The Top 12 guys took the stage Tuesday night.  Last night, it was time for American Idol's Top 12 girls to take the stage.  The judges have been saying, for weeks, that the girls this year are AMAZING and last night was our first real chance to see what they're made of.  So, how'd they do? 

Well, if you tuned into the WBKR Waking Crew this morning, you know Moon said that Ashton, the fiesty teenager with the big hair and big voice, was his favorite.  My favorite was Pia Toscano, who just knocked "I'll Stand By You" out of the park to close the show!  Our Idol expert Steve Thompson watched as well and shares his thoughts . . . 

From Steve Thompson:  And now we have a horse race.  The girls came out last night as if to prove this is the year to stop the madness of voting for the cute guy with marginal talent.  (Yeah, I'm talking to you Lee DeWyze!)  

There weren't any train wrecks last night, but there were a few interesting failures.  I appreciate our contestants trying to be different to stand out from the crowd, but what works in theory seldom works in practice.  Here they are, categorizd for your amusement,,, 

12) Ta-Tynishia Wilson sang Only Girl in the World.  Unfortunately, as often happens on this show, the person who is first to perform is often the first to be forgotten.  As long as Rhianna exists, this song seems like a pointless karaoke cover.  Now I realize that most teenage boys probably don't care if Rhianna can sing or not-- the problem is Ta-Tynishia didn't find a way to be different enough to catch the attention of the voters. 

11) Rachel Zevita sang Criminal.  I don't know this song very well, but it seemed as though Rachel tried to knock this song out of the park in a way that was more of a noble failure than of a critical success.  It's not like it was an awful arrangement.  This could've been a song from Glee as far as that goes.  There are just some songs that probably shouldn't find their way to the Idol stage. 

10) Julie Zorrilla sang Breakaway.  You try to sing the songs of other Idol winners at your own risk.  This is the ultimate example of a Kelly Clarkson song and I'm afraid one of my favorites did herself no favors with this one.  I suspect she may be in the mix for the wild cards-- but rather disappointing nevertheless. 

9) Karen Rodriguez sang Hero.  I'm not sure how this played out there in the heartland.  She sang the song well and I rather agree it sounded better in Spanish than English.  However, unless there are more Hispanic voters than I've been led to believe, I'm not sure if singing part of the song in Spanish will endear her to the voters.  It's a risk, I think.  The most worthless critique of the night came from JLo when she said: "you're showing us who you are!"  Yep. 

8) Kendra Chantelle sang Impossible.  It's a testimony to how strong the girls were that this song came in as my eighth favorite.  I'm impressed with Kendra as a singer already-- then she does Christina Aguillera when Christina is generally considered untouchable by the judges.  It was a decent cover.  No real problems other than it just didn't do anything for me. 

7) Ashthon Jones sang Love Over Me.  Once again, this seemed like a seamless cover (this time of a Monica song) but there was nothing really special to my mind about how the song was sung.  Singing a song well is perfectly fine in a cabaret or a piano bar-- I'm just not sure if singing a song fine is enough to garner votes. 

6) Thia Megia sang Out Here On My Own.  I find it disturbing how some of these songs this year remind me of ex girl friends.  I could've lived the rest of my life without hearing this one again simply because of my own memories of this song...  Nevertheless, Thia did this song justice.  I don't know how it resonated with the rest of America-- but she did rather well.

5) Naima Adeadapo sang Summertime.  This was interesting to me simply because this song has generally been covered in a slow bluesy fashion and Naima turned it into more of an upbeat jazz number.  See?  She actually made the song different, but good enough to stand out from the crowded field.  The big problem?  I have her at number siX and they're only voting for the top five.

4) Haley Reinhart sang Fallin'.  I thought this was a decent cover of a tough song and still love the growl in Haley's voice.  This seems to be a polarizing contestant for many who don't appreciate the growl in her voice-- but that's not my problem.  You either like a singer or you don't.  I like Bob Dylan and he's not exactly as smooth as butter, either.

3) Lauren Turner sang Seven Day Fool.  This was a fun song and Lauren definitely got out from wherever Idol had been hiding her all these weeks.  I don't know if America liked her, but I appreciated both her song choice and the way she delivered it.  It would be a shame to have this competition without her. 

2) Lauren Alaina sang Turn On the Radio.  This was terrific.  Lauren did a terrific job on this Reba McEntire song.  Like I said yesterday, thank goodness Cowell is gone.  Another potential country star-- more 2011 than Scotty, but there's always room for both in country radio.  This would've been my favorite except for... 

1) Pia Toscano sang I'll Stand by You.  This was by far my favorite of the night.  I originally thought Pia had potential to be a dark horse, but she may have become one of the front runners as of this performance.  I love Chrissie Hynde-- but Pia didn't copy Chrissie, she actually made the song her own. 

Very impressive.  All in all, a good night.  The two Laurens and Pia were my favorites-- but the margin between four and ten is pretty narrow.  It will be interesting to see how America voted.

New rumors are circulating that we will have a wild card week after all. 

@March 2, 2011   Stephen W Thompson