The boys took the stage Tuesday night.  And American Idol's Top 12 girls took the stage last night in their first attempt to break an Idol drought.  Yep!  It's been five years since Jordin Sparks took the Idol crown . . . and a girl hasn't won since.  So, did this year's batch of hopefuls live up to the hype?  Our American Idol expert, Steve Thompson, shares his thoughts and ranks the contestants from 12th to 1st!

  • Does anyone think that FOX may one day draw the line where Idol is concerned? Nigel (also known as The Power Behind the Judges) has become involved in a snit with one of the FOX honchos who dared point out that the ratings aren't as high as they used to be.  I might be missing something, but this is the kind of thing that could evolve into a world where FOX says hey, we've got Cowell's show and we think we're just gonna bet on him.
  • Truly tired of big voiced announcer guy introducing the judges as if their opinion is an opinion.
  • Whoa!  Stop the presses!  Randy says (after the judges seem to have found their metaphorical red pens) the judges may have been too lenient in their criticisms of the guys last night.  Wow.  Next thing you'll know, Steven will call Seacrest short.
  • Once again, I'm going to attempt to rank our contestants from worst to first-- this one is a bit more complicated because so many of the girls I rated as even.  That said, here goes nothin'...
  • 12.  Brielle Von Hugel sang Sitting On the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding.  I've always loved this song-- until tonight.  She's a cheerleader.  Is it just my imagination or are the female contestants all cheerleaders and the male contestants all from families with ministers?  Something tells me Otis Redding would've wanted her to try a little tenderness with his song.
  • 11.  Chelsea Sorrell sang Cowboy Casanova by Carrie Underwood.  Yeah, this sounds like an impersonation rather than a song choice.  I almost dozed off toward the middle of the song, so I can't say this should be listened to while operating heavy machinery.
  • 10.  Haley Johnsen sang Sweet Dreams Are Made of This by Eurythmics.  I have been a fan of Annie Lennox ever since I first heard this song.  In fact, I've said to several people that I would like to have one of Annie's songs played at my funeral (Into the West.)  So it was with a great deal of regret that I heard shouting in this version of the song.  There is no shouting in Lennox land.
  • 09.  Baylie Brown sang Amazed by Lonestar.  Now Baylie has been buzzed about by people in the chatrooms ever since she first appeared on the show this year.  To say that her version of this song was a misstep is to say all those NBA teams who passed on Jeremy Lin didn't miss anything.  She better hope her song resonated well in the Midwest and the South.
  • By the way, can anybody tell me what constitutes "a little trainwreck?"
  • 08.  Hallie Day sang Feeling Good by Nina Simone.  I'm ready for this song to be put out to pasture.  Hallie did a decent job with the song, but these top eight all did well in their own way.  She may have to rely on the kindness of a wild card from one of the judges.
  • 07.  Jen Hirsh has been great everytime she's stepped up to the plate, but her version of One and Only by Adele seemed a bit shaky to me.  I wondered if she might be losing her voice, but Randy Jackson talked as if she did wonderfully.  If only his opinion mattered.
  • 06.  Erica Van Pelt sang What About Love by Heart.  Faithful readers (and I try not to consort with the unfaithful ones) will recall I have been a fan of Heart since 1976.  So I hoped for an excellent version and an excellent version is what we received.  Will she get enough votes?  Hard to say.  I enjoyed her confidence as she sang.

  • 05.  Skylar Laine is billed as a country girl, but she sings Stay With Me by Faces.  (That was the group Rod Stewart sang with before he went solo.)  At first, I had expected someone along the lines of Kellie Pickler 2.0, but this girl certainly has the spunk to stay around a while.  I guess we'll see.
  • 04.  Hollie Cavanaugh should get credit for attempting one of the tougher songs of the night.  She sang Reflection by Christina Aguilera.  Not really the kind of song that gets my attention, but I appreciated how well she sang the song.
  • 03.  Jessica Sanchez sang Love You I Do by Jennifer Hudson.  I was very impressed with how well she sang when she supposedly was having major voice issues.  Evidently, J Hud has become the go-to Idol for songs to cover this year.
  • 02.  Elise Testone sang her version of One and Only by Adele.  In my book, Elise trumped Jen by several thousand points.  I much preferred her style of singing the song to Jen's version.  Whether that means anything to any of the people who actually took time out of their lives to vote?  Hard to know.
  • 01.  Shannon Magrane sang Go Light Your World by Kathy Troccoli.  This was the best of the night in my opinion.  I've always liked this song, but never figured I'd ever hear it on Idol.  I was very impressed with Shannon tonight.
  • The girls were so much better than the guys that it seems a shame that we actually have to have guys in the competition.  However, these are the cards we're dealt, so we have to render unto Nigel what is Nigel's.  However, Nigel tweeted  the possibility of all three wild cards being female.  We'll see Thursday night.

This morning Steve and I chatted about last night's show and made some predictions about who's going to snag the wild card spots!  Take a listen . . .



@February 29, 2012  Stephen W Thompson

More From WBKR-FM