American Idol 8: First 12 of Top 36 Perform, Live Thoughts (Page 1/3)
That's sort of an unwieldy article title, isn't it?  I thought about the best, most concise way to name tonight's American Idol episode and, unfortunately, that's the best I got.  However, we are finally here.  We made it.  We weathered the storm.  Auditions are over, and tonight we get to see real live performances from the Top 36.  Only 12 contestants will perform tonight (they are Casey Carlson, Stephen Fowler, Jackie Tohn, Ricky Braddy, Anne Marie Boskovich, Brent Keith, Alexis Grace, Michael Sarver, Stevie Wright, Danny Gokey, Tatiana del Toro and Anoop Desai), and only three of them will automatically advance into the Top 12 on tomorrow night's Results Show.  The show is reportedly live this evening, which is a change from previous seasons when the semi-finals were tape-delayed.  Who will shine?  Who will fail miserably?  We shall see.  I'll be here for the entire two-hour marathon, hatching live thoughts onto this nest of an internet.  Follow along, comment below, sing along, just do whatever you do, just make sure to do it here on BuddyTV.

American Idol 8: Top 36, First 12 - Episode in Review Slideshow
American Idol 8: Top 36 Power Rankings Slideshow

BuddyTV Podcast of Glory: Talking 'American Idol' with Justin Guarini

Hey, Cindy Crawford has a line of home furnishings.  You learn something new every day.  Man, two hours of Idol.  I am mentally preparing.

Ryan Seacrest is wearing a very cozy looking sweater today.  What a nerd.  We are indeed live from Hollywood tonight.  In case you didn't know, you can vote for your favorite singer(s) after tonight's show.  This is Kara's first live show, and she looks a bit nervous, though pretty adorable.  Paula is rocking the bangs tonight.  She looks like kind of a trampy cavewoman.  Simon is going with the standard black t-shirt, and compliments Ryan's haircut. 

Ryan explains the format.  You all know this.  The theme tonight is Songs from the Billboard Hot 100, which basically means any song that was ever popular. 

Jackie Tohn - “A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley

Jackie Tohn takes the stage first, and she's singing a slowed down version of this song, a little funky.  Kind of a weird song choice, but I think she does all she can do with it. Her voice, gravelly and bluesy, is used to great, sometimes quirky effect.  She straight up screams the chorus at one point.  I think Jackie will be a love her or hate her type girl.  I kind of love her, even more now, because I thought she would gravitate towards rock stuff. 

Randy wasn't sold on the vocals, but loved the entertainment factor.   Jackie wears some ridiculous black tights.  Kara loved the performance, as did Paula.  Simon actually likes her voice, but thought she “played the clown” tonight.  I think you're wrong, Cowell.  Simon says that she didn't do herself any favors, and America won't like her. 

Jackie is really loud, and kind of annoying when she's not singing, clearly a natural kooky performer.  Ryan has an awkward interview with Jackie's parents.  It's a live show, and you're gonna throw her poor parents on in the first ten minutes?

Gordon Ramsay, you silly bastard.

Ricky Braddy - "A Song for You" by Leon Russell

Ricky Braddy is back.  Not long ago, he was serving chicken fingers, and he quit to come on Idol.  We don't know Ricky very well.  He's got a pronounced Southern accent. Randy loved his initial audition.  He fell apart in group day, but he had a great final Hollywood audition.

This is one of my favorite songs ever, but Ricky has decided to suck the soul out of it.  This performance belongs in a cheesy piano bar.  Now, to be fair - Ricky's got a very good voice, and he's pretty much dominating the vocals on the song.  He even nails some falsetto.  I'd like this performance a lot better if I didn't know the original song.  But, I can't enjoy it, because it is soulless. 

Randy loved the performance, he calls it "unbelievable.  "You killed that," says Kara.  Paula says, "Paula like song.  Paula like Ricky.  Paula thirsty."  Simon is a little more realistic, his issue being that Ricky doesn't have star quality, the self-belief or the charisma to go far.  The judges are already getting chippy with each other.  Good times.

God, this is going to be a thing, isn't it?  Ricky's parents are here, wearing t-shirts that say “The Braddy Bunch.”  I like them a lot less now.  Alexis Grace will sing after the commercial.

Alexis Grace - "Never Loved a Man" by Aretha Franklin

As per the judges' advice, Alexis dirtied up her image for the show.  Let's see if it works.  My guess is that it won't.  She begins a tad bit shaky.  When I said "dirty herself up" I really meant "slut her image up."  She sings the song well, with some a sass and some soul, but her voice is a little thin. She's comfortable on stage, and I think she made a good song choice, maximizing her talents.  She sings out of tune on a big song mid-song.  Not sure her voice is big enough for the competition, not sure if she's unique enough to stand out, but if that's her only performance this season, it was a good one. 

"You done found the dirt, you done found the soul," says Randy.  He loved it, clearly.  "The genie is out of the bottle," remarks Kara.  She loved it too.  Paula ramble.  Paula wear star jewelry.  Paula emotional, doesn't know why.  Simon says that she was the best of the night so far.  I liked Jackie better, but that's just personal tastes - Alexis was probably better.

Umm, what?  I'm pretty sure we just saw Ted Danson and Neil Patrick Harris sitting together in the audience.  Sweet.  It gives me faith in the world that those two guys might be friends.  Brent Keith brings the country after the commercial.

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