american-idol-judges2Tuesday, February 16, 2010, “American Idol” from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood and there are 71 contestants still standing. In the 2-hour Tuesday show, the 71 were to be pared down to 24 Finalists.

While we, at home, are, no doubt, being denied complete exposure to every single “comer” (i.e., all the good singers are not revealed early on; it took a while for “American Idol” to let us get a good look at Adam Lambert last season, for example), sometimes we get a quick glimpse of a contestant who will possibly be one of the Final 24, like Genesis Moore or Ashley Rodriguez.

One Orlando contestant (male) was booted from the show when his father couldn’t keep his mouth shut and blabbed it around town that his son had made it through to the Final 12. The contestant (Nicci Nix) who claimed to have flown 14 hours from Florence is no longer seen onscreen. Danielle Hay, who was really a very good singer, was booted for failing to reveal some troubles with the law. There was also a contestant in Chicago (male) whose visa or green card from Northern Ireland posed problems for the show, so he was out.

To try to make a prediction of the Final 24—12 male contestants and 12 female contestants—is, therefore, almost impossible at this point in the competition, but it’s fun to try.  The Final 24—-or, I should say, the remaining 17, since we already know 7 of them after Tuesday night’s show— are going to be announced Wednesday, February 16th’s show.  I am going to make predictions right now, much as is done prior to the announcement of the Oscar nominees.

Please bear with me as I scour my notes and my not-always-that-great memory. Please forgive me my spelling errors of names, early on. Most of the last three weeks’ worth of auditions I watched without benefit of TVO, as we were moving around in Florida (see previous AC articles).

Let me go out on a limb and we can all saw it off tomorrow night when I am way off the mark. If you’d like to make your own predictions, see if you can do better. And let’s not forget: by the end of Tuesday night’s show, we knew the names of 2 of the female final twelve and 5 of the male final twelve.

Who will the remaining Finalists be, following on the heels of the 7 announced tonight?

By show’s end, the male contestants who had made it through were:

1)      Michael Lynche, the 26-year-old personal trainer from Astoria, New York, whose wife just had a new baby girl (“Big Daddy”).

2)      Casey James – I like to call Casey “Mr. Shirtless.” (If you’ve been following the auditions, you’ll know what I’m referring to.)

3)      Aaron Kelly – Aaron’s continued presence surprised me, since he forgot his words at one point, but his back story (Aunt and Uncle had to raise him) and likeability made him a finalist.

4)      Lee Dewyze – [Do you remember him?]

5)      Todrick Hall – Todrick has danced and sung on Broadway with Fantasia in “The Color Purple.”

Female Contestants Named on Tuesday, Feb. 16:

1)      Didi Benami – The Nashville songstress’ story is primarily how the death of her best friend is motivating her.

2)      Katelyn Epperly – I’m pulling for the West Des Moines native with the “Witches of Eastwick” wild blonde hair. Her backstory is less compelling: Dad left Mom and she wants to prove that there is life after divorce.

So, those are the 7 contestants (out of 24) that have been announced as I write this.  I’m going to predict some sure things for tomorrow night, and some strong possibles.

Female Contestants (in no particular order, but bold-faced are the stronger bets) to be announced on Wednesday, Feb. 17: (#3 through #12):

#3 – Angela Martin

#4 – Lilly Scott

#5 – Crystal Bowersax

#6 – Haeley Vaughan

#7 – Charity Vance

#8 – Ashley Rodriguez

#9- Janell Wheeler

#10- Genesis Moore

#10-Lacey Brown

#11-Christian Spear

For #12, some whose names were dropped (after which they disappeared) are; Tory Kelly, Kimberly Carver, Dawntoya Thomasen and a girl whose first name was Megan (did not get her last name). There are some fine male singers this year, but there seems to be more female talent this year.

Male Contestants: (#6 through #12):

#6 – John Park

#7 – Jermaine Purefory

#8 – Lloyd Thomas

#9 – Andrew Garcia

#10-Thaddeus Johnson

#11-Chris Golightly

#12-Dave Pittman

What? You say you don’t remember these names. Let me give you a quick refresher course on the Best Female Bets so you’re ahead of the game on Wednesday night.

#3) Angela Martin:  Angela made it to the Top 40 in Season 8. She said, “I’ve seen a lot of dreams die. I can’t give up until I touch my dream.” Angela sang a Mary J. Blige song. The 28-year-old native of Chicago lost her father just before being cut in Season 7 and, in Season 8, missed out because she had a traffic court citation. She was described as “really talented” and the phrase “try and try again” was used. Get the picture? If you watched on Tuesday, Angela was wearing a fake leopard-skin one-shouldered dress and looked great. She ended up in Room 3, and Room 2 was the room where contestants went to die.

#4) Lilly Scott – Lilly was described as “a sandwich-maker from Denver.” She has distinctive gray-white hair and wore long peacock earrings. Kara said, “Everything about you is refreshing.” Would seem to be a shoo-in.

#5 – Crystal Bowersax – If Crystal, a 24-year-old from Chicago, doesn’t get in, there is no justice. From Chicago, she both played guitar and harmonica while singing, totally charming the judges. Crystal describes herself as a musician and a mother. Simon said of her, “You’re infectious. People will like you,” That, plus she is a very good bluesy chanteuse Sheryl Crow-like singer.

#6) Haely Vaughan– Haeley is the would-be black C&W singer. I honestly don’t think she’s that good, but Randy, in particular, really seems to like her.

#7) Charity Vance – Charity got the second gold ticket in Chicago singing “Summertime” and talking about her mother and father’s beauty shop. A pretty blonde, she had a small, soprano voice with a nicely lilting vibrato. Charity was a member of the female trio “Faith” during group week, along with Ashley Rodriguez, and all 3 of the members of this trio made it through.

#8) Janell Wheeler – Janell sang “House of the Rising Sun” and is rumored to be Tim Teebow’s girlfriend. Look for her to make it through to the top 24 for that reason, alone.

#9) Ashley Rodriguez – One of the trio called “Faith” during group week, Ashley has a video online under the name Ashley Makailah (“Gravity”, by Sara Bareilles), which is worth checking out. She is a true beauty who can really sing and Simon has said she has “it.” A lot of the videos of Ashley have been “pulled,” so she is one they’re keeping under wraps to spring on us.

#10) Genesis Moore – There is video of young Genesis at age 13 blowing the judges away in a talent competition singing “Summertime.” We hardly saw her at all during the auditions. This black chanteuse is one who can blow.

The last 2 spots may well go to any one of these names: Christian Spear, Tory Kelly, Kimberly Carver, Dawntoya Thomasen, Megan ?. I think the “best of the best” (i.e., the best of the female talent) is already listed above.

Since the girls are the strength area this year, I’ll remind you about the male contestants after they are announced on Fox tomorrow night, Wednesday, February 17th, 2010.