Captain’s Corner: On Judgment Night American Idol lost its virginity because now it’s Emmanuel

Some people call him the Space Cowboy.

Some people call him the Space Cowboy.

Last night could have gone better.

It’s hard to have a problem with who got in, unless you made pre-Hollywood picks and were totally and drunkenly upset that so-and-so went in over someone you were rooting for. Not that that ever happens around these parts.

What I didn’t like was the execution of the show. I really enjoy seeing more of these final auditions and less of the cat-and-mouse game played by the judges with the contestants. While the in-room sing-off between Jessica Meuse and Jesse Roach, this seasons BAB who were both rocker chicks (although a little different in style, but who cares right? Let’s just bring in three girls who just sing and all sound the same) and there obviously was only room for one. What I want to see is the judges explain why they took Kristen O’Conner over Madelyn Patterson, because it’s clear that O’Conner’s inclusion and Patterson’s banishment were directly related.

Looking at the list of people who got in, you can make a case some might not belong, but you can make that case with just about anybody. I wanted to see more people who were musically inclined but they make the show infinitely better; the people who just sing get stale quick unless they have the type of voice that makes you jump out of your seat, which is exactly what I did when Emmanuel Zidor nailed the falsetto portion of “I’m Going Down” – a song the American Idol YouTube channel incorrectly labeled as a Mary J Blige song; it was originally done by Rose Royce – immediately making me forget how horrible of a joke Harry Connick Jr. told.

Speaking of HCJ, loved, loved, loved him calling out Connor Zwetsch for doing an original that was basically lyrics over a slowed-down Sweet Home Alabama. Did not love him stopping Malaya Watson’s performance to make sure her and the band were doing the right key. That’s bullshit, because that’d be like the Super Bowl officials stopping the Super Bowl and restarting because the Broncos weren’t at their best after the ball was snapped in the end zone. And never, ever, ever try to show up Michael Orland. No way Connick didn’t wake up with a horse’s head in his bed the next morning.

Anyway, did anyone get robbed last night?

It’s tough to tell because we weren’t told which contestants were booted (Note to Idol – you need to let fans know every contestant. Enough of this secrecy bullshit; it’s beyond frustrating) and don’t know if any of our favorites from auditions are still alive or were kicked out in The Hangar.

Personally, I was mad about Maddie Patt, but in the original auditions it was clear her and Kristen O’Conner both had the goods. Keri Lynn Roche’s dismissal was weird until you realize Jillian Jensen took her spot (and based on this tweet, my girl Tessa Kate’s as well):

Still, I liked the contestants who got through. Or at least didn’t totally hate them enough to get pissed on Twitter.


Emily Piriz

She got lost in the shuffle early for me, but it’s clear she’s got the goods. Wish we could have seen more from her during the audition process. Getting screen time is huge in building a fan base and getting votes.

Jillian Jensen

I had no idea who this girl was until I saw a tweet from Michaela Johnson, who hosts a local morning TV show in RI, that she was going to be on (interview here). I had to do some research on her; she’s was on X-Factor and is really good. Wonder if they didn’t show too much of her because she already has a huge fan base. She’s got 60K followers on the Twitters, the most of any contestant by a mile.

Malaya Watson

The tuba-playing high schooler has grown on me. She was fantastic in group night and sounded great in her final audition, but I was shocked she got in. Why? See below.

Bria Anai Johnson

Bria’s voice is redonkulous. She still wears the clown lipstick (STOP LETTING YOUR MOM STYLE YOU) but good god. The pipes. If she wants to do well, she’s going to have to find a niche other than belting out big songs and doing soft ballads. Also the favorite to sing “I Will Always Love You” during country week.

MK Nobilette

Probably the night’s most intriguing Top 15 member. She didn’t wow anybody, but she’s been consistently good in every audition, at least from what we’ve seen. Loved her throwing her look in the judges faces, asking them if Idol was ready for a contestant like her. A lesbian? An androgynous chick? Yeah, been there, done that. Loved her asking, because if she got through the judges would have looked like assholes.

Jesse Meuse

She’s the winner of the BAB slot. Just call her the Exterminator, because she eliminated a pair of Roaches (well, one was a Roche) from the show.

Kristen O’Conner

My brain told me she was better than Madelyn, but my heart disagreed. There wasn’t room for both. No idea where my loyalties lie with this one.

Andrina Brogden

If only someone had said she was exactly what Idol wants as a contestant oh wait I did. She’s got the look and a decent enough sound to deserve a spot. She went head to head with Leah Guerrero and I’ll tell you why she got in – she looks the part and Leah looks like that girl from The Voice with the glasses. And American Idol hates The Voice.

