny jeans + chicken legs = disgusting combination).

    So yeah, I’m really looking forward to this season. The Wild Card picks were all good.

  22. Erika says:

    I am ready to eliminate Jermaine, Shannon, and Heejun. It would be my dream if those 3 were the first to go.

    • Miscellanopolan says:

      Completely agree. Creighton should’ve gotten Jermaine or Heejun’s spot, and Hallie should have gotten Shannon’s.

      I do have a caveat: when Heejun gets cut, and I hope he gets cut soon, they should give him Ryan’s job. Hilarity will follow.

    • Debby says:

      You might be disappointed as if judging by alot of online polls, Jermaine is very popular. I love the fact that this comp has never really had in its top 12/13 a voice like his and I think he will surprise a lot of people. Shannon will get swallowed up by the dynamic vocals of the other girls. As for the guys, not a great fan of Heejun….sorry and he won’t win it.

      • charlieboo says:

        But who is going to actually listen to a Jermaine album or buy a ticket to his concert? Who is his fan base? Gospel church music? Don’t think Pop stars on the Top 40 have any worries!
        Just sayin

        • chistosa says:

          According to Jimmy Iovene, he would buy and listen to an entire album by Jermaine. I think you would be surprised to find how many people would. His is not a pop voice but his tone is far different from other contestants. He will not win but he deserves to be there.

        • margaret says:

          I’m older, so it’s unfortunate that it won’t be considered relevant, but I could listen to Jermaine. I wouldn’t want to hear him do all gospel, or even a lot of gospel, but his voice is so different than anything you hear these days, it seems refreshing. And every one of my friends and acquaintances, most older like me, buy music on itunes and attend concerts.

      • Ben says:

        I agree Debby. I can’t see Jermaine surviving beyond about the top 10 or so, but I can see him lasting a few weeks because he is very unique to what this show has had before. There are others who are more deserving in the top 13, but I bet I forget some of them in 5 years but remember Jermaine.

  23. Davey says:

    What are you talking about — Creighton mugging at the camera? He wasn’t allowed to speak in reaction to Jimmy and he was ignored the entire evening.

    Meanwhile, I don’t get Jeremy. I’m glad Jennifer loves him because he’ll be gone early in the competition.

    • TheBeach says:

      I think one reason J-Lo was pushing so hard for Jeremy is that he is Puerto Rican as is she….just sayin’

  24. Annie says:

    Great recap. I love America’s picks. They did pick Heejun because of his personality, but sense Jeremy made it anyway, he’s not taking a spot from anyone who should have been in the top 13.

    I’m a fan of Deandre, but I really hope that someone is honest with him and tells him that what he’s doing isn’t working. He seems like a sweet kid, and he has a lot of potential, but he has no idea how to dial it back, and use his voice to its best potential.

  25. Voiceofreason says:

    Oh well I guess Reed Grimms amazingly nice A$$ will have to live on my DVR forever!!!!!!

  26. KK says:

    I’m legitimately sooo excited! I also must put away my rage until Season 12 (until the judges start taking out their issues on my favorite contestant *Haley*).

    I’m not too into Shannon or Jermaine and Heejun is good for his personality more than singing. However, I’ll GLADLY take Jermaine getting in over Eben and shut my mouth.

    Early favorites: Philip, Erica, Skylar, Elise, Colton, Hollie

  27. Tekwzrd says:

    Michael…thanks for the reply. Thought you might like my idea for a petition to bleep out beautiful every time Steve Tyler says it.

    I still don’t get Joshua Ledet. Yes I’m white and no I don’t listen to gospel, though I do like artists like Nicole C Mullen, Bill Withers (Reed did him wrong), and Lauryn Hill among others. I just don’t get him.

    So glad EVP didn’t get the same treatment as Kendra last year. Mr. Whip my hair is lacking the soul and depth of Maxwell’s talent. He might be able to sing Pretty Wings but he wouldn’t do it justice.

    Steven Tyler … Use a thesaurus…there are more adjectives in the English language besides beautiful!

    • Templar says:

      Be fair. Steven has thirty-seven brain cells left and “Beautiful” is on constant repeat in one of them.

