, which means the season 13 contestants are performing live for the very first time. There were plenty of nerves to go around on Tuesday night when the girls took to the stage. Did anyone rise to the occasion? Who fell under pressure? And who's going home on Thursday?
Out of the 15 girls in the Top 31, only 10 were chosen by the judges to perform. The biggest shocker was Kenz Hall being cut. This doesn't make any sense to me because she's one of the best this year -- how do you get rid of someone like her so soon? Can the producers change the rules and give her another chance? At the very least, I hope she's able to audition again next year.
But with that aside, let's take a look at what the girls had to offer this week and their chances of staying or going home.
American Idol Season 13: Top 10 Girls Performance Rankings >>>
Majesty Rose: Majesty is definitely one of the fan favorites. She might not have given anywhere near her best this week (doing a more upbeat song like she did brought out some vocal weaknesses/limitations that we might not have heard before). And performing first does not help. But I'm sure the producers figured it's fine to let her go first because she's already a lock for the Top 13. There's always those weeks where voters forget to vote for the best talent, but I think what she has in her favor will far outweight the detractions, so she's definitely safe.
Briana Oakley: Again, here's another instance where one of the best singers wasn't 100% on her game. For me, she was only off at the start, and soon became more comfortable being on the stage. And then before I knew it, she was in the zone and killing it. This song really suited her, and I expect her to continue being a frontrunner on the girls' side for a while.
I doubt she was on anybody's radar before the final Hollywood Week episode, when she became the first openly gay contestant in the history of American Idol
. Taking on John Legend's "All of Me" was a brilliant choice for her because she was really able to connect with the lyrics and message, and we all knew the intent behind it. I'll be honest, I wasn't completely on board because she's not the best vocalist around (she had a hard time going into the falsettos, to bring up just one example), but she might have been the only one Tuesday night to be completely comfortable on stage and make us connect with her. (Click here
for Randy Jackson's thoughts on M.K.)
In the Middle
Jessica Meuse: Jessica received mixed reactions for her take on "Drink a Beer." Because of that, she could be in danger, but I have her in the middle because she's got something going for her that I hadn't seen before. We've seen her as the rocker up until now. And even though we did see her cry during Hollywood Week, who knew she could truly show a different side to her here? She sounded way more country than we've ever heard from her -- I really liked it and hope enough voters agree to keep her around.
Malaya Watson: I have to really bite my tongue here because I could go off on a rant for the rest of the day, so I'll just keep it brief: Malaya taking the final spot was a terrible decision by the judges. It was obvious Kenz Hall deserved it, but they instead went with someone who's known more for her personality than her voice. Malaya got the pimp spot and was her usual goofy self, so she probably will stay. But she doesn't deserve to. She needs to get better quick, to put it simply.
Jena Irene: To quote Harry Connick, Jr., Jena's the sleeper of the season and a dark horse. She has the potential to really shine over the course of the competition. But Rush Week was not her week. She left everything she had on that stage, though she was a bit of a mess vocally. To me, she's more on the fence than almost anybody else. If it were up to me, I'd cut Malaya and replace her with Jena in the Top 13 (if that's how the results end up playing out). If Jena does end up being eliminated, I wouldn't be surprised if the judges added her as a Wild Card pick.
Marrialle Sellars: Honestly, I should be putting Marrialle in the Definitely Going Home category. The reason I'm not is because the producers have really been pushing her so hard in previous weeks that she might just survive elimination. If she's heading home, I really hope the judges pick someone like Jena (or even Emily Piriz) over her for the Wild Card, but wouldn't be surprised at all if they find a way to keep her.
Emily Piriz: Emily has potential, but if her performance of "Paris (Ooh La La)" is any indication, she might not be quite ready for the big stage yet. Then again, maybe it was just the song choice. I loved her final solo number in Hollywood and she has her moments here, but there are other singers who have made a far greater impression on people's minds than her.
Definitely Going Home
Kristen O'Connor: Where did she come from? I don't think anyone expected her to get chosen. Again, how can Kenz be cut for someone like Kristen? Anyway, even though there were some moments where she was really powerful during "Turning Tables," there's nothing distinguishable that makes her stand out from the crowd. This should be an easy elimination.
Bria Anai: This was a tough performance to listen to because she was shouting pretty much throughout the entire song. I was literally cringing. If she somehow makes it to next week, she really needs to learn how to control her voice.
Jena Irene (a possible Wild Card pick)
Who do you think is going home? Will there be any shocking eliminations? Share your predictions in the comments below.
Rush Week on American Idol continues Wednesday and Thursday at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)