Hollywood Nights: That time Maddie Walker murdered someone to reach American Idol’s Top 24


It wasn’t one of the top million performances in the history of American Idol, but what Maddie Walker did facing elimination in the face is Top 5 moment in the show’s history because she murdered someone.

RIP Rachael Hallack.

American Idol is a competition and that fact gets lost among fans, judges and, worst of all, the contestants. You can’t play nice and survive. You need to be out for blood and ready to kill at a moment’s notice.

There’s really not a lot of chances to. There aren’t a lot of head-to-head competitions (quick sidebar: The Voice’s head-to-head comp is a joke. They’re singing a duet, not competing. It’s so stupid) and by the time they are competing head-to-head in the finale, the winner has all but been decided.

Tonight changed all that.

Maddie Walker, who’s gotten more screen time than anyone else this season, seemed like a no-brainer Top 24. She has a terrific look, terrific sound and is exactly what Idol producers want to get asses on the couch and eyes on the TV.

Because the judges have an impeccable record of never fucking up, they cut her, but the second they vomit out an apology J-Lo realizes “we done fucked up.”

Rachael Hallack, who’s barely been on but was magnificent in her House of Blues performances, comes out and gets the news – they were gonna put her through, but because it was so close with her and another contestant, she’s going to have to sing to keep her spot.

It was over the second she saw who it was.

I don’t want to say panic overtook Rachael’s body, but she looked more afraid than my 3-year old when she’s misbehaving and I threaten to take her to the Bad Girl School.

If you’ve ever played sports, you know how to play for blood. If you’re in the lead or the favorite to win, you want to step on the underdog’s throat before they have a chance to think they can win.

Maddie strutted her stuff (she’s still underage, she’s still underage, she’s still underage) down that walkway and Rachael looked ready to puke.

Then they have to decide who’s going to sing first and Rachael DEFERS. If you’ve got to protect your seat, you go first, do a good job, and hope you don’t get beat.

Instead, Rachael plays nice and casually asks if Maddie wants to go first.

Maddie, who suddenly stops being a precious teen and turns right into a killer, crushes out some country bullshit I don’t know and it was over. Over. If she had a mic, she could have dropped it on stage, walked off and said to the judges “See you in the Top 24” and no one would have blinked.

Rachael’s performance was a mess, she got eliminated and her post-interview was worse. I have no idea how you come back from that.

Now if you’re any of the Top 24 and you see how it actually went down, you’re shitting a brick. Maddie went from a possible Top 24 to a lock. A god damn lock. She’s got balls and is ready to kill whoever gets in her way.

The rest of the show wasn’t nearly as great, but we saw a lot we expected and maybe a couple mildly surprising choices.

Adanna Duru was the biggest surprise for me because in the group round she was a train wreck. I was shocked they let her past that round and then tonight, singing “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” it made sense why. I didn’t have her in my Girls Top 12 but with her inclusion, I have a feeling one of my two “guesses” – Jaq Mackenzie or Katherine Winston – is not gonna be on TV next week.

The only other surprise I saw was Cody Fry getting bumped, mainly because I could have sworn I saw him in the Top 24 silhouette video.

Quick review of the others who made it through:

Michael Simeon
“Classic,” MKTO
First, I hated the song, but that’s because I’m old. Second, I hated Simeon all bow-tied up because he looked like a waiter. Once he loosened the tie and got into the faster pace, he really did well. I wonder how good he’ll sound next week compared to the others. I always think playing an instrument gives you a huge edge so I’m curious if he’ll go with the keys or go up just as a vocalist.

Loren Lott
“My Heart Will Go On,” Celine Dion
Good god. She gets better and better and like I said in the Girls Top 12 predictions, she knows the limitation of her voice. She didn’t chase Celine’s notes, instead choosing to go where she could. It was damn-near flawless. Love the potential, but it’s gonna be a tough battle between her and Adanna to get into the overall Top 12.

Adam Ezegelian
“Here I Go Again,” Whitesnake
How can you not like this dude? Between the singing faces, the body shape, the hair and the Jack-Black-esque voice, he might be my favorite guy. Really want to see him on live shows just to see what that voice can do with a tender song. He’s not as good as Lambert was, but he’s the closest to Lambert since Lambert.

Lovey James
“Wings,” Little Mix
She didn’t look like a contestant. She looked like a pop star. She’s perfectly packaged and while I don’t think she has the best voice among the girls, I think she’s more ready to be on the Idol stage than anybody.

Clark Beckham
“Georgia,” Ray Charles
If this dude had a little more scruff he would have gotten every chick at the House of Blues pregnant that night on voice alone. This kid’s gone from someone I haven’t really noticed, to someone I kept an eye on to one of my favorites. His performance tonight was the kind of thing that if it was a dunk on all-star weekend, Dikembe Mutombo would have done the Dikembe Mutombo face.

Daniel Seavey
“Straight Up,” Paula Abdul
It wasn’t original – Chris something or other did it several years ago – but it fit Mr. Seavey so well. Love his sound and talent. For the last time, I think he’d be better if he wasn’t Top 24 and tried to win this in a couple of years. That’s the last time I’m talking about it because he’s really good. Tonight’s HOB performance showed it and let’s see what he brings to the table next week.

Tyanna Jones
“Love on Top”, Beyonce
I loved this. I’m not a Beyonce fan (true story – I had to google the lyrics to find out what the song was. Hashtag OLD) but loved hearing Tyanna sing this. I really like her as a performer and she’s got an attitude about her on stage. It’s really cool to watch. I could do without the show banging us over the head about her “doing this for her family,” but if that’s the worst thing she’ll do just fine.

Rayvon Owen
“Lay Me Down,” Sam Smith
I love classifying him as an R&B singer when he’s singing a white guy song, but Rayvon’s got pipes. I’m curious as to his plans for the Top 24, because he’s going to have to bring the heat to get overall Top 12. I’m also worried about how he’ll handle fast-paced songs as opposed to songs that make every chick in America want to bang him. He probably should keep doing those because he’s really, really good at them.

Shannon Berthiaume
“Piece of My Heart,” Janis Joplin
Unpregnant Juno steps in front of an audience for the first time in her life and murders the stage. She has the most powerful voice among the girls and tonight’s performance didn’t change a thing. If she makes the overall Top 12, she’ll get my vote as the “Contestant Who Will Make Me Cry.”

Jax
“You and I,” Lady Gaga
If Jax has the cockiness I’d want her to have, she wouldn’t have walked up the walkway to talk to the judges. She would have peeked her head in and said “I’m good, right?” She’s the favorite of all the girls and maybe the favorite to win. I was not a fan of the J-Lo comments, because I’m terrified of the intention behind it. J-Lo has a tendency to dislike extraordinarily talented contestants and do everything to sabotage them while promoting the underdogs. I hope the little putdown was just for show because if J-Lo starts crapping on Jax now, it’s gonna be a U-G-L-Y season.

Of the 12 contestants who made it through, I correctly predicted 11 of them, which makes me feel real good about my chances tomorrow. Not a big fan of the cliffhanger with Hollywood Anderson, especially since he’s one of the guys I wouldn’t mind seeing get through (in place of my incorrect Cody Fry prediction).

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