American Idol Leaderboard: Who's Your Fave Heading Into the Vegas Round? Take Our Poll!

Things are about to get real — really real — on Season 12 of American Idol.

Over the next two weeks, contestants will see their ranks thinned by half as part of a newly configured Las Vegas round in which the judges make all the decisions. This Wednesday (8/7c on Fox), five of the 10 females performing for a studio audience will advance to the semifinals; the process will repeat with 10 male contestants on Thursday. Next week, the same will happen with the final 10 women and final 10 men. Let’s hope Nicki, Mariah, Keith and that other dude have their ears open and their brains correctly calibrated!

VIDEO | Idology: The Rise of American Idol‘s Season 12 Women — But Is It Too Much Too Soon?

Before the bloodbath begins, however, we thought we’d celebrate the season’s strongest contenders thus far with our weekly Top 21 countdown. So click through the photos below for the whole shebang, then take our poll and vote for your own faves. And for all my Idol news, videos, 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. I need Zoanette in the top 24.

    • MB says:

      There isn’t going to be a topn24 this year. There willbe a top 20 and then a top 10.

      • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

        Yeah, no top 24? Don’t count on it. She’ll make a top 24 if she has to.

  2. noa says:

    i think you need to switch #1 and #2. up until this week Candice was the clear winner, but have you seen how many views Angela’s original already has on youtube?? these are numbers that some of the best performances in the S11 finales weren’t even close to getting. i’d say that Angela is leading for now.

    i voted for 3 people i kinda need to hear more from them- Kree, Melinda and Nick. but i have a feeling about those three. Candice is amazing, but i predict that she’ll sing mostly songs i don’t like. maybe she’ll surprise me.

    getting a little excited for S12. who would have thought?? but i swear i won’t get invested again. enough is enough. let the fun begin!

  3. jake says:

    i don’t think candice glover is going to happen… unless she mixes up her choices and sings something unexpected…

    also, so many of the guys who made it through are similar… standard r&b guys… i understand wanting to see someone other than a WGWG win, but give us some variety and and unique performers…

    • Tom22 says:

      I doubt Candice will last beyond the top 5 myself. I loved her buddy holly last year… but that had just as much to do with Jessica Sanchez and Deandre as Candice (they were all great).

      I haven’t heard anything from her at all this year that grooved the same way. The white girls Janell and Rachel had more of my type of slow swinging blues/gospel feel than Candice has shown. I don’t think Rachel has a chance of making the top 10 unfortunately as the night she will performed is stacked with girls they’re going to put through. I think she would have stood a chance the first week (tomorrow)..

    • Louie says:

      I agree… as much hype as Candice is getting, I just don’t see her getting as far as people are saying. After a while people are going to get weary of the gospel growl if she doesn’t give some variety like Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet (at least he tried to I think)

  4. 19921004 says:

    Aha, same top three! Slightly different order though. Angela Miller completely won me over with her original song. The lyrics weren’t great, but the accompanying music was inspired and her performance was absolutely amazing, definitely got my attention.

  5. If this is the best Idol has to offer, this show is in tremendous trouble. What a group of bland mediocrity. I pray there is another Haley being hidden from cameras.

    • Timmah says:

      Guaranteed they’ve hid some good ones from us. They do it every year.

      • deedee says:

        Very true. They build up one or two contestants during auditions and Hollywood, get the audience loyalties brewing, then – boom – they spring a surprise contender out of nowhere who upsets the whole order of things.

    • Tyler says:

      JETT HERMANO has been hidden by the producers. She’s fantastic, and I hope I’m not let down. We’ll have to wait until next week to hear her though :/

    • Tom22 says:

      While there will never be EXACTLY another Haley there are all sorts of other styles that could be great. That Melinda girl was kinda different and we’ve heard so little of her. I’ve also been impressed with Janell’s takes on songs and verses that are pretty interesting and very good.. on top of a strong voice (a strong voice isn’t enough for me.. the interpretation trumps a stronger voice after a certain quality for me usually). One of my all time favorite Idols was Crystal Bowersox who both had a “crystal” clear voice, and incredible connection to classic songs, and an effortless use of her voice and chords to color notes in a way that gave meaning.

      Even though I can’t get enough of Haley and listen to her many songs and covers non-stop – and don’t even own Crystals albums (yet) I would never say that Haley is a Better singer/artist than Crystal.. they’re both different and great in their own styles .

      So ? I know we can get more great singers on the show with their own personal styles that aren’t copies of already been-there-done-that styles of Houston-Celine-Mariah-Beyonce .. et all. (not knocking the quality of those legend quality Divas – but thats not the style music I like and its all about a great voice really and less about musicianship when covering big songs on idol.

      There is room for the pure power voice divas to bring something sensitive and complicated in emotion (not just sad, but perplexed, hopeful, floored, dreaming of what could be, philosophical.. all those emotions expressed through the same lyrics from verse to vers).Jordin Sparks and Haley Reinhart did manage to bring something different and connected to “I who have nothing” so I won’t give up on hoping the pure voice Divas can also be complex.

  6. mamamitzvah says:

    I know this is awful, but Nick Boddington creeps me out. I don’t know why.

  7. deedee says:

    Jimmy Smith has less than 1% of the vote … whoa!! He’ll need one very stellar Vegas performance to win over a fan base. Jimmy’s my man so far, and Candice is still my woman.
    Honourable mention goes to Kree, Janelle, and Christabel (although I find her hard look a bit distracting).

  8. Will says:

    I really, really love Cortez Shaw. Soooo good. And Angela Miller, Candice Glover, and Nick Boddington have all given me everything I’ve asked for and I adore all of them. Honestly, if they were our top 4, at this point, they’d be amazing and this season would be a success.

  9. dj says:

    Not ready for the brutality of Vegas week. On a totally unrelated topic, wouldn’t Jimmy and Janelle make a cute couple?

  10. HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

    1-4 in perhaps no particular order: Melinda, Angela, Candice, Cristabel
    (also perhaps Kree and Janelle)
    As for the guys, no clue, WW last week (or for most of the auditions either for that matter).

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      I did get a kick out of Zoanette.

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      Man looking at that at least one really good one will get dumped before top 10. Why are they going straight to top 10?? It already sucks how they sped the cuts up so fast and now they go even faster?? Makes it even trickier for the non-picked person to rise-up, although maybe that is the point? :(

  11. Chuck says:

    Voted for Candice, Angela, and Rachel. The first two are obvious enough, and I’m sticking with Rachel despite her issues on the last day of Hollywood.

  12. Candice Glover is so overrated! A-dime-a-dozen screamer that belongs in a church and has no real prospect of sucess in the real world.

    Can’t we just sing the melody and convey its beauty and meaning instead of trying to prove who’s louder?

    Not to mention her looks don’t help at all.

    Others are much better, more subtle and sophisticated, not to menting better working the stage.

    • Tyler says:

      She’s been great, but I’m surprised that Michael failed to highlight that Candice’s Girl on Fire had clear oversinging, and she pushed her vocals way to hard. I even heard some flat notes.

      Wow, Are you really going to this biased the whole season Michael??? I expect more from you. >:(

    • Tom22 says:

      I only hope Candace has more in her than she’s shown. On the looks department, so much of that is styling and being physically fit. Clothes and the very top hair that we see on the big stars is really really expensive.. hundreds of dollars to get done up and maybe approaching $1000 for some of the dresses we see on girls later in the season. That will help take a next step that clearly no-one but a big earning star can afford.

      Candace has come SOO far in the styling since last season though which I think has helped her a lot. I know it creeps people out, and I’m not talking about skinny anorexic behavior, but I think any performer. male or female should be fit and trim. Jenifer Hudson looks great right now for example and I wouldn’t call her skinny. Athletes don’t starve themselves but stay fit through exercise. I think that having your natural figure that would come from daily exercise and a healthy 2000 calories a day diet is a fair expectation to have of people who make their living being up on stage. Dancing works — an hour of line dancing a day would do it – no need to jog. Candace could start exercising like crazy and eat carefully picked meals (but normal meals including meat and vegetables.. not some weirdo diet shakes and drugs) and look significantly more engaging (NOT thin — fit) by the end of the season.

      As for the singing,I agree with you. What we’ve been shown Candice hasn’t yet shown the subtlies that I prefer. (not just sad, but perplexed, hopeful, floored, dreaming of what could be, philosophical.. all those emotions expressed through the same lyrics from verse to verse) Jordin Sparks and Haley Reinhart did manage to bring something different and connected to “I who have nothing” so I won’t give up on hoping the pure voice Divas can also be complex.

  13. CEDEZILAGAN says:


    • John says:

      Fully agree. None of the viewers here know about the special gem that is Jett Hermano. The girls is an upgraded, better version of Jessica Sanchez, with way more artistry.

      She sang an original during Hollywood as well, but the producers didn’t show it. SMH.

    • Tyler says:

      JETT HERMANO FTW. Girls is way better than Rachel Hale, and some of the other girls that have been showcased

  14. HTGRWHOM says:

    Wow, they really split the girls up weirdly. They totally stacked the second set of ten (or so it would seem). Not sure that is a good sign at all….

  15. Angie Miller Fan says:

    As for me, i think it is clear that, AI 2012 would definitely being the year for girl to win. Surprisingly, some of the best artist like Shubha Vedula did not make the cut but, still i have someone to root for on this fantastic event of the year. Well my top 5 pick are:- Angie Miller, Kree Harrison, Paul Jolley, Candice Glover and also Lazaro Arbos.. Wish these all five contenders make it all the way to Top 5.. Anyway Angie Miller may grab the crown off..