Judging American Idol: America, Meet Your Top 13

From 24 down to 13, we're getting closer to crowning the 10th American Idol...
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Results night! We're down from 24 to 10 contestant that were voted in by the viewers. We're told by Ryan Seacrest after the first 10 are announced, the judges will select six from the 14 not selected who will then "sing for their life" and one of 3 "wild card" slots. At the end of the evening, we will have a Top 13. Couch for the 10 contestants voted in by calls, texts, and online voting. Ryan tells us there were 40 million votes over the last two nights.

There’s no real reason to give a play-by-play of the eliminations, as there were no real surprises in how America voted. I will give a more in-depth review on the six who got the “wild card” shot and how that played out.

Here are “America’s Top 10” as voted on Tuesday and Wednesday nights: Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, Pia Toscana, Karen Rodriguez, Jacob Lusk, Casey Abrams, Thia Megia, Paul McDonald, Haley Reinhart, James Durbin.

See? No surprises here, although I think America did get it wrong with Thia and Haley; in my opinion Kendra and Naima were much more talented, interesting, and worthy of a guaranteed spot. I needn’t have worried because the judges select Naima, Kendra, Ashthon, Stefano, Robbie, and Jovanny for the second shot. Here they are in order of performance:

Ashthon Jones – Her song choice is Jennifer Hudson’s “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and tells Ryan, “Because I’m not going!” Same as last night, I saw great confidence and stage presence but aside from some pretty, stretched-out high notes, I didn’t see anything to make me change my mind about her.  She stomped around the stage a lot and her voice is just not special. Judges once again (same as last night) in their critique didn’t say anything about her voice being good and commented only on presence.

Stefano Langone – Stefano chooses “I Need You Now” by Smokey Norful  (Who-y Who-ful?!) and also same as last night, he was solid, has such a passionate voice and a wonderful, sweet  tone.  RJ loved it, and loves the song, JLo said he brought it when he needed to and Steven Tyler is still in love with his voice.

Kendra Chantelle - She does “Georgia On My Mind” which didn’t feel like it was going to be enough. This song to me is an audition or Hollywood Week song, not a sing for your life song. I am a HUGE fan of her voice, she held notes that were ridiculous but I thought a little bit of it was too much. Although when you’re singing for one of three spots, I say give them every trick in your book. Randy said she rocked it… in the end.

Jovanny Baretto - Ryan asked Jovanny what was going through his mind. His response was “I chose John Secada’s ‘Angel’ dedicated to one I once loved.” Um, OK weird answer. He obviously was just nervous and had his answer ready for “what song will you be singing?” He tried the English/Spanish thing too… let’s see if it works for him like it did for Karen. His voice was okay; I don’t think he deserves a spot. He looked terrified and frozen.  Felt like Jovanny’s fate was obvious when JLo says “you did a good job baby, you did all you could do.”

Naima Adedapo – When Naima is called up to sing again, we say goodbye to the four girls who were not chosen tonight. Absolutely hate to see Julie leave but she didn’t do herself any favors last night and deserves to go home.  Naima sings “For All We Know” which is a perfect song for tonight, with the lyrics, “For all we know/We may never meet again/Before you go/Make this moment sweet again.” She shows off her unique voice, it’s so strong and at this point I would actually pay to hear her sing anything. She was very emotional and Steven says she gave it all to us once again, and thanks her.

Robbie Rosen –Before Robbie sings we say goodbye to the guys who weren’t picked for a second chance. I hate to see Brett go and it’s truly a shame that Tim is gone this early. Robbie picks “Sorry Seems To Be the Hardest Word” I love this Elton John song, and I’m almost offended with his delivery. It starts off weird and whispery; he wasn’t connected to the song, clearly. This is not a song to smile and grin throughout.  He flopped. There was nothing wrong with his voice but this just didn’t work and he didn’t shine like he usually does. Randy said, “you sang it so tender, I loved it.”

The remaining six are hugging each other and we cut to break before we hear the judge’s picks for the “wild card.” If I was picking I’d say Stefano, Naima and Kendra, although I don’t think Kendra did herself any favors with her song choice. Ryan asked if judges were ready and JLo says they’re not quite ready… which works out perfectly because that gives us time to preview her new video for  “On The Floor.” We’re so lucky! I was definitely caught up in the show though because I found myself jotting down notes on her performance and vocals. I was amused with myself.  If you’re wondering, I was giving her pretty high marks.

The judges finally reveal their picks: Ashthon makes it, then they call Stefano (YAY!) and the final pick to the Top 13 is Naima! I’m a happy girl. I don't think Haley and Ashthon deserve a spot but the other 11 are completely worthy. What do YOU think? Are your favorites here? Anyone sent home too soon? Our next performance is next Wednesday, so we'll see you back here for my review and I look forward to reading your thoughts and comments!