'American Idol' determines Top 13 finalists and axes 12 semifinalists
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/02/2012
American Idol's Top 13 eleventh-season finalists were determined during Thursday night's live results show broadcast which ended the competition's semifinal round and eliminated 12 of the season's Top 25 semifinalists.
Phillips, Han, Ledet, Dixon, and Jones advanced to American Idol's finals after they received the most home viewer votes following Tuesday night's broadcast of the male semifinal performance show, while Sanchez, Cavanagh, Laine, Magrane, and Testone advanced after they finished as the top five vote-getters after Wednesday night's broadcast of the female semifinal performance show.
Prior to determining their "Wild Card" picks, the judges chose six out of the remaining 15 semifinalists to perform for them live on the Idol stage.
The three male semifinalists selected to perform for the judges were Rosado, Brackensick and Grimm, while the three female semifinalists were Hirsh, Von Hugel and Van Pelt.
Jackson, Lopez and Tyler gave mostly all of the six semifinalists positive feedback after their performances, which marked their last opportunity to impress the judges before they decided their "Wild Card" selections.
Hirsh, a 25-year-old from Agoura Hills, CA, was the first semifinalist selected to take the stage and show the judges what she was capable of.
"We like when you guys come out and sing for your life! That's when you start pulling it all out. You started it off kind of slow but then you went for the guttural. I think it was a good performance. I think you showed the reason you're here with the big old pipes and everything -- with the big vocals. I love that," Jackson said.
It then became time for Rosado to sing, and while he got emotional himself, he also moved Lopez to tears.
"I just believe in this kid. I believe in Jeremy. I think he has one of the most beautiful voices I've heard in a long time. But we'll see. We still have four more to go and we have to be fair about it," Lopez said in support of Rosado with Tyler and Jackson in agreeance.
Von Hugel, a 17-year-old from Staten Island, NY, then got her chance to captivate the judges, but she unfortunately failed to.
"I heard you nail it [before]. You were a little pitchy in some spots in the turn-arounds, and I just didn't hear it this time. I'm really sorry baby," Tyler told her.
"I think you might be in a little bit of trouble. That wasn't great to me," Jackson added.
Brackensick then gave it everything he had to make it into the Top 13 and the judges were more than satisfied with his performance.
"I just feel the fire from you. That's exactly what you have to do. You have to dig down deep, and you should sing like that every time you get up there," Lopez said.
Van Pelt then had her moment to shine and the judges were thrilled with both her powerful voice and obvious passion.
"This girl has gotta have it! She's singing like she's gotta have it!" Jackson exclaimed.
"Beautiful Erica, we're living on the edge without a doubt -- out of the park baby, out of the park," Tyler said.
Grimm, a 26-year-old from Ellsworth, WI, was the last "Wild Card" pick to sing for the judges, and he hoped to stand out in their eyes in order to receive a second chance in the competition.
"We just had to see that again because you're probably one of the most different artists we've ever had try out for the show. You are truly, truly unique and very different. That was entertaining," Jackson told the performer.
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and the judges then announced which three singers -- which boiled down to one artist per judge -- would get to join the 10 semifinalists who were selected by home viewers in the season's finals.
"Let me just say oh what a night -- a crazy emotional night. Our first 'Wild Card' pick is Erika Van Pelt," Jackson announced.
"Jennifer, after all of this, who is it going to be? Who is your 'Wild Card' pick?" Seacrest asked.
"That last stool, Steven Tyler, who is it going to be?" Seacrest questioned.
"You can let your hair down one more time, Deandre!" Tyler said.
During the broadcast, Seacrest revealed over 33 million votes were cast over the last two nights of performance shows.
American Idol's Top 13 eleventh-season finalists will take to the stage and sing during next Wednesday night's live two-hour performance broadcast at 8PM ET/PT. Next Thursday night at 8PM ET/PT, one finalist will be eliminated from the competition based on home viewer votes, determining the season's Top 12 finalists.