Welp, American Idol's Top 13 is here. After thousands of singers tried out over weeks of auditions and cuts, the supposed best of the best has been announced and will move on to next week's first official proper live show.
Thursday night (Feb. 20), Idol host Ryan Seacrest announced the American picked top 10 in the show's first 10 minutes. For the most part, both the top performing girls and the best boys made it through by America's vote.
For the girls, Malaya Watson, Emily Piriz, Jessica Meuse, Majesty Rose and MK Nobilette were the golden chosen ones. The boys were a bit more of a surprise, with seeming fan favorite Spencer Lloyd moving to the wayside for Ben Briley, Alex Preston, Dexter Roberts, Caleb Johnson and Sam Woolf, all of whom had strong showings on Wednesday night (Feb. 19).
But that's just 10 of the top 13. For the final three singers to move on, judges Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban picked five contestants (out of a heartbroken 10) to literally and figuratively sing for their lives. Their songs were already chosen for them, they would re-do their Hollywood solo round tune.
C.J. Harris was the judges' first pick. After giving a solid turn during the boys' top 10, it was shocking he didn't make the American cut, but as he performed Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me," his faults showed through. He was technically singing well but there was a sure emotional disconnect, something that just doesn't make it through as a performer for Idol.
Jena Irene and Spencer Lloyd were the next two judges picks and chose original songs. While Jena's personal ballad shined with a beautiful rawness, Spencer's song fell flat. This guy just cannot hold a note, and after weeks of somehow getting praise from the judges, this finally showed.
Bria Anai returned with "It's A Man World" and knocked it out of the park with tons of attitude, little vocal runs and plenty of effects. Though she can tend to oversing, she actually seemed a bit more in control here. Connick marked that she seemed all over the place, but she just seemed to be trying to have a good time in the midst of some stressful circumstances.
Judge favorite (who I just do not get) Kristen O'Connor was the final wildcard pick, and like Spencer Lloyd she could not manage to hold a note during Katy Perry's "Unconditionally." She also erred toward going flat, which Connick noted... not like it mattered.
Because somehow she made it through. Yes, Kristen O'Connor is in American Idol season 13's top 13. A girl with no power managed to sneak in over Bria Anai. Fine.
That was the judge's only real misstep tonight. Spencer Lloyd was also sent packing, meaning that C.J. Harris and Jena Irene were also moving forward in the competition. With one exception, the strongest singers made it through. Kudos, Idol.