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Idol Wired breaks down the Top 13 finalists for American Idol season 10.

American Idol: Meet Your Top 13!

After two of the longest and slightly painful hours of television, we finally have our Top 13 contestants of American Idol season 10. And it’s official, with the elimination of Tim Halperin, all of my early favorites have been eliminated from the competition. It makes me wish I had thrown my support behind James Durbin. (I kid, I kid. Kind of.)

So let’s talk about the Top 13. Rumors started swirling around the internet earlier this week about the return of the Top 13, which hasn’t been done since season eight. It made perfect sense to make it a Top 13, because the show has subtlety been telling us that they want a girl to win this season. With a Top 13, the show could stack the deck to include an additional girl, which is exactly what they did. That said, let’s talk about the contestants.

AMERICAN IDOL: AMERICAN IDOL Finalists (Clockwise from Left) Lauren Alaina, Thia Megia, Hayley Reinhart, Jacob Lusk, Karen Rodriguez, Scott McReery, Naima Adedapo, Pia Toscano, Ashthon Jones, Stefano Langone, James Durbin, Paul McDonald and Casey Abrams arrive on the red carpet at the AMERICAN IDOL TOP 13 FINALIST PARTY on Thursday, March 3 at The Grove in Los Angeles, CA. © 2011 FOX BROADCASTING CR: Mark Davis/FOX

Haley Reinhart, who sang Alicia Key’s “Fallin’” this week, was probably the one contestant I was shocked about making the audience voted-in Top 10. Thinking about it now, I probably shouldn’t have been. Reinhart has auditioned for the show multiple times, which was brought up over and over again. She has finally been called up to the main stage, so I hope she makes the best of her Idol run. To be honest, I would swap her out with Kendra Chantelle, who I thought out-performed Reinhart Wednesday night.

Scotty McCreery was a shoe-in this week with audience votes. I’m not a huge fan of country music, but even I have to admit that this kid is talented. If the contestants are allowed to stick to their genre of music throughout the entire season, McCreery could possibly run away with the whole competition.

Although I will never agree that her voice resembles “a young Michael Jackson,” Thia Megia earned her spot in the Top 13. I do think that she made a conscious effort to sound more mainstream this week, which shows she has a competitive edge, and I can appreciate that. I hope she makes the most of the momentum she’s built from this week’s past performance, because peaking too early in the competition is almost always the kiss of death. Just ask season nine’s Andrew Garcia.

Was anyone surprised that Casey Abrams made it through to the Top 13? Even my mother, who has absolutely no love for Idol, caught part of Abrams’ performance this week and found him to be charming. I have a feeling that Abrams’ is going to do big things on the show this season, and if he can make my mom a fan, then anything is possible.

After her performance of The Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You” won her the first standing ovation of the season, Pia Toscano has advanced to the Top 13. I think for Toscano to continue advancing in this competition is that she needs to keep in mind that the competition is a jog and not sprint, and to not pull all of her tricks out of her bag at once. So far, she’s succeeded at doing this, because she turned what could have been a boring performance Wednesday night on it’s head and stepped into the front runner position.

I honestly don’t understand how James Durbin made it as far as he has in this year’s competition. Thinking back to his awful performance during his group performance of Queen’s “Somebody To Love” during the Hollywood round, I am trying to figure out how the judges decided to advance him. For Durbin to survive this competition, he has to tone it down and truly show us who he is. It’s not fun for me to watch him try and be the best Adam Lambert he can be. That said, he needs to look at the songs Lambert did during season eight and cross them all off his list. Durbin needs to make his own individual footprint on this competition for survival.

I am happy that the judges picked Naima Adedapo as one of their Wild Card picks, because although her performance was probably a little too old fashioned for the audience this week, she can actually sing very well. With the judges looking for someone who sounds current and could be played on the radio today, Adedapo may need to adapt her sound to the competition a little more if she wants to stay.

I feel like everyone loves Jacob Lusk, except for me. I honestly don’t understand how people enjoy the blatant over-singing during his performances. Reiterating what I said earlier this week, I don’t think Lusk is ever going to be able to recreate the magic that was “God Bless the Child.” If he spends the competition trying to, it’s only going to hurt him in the end. Again, just ask Andrew Garcia.

Yes, the producer’s darling Lauren Alaina made the Top 13. Not shocked at all. This kid is talented, she just needs to find balance between acting her age and acting professional. I think she’s going to do well in the competition. Lauren has done really well up to this point, and unless she gets laryngitis or sings off-key (take your pick), I think she’s golden.

Paul McDonald advancing to the finals was another no-brainer. Ladies love them some Paul. What I like most about McDonald is that he knows how to choose songs that fit his voice. I think that’s where a lot of contestants slipped up this week. As long as he stays true to who he is as an artist, and as long as there are women in the audience that find him adorable, McDonald should be just fine.

I wasn’t really impressed with Karen Rodriguez’s performance of Mariah Carey’s “Hero” on Wednesday. I hope she starts picking songs that aren’t so predictable and boring. Any of the girls in the Top 13 can throw down a ballad, to stay in the competition Rodriguez is going to need to show what makes her different, and why people should vote for her. And maybe that will make me stop wishing that Lauren Turner had gotten her spot instead.

One of my friends is going to be mad at me for saying this, but I don’t feel like Stefano Langone should have been chosen from the Wild Card round. I kind of forgot he existed, until finding out he had made the Top 24. I thought he had an okay vocal performance Tuesday night, but it was nothing special. I didn’t think he did much better during his Wild Card performance. Unless he works out the kinks in his vocals, especially when he reaches into his falsetto range, he’s going to have some issues. In comparison to the rest of the guys in the Top 13, he doesn’t have anything that makes him stand out from the pack.

I have mixed feelings about Ashthon Jones being in the Top 13. She can sing, but I can see her song picks tripping her up throughout the competition. Even her Wild Card song pick was boring and predictable. If Jones wants to be this season’s diva, she’s going to need to show that she can do more than hit huge notes in some ballad. She needs to pick songs that highlight her personality and her talent. The ballads aren’t going to cut it.

The biggest snub from last night was when the judges chose not to advance Robbie Rosen into the Top 13. He sounded fantastic. I would have easily put him in the Top 13 over Stefano or even Ashthon. I think a big reason that Rosen wasn’t picked, is because he’s more of a singer-songwriter type and not a pop star type. I feel like if the contestants musicians within the Top 24 had been allowed to play an instrument, we’d have a much different Top 13 on our hands.

In other Idol news, Adam Lambert will return to the stage during next Thursday’s results show to perform an acoustic version of his song, “Aftermath.” You know you’re excited.

So Idol fans, are you happy with this season’s Top 13?

About Kirsten Coachman

Kirsten Coachman is a writer and editor from the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit her long-running music blog, Wait...WHAT, at waitwhatmusic.net. Follow Kirsten Coachman on Twitter: @KirsCoachman

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