Wednesday and Thursday last week we got our first taste of the Idol Top 24.  12 of the contestants performed on Wednesday as a solo performance.  On Thursday past Idol contestants Lauren Alaina, Caleb Johnson, Ruben Studdard, Nick Fradiani, Fantasia and Scotty McCreery returned to do duets with the Top 12. (Each past Idol performed twice.)  When I first heard that some of the past contestants will be coming back for the duets I got SO excited.  It was also nice to see them mentoring as well since they had all been through it before, and prevailed.  Everyone but Lauren had won their season – and Lauren came in 2nd so it wasn’t a bad bunch of Idols!

I found it interesting that the song choices for the duets were more catered to the past Idols – songs that they had done in the past – than catering to the new class of Idols that we need to begin forming relationships with.  It’s like they were purposely trying to make the past Idols shine more and say “look what you can be” rather than having something catered to the newer Idols – which may have made the past idols struggle a bit. (Although I guess if the past Idols looked bad it wouldn’t really show the show off)

Here are my thoughts on the performances – based on the order they went in on Wednesday night.

Before the show started my Mom made her pick for the season on who was going to win with Stephany.  She came out first and did Jessie J’s “Mamma Knows Best”.  While I think Stephany can sing, there was something about her and the performance that I didn’t like but I couldn’t my my finger on.  For duet night she did “Superstar” with Ruben.  I thought they had an awesome duet and my prediction for Stephany is that she would be safe.

Second up for the night was Mackenzie.  I liked him on The Voice but I don’t like him being on Idol.  Although I’m sure I’ll get over that in a couple of weeks.  I just don’t like when they already have an established fan base.  But he is good.  He did “Say Something” for his solo performance.  His duet was with Lauren, “I Hope You Dance”, Lauren was just smitten with him.  I really liked how he is not country and Lauren is and he was still able to make the song his own. My prediction is that Mackenzie is safe.

Next up was Jeneve.  She performed “Angel” with a harp.  I think that is the first time that the main performer has ever used a harp on Idol.  Her performance was interesting, but I’m not sold on her.  She did “Gone” with Scotty as her duet and it was a MESS.  I don’t know what happened and I think the judges agreed.  I think that Jeneve will be going home.

Jenna Renae did “My Church” as her solo performance which I don’t think I had ever heard before. I liked the performance.  Her performance of “See You Tonight” with Scotty was really great as well and I loved that Scotty did his “baby lock them doors” on their teaser before the commercial break.  My prediction is that Jenna Renae will be safe.

James VIII did a pretty awesome version of Kanye’s Love Lockdown. This was my favorite performance up until this point on solo night.  He got stuck with Caleb for his solo and they did “Gimme Shelter” which wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, since I think Caleb is awful.  My prediction is James will be safe.

Sonika did “Safe and Sound” for her solo performance.  I really like Sonika but was not a fan of this performance.  Sonika also got the unfortunate task of being paired with Caleb, but I think their performance of “Skyfall” really worked.  I predict that Sonika will be safe and sound.

Gianna Isabella did “I Put A Spell On You” for her solo.  I don’t think that she is all that good, she screams a lot.  I think her mother knowing Jennifer has definitely helped her out a bit and it shouldn’t.  She did “Beautiful Life” with Nick for her duet and it was super awkward and I actually really like that song. I predict Gianna will be leaving us.

Emily Brooke did “I Am Invincible” – while she has grown a lot since last season, this was a really bad performance. I am not sure if she could hear herself in the in ear monitors and that is why it was so bad. Her duet was with Lauren, Flat on the Floor, which was a lot better than the night before, but Lauren sang circles around her.  I think that Emily will be leaving the show.

Avalon did “Love Yourself” I love that she is staying true to herself and wearing comfy clothes on stage! She has a great voice too.  I hope that she sticks around for a while and isn’t forced into outfits / makeup that she doesn’t want to wear.  Her duet was with Ruben – and it was another great performance! Ruben did really, really good with his duets.  He didn’t try to out sing them and made his partners look good.

Jordan did “All By Myself” there is just something about him that I haven’t liked since the auditions when he was celebrating.  I didn’t like this performance either. He’s too broadway and over the top.  His duet with with Fantasia.  He tried to out sing her… which I’m not sure there is anyone out there that can actually pull it off.  I really hope that Jordan is all by himself on the way home.

Thomas Stringfellow did Creep and the rendition was a little bit weird for me.  I think he’s cute though and have liked his previous performances.  His duet was with Nick on Man in the Mirror and I couldn’t help but think he’d be better off doing this one with Kris! I didn’t like whatever weird hiccup things he was doing with his voice.  While I would love for him to stick around, I think he will be leaving us.

La’Porsha is a force to be reckoned with.  She is the front runner from this group of 12! She did a amazing rendition of Proud Mary on night 1 and her duet of Summertime with Fantasia for the second night just blew me away.  I think at this point it is her competition to lose.  And her baby is just so cute!  Needless to say, I think La’Porsha will be sticking around for quite some time.



Who I thought would be going home:  Thomas, Jeneve, Gianna, Emily, Jordan.

Who went home: Emily, Jordan, Stephany, Jenna, James

I definitely would have traded out Jeneve and Gianna for Stephany and James VIII if I was a judge.  I only correctly picked 2 of the 5!  Hopefully I will do better this week!