American Idol Season 11 – The Top 24! Er…25!

Okay, this is it. I warned you about a month ago. It’s American Idol time, baby! For reasons that (despite my previous attempt to explain it) still remain somewhat nebulous, I simply love American Idol and love talking about it. If you don’t care, feel free to skip these posts. But if you’re up for the fun, I encourage you to relax, watch the shows, don’t take it to seriously, and join in with the discussion!

This week, America faces the troubling task of voting ten singers to the finals from the group of 25 (thanks to the seemingly unnecessary readdition of previously ousted contestant Jermaine Jones) that performed the last two nights.  I say troubling because America has not been very reliable in handling this task properly that past few years.  We’ll see how it goes tomorrow night.

Then, if I understand the poorly explained procedure correctly, each judge will select a wild card contestant that the producers tell them to pick, which will make it a top 13 starting next week.  This is good rule, because it gives the show a chance to be sure that at least three of the mistakes America makes can be corrected.  Well done.

Now, four hours and 25 performances is a lot.  I’m logy just writing that last sentence.  So, let’s get to the reviews.  My format for tonight is this; I will give a brief review of each performer in the order they appeared this week, starting with the boys.  Then, I will rank them completely objectively based on some mix of the reviewed performance and what I remember of them previously.  So, here it goes:

The Guys –  Overall, they were much stronger than the girls.  But the judges seemed to think they reinvented that art of singing.  Maybe tone it down a little, gang.  They were good, but not that great.  Here’s how I saw it:

Reed Grimm – “Moves Like Jagger”   The Idol producers have been jamming this guy down our throats all throughout the auditions.  He is incredibly quirky, but incredibly talented and deserving of the top 13.  Still, I didn’t care for the smooth jazz interpretation of this Maroon 5 song, which I have always felt was overrated anyway.

Adam Brock – “Think”   White Chocolate let the black woman trapped inside him out tonight, delivering a strong performance.  Still, while I always like Brock, I also always feel like he should have been a little better.  Same goes for tonight.

Deandre Brackensick – “Reasons”   Two things this kid has going for him:  One, he is from San Jose.  Hard not to root for the local kid.  Especially when, two, he sang the falsetto’d daylights out of this ETW classic.

Colton Dixon – “Decode”   Vocally good, but the performance was great.  Another guy that the producers really want us to be aware of.  He should make it through just fine.  I’m looking forward to seeing what this guy can continue to bring.

Jeremy Rosando – “Gravity”   This is an incredibly nice kid.  But I just don’t see Jer-bear the same way the judges apparently do.  They couldn’t stop gushing about him!  I found him to be perfectly adequate.

Aaron Marcellus – “Never Can Say Goodbye”   I found him to be perfectly adequate, though his astronaut jacket was outstanding!  The vocals were good, but I never felt a connection.

Chase Likens – “Storm Warning”   I am going to take great big pass on Chase “me-no” Likens.  This was all kinds of not good.

Creighton Fraker – “True Colors”   Yet another contestant that the producers reeeeeeely want us to like.  This one I don’t get.  From his very first audition I have found Fraker’s vocal stylings to be quite unpleasant.  No different tonight.  And he did win any points with me by going all Constantine into the camera at the end of his song.  Pass.

Phillip Phillips – “In The Air Tonight”   Yes, and yes.  First of all, his first and last name are the same.  Awesome.  Second of all, just yes.  More of this, please.  He delivered a great and interesting spin on a very tired classic.  My wife, Natalie, proclaimed “That’s the one song tonight I would buy and listen to.  And I’m sick of that song.”  Yes, Natalie.

Eben Franckowitz – “Set Fire to the Rain”  I was prepared for an onslaught of Adele this season, I just thought it would start on ladies night.  This was a vocally mediocre performance that should end young Eben’s run this year, but his Beiberish good looks will garner strong representation from the teen set and may cost someone more deserving a spot on next week’s show.

HeeJun Han – “Angels”   I like this guy a lot.  I want him to make it because he makes me laugh and has actually sounded really good…until this performance.  The Robbie Williams song kind of ate him up.  Too bad because it may cost him.

Joshua Ledet – “You Pulled Me Through”   This performance was so good that J-Lo wanted to punch him.  It really was a great performance with a great vocal.  I barely remembered this guy prior to tonight.

Jermaine Jones – “Dance With My Father”   Jones did not make the cut, but was brought back because…well…I’m not really sure why.  Randy said it’s because his voice was so different from anything they’ve ever had on the show before.  But Randy was also dressed like a super villian Tuesday night so how can we trust him?  This was a decent performance, but likely will not get him to next week.

