We have to hand it to you, America: You really know how to pick a Top 10.
After hearing the Top 24 perform this week and casting 40 million votes, America chose Casey Abrams, Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, James Durbin, Jacob Lusk, Thia Megia, Pia Toscano, Haley Reinhart, Karen Rodriguez and Paul McDonald to be the Top 10 finalists.
That's a seriously talented group -- there's not a Sanjaya in the bunch!
And for the first time ever, the judges were allowed to select three "wild card" contestants to remain in the competition. They chose Ashthon Jones (she told us she wasn't going!), Stefano Langone and, our favorite of the three, "exotic flower" Naima Adedapo. We'd have preferred Jovany Barreto and Robbie Rosen to Ashthon and Stefano, but at least we got Naima.
As for the Top 10, Scotty, Lauren, James, Jacob, Thia and Pia were all but guaranteed, but we were really happy to see Casey, Paul, Karen and Haley make the cut.
So who else went home? Quirky yet gentle Brett Loewenstern couldn't survive his hair-tossing performance of "Light My Fire." Clint Jun Gamboa paid the karmic price for being mean to Jacee Badeaux. Jordan Dorsey wasn't able to pull off his Usher impression. And poor Rachel Zevita will live to regret that ill-advised striptease.
Ta-Tynisa Wilson, Lauren Turner, Tim Halperin and Kendra Chantelle also said goodbye, although Kendra was one of the six contestants given a second chance to sing for her life.
But of the whole bunch, the one contestant we thought might deserve a second chance who didn't get one was Julie Zorrilla. Not only is she one of the prettiest girls we've ever seen, she was really good in auditions -- Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" just didn't do her justice.
And what a coincidence! As the judges were deliberating over their three saves, "Idol" had the perfect amount of time to show us Jennifer Lopez's new video for "On the Floor," which should really be called, "Jennifer Lopez has six-pack abs."
--Jennifer D'Angelo Friedman, PopNews Wire