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March 11, 2009
'American Idol': Top 13 draw mixed reviews


RAY MICKSHAW/Fox

First things first: Who has just crawled out from under a rock and discovered there are FOUR judges named Randy, Kara, Paula and Simon and a host named Ryan Seacrest on "American Idol?"

Last night's intro was just plain goofy. But enough about that. The Top 13 finally get to the big girls/big boys stage. What was also noticeable is that the "Idol" team of stylists/makeup artists/hair folks is back in action and helping the contestants with their "looks."

Alas - even with new clothes and new 'dos - they got stuck singing Michael Jackson songs. Some songs were obvious choices; others stumped me.

For example, Scott MacIntyre finally got to play the baby grand and chose "Keep the Faith." Simon Cowell said, "I hated the song. Nobody knows it!" Then there was "The Sneak," Kris Allen, who wrestled his guitar to the ground on "Do You Remember the Time?" Regardless of the judges' comments, Kris misled "Idol" reporters when he made it through a couple of weeks ago. He never mentioned being married, only that he had been with the same person for some time. Guess he hoped no one (read: female votes) would be watching the little family prologue, where his wife was introduced. Simon previously told him the "chicks will dig you." Last night, he told Kris he wasn't sure he should have brought the little woman out so early. She was in the audience and, if looks could kill, we'd be down to three judges!

I loved Danny Gokey's "PYT (Pretty Young Thing)," especially when he let Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi jump in. Lil Rounds brought an R&B touch to "The Way You Make Me Feel," which Randy Jackson appreciated. And Michael Sarver sang "You Are Not Alone," which was just OK for me. Simon said he wasn't the best singer in the competition but he made up for that with passion and a big heart.

Teen Jasmine Murray offered a Mariah Carey/Michael Jackson mix of "I'll Be There." She's starting to look more and more like a deer in the headlights. And then you get 16-year-old Allison Iraheta, who blew the paint off the wall with "Give In to Me," another song I couldn't recall. Simon called Matt (aka Justin Timberlake wannabe) Giraud's "Human Nature" a "meat-and-potatoes performance."

The worst of the bunch? