It’s good to know that 15 seasons in, American Idol hasn’t lost its ability to send me into a teeth-gnashing, plate-smashing, imaginary mascara-running rage.
OK, no fine china was harmed in the writing of my Top 24 Announcement Episode recap — decade-old Crate and Barrel still beats a Dixie paper plate — but still, that’s not to say the “Final Judgment”/”Green Mile” announcement didn’t make me fantasize about the satisfying shatter of ceramic against the living-room wall.
Watching Season 15 standout Jessica Cabral get booted for an alleged lack of “connection” — without so much as five seconds of supporting evidence from her Dolby Theater showcase performance — had me ready to dial 9-1-1 and report a case of felony idiocy.
Hearing Thomas Stringfellow’s trademark squeak at the end of every single line — and then suffering through the judges telling him his special “something” outweighed his questionable vocal ability — had me double-checking The Voice‘s Season 1o return date.
And do I even mention Harry Connick, Jr. waxing about how Manny Torres “looks like a guy you wanna go see a ball game with” — as if that has anything to do with the process of finding a bookend to hold up the legacy of Kelly Clarkson (and all the Idol greats who followed her)?
Sigh. I haven’t even touched on the eliminations of Kayce Haynes and Lindita in the always cruel, end-of-episode, “we’re down to just two guys/girls” showdowns — though at least producers ditched the bloodthirsty singoffs this time around.
Ultimately, though, Idoloonies know this is how the process works. There is joy and pain, sunshine and rain. (Did I just quote Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock? Oh, you know I did!)
That said, there are at least 8-12 vocalists in the mix with the potential to inherit Nick Fradiani’s crown and sash. Naturally, Melinda Doolittle and I will debate ’em to the death on the next episode of Reality Check (posting Monday here on TVLine) — but for now, allow me to break down the “Final Judgment” performances by the two dozen singers advancing to the Season 15 semifinals.
Mortal Locks for the Voting Rounds
Originality > Voice
Voice > Originality
Absolute Wild Cards
Jeneve Rose Mitchell
Not as Strong as Their Edits Indictate
Likely Cannon Fodder
Already Struggling Vocally
Treated by Producers as Afterthoughts
Slightly Better Than Expected
Jessica Cabral — WITHOUT ANY SUPPORTING EVIDENCE TO EXPLAIN THIS TRAVESTY!
Jon Klaasen (but he looked so good in those red pants!)
Kayce Haynes — even though his “Hold On, We’re Going Home” was so so good
Lindita — even though you cannot tell me her “Mama Knows Best” wasn’t among the 10 best ladies’ Final Judgment Performances
What did you think of the Top 24 announcement? Who are your early faves? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments — but please, no Top 12 spoilers!