Review: Idol Contestants Vie for Top 12

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The second group of 12 performed live on Wednesday night. American Idol hopefuls covered songs ranging from 1960s classics to recent Grammy nominated songs.

Sixteen-year-old Jasmine Murray was the first to sing. Jasmine is considered to be one of the dark horses in the competition. In a highly dramatic Hollywood week, she steered clear of the drama and sailed into the top 36. But her version of "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles was rough and she received some tough comments from the judges.

Another judge favorite, dueling pianist Matt Giraud, was next out of the gate. Matt has shown himself to be a very soulful, bluesy singer with great promise. He tried to revamp himself by singing Coldplay's hit "Viva La Vida" but seemed really lost without the piano. The song was also rough. Again, the judges gave some harsh comments about his song choice and, telling him to stick with the style that suits him best.

The next performer was Jeanine Vailes who had seen no screen time through the auditions or Hollywood weeks. She tried to make up for this lack by singing "This Love" by Maroon 5, but ended up over-singing. The only nice comments she received from the judges had to do with her legs.

After three rough performances, Nick Mitchell (a.k.a. Norman Gentle) pulled out all the stops for "And I Am Telling You" from Dream Girls. Norman is Nick's "stage persona" complete with shiny shirt, red sweatbands and huge glasses. He is an amazing and funny performer who can really sing, but that fact gets lost in the over-the-top act. Simon Cowell did not approve at all, but the other judges agreed he was one of the best performers this season.

Another finalist who hadn't seen much screen time is 16 year-old Allison Iraheta. Her choice, Heart's classic "Alone," showcased her huge voice and great talent. All the judges agreed she is a serious singer who is in it to win it.

Kris Allen decided to go more pop with Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror." He's a good singer and will stir up the teen girl vote, but the performance was not one of the more memorable of the night.

Another dark horse is Megan Joy Corkrey, a single mom with a jazzy, throw-back style. She sang a great performance of "Put Your Records On" by Corinne Baily Rae. All the judges agreed she is the total package of personality, looks, and a great voice.

Welder, Matt Breitzke sang "If You Can Only See" by Tonic, but was hammered by the judges for her song choice and lack of energy.

Blues singer Jesse Langseth added a nice twist to the 198's classic "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes. Her vocals were great, but the performance lacked spark, which was pointed out by the judges.

The next performer was Kai Kalama. Kai sang "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" by Jimmy Ruffin. This was another safe performance that had a pretty good vocal, but nothing memorable.

The last female to sing was repeat contestant Mishavonna Henson. Mishavonna made it through to Hollywood last year. She sang "Drops of Jupiter" by Train and showed a great voice in a great performance. The judges thought she seemed too old for 18.

The last contestant was music theater performer Adam Lambert, who added modern twists to "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones. It bordered on frenetic, but Adam has an amazing range and great voice and ended the evening strong. The judges had high praise for Adam's range and performance.

The results will be announced on Thursday's show. The top guy vote-getter, the top girl vote-getter, and the next highest vote-getter will join Danny Gokey, Alexis Grace, and Michael Sarver in the top 12. There is a wild-card show this year, so if the other performers don't get in tonight, they'll have another chance in a couple of weeks.

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Chuck Chalfant

Chuck Chalfant

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