“This is where the competition kicks into overdrive,” Ryan Seacrest says at the top of tonight’s American Idol. It’s a major crossroads for the competition, as the top 12 are revealed. The contestants also sing the songs they first auditioned with tonight, returning to where their Idol journey began.
The first contestant through to the top 12 is Sarina-Joi Crowe, singing “Love Runs Out” by OneRepublic. Her performance has some pitch problems, but she brings energy and infectious charm to the stage.
Rayvon Owen also makes it to the top 12, bringing back his audition song, “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry. It’s a fine performance that turns into a great one when he hits his final run.
The next singer through is Daniel Seavey. He sings “Straight Up” by Paula Abdul, ditching the guitar that he used in his initial audition. It’s not his best performance, but it’s certainly one worthy of the top 12.
Maddie Walker also advances, singing “Suitcase” by Gwen Sebastian. There’s a lot left to be desired most times Walker takes the stage, and it’s surprising that she has made it this far in the competition. And, as the judges point out, she’s a little too in her head tonight.
With one of the best performances of the night, Tyanna Jones revisits “Wings” by Little Mix. It’s such a perfect song for her, so it’s clear why she chose it in her initial audition. The judges praise not only her vocals but how comfortable she appears on stage. “You’re a star,” Keith Urban says, and Jennifer Lopez agrees.
Nick Fradiani makes the top 12, singing “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel. Once again, his experience shows on stage, but he doesn’t quite bring the emotional connection that some of the other artists this season have in their performances.
The next person to advance is—no surprises here—Jax Cole. She sings “I Want To Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles, accompanying herself on the piano for the first part of the song. The best thing about Cole is that, even though her presentation is always very stylized, her performances are so different week-to-week.
Qaasim Middleton also makes it to the top 12, reprising “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. “Your energy is so contagious,” Lopez says. Middleton shows his full range of skills in a very short performance, and he continues to be a frontrunner in the competition.
Next, Clark Beckham sings “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” by James Brown. Middleton is a tough act to follow, but Beckham holds his own, giving his most powerful performance to date. “That to me was the vocal of the night,” Lopez says.
Joey Cook also makes it into the top 12, singing “King Of Spain” by The Tallest Man On Earth and trading out her accordion for a ukulele this time. Harry Connick Jr. thinks she is finally figuring out her voice as an artist and has carved out a spot for herself in this competition.
The first judges’ wildcard choice is Quentin Alexander, who gives an emotional performance of “Royals” by Lorde. “Your emotion is part of what makes you a great artist,” Lopez says. Alexander, as Connick points out, is deeply in touch with his artistry, and it makes him a dynamic performer to watch week after week.
The last wildcard pick and final singer to make it in the top 12 is Adanna Duru. She sings “You And I” by Lady Gaga. She still needs to find more control over her vocals, but she has a lot of potential as a late bloomer in the competition.
What did you think of the judges’ wildcard picks and the top 12 overall? They’ll return for a special two-hour episode tomorrow night.