American Idol: Who Should Win the Coveted 25th Spot?

Good lord, that was a gruesomely long Hollywood Week. Was it not? It was more like Hollywood Year, as it felt like we’d been auditioning these hopefuls since Season 10. (And in some cases, we have.) Just pick the damn Top 24 already! For starters, half of them are going to be toast within the first two weeks of competition anyway, and besides—haven’t we moved past the point where any of this really matters, or even carries the semblance of mattering? It’s just another singing competition. Perspective, people! It’s a really useful tool. Rant over! And having said that, our Top 24 looks to be an okay, but definitely not stellar, crop.

On the boys’ side, we have the natural charm of Phillip Phillips, the can-do attitude of Reed Grimm, the come-to-Jesus caterwauling of Joshua Ledet, the dry wit and Boltonesque soul of Heejun Han, the prepubescent purity of Eben Franckewitz, and Adam Brock, who reminds me of either David Gest, Christopher Lowell or James Lipton—or maybe all three.

On the girls’ side, we have Barbecue Barbie Baylie Brown, the not-quite-ready-for-TV Elise Testone, the towering hippiedom of Haley Johnsen, and the terrifying back tattoos of Erika Van Pelt. Did I miss any of your favorites? Feel free to fill us in.

Squeezed in between the Top 24 victory dance sequence and Steven Tyler stripping down to his underwear and diving into the frigid waters of Decision Cove, we had an interesting wrinkle: One of four discarded male contestants would have a shot at a 13th spot—judges’ choice. My first instinct was that they’d realized they’d wrongly eliminated Johnny Keyser, the pretty boy soul crooner, too hastily, and this was their convoluted way of bringing him back into the competition without it seeming as if they were playing favorites. And I still pretty much think that, and will have confirmation when they announce their choice on Tuesday.

But assuming all four have a legitimate shot, let’s take a look at the four and judge each on their own merits.

Jermaine Jones is the gentle giant and mamma’s boy who sings Vandrossian soul. Richie Law was the guy in the cowboy hat who bossed around Heejun and Phillip, the two most likable guys in the competition, during group night, thereby earning the witheringly dismissive nickname "The Cowboy" from Heejun, as well as a bunch of other hilariously snide cracks and insults. Let’s eliminate him right off the bat. As for Jones, well, he seems nice, but he cries an awful lot and I get uncomfortable watching giants cry. It’s like you’re reading some weird fairy tale, and I’m not seven anymore, so THANKS but no thanks. Here’s the two dueting on some terrible song I hope never to hear again:

That leaves Johnny Keyser, who from as best as we can make out was eliminated for getting too comfy in a hot tub in Vegas, and David Leathers, Jr., who is 17 going on 11, and seems like a very sweet kid who got way further into the competition than he ever expected to. Before we decide who deserves the coveted 13th spot, let’s watch Johnny singing “Wake Up Little Susie” in Las Vegas:

Okay, that kind of explains why he was eliminated. Johnny was terrible. Compare that performance to David’s “Rockin’ Robin.”

David killed it! We choose David! Go David!


– Who are your top three contestants from the Top 24?

– Who would you choose to be the 13th male?

– How did you like Steve Tyler’s impromptu bathing session?

– Are you pumped for Idol Season 11, or bored of it?

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