The auditions and Hollywood Week are now behind us. We know who has made it into the Top 30 (well, almost), and for those contestants who have made it this far, Rush Week is their most important moment yet. American Idol goes live for the first time this season, but there’s a catch: not everyone will get the chance to sing for America’s votes.

A brand-new twist has been announced. Not only did viewers have the chance Thursday night to vote between Ben Briley and Neco Starr (only one will advance into the Top 30), but come Tuesday and Wednesday, the judges will continue making cuts.

Out of the 15 girls and 15 guys in the semifinals, only 20 are performing, which means that our trio of judges have to eliminate five girls and five guys. Neither the singers nor the viewers will know their decisions until the live shows begin.

So until they’ve made it official, let’s speculate and make predictions on who’s safe and who’s going home.

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The Girls

The girls are up first, performing on Tuesday night. This is a tough one because there’s a lot of strong female singers this year. Which means there’s likely to be some shocking eliminations when the judges make their announcement.

There’s no doubt that Kenz Hall, Briana Oakley and Majesty Rose are a lock to stay in the competition. They’ve not only been featured quite a bit but are also some of the most talented female singers this year.

Jessica Meuse was in the middle of the drama during the group round when she butted heads with another contestant’s mother. Then during the Green Mile, she had to go up against Jesse Roach in a sing-off. She deservedly won that battle, and after making her go through all that, there’s no way the judges will drop her from the competition.

Harry Connick, Jr. called Jena Asciutto (who it seems is now going by the name of Jena Irene) a sleeper and a dark horse. Plus, after Thursday night, we now know her name is pronounced like Gina, not like Jenna. We won’t be forgetting her name anymore after she performs on Tuesday.

M.K. Nobilette made history this past week when she became the first openly gay contestant on American Idol. She’ll be sticking around. Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying the judges will keep her solely because she’s gay (she did get this far based on talent alone). But let’s be honest: it would be a shame to see her go without at least giving her the chance to perform on the live stage.

And I would hate to see Emily Piriz and Austin Wolfe leave without performing again. They might not stand out as much as some of the others (in terms of being memorable), but they’ve showed time and again how talented they are. I finally took notice of Emily during her final solo performance and need to hear her again. There’s a part of me that thinks at least one of them will get cut because Idol will want to keep some of the singers who have been heavily featured in previous rounds.

That leaves two more spots for the girls. Again, this is really tough because there’ll be good singers going home no matter what. I’m going to with Marrialle Sellars and Malaya Watson. We can debate whether or not they or any of them deserve to stay over the others, but Marrialle has been pushed up by the judges as one to watch, and Malaya has raw talent, plain and simple.

So this means I’m predicting that Bria Anai, Andrina Brogden, Jillian Jensen, Brandy Neelly and Kristen O’Conner will not perform Tuesday night and are heading home.

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The Guys

I don’t have as much of a vested interest in most of the guys, but I still do have my favorites, like Alex Preston. There’s no question he’s performing. Moving on…

C.J. Harris and Casey Thrasher battled it out for a spot in the Top 30, and after closing out the episode on a cliffhanger, both ended up making it. Seriously? But anyway, Idol made a big deal with them and the cliffhanger and all that, so they’re sticking around.

And the show made an even bigger deal with Ben Briley and Neco Starr; only one will be in the Top 30 after America’s votes are in. Whoever makes it out of these two, there’s no way the judges are going to turn around and send them packing.

Maurice Townsend has been consistently good the entire time. And interesting fact: he’s the oldest singer in the competition. But get this, he’s only 26. Yep, the senior in the group is only in his mid-20’s. He’s one that’ll provide a strong performance next week, for sure.

Caleb Johnson stole the show in Hollywood with his larger than life personality, not to mention his fantastic voice. I’m not a huge fan of Sam Woolf, but he made an impact when he performed an original song he wrote after his mom moved away. Both of them will perform.

With three spots left, I’m siding with Malcolm Allen, George Lovett and Dexter Roberts, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Spencer Lloyd took one of those spots.

This means that my predictions for who’s going home without performing are: Jordan Brisbane, Ethan Harris, Spencer Lloyd, Briston Maroney and Emmanuel Zidor.

Two in particular I want to point out. Jordan’s voice isn’t mature or polished enough yet. And Emmanuel is way too dramatic and over the top to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, that might be why the judges (or more accurately, the producers) will keep him in the competition. If they do that, we better see that walk-off between him and J-Lo or it will all have been for nothing.

So there you have it. Those are my predictions for the five girls and five guys who won’t even get to perform during Rush Week. Share your thoughts and predictions in the comments section below.

American Idol Fantasy TV is Back

Speaking of predictions, American Idol Fantasy TV is back for season 13. Get ready to compete with your friends and have a chance to climb the leaderboard. With American Idol Fantasy TV, you predict who will be going home each week along with other BuddyTV users. Have a friend who likes the show? Send them an invitation to play using Facebook, Twitter or e-mail. If you want, you can even create your own private league. As an American Idol expert, are you ready to prove your stuff and make your first picks? Here’s your chance:

With this year’s Rush Week, the first week of Fantasy TV will be a little different. 11 contestants will be leaving the stage before they even get to perform. In Fantasy TV you get to choose three people who you think are going home. Get all of your picks correct and you’re sprinting to the top of the leaderboard with 4,000 points! It’s not every week you’ll get an opportunity like that. You must submit your picks before 12pm PST on Tuesday, February 18 to qualify this week. 

Click here to make you first American Idol Fantasy TV Picks >>> 

And make sure you come back before Idol announces the next eliminations of guys and girls on Wednesday and Thursday. Remember, each week you have until 12pm PST the day of the results to lock in your picks. Good luck! 

American Idol‘s season 13 semifinals airs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8pm on FOX.

(Images courtesy of FOX)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.