  28. Shannon says:

    Deandre needs lessons from Adam Lambert on how to navigate his passsgio (the break between his chest voice and head voice/falsetto

  29. lemon says:

    Aw Man, Jen choked. She was better last night. Kind of sad for that one.

  30. Lo says:

    This is a fantastic top 13! Great range of musical styles, lots of diversity, big personalities. Could we have shades of Season 5/7/8/ greatness here?!

  31. Christina says:

    There were really no selections tonight that made me shake my head. I kind of actually agree with all of the choices. I think that might be a first. Of course though there is a couple in there that will be quick exits and don’t stand a chance. I’m looking at you Shannon, Heejun, and Jermaine.

    • Debby says:

      2 out of 3 ain’t bad, as I think Jermaine will surprise alot of people. The world is not full of country/pop singers. I for one would like to see someone other than a country/pop singer win. America nearly had it when they had a chance to vote Adam Lambert as the winner. But then again, look at how world-wide successful he is now and where is Kris What’shisface? They had it again with James Durbin last season.

      • Joseph says:

        Except that both Jermaine and Deandree will need a lot of help to get their songs setup so it will compliment their voice. Both of these guys have interesting voices that also requires a lot of thought and work on how they sing a song, hopefully they both have a dozen plus songs ready to go.

        • Jim says:

          Next week is Stevie Wonder for the boys, so that will help both of them.

          • JJ says:

            It will be interesting to see what Skylar does with Whitney Houston.

          • Jim says:

            My money’s on her doing Dolly’s arrangement of I Will Always Love You. (And yes, folks, I’m aware that Dolly’s arrangement is the original.)

      • brandy says:

        Speak for yourself. I happen to love Kris, love his music, and find Adam’s voice incredibly unpleasant. Nothing against him as a person, but this whole show and “who is best” is all subjective.

      • TheBeach says:

        But Durbin’s album has bombed.

        • chistosa says:

          Because James is a performer and the screech without the show is not that pleasant. He is a talented performer, the voice is secondary. That is what we viewers need to remember sometimes when complaining that a good performer is saved and a better voice is eliminated. It really reduces down to whom would I want to see perform and be willing to pay good money to go see. It is not always the strongest vocalist. Jen Hirsh is a great vocalist but Elise sells the song even with the imperfections. I would go see her before seeing Jen.

          • Tarc says:

            I don’t agree there. I just can’t get past Elise’s technical failures. Jen just picked the wrong songs – she should have stayed jazzy. She’s far superior to the boring Erika, or the tecnically messy Elise. I give Shannon a brief hall pass here because she’s 16 and doesn;t knwo better (yet).

  32. KK says:

    I did forget to note that I am holding a little rage still for cutting my ONE live or die favorite last week – Lauren Grey. I’m reserving the hatred because Lauren can still come back next year and will almost be guaranteed a spot in the Top 24 if the judges continue their trend from this year. Please come back Lauren!

    • Ben says:

      Indeed KK. And last year, I would almost be willing to put money on the fact that DeAndre, Colton and Hollie would all have missed the top 13 if they had gotten in the top 24. You should be thanking the judges for doing this to Lauren – it actually gives her a better shot of coming back next year with a pre-existing fan base. It was a smart move.

  33. Andrea says:

    I think Hallie Day should’ve gotten the chance to sing over Brielle. I’m not understanding The Gentle Giant love, Jeremy Rosado love, or even Shannan Magrane (but I get she’s getting the religious vote and young beauty pageant vote). Other than them, I love everyone. I think the girls are really strong and hope all of them actually make the tour, even Shannon, over some of the guys.

    • Ben says:

      Once and forever, I hope the end to Baylie and Hallie in this competition helps to demonstrate to people that good looks are not the main reason people survive, and the end to Haley and Eben prove that VFTW don’t actually have much impact on the show. The less talented people who survive get by on personality, moreso than looks. I do however admit there is something in the fact that Shannon will appeal to a certain demographic of Christians (that is, not all Christians, just a particular subset).

