A month ago, we began the over-long death march of early-season American Idol in Phoenix, Arizona.  Tonight, the drudgery ends and viewers will finally feel the joy of reaching fertile ground.  At the end of tonight’s two-hour episode of American Idol, the Top 36 will be officially revealed, trumpeting the beginning of the true Idol season, when drama is flung away like monkey poo, and honest-to-goodness actual performances will be seen in their entirety.  Yet, there is still tonight’s two-hour marathon to endure, and endure it we will.  I will be here throughout the 120 minutes of agony, as we witness dreams being crushed, prayers answered, and Tatiana del Toro firing evil laugh lasers at my brain.

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American Idol 8: The Official Top 36 Slideshow


Really solid first half of the USA-Mexico World Cup Qualifying match.  1-0 USA at half.

And here we go.  Time to, very slowly, announce the Top 36.  The final 54 contestants are brought to the judges’ mansion, a monstrosity of an estate that FOX rented out for an afternoon.  Apparently, some singers will have to have a sing-off.  Whatever that means.  If there’s a silver lining to what will be a long two hours, it’s that we’ll get to see some of the good singers we haven’t seen much of over the past two weeks.  Like Megan Corkrey, for instance. 

No elevator this year, which means no elevator cam.  They will have to walk through an outdoor garden, and through a long hallway until they find the four judges, who all sit in over-sized blood red chairs, chairs that would look like they’re out of Alice in Wonderland.

Anoop Desai is the first contestant of the night.  Obviously, Noop Dog is in!   

Top 36: Anoop Desai

Next, is Von Smith, perhaps better know as The Bane of Oscar’s Existence.  I really, thoroughly dislike this guy. We see Von’s first Hollywood performance, which Simon called “indulgent nonsense.”  He talks about his parents and how they influence his decisions, and how he defied them by reigning it in on his last Hollywood audition.  He’s in the Top 36.  Lame sauce. 

Top 36: Von Smith

The judges had a few difficult decisions today, and that there will be some sing-offs.  Cody Sheldon, the amateur filmmaker, long-haired, gothic kid, is brought to see the judges.  Simon asks him to sing whatever he wants.  Alex Wagner-Trugman, the funny, kind of shy guy, is also summoned to see the judges for a sing-off.  Cody sings a random song, and doesn’t perform that well.  He’s got kind of a weak voice.  Alex and Cody meet outside of the audition room – they’ve become friends – and realize what is happening.  Alex isn’t entirely pleased about it.  Alex sings now, and he’s much better than Cody.  High, delicate, but in control.  Cody sang out of tune.  Alex is defnitely getting through.  He waits outside with Cody while the judges decide.  Finally, both dudes are brought in for the final judgment.  And, the verdict is…

Top 36: Alexander Wagner-Trugman

Alex, being a good guy, doesn’t even celebrate, consoles Cody on the way out.

Adam Lambert is next.  The big Broadway voice took a while for the judges to get used to.  Singing Cher, he thinks, was something that the judges took note of.  The ol’ judges’ fake out.  Do you have to keep this nonsense up?  Adam is …

Top 36: Adam Lambert

Taylor Vaifanua, the really tall youngster, is next to be judged.  She struggled early, but came on with her final performance, doing some Alicia Keys.  She comes to get judged, and remains quite composed for a teen.  And the verdict is…

Top 36: Taylor Vaifanua


Top 36: Jasmine Murray

Top 36: Arianna Afsar

Top 36: Casey Carlson

Top 36: Megan Corkrey

Top 36: Mishavonna Henson

Top 36: Stevie Wright

They showed all of the above people in about 12 seconds, which is weak.  OK, everyone is about to get angry.  Joanna Pacitti, the massive ringer, is up next.  She forgot her words in every single performance during Hollywood week which, if she was any other performer, would eliminate her immediately.  The judges, to their credit, bring up her past in the recording world.  Simon thinks that she needs a chance. 

Top 36: Joanna Pacitti

Seriously, Idol?  This is beyond shameless. 

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