The competition for the top 13 - on American Idol took an intriguing turn during the first results show of season 11. We already knew that the top 10 vote getters would automatically advance to the next round, and that each judge would choose a "wild card" contestant to join them. What we didn't know is that their decisions and our opinions would be influenced by an unofficial forth judge, music producer Jimmy Iovine.
Jimmy's predictions about the fate of the contestants were remarkably accurate, and he probably had a hand in at least one wild card choice.
Jimmy picked most of the top 10 vote getters, including Phillip Phillips ("I'd sign him on the spot"), Hollie Cavanaugh ("little girl, big voice…give her the right material and she can do some real damage in this game"), Jessica Sanchez ("She has talent from A to Z. I would sign her tonight."), and Joshua Ledet ("He's the real deal. There's no question in my mind that he's gonna get through").
Jimmy also liked Skylar Laine, the energetic, raw country singer who draws comparisons with feisty Oklahoma belter Reba McEtire. He remarked on her ability to blend country with soul, and said that she has a lot of charisma and stage presence.
Elise Testone, Jen Hirsh and Eben Franckewitz all covered Adele tunes this week. Jimmy though that was a mistake, a "trap" they were falling into. He was especially concerned about Eben, remarking that "Set Fire to the Rain" was "too mature" for him, and that Eben is "not ready for prime time." He was right. Both Eben and Jen were sent home, although Elise made the top 10.
Jimmy "really liked" Shannon Magrane, who gave Jennifer Lopez goose bumps during her performance this week, but he thought she looked like she was dressed for the prom. Something tells me the producers will arrange for her to have some time with a stylist before next week's performance.
Colton Dixon landed a spot in the top 10, and on Jimmy's favorites list, as well. Jimmy called him "one of the most talented kids on the show," predicting that if he paces himself, "he could win this thing."
"I could listen to an entire album of that voice," Jimmy gushed, referring to Jermaine Jones, who was sent home on "judgment day," but brought back when the judges had a change of heart. "I'm so glad the judges brought him back," Jimmy said, echoing the sentiments of the viewing public who voted Jermaine into the top 10.
Quirky funnyman Hejun Han was the only top ten contender who didn't really hit the right note for Jimmy. "This guy completely confuses me," Jimmy complained, "this isn't 'American Comedian.' This is 'American Idol.'"
When it was time for the wild card round, 6 contestants were chosen to sing for the remaining 3 spots: Jen Hirsh, Jeremy Rosado, Reed Grimm, Erika Van Pelt and Deandre Brackensick. Jimmy noted that he saw "enormous potential" in Deandre and he was a big fan of Erika." He said that she "has music in her blood," and "she has great restraint, which is needed in this show."
Both Erika and Deandra nabbed wild card slots, with Jennifer Lopez' favorite, Jeremy Rosado rounding out the top 13.
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