Just when it was starting to get predictable, AI3 pulled out a few suprises tonight.
The final group of semifinalists was arguably the hardest to call, due in no small part to the range in quality and style of the performances. None of these singers were spectacularly bad in the way that many of the Group 2 rejects were, but none were really great either. While the previous three groups all had at least one “sure thing,” it seemed like the audience was voting for the best of a very mediocre pack tonight.
Seacrest started off the night right by booting John Preator from the hallowed halls of AI3 forever. At least we know he’ll be able to make a career as an Art Garfunkel look-alike. Or perhaps as the new spokesman for the Hair Club for Men.
Next off the island was Lisa Wilson and her freakishly large mouth. I guess she’ll go on to a career doing… something.
Creepy, smiley guy George Huff was next up. I had him figured for the third place slot tonight, and, indeed, he was in the top three.
Jasmine Trias, with a fresh flower in her hair, was ushered quickly into the winners’ circle. While I had her pegged for a win tonight, I wonder if her sweet Hawaiian flower act will start to wear thin after awhile. She’ll need to grow a personality fast if she wants to really compete in the finals.
John’s performance last night was painful, but he does seem to have that certain Clay Aiken look, and his prior performances made him stand out in the earlier rounds. Even though he’s one of the youngest semi-finalists, he has a commanding presence when on stage. Not to mention, I’m sure the ladies love that red hair.
Susie, on the other hand, had one of the two best performances last night. While not a great singer, she is a good one, and in this group, that could have been enough. However, between her disastrous wardrobe and overdone make-up, she’s more Scary Spice than Tamyra Gray. I wonder if her image isn’t just a little off for the competition.
So, it was down to a battle of looks (John) and talent (Susie). It appeared that looks won out when John was corralled along with George and Jasmine into the holding pen.
But, when Seacrest announced that John Stevens had pulled in the most votes last night, the redhead from New York stepped up to deliver a version of You’re Always A Woman To Me that blew his performance last night out of the water. Where was that last night, when it actually counted? Who knows, but America somehow pulled this one off and put the right singer of these scrappy eight into the Top 12.
So, we’d find out if George or Jasmine would be making it to the next round after the break, right? No, Seacrest pulls the old switcheroo, and, just like that, Jasmine Trias is the eighth finalist.
Prior to the performances last night, I had picked Heather and John S. to make it through. Afterwards, I thought it would be Jasmine and Susie. I’m not sure how right or wrong that makes my predictions, only that I’m glad we’ll get to hear John sing again.
But wait…the show was not done yet. Seacrest capped off the evening by announcing the twelve lucky contestants who’ll get a second chance in next week’s wild card show. Of those twelve, four will join the first eight finalists in the Top 12 who will the be voted off one by one.
And they are…
1. Jennifer Hudson: Her return guarantees we’ll hear more John Lennon classics butchered.
2. Leah LaBelle: I hope she cries again the next time she’s voted off.
3. Elizabeth LeTendre: Someone’s got to sing the Whitney Houston standards.
4. Lisa Leuschner: You can never have too many redheads in this contest.
5. Jon Peter Lewis: Hey, pen boy.
6. Katie Webber: The 5-second delay will be on in case her dress can’t hold those fake boobs.
7. Eric Yoder: He wants to be Clay so badly.
8. Matt Metzger: The giant forehead returns.
9. Marque Lynch: Just no more Bette Midler. Please.
And, three of tonight’s performers will get another shot as well:
10. Susie Vulaca
11. George Huff
12. Tiara Purifoy
The always exciting and entertaining wild card show is next week. After that, we’ll really get into the thick of it.