SPOTS TAKEN: 8. SPOTS LEFT: 7. WHO’S LEFT: I have no idea where the judges are going. I feel like there are too many good contestants left and not enough spots. If the Tessa Kate tweet is correct, she’s out, which is bullshit. I can’t see Remi Wolf not being in. I’m on the Jocelyn Baker bandwagon even though she’s only been on the show for 15 seconds. We haven’t seen any country girls yet. Majesty Rose is too good not to be in. Does the inclusion of Andrina mean Paula Hunt and Aranesa Turner are screwed? Where’s Mel Porras? Or Taylor Stearns? And there is no way Kenzie Hall isn’t getting in. Tonight’s gonna be interesting.


Spencer Lloyd

Well duh. Dudes who look like Spencer and perform the way he have always get in. The didn’t need to fake the drama with him last night.

George Lovett

My two favorite genres of music are Yacht Rock and New Jack Swing. George isn’t a burly white guy with a soft voice and a beard, but he does look like he looks like every early 90s R&B singer and I love him for it.

Sam Woolf

His inclusion convinces me that either Ethan Thompson or David Luning isn’t getting in the field. The WGWG field was strong this year and Woolf clearly came up with the performances necessary to get in.

Maurice Townsend

Because we don’t do bullshit here, I’m not gonna start: I didn’t think Maurice had a chance in hell. His voice was OK, but it never really got me going. Then last night happened. You want to talk about clutch performances? Picking ‘Wrecking Ball’ was straight brilliant and his execution couldn’t have been any better. If the judges were honest, I’d bet they say he was on his way out until that performance, which means he’s gonna need to bring it big every week if he wants to survive.

Dexter Roberts

He’s had good performances, but I was a little surprised by this pick. How many southern rock sounding guys are going to get in this year? You’re gonna have the end-of-the-show cliffhanger in and I’d be shocked if Caleb Johnson didn’t make it, so that’s three. And that’s a lot.

Emmanuel Zidor
Emmanuel was Themanuel last night. His song selection was dead on, he showed a range in his voice and the showmanship? Good god. He’s the wild card weirdo this year. I’m not saying that because he’s gay (or at least that’s what I’ve gathered from his Twitter feed). He’s got just enough strange in him that makes you want more – like Norman Gentile but with more talent.

Jordan Brisbane

He’s the young gun this year (although I can’t see them leaving Briston Maroney out at this point). Again, a good voice but never had the wow moment, unless you count his cooking abilities. Need that baked beans recipe kid. Needed it yesterday.

Malcolm Allen

Hey, it’s the singer we hadn’t seen all season and he’s in the Top 15 guy! He reminds me so much of Burnell it’s sickening, mainly because I picked Burnell to go deep last season and he fell apart because he sucked at picking songs (yes, I’m still made about that one). The battle between Malcolm/Maurice/George/Jordan is going to be interesting because if I had to guess, only one gets in.

Alex Preston

Jesus, I wish someone would have picked him the second he auditions. Oh yeah, I did that. His ability to manipulate music is going to take him far. If he looked like Spencer Lloyd, he’d be my slam dunk pick to win.

CJ Harris/Casey Thrasher

This was the drama at the end of the night. The had a sing off and I thought CJ was so much better in front of the judges and will get in. If he doesn’t, it’s Screw Job City.

SPOTS TAKEN: 10 (barring the cliffhanger not ending in both getting in or both eliminated). SPOTS LEFT: 5. WHO’S LEFT: Everybody. At this point I’ve come to grips with the fact that Ethan Thompson ain’t getting in and David Luning might not either, which is a joke (and shows the producers really, really don’t want a WGWG to win again). Savion Wright is still in the field (although I question his sanity after he tweeted his favorite candy is Baby Ruth) and David Oliver Willis. I think TK Hash is cooked based on four similar singers already in. We haven’t seen CJ Jones in and I’ll be shocked if he’s not through. Ryan Nisbett has to be in. There’s going to be some sort of singoff, so there’s actually going to be six going through. I’m curious to see who it will be.

We’ll be live on Twitter tonight – @DudesReviewIdol and @CMoneyIdol – and should have an instant recap up, following by a complete breakdown and more on We’re trying to add content every day, so keep checking every day to read about Idol and Idol-related news.

The Captain

PS So it’s snowing a ton here and I’m down to three Bud Light Platinums (the grain alcohol of light beer), one 16 oz. Coors Light and four 12 oz. Coors Lights. Hopefully that will be enough, or I’ll have to drink wine and that will leave me with a raging hangover at the trampoline park tomorrow.