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'American Idol' Recap: Top 13 Revealed; Jimmy Iovine Is New Simon Cowell

Three semifinalists eliminated after singing Adele include Eben Franckewitz, Jen Hirsh and Brielle Von Hugel.

American Idol Season 11 Elise Testone - H 2012
Michael Becker / FOX

A word to the wise if you want to impress Jimmy lovine on American Idol: It is wise to skip singing Adele.

It was a hard lesson for Eben Franckewitz, Jen Hirsh and Brielle Von Hugel to learn. All sang Adele. All were sent home.

The exception to this rule was Elise Testone, who shone on Adele’s “One and Only” on Wednesday night’s show. She rightly earned a spot in the top 13. It just goes to show you, the cream, not White Chocolate (sorry Adam Brock), always rises to the top -- and America always seems to get it right.

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After 33 million votes, America unveiled its picks for the top 10, with the remaining three spots reserved for the judge’s wild card picks. The show took us all on a two-hour emotional roller coaster. It was the first time the show eliminated this many contestants in one shot, and it was a real nail-biter, with Iovine offering his own critiques of each contestant.

Some of Iovine’s insights and criticisms were dead-on. His take on fan favorite Heejun Han? “It’s not American Comedian; it’s American Idol.” On Jessica Sanchez, Iovine said he is ready to sign her “on the spot.” On Hallie Day: “There are so many blondes” this year. On front-runner Phillip Phillips: "We desperately need originality on this show. Phillip Phillips has that." On Skylar Laine: “I would’ve voted for her.” His biggest fear of Joshua Ledet? Sister Act III. He even compared Aaron Marcellus to Don Cheadle, deemed Reed Grimm too “cabaret” (shades of Simon Cowell, there) and bluntly dismissed Hirsh as an Adele “wannabe.”

He added that Erika Van Pelt has “music in her blood,” could listen to an “entire album” of gentle giant Jermaine Jones’ voice and, in the most candid moment of the night, said he wanted Testone to do original material or “songs written just for her.” (If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is). He even said Colton Dixon can “win this thing.”

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It was quite a night, with Jennifer Lopez crying crocodile tears for her Jer Bear, Floridian Jeremy Rosado. Lopez was really pulling for him; you could see it in her eyes, and it is truly wonderful to watch. That is pure emotion right there, and the heart of Idol. Iovine isn’t so sure that just being nice is enough to do well on the show.

Although there were some shocks with the wild card picks -- Von Hugel didn’t get the memo regarding Adele and blew her chances with a lifeless version of “Someone Like You” (loved Randy Jackson’s honesty, “That just wasn’t great to me”; it wasn’t), and Grimm’s lounge act had no shot at all (Creighton Fraker or Hallie Day more than deserved another chance) -- the selection of Van Pelt, Rosado, and Brackensick were the right choices. Van Pelt rocking Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” was a textbook example of the correct way to sing for your life, and I loved how Steven Tyler slipped in an Aerosmith song title in his comments, saying we are all “living on the edge.”

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That said, the top 13 is a talented bunch, and I think there are some real future artists in this group. Are you all ready to vote for your favorite? It’s going to be a heck of a spring!

Here are your top 13:

Deandre Brackensick

Hollie Cavanaugh

Colton Dixon

Heejun Han

Jermaine Jones

Skylar Laine

Joshua Ledet

Shannon Magrane

Phillip Phillips

Jeremy Rosado

Jessica Sanchez

Elise Testone

Erika Van Pelt

Next week the guys get to sing Stevie Wonder, while the girls have the higher degree of difficulty tackling the songbook of Whitney Houston. Mary J. Blige will be the first guest mentor.

I, for one, am so ready for next week, and so are many former American Idol contestants. Thursday night’s results show had many Idol alumni tweeting like crazy.

Here are some of our favorite celebrity tweets:

Carrie Underwood: Truly a nail-biter on Idol tonight! Congrats top 13! You are all SO talented! Can't wait 'till next week!

Brett Loewenstern: To those who got cut tonight..Please keep it going, this is only the beginning.

Naima Adedapo: To all those who didn’t make the top 13...keep fighting.

Melinda Doolittle: So proud and excited for the top 13! Sad about a couple who aren’t in, but that happens every season.

Michael Orland (musical director for American Idol): Such a hard night here at IDOL…so hard to say goodbye to 12 people in one night. Used to be so much easier to spread it out over 3 weeks.

Elliott Yamin: Hahahaha!....jimmy iovene is killin it!...like,in a great way! #idol.

Elliot Yamin (part 2): This chick Elise on AI is pretty dope..I digs her voice!

Katie Stevens: @Cavanaughal11 you are adorable! I'm glad you got your shot this year! I'll be meeting you soon! Xx 

Pia Toscano: Just really confused as to why 1 of the best voices on the show this year @Aaron_Marcellus who got a standing ovation is not top 13   Kimberly Caldwell: Crying after Jeremy's performance! What a doll   RJ Helton (from Idol Season 1): When did #Idol go from top 10 to top 12 to top 13?! Call me biased but I miss season one ;)

Kevin Covais: While talking Idol, gotta say I don't love the semifinals format. Giving contestants just one week to sing live before they announce the......finalists is too rushed. If they did that when I was on the show, I might not have made it to the Top 12. Just a thought.

Kevin Covais (part 2): But all in all, a solid group of finalists this year for Idol. Heejun might be my favorite, I see a bit of me in that guy.
 

The Hollywood Reporter's first live original series hosted by music editor Shirley Halperin and THR.com editor Joseph Kapsch will feature "American Idol" alumni guests, in-studio performances and Season 11 interviews. The pilot webisode debuts Friday, March 2 at 11 a.m. PST/2 p.m. EST.