    • TheBeach says:

      I agree with you, Andrea. Hallie should have been chosen to sing over Brielle. Jeremy is pretty generic and I’m not sure what we’re going to hear from Jermaine after he finishes with the Luther catalog. I loved that Iovine called for a stylist for Shannon and her “prom dress”.

  34. Joe says:

    America & the Judges actually got it right. The only one I think who didn’t deserve his spot was Heejun. That’s going to get old fast. All the “personality” guys wear on your nerves once the live shows hit. That said, I don’t know who I would’ve subbed in for him. They got the girls right. Erica destroyed that song and Jeremy made me cry again. Great job. I’m stunned. For a minute I thought they were going to push Brielle through for her “showmanship” but they didn’t buy it.

  35. Phan says:

    I’m sorry, but having Jermaine, Jeremy, Deandre, Joshua, and Heejun is simply R&B male overkill. I’d take Heejun over the others except Joshua just because Heejun’s not bland as hell. Colton and Phillip are cute boys who will split votes.

    Jen was kind of robbed, but I’m not shocked: she needed to bring it a little more.

    I am happy with all the women except for Shannon. Happy with Phillip, Heejun, Colton, and Joshua. So 9 out of 13 isn’t bad.

    And Haley was on my “meh” list this time last year. Anything can happen.

    • Ben says:

      Jermaine = R&B? Really? And although I do think HeeJun can pull off R&B relatively well, I don’t think he is aiming to be limited to that, Jeremy either for that matter. I’m not quite sure where you are coming from there.

    • Billy says:

      Colton is cute? I’m a guy so I might be clueless about other guys’ attractiveness, but really, Colton? I don’t get that at all. To me, he looks like an emaciated bad-hair emo dude stuck in the year 1988.

      • Tarc says:

        And looking at the history of pop and alternative music, he looks just like all the rest of the guys. IN fact, Colton looks scarily like John Taylor from Duran Duran (back when they first came out).

  36. Devon says:

    I know im in the minority, but i actually don’t think this is the best 13. I think its the best top girls, but oh lord on the guys side. So much overrated Garbage. I like Philip but honestly he sounds the same every effing week yet hes the frontrunner to win it wtf.I should go on there and impersonate dave matthews and see if i make it. Colton is good but not as good as last year, like i actually see why he didnt make it through. Deandre overuses his falsetto ALL the time but i think he has potential. Joshua is great but kinda has boring personality and is nothing unique from other male gospel singers. Heejun Han was one of the bigger wastes to me. He has a decent voice but his diction is awful and Jimmys right this isnt comedian idol. Biggest dissapointment was Jermaine making it through. WHY THE F**CK did they even bring him back. Hes weird as hell and his voice is friggin boring.BIGGEST waste of a spot in AI history. I know you guys hate Creighton and Reed and think Aaron is boring but at least one of them deserved to make it through. Personally i wish it was Creighton but people seemed to hate him too much because of his high voice.YEt they loved James Durbin. America can go suck it. Oh and Jimmy Iovine needs ot go back in his cage. Only watching this season for the girls and maybe Jeremy

  37. marie says:

    Even before I read this article or comments, I wanted to come here to post how very happy I am with this Top 13! Even the judges picked wisely for the wildcard spots. I’m pleasantly surprised with the Idol voters! And more than a few times I wanted to jump up and kiss the screen when Jimmy the Voice of Truth and Reason spoke. I agreed with probably 99% of what he head to say. The show didn’t even slog by for two hours! Whatever is going on – more like this, please!

  38. Debby says:

    You know I have watched all of the American Idols and so here goes….I know it is an American show and you are looking for an American Idol but you have to realise that we in the outside world of the USA are looking for a great artist. The only artists from American Idol that have done anything on the world stage are Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson and the great Adam Lambert. Out of those, only one…won…so you don’t get Jermaine’s appeal? I do. I love the depth in his voice and he probably won’t win, but for sure Heejun, Colton, Joshua and Shannon won’t win either..but then again, things could change and either one or all could pull out an amazing performance….games are on my friends, games are on!

