american-idol-judges21My impression that the female singers, this year, are stronger than the male singers, was seconded by the Judges on Wednesday, February 17, 2010, as the Final 24 were selected to be this year’s “American Idol” contestants.

In predicting, in fact, I even found it difficult to come up with the names of 12 strong male singers and was laboring under a couple of misperceptions:

1) Stories abound on the Internet that “Big Mike” Lynche was disqualified because his father let it slip that he had made the top 24. It’s a rule that is controversial and selectively enforced, like kicking Kevin Smith off an airplane for being too fat. So far, Mike Lynche is still “in,” as far as I know, but the stories persist that his mother works for a newspaper in Orlando and his father confirmed his presence among the top 12 male singers. (His brother made it pretty far in a previous Idol competition.) Supposedly, Dad’s phone number is now disconnected. I’m wondering what gives?

2)  Another misconception I had was that Tim Urban was gone after group week. Tim Urban made the final cut, and that was good news, to me.

Others among the men who made the Final 24 contestants were:

Tyler Grady – a Jim Morrison wannabe who said, “This is huge.”

Alex Lambert

Joe Munoz

Jermaine Sellers

John Park

Tim Urban

Alex Lambert

Andrew Young

Honestly, this year’s crop of men is far less memorable than the women. I do remember John Park, Jermaine Sellers and Andrew Young. It was hard not to remember Thaddeus Johnson. He spent most of this night sobbing on his mother’s shoulder. The judges generally lauded his onstage performances, but he was not the most physically appealing of the group. Tyler’s comments in leaving: “I killed it. I just thought it was my time.” When asked if his being cut was a big shock, he said, “Yes, it’s a big shock, because they acted like they loved me, but it was kind of fake.’ (Ouch!)

I found myself focusing more on this year’s female contestants, so much so that I only gave readers a “reminder” of which females were “best,” so far. My list was not too far off the mark (8 of 12). The ones I missed, were, quite frankly, almost unheard-of and not given any airtime as they auditioned. Those unheralded contestants, who made the list for the women were:

Paige Miles

Siobhan Magnus

Michelle Delamour (she was predicted to have made the cut on some Internet websites)

Those who made the cut who had been featured prominently and nearly all of who (m) I predicted were:

Lilly Scott

Janell Wheeler

Lacey Brown

Ashley Rodriguez

Crystal Bowersox

Haeley Vaughan

And Katie Stevens

I did remember Katie’s back-story about her grandmother with Alzheimer’s disease, and I did remember Tory Kelly, (who did not make it). I accurately predicted nearly all the contestants that we, the at-home audience, had been allowed to see.

The notable exception to my predicting would be the elimination of Angela Martin. Privately, I wonder if the 6 days in jail she did for “traffic violations” was an influence on the judges’ decision, but, again, it’s hard to comment on young women like Paige Miles, Siobhan Magnus and Michelle Delamour, whom none of us at home saw. [I was paying close attention, Folks].

So, admitting that the men, this year, are not as compelling, I’m feeling okay about predicting the following contestants: Janell Wheeler, Lacey Brown, Ashley Rodriguez (again, check her out on the posted Internet video), Crystal Bowersox, Lilly Scott, Haeley Vaughan, Didi Benami and Katelyn Epperly.

That’s 6 correct female picks—8 if you accept my hand-on-heart contention that I had picked both of the 2 announced on Tuesday night (Didi Benami and Katelyn Epperly). I missed 4 out of 12 for 2/3% accuracy.

The question can legitimately be asked whether Angela Martin should have been cut. Angela’s comments after her elimination, which involved an almost full-out counseling session with Judge Kara sitting with her in one chair, were “Music heals me. I can’t give it up.”

The judges obviously knew they were doing something that would be viewed as controversial when they cut Angela. Some savvy music executive might still pick Angela up as a client, and she could be one who has a career despite being eliminated (Jennifer Hudson, anyone?). While Thaddeus Johnson did not have the “look” that the judges are seeking, and was far too dependent on dear old mom for support at every turn, making him seem less than adult,  Angela had been through a lot and deserved a shot. For me, she was far superior to Haeley Vaughan (black C&W singer), who made it through. I had speculated that Courtney Vance might make it through, but, in my notes after her first appearance, I commented, “Very small voice. Will not go far.” That last part proved accurate.

[*Note to self: must start paying more attention to the male contestants, even if they aren’t as good as the girls.]