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Published on February 24th, 2012 | by Melody Simpson


'American Idol' Episode 11.13: Top 24 Full of Shining Stars

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The top 24 is complete and there’s actually talent across the board worth voting for. The judges took full advantage of the original voices they heard this year, putting them in the perfect spot to showcase their gifts. America will soon be able to decide who stays and who goes and it has really shaped out to be one fierce group of competitors that will have you thinking, “Why can’t we have two Idols this year?” And while there were some disappointing cuts, the twist that came along at the end of the episode straightened that out right away. So we walked away from the broadcast last night in high spirits and can only hope they’ll stay there come the first live shows.

Quite a few contestants had breakdowns before the judges revealed their fate. Along with tears, Adam Brock’s passion for this journey came through like never before, even without singing a note. The judges connected with him even before this moment, so it came as no surprise to learn of his glorious fate. He’s got the voice and can easily connect with people (not only in person but through a television screen), so already he’s looking to be a favorite this season. On the other hand, there’s Jermaine Jones who came to tears while waiting for his turn to find out his fate and they didn’t end there as he was told the bad news. For all of the reasons that judge, Randy Jackson pointed out, he did not need to make it through to the next round. His reaction to his rejection was also wildly disturbing. American Idol should not be an “all or nothing” experience for these young competitors. They have their whole lives ahead of them and who knows what opportunities will come about in their futures. Additionally, the music greats made it before and without an Idol equivalent. If they put in the work, are more realistic, and have patience, they can succeed in the music business too. Good things take time.

Jeremy Rosado for instance, blew the judges away after his final audition and it meant everything for him. Without this stellar performance, this sweet soul may not have made it to the top twenty four. Putting it plainly, this kid was mediocre until this week… when it really counted. Thank God for that performance. We have now seen what Rosado can really do at his core and expect nothing less now. It is time for him to go and surprise his competitors now! They do not know what they are up against! Rosado held out and now it is his time to blow the fish out of the water and dominate.

Dominating all audiences is sure to be Deandre Brackensick. He did not have to go back home this time after finding out his fate on judgement day. It’s mind boggling what a year can do for someone’s musical growth. Judge, Jennifer Lopez is right about the fact that the judges would have been crazy not to put him through. What a talent… And heartthrob! He’s only seventeen so ladies, keep your clothes on! While not exactly eye candy, Scott Dangerfield would have been just as much of a delight to watch on the live shows. But as Lopez mentioned, the same sparks that were felt when he auditioned last season were not there this season. Dangerfield is one of the few rejected that took his cut with an understanding heart and his head held high. As he said, “It happens.” He knows that this was a very rare opportunity but it’s not the end all. For that alone, for his positivity, he has gained thousands of fans. Kickstarter anyone?

Country singer, Skylar Laine admitted that her final audition was not up to her standards. While that rang true, the judges had to take everything into account for this young Reba and the good outweighed the bad. Talented as she may be, Laine does have plenty of work to do and her vocal maturity throughout the season is something we should highly anticipate. Also making it to the top twenty four were Shannon Magrane, Hallie Day, Chase Likens, and Aaron Marcellus. Something tells me that Magrane and Day aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. What do you think?

Getting down to the wire, the final remaining contestants began coming in to find out their fate in duos and trios. Shelby Tweten, Holly Cavanagh, Ariel Sprague went in the judgement room with only one, Cavanagh coming out as a top twenty four contestant. Ariel Sprague was lucky to have made it this far looking back at her audition. For those like me who were rooting for Shelby Tweten… we can only hope that someone with influence and/or power was watching and have their eyes on her. Why, oh why did Shelby Tweten not make it to the top twenty four? Let’s call this one an upset.

Justin Bieber and a young Michael Jackson were last to find out their fate but there’s only room for one teeny bopper in this competition. David Leathers Jr. took on an MJ song for his last audition which was stupid because we already know that he can sing that. Therefore he showed no range the one time it counted the most. For that alone, Eben deserved to go through instead of Leathers. 15 year old, Eben Franckewitz has more range and isn’t afraid to show it. So the “final” spot in the top twenty four was given to someone worthy. But now it’s time to see if America feels the same way. It is too early to say if too many comparisons to Bieber and Greyson Chance will help or hurt him. All we can do is wait, vote, and wait some more. How far do you predict Franckewitz will go during the live shows? Will Leathers, one of the four male contestants the judges will choose from to return to the competition, indeed be the one to make it to the top 13 boys? As it’s between Leathers, Crybaby… I mean Jermaine Jones, Johnny Keyser, and Richie Law… emotionally, the judges seemed awfully affected by Jones. But musically, Keyser should definitely be the one to grace the live shows with his presence. Who are you rooting for to return?

The boys take the stage for the live shows first on Tuesday night. The ladies take their turn on Wednesday night, leading up to the first live results show of the season. Results have been fairly satisfactory so far but the power is about to be in America’s hands. Many times we’ve gotten it right and many times we’ve gotten it wrong. The judges got it right with the top twenty four but now the power is in our hands. So here’s the big question… how much do you let what the judges say affect your vote?

Watch American Idol Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.

*Photo Credit: Michael Becker / FOX

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