    • Tico says:

      Er, not to go all isolationist or anything, but there are Idol shows all over the world. Why would the American Idol be looking for a talent to please the rest of the planet?

    • Marsaili says:

      But, this is American Idol–and while it’s great that our Idols (winners and all) do well outside the US, it’s about the appeal for the US, not the world. There are many artists all over the world that we in America haven’t heard of and vice versa—so I don’t think the producers are worried about world-wide appeal, otherwise voting would be open for all, not just Americans. I think Jermaine has a great voice, but for American Idol–he isn’t going to go far, it’s a voice for a small group of people—and he’s not the “whole package” they are always talking about—I’m sorry but teenyboppers are not going to vote for him.

  39. Xtina says:

    Is Idol still on the air? How quaint!

  40. Owen says:

    Possibly the most solid Top 13 (or 12) in awhile (and I thought last year’s was pretty good!)

    The only sad thing is despite how good everyone else is (and some are extraordinary) we are pretty much assured a Jessica/Phillip finish.

    I know what you’re going to say: yes, its months and months and anything can happen and yes, they are pimped and sometimes that backfires (but really, it usually doesn’t) but these kids are as talented a pimped pair as this show has ever had. So talented and individual I don’t even see them fraking up much in the ensuing episodes. As much as I love Erika (and to a slightly lesser degree Colton, Elise and Skyler) I guarantee you, here, on the first of March, 2012, this year’s AI coin toss will be between Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips.

    • Ben says:

      I could live with that. It’s what I think is the most likely outcome at this point too. But Hollie & Skylar, and maybe Joshua, Erika or Elise, can all potentially get there too. Although I thought the guys were stronger overall, I think the girls are stronger when you are looking at who will make the top 5.

      • chistosa says:

        Don’t rule Holly out yet. I really like Jessica but too often young ones like her peak too soon and lose ground. Way too early to tell.

    • marsaili says:

      I’m relatively happy with the top 13—although I do wish that they had picked Reed over Jeremy. I know, I’m in the minority—but I’ve watched his videos on youtube with his band, and he’s pretty fantastic. But, I do think that he probably isn’t right for Idol. I am sad about Jen, too—I wish she had sung like she did in Vegas. I’m happy with the possibility of it being a toss between Jessica and Phillip—although I’d prefer Erika vs Phillip. We’ll just have to see how it all plays out over the weeks—Haley blew me away as the weeks went by last year, maybe someone other than my favorite right now will do the same this year. I’m still rooting for Phil, though!

  41. Nycgirl13 says:

    I’m happy with top13 picks! Vision of Love, I hope Kris performs on idol this season!

  42. Addie says:

    Please, please watch Jeremy’s Tuesday night performance again. He was soooo off pitch. What is everyone thinking? OK, so he is a nice guy. I get it. But Jennifer working up the tears to get him trhough. Puh-lease. I am sure Jen Hirsh was thinking, “oh, so that’s what I needed to do. Be sweet, off pitch, cry a lot and win Miss Lopez’s heart.” Yuk!

  43. Lindsay says:

    I mostly agree, but I am so completely lost on the Jeremy love. He’s just…nothing outstanding. He needs to learn breath control and a lot of other things. And am a huge Deandre fan. Overall, nothing too upsetting or surprising, which is good.

    The thing that bugged me the most was Jimmy’s remarks about HeeJun. Just because a guy is funny, doesn’t mean he’s not serious. He’s funny when a mic or camera is stuck in his face, but he’s all business when he gets up on stage and sings. I don’t think he can win (at least needs to make much better song choices) and he doesn’t have the best voice, but that just wasn’t a fair remark at all. I dread HeeJun and Jimmy together.

    • Ben says:

      Me too Lindsay. The best thing HeeJun can do is just keep doing what he is doing. Does Jimmy really think he would have made the top 13 by just taking himself seriously the whole time?

    • chistosa says:

      But real or perceived conflict or tension between Jimmy and Heejun is the bread and butter of reality shows. It polarizes the voters and will keep Heejun in the running longer. He is not anywhere near the best voice but he has a unique persona. He could hang around long enough to topple other tauted frontrunners.

