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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: The New Top 12

dnoriega2.jpgTonight's elimination round was nerve-racking enough for the remaining contestants without all the distractions the producers tried to throw their way. There was the announcement that Paula Abdul's new song is topping the iTunes charts, and Simon's inability to make his mouth form the word ‘congratulations.' There was last year's runner-up Blake Lewis attempting to show America his new George Michael impression. And I'm betting at least one contestant had flashbacks to grade school gym class with the way Ryan picked the new Top 12. (Seriously, all they needed was to lob some dodgeballs at the poor kids who weren't picked to sit in those cool moon-chairs.)

Unlike last week's elimination round, the producers didn't force the kids to merrily sing a medley of songs before leading four to the slaughter. Instead, they brought back the aforementioned Blake Lewis to sing a ditty off his new album. And for all those voters who kept him in the competition last year because of his snazzy beat-boxing skills, he didn't disappoint. Personally, I just wanted to hear him sing Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" again, but it wasn't in the cards.

After Blake be-bopped off the stage, Ryan got down to the business at hand. Tonight's process worked a little differently than in weeks past, as Ryan made everyone stand up one by one to hear their respective fates. First up was the resident rocker David Cook. Ryan immediately told him and his wacky, scarlet-tinged hair to take the first chair in the Top 12. Too bad the self-proclaimed ‘word-nerd' didn't bring some word searches to do while he waited for the end of the show. Next up was Tween Dream David Archuleta. The only thing that would have shocked me is if Season 7's American Idol, um, I mean, David, didn't get to sit in Seat #2. But he made it through, and Ryan moved on to dread-head Jason Castro. After the judges' comments on Tuesday night, there was really only a small chance of this kid going home, which of course didn't happen. So, Jason and his bemused expression grabbed Seat #3.

Soon Ryan aimed the firing squad at the girls. Up first for the ladies was Little Miss Sunshine, Brooke White, who cheerfully claimed Seat #4. On her feet next was Syesha Mercado, who could have definitely been vulnerable considering her risky choice to tackle Miss Whitney. America voted for her, though, and she sat down on Seat #5. Ryan then called Kady Malloy's name, and just when she thought she'd grab the next seat, they dropped the bombshell on her and threw her out. She was one of my predictions to go home, and judging from her tuneless exit performance of "Who Wants To Live Forever," the voters definitely didn't want to listen to her forever. Thus ends the reign of Ms. Malloy on "American Idol," but I see big things for her either in opera or Britney Spears impersonations.

Flopping back over to the guys, Ryan stood another three up to be judged. David Hernandez stood and probably wondered whether the news of his stripping past might cost him a chance to be the next Idol. Fortunately for him, the voters were either unwilling to take it into account or just hadn't heard yet, because he earned Seat #6. Michael Johns, the Thunder from Down Under, smiled and pondered whether his spot-on performance from Tuesday had enough oomph to take him to the finals. Seacrest revealed he was safe and pointed him in the direction of Seat #7. This was when things started looking pretty dire, as three guys (Danny, Chikezie and Luke) sat waiting on the couch with only one remaining spot. So when Ryan called Luke Menard's name, you could almost hear the sound of a dodgeball smacking the Orlando Bloom look-alike out of the contest. Maybe it was a prophetic song choice that sent Menard go-going home, but watching his video recap, he actually seemed like a nice guy and an awesome a cappella singer. As Paula proclaimed before he left, Luke will most probably still have a future in singing after he leaves the "Idol" stage.

To heighten the tension yet again, we flipped over to the girls' side to add more warblers to the finals. First up was Ramiele Malubay, and I worried that if she was eliminated, there wouldn't be enough tissues to stop this Crying Machine. Thankfully, she was spared and bolted to her spot in Seat #8. Soon after, Carly Smithson shocked no one with her advancement to the finals and sat down in Seat #9. Remaining in the stands were Amanda Overmyer, Asia'h Epperson and Kristy Lee Cook, and I assumed Kristy would be singing her swan song tonight. So when Amanda was chosen for Seat #10, I just nodded my head in agreement. All was going according to plan. That's when Ryan called the two women up together and announced, in the night's only real shocker, that Asia'h was leaving the "Idol" nest. While I'm elated we still have a country singer in Kristy, I felt bad for Epperson, who had plenty of potential. To make matters worse, her exit song, a repeat of last night's other Whitney song, was phenomenal. She hit every note and gave her best performance in the competition so far. Too bad it was a day too late.

As the show quickly ran out of time, the last two contestants were called up to center stage. Who would grab the last seat in the Cool Kids Club? Was it going to be Danny "Mr. Attitude" Noriega or Nice Guy Chikezie? I predicted a loss for Danny, and that's what the voters decided as well. The poor kid obviously didn't know how to handle the news, alternating from distractedly picking his nails to bawling on Chikezie's shoulder. The funny thing was, and I'm not sure if anyone else caught this, was the expression on Chikezie's face as Ryan spilled the news. For a moment it sounded like Seacrest was going to send Chikezie home and the guy started shaking his head as if to say "Yah, I knew I was going home and that I lost to a kid with purple hair." So then it was even funnier when he realized he was safe! With that announcement, Danny sang his song, gave a few last hip thrusts to his adoring public and bid farewell to the show.

There you have it, the new Top 12! Did any of tonight's eliminations take you by surprise, or did it all go according to plan? Should Asia'h be in the Top 12? Who's left that you wish had packed their bags? Oh, and what do you think of Ryan's announcement that next week's show will feature live call-ins from fervent fans? Remember to post below and tune in next Tuesday for the first week with our new Top 12! –Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on March 7, 2008 1:06 AM
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I don't get the George Michael reference?

-- 1. Posted by: Eli Stoner at March 7, 2008 2:02 AM

Danny > Hernandez.

Also, Chikezie and him are definitely friends and it was really sweet how he held Danny's hand trying to comfort him. He's a good guy.

Still, the vulnerable four would have to be the gay stripper of melisma (VFTW inside joke), "Jacuzzi", KKKristy (more fun VFTW namesakes), and Lullaby Malubay. Any one of them are vulnerable at this point, although I have the utmost faith in Ramiele. She'll get some pity points to make it into the Top 10 at least for all her bawling. Plus, she's good. So is Chikezie. The other two are average. But with the Beatles up next, it's gonna be exciting to see who handles the challenge accordingly....

-- 2. Posted by: Anonymous at March 7, 2008 6:56 AM

I am sooo shocked that Assi'ah got out! i thought she would be in the top 12 for sure! she was a great performer, had a great personality and up with Kristy Lee Cook who is soo forgettable! But I am glad that Danny is gone. I hope that the girls can start to bring it- especially syesha mercado- she has so much potential

-- 3. Posted by: Haley at March 7, 2008 7:09 AM

Amanda definitely should have gotten the boot! Her sourpuss face the entire girls' show and last night just showed that she does not want to be there as much as the other girls. You made it this far on American Idol, at least ACT happy! Nasty!!! Asia'h definitely should have had her spot, very unfortunate.

-- 4. Posted by: Reba at March 7, 2008 12:12 PM

The best of american idol is watching David Archuleta sing he is very talented and very cheerful on T.V.

-- 5. Posted by: Ashley Nakano at March 11, 2008 6:36 PM

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