So, all of that having been said, here is how I rank the guys.  Again, not just based on these performances, but also on my overall sense of them following previous auditions.  Ready?


1.  Phillip Phillips

2.  Colton Dixon

3.  Reed Grimm


4.  Deandre Brackensick

5.  Joshua Ledet

6.  Heejun Han


7.  Adam Brock

8.  Aaron Marcellus

9.  Creighton Fraker

10.  Jermaine Jones


11.  Jeremy Rosando

12.  Eben Franckowitz


13.  Chase Likens

The Ladies:  Not as strong as the guys.  Here’s how I saw it:

Chelsea Sorrell – “Cowboy Casanova”   I just kept thinking about how much better Carrie Underwood sings this song.  And I don’t even really like this song.  That’s a problem, Chelsea.

Erika Van Pelt – “What About Love”   I would like to propose that Idol producers forever ban any Heart song recorded after 1982 from ever being sung on the show.  That being said, Von Pelt sang this really well.  But I find this song so forgettable that it could cost her.

Jen Hirsh – “One and Only”   This was the first of two contestants to perform this song tonight.  unfortunately, the second contestant (who we’ll talk about later) made everyone forget about Jen, and I like her a lot.  But I think she may be done.

Brielle Von Husel – “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay”    Welcome to ladies’ night’s version of “I don’t get what the judges see”.  This was a complete miss for me.  The performance was not at all believable.   Frankly, I’ve found Von Husel to be completely annoying this entire season.  And her Mom, too.

Hallie Day – “Feelin’ Good”   Yet another favorite of Idol producers.  Maybe they could enroll her in personality class.  Funny thing is, when she performs the personality shows itself.  I liked this performance, and even wanted to love it – but I couldn’t get there.  But I think a healthy like puts her into the final 13.

Skylar Laine – “Stay With Me”   Wow.  I was not ready for that.  Skylar absolutely surprised me in the best possible way.  This might have been my favorite performance of ladies night.  She was completely connected to the song and brought great energy to the show.  Keep doing that and I will remain a believer.

Baylie Brown – “Amazed”   Oof.  This was not good.  Easily the worst performance of the night, maybe both nights.

Hollie Cavanagh – “Reflection”   Truth be told, I do not like this song at all.  But Hollie sang it really well.  I mean reeeeeely well.  A couple of bumps, but mostly great.  See ya next week, Hollie.

Haley Johnson – “Sweet Dreams”   This is a tough one.  I like Haley a lot.  But this performance was…bad.  Let’s go to Natalie’s quote of the night; “This is weird-ass”.  Yes, Natalie.  It was weird-ass.  And it seems like it could have been so great!  But instead we got…weird-ass.  I would actually be happy with Haley in the top 13, but this performance may keep her out.

Shannon Magrane – “Go Light Your World”   Baaaaaaaaaaad song choice.  And I am all for lighting the world with my candle.  Still, she sang the bad song really well.  Good, strong vocal.  A better song would have easily put her in the top 13.  She may still sneak in.

Jessica Sanchez – “I Love You, I Do”   Woo boy, did the judges like this one!  I wasn’t nearly as excited as them, but Sanchez seems to have cemented her place in next week’s show, deservedly so.  The song seemed mostly sung in a lower key to set her up for the powerful final note, which she delivered.  But connection is critical for me, and I did not connect to this performance.

Elise Testone – “One and Only”   Absolutely loved this.  Testone is a performer and an artist.  She made me completely forget about Jen Hirsh’s performance of this song earlier in the evening.  She was connected to the material, and connected me as well.  Passion, passion, passion.  Can’t wait for more from her.

So, here is how I rank the ladies:


1.  Elise Testone


2.  Skylar Laine

3.  Hollie Cavanagh

4.  Jessica Sanchez

5.  Hallie Day


6.  Erika Van Pelt

7.  Haley Johnson

8.  Jen Hirsh

9.  Shannon Magrane


10.  Brielle Von Husel


11.  Chelsea Sorrell

12.  Baylie Brown

That’s it!   Twenty-Five performers reviewed and ranked.  I assume that six guys and six ladies will make it through, which leaves one extra spot.  For me, it’s Adam Brock.  Let’s see what else White Chocolate has for us.  Now, I’d love to hear what you thought of the last two night’s shows.  Are we synched, or am I off my Idol rocker?  I’ll drop in tomorrow night with a results recap!


~ by themattmorrisshow on March 1, 2012.

2 Responses to “American Idol Season 11 – The Top 24! Er…25!”

  1. If Deandre flips his hair one more time…aaaarrrgh! It makes me not want to even listen to his beautiful voice…Sad!

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