  44. Pat says:

    Your Aaron hate is disgusting Slezak. He was vocally great. For how much I liked you last year, I pretty much hate you now.

    • charlieboo says:

      Now, now no need for hate so early in the season….which one is Aaron anyway? I didn’t know we had already chosen teams so fast! I better find a kick-butt band wagon to jump on!
      I was just sitting back being thrilled that we won’t have to watch Brielle’s mother jump to her feet, throw her hands up and scream “nooooo!” whenever the judges spoke honestly. She’ll just have to go back to high school and stay on the backs of those cheerleading coaches! (you have to watch them every second or they’ll have your kid fetching water for the team – it’s dog eat dog out there in cheer world!) You go baby, (hey, try and make some friends with the Mob Wives kids!)

    • Tarc says:

      ‘vocally great’? No. Dull, commonplace, and out of style? Yup.

  45. Margo says:

    Hollie, Jessica, and DeAndre are my favs for this season. Phillip, Joshua, and Shannon are the ones I hope do well too. Jermaine has such a unique baritone voice….I dont think anyone is really ready for that. Only famous baritone I can think of is Barry White but he was WAY before this current fan base of Idol

  46. Jesse says:

    What an awesome top 13. I have faith in this show yet! :

  47. Josh says:

    I don’t get the Love for Phil Phillips he is overrated as hell i agree with whoever said the Girls are Great and the guys are very overrated

    • Billy says:

      Phil Phillips seems like a real class act, and yes he is overrated as far as a singer/performer, but look at how far Scotty got last season by being a true gentleman. Phil has not made one misstep yet this season and consistency goes a long way in this competition – sad to say for Jen Hirsh (one of my favorites).

    • Tarc says:

      And I think it’s Phil’s race to lose (and if he does, it will probably be to Jessica). As Jimmy said, he’d sign the guy tonight (and I agree completely). I’m also sticking with the guys oevr the girls (on average). The guys were rough this week, but most are greener than the ladies.

  48. James says:

    I am very happy with the way America voted…they got it spot on! And the judges with their wild card picks did quite well except for Deandre or however you spell his stupid name…Reed deserved it far more…Ah well all of my faves but one going through is not bad!

  49. Kaynien says:

    Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with the top 13 this season. Theres a good variety, a couple filler contestants to be eliminated early in the show, and some serious powerhouse vocalists.

    I don’t get the Heejun hate though. Sure, his annunciation can be a bit off putting, but his voice is very nice. Plus, I can’t watch him without laughing, which is something this show has never really had. It’ll be interesting to see if he can improve with some coaching.

    The only person I think might not belong is Shannon. Shes talented, but very raw, immature, and just not ready to compete against the other contestants. As much as I hated Jen, she could have done extremely well with some experience and coaching on this show.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      I’m just stunned at how many people posted they voted for Heejun, but not because of his singing. The last time I checked Idol doesn’t give a Mr. Congeniality Award.

      • Ben says:

        Noting that I really like HeeJun’s VOICE, I could puke any time someone says ‘this is a singing contest’. It’s just not. Intangibles count.

        • Billy says:

          *intangibles count*
          Yeah, I’m remembering the backlash Haley got last season for rolling her eyes after Randy’s inane criticism of her insanely good performance, and how alot of voters thought her attitude was not befitting an Idol contestant. That seems to be all it takes, just one little comment, or shrug of the shoulders, or eye-roll to make some viewers jump up and down and cry “foul”.
          Idol is a popularity contest first, and singing competition second. Poor performances – once a contestant is in the live shows – will be forgiven up to a point (Scotty’s Young Love debacle) but a perceived bad attitude will get a contestant voted off pronto.

    • Tarc says:

      Heejun hate? Nah, but he’s not that good. He has a decent voice, but can you imagine recording that pronunciation? Plus, I have no real idea what’d he’d sing. Old Bolton songs? His vocal style is not at all current.

  50. marie says:

    BTW, in case you haven’t noticed, DialIdol is evidently truly dead: after Tuesday night’s show, they had Eben WAY in the lead for the guys.