What is it with these reality shows and chairs? The now-canceled "X Factor" had that super-scary Four-Chair Challenge. "The Voice" has those super-fun hydraulic spinning thrones, of course. And somewhere in between is "American Idol's" own four-chair challenge: the famous Green Mile episodes, on which each Hollywood Week contestant sits in front of the three judges and learns his or her top 30 fate.
Yes, on Wednesday, the top 77 started to become the top 30, as the talent pool was ever-so-slowly drained over the course of two hours. And surely some of the contestants themselves felt pretty drained, since there was…wait for it…A SHOCKING TWIST!
The first twist came when the judges (or producers) decided that there just wasn't room for two black-haired, badass rocker chicks this season, especially ones with similar first names. So they summoned Jessica Meuse and Jesse Roche to the Green Mile room together, and made them sing a cappella, right then and there, for a spot among the top 15 girls. Jessica's Lynyrd Skynyrd cover easily topped Jesse's K.T. Oslin song, so in the end the judges made the right decision, I suppose. However, I think both girls deserved to advance.
But just in case you were about to cry sexism (I was), the judges also pulled this sing-off shtick with similar male contestants C.J. Harris and Casey Thrasher, both country-soul singers from Alabama who auditioned via the Idol Bus in Salt Lake City and have since become close friends. Seriously? One of these guys wasn't going to get through? C.J.'s a cappella performance had more oomph, but I found Casey's voice more unique and compelling. They also both deserved a spot.
And…we'll have to wait until Thursday find out which guy got that spot! Or, maybe both of them will get through: Rumor has it that it'll be a top 31 semifinals this season, since there are enough promising WGWGs this year to warrant having a bonus 16th boy in the mix.
In the meantime, below is a list of who made it through so far, ranked in my order of preference. What about Savion Wright, Marrialle Sellars, Briston Maroney, Majesty Rose York, and other frontrunners? And what about my M.I.A. favorites, David Luning, C.J. Jones, and Ryan Nisbett? (WHERE THE HECK ARE THEY?) Their fates will be revealed Thursday. See you then.
Alex Preston – the finger-picking guitar god, a truly fascinating talent
Malcolm Allen – that awesome guy who awesomely played air guitar at his first audition, and continues to be awesome now
Sam Woolf – the teen-bait grandpa's boy who could be "American Idol's" answer to Ed Sheeran
Emmanuel Zidor – the soulful showboater with a wicked falsetto and a massive personality meant for the stage
Maurice Townshend – the dreadlocked dad and music minister with a big ole voice
Jordan Brisbane – the sweet 16-year-old birthday boy with hopes of "shutting 'American Idol' down!"
Dexter Roberts – the salt-of-the-earth, trucker-hatted country dude that Keith Urban called "the real deal"
George Lovett – a soulman with a hip, youthful edge
Spencer Lloyd – the pretty boy who stood out with his "Say Something" Hollywood Week piano performance, but probably shouldn't play any more ho-hum originals (or be a jerk to his castmates, like he was during the group rounds)
Jessica Meuse – the badass, pink-streaked, blindly ambitious rocker who truly is in it to win it
Malaya Watson – the adorkable tuba girl, who hopefully will play tuba on the live shows
M.K. Nobilette – the intriguing androgyne, unlike any contestant "Idol" has ever had before
Jillian Jensen – a reality TV alum who was robbed on "The X Factor" Season 2, but came out of that series with a fanbase that could take her far
Andrina Brogden – a lovely shy girl coming out of her shell; could be Season 13's dark horse
Emily Piriz – a Sara Bareilles type who hasn't gotten much screentime, and seems more "Voice"-y, but may also be a dark horse
Bria Anai Johnson – a little diva with an enormous R&B voice
Kristen O'Connor – the pretty young nurse; not sure what type of artist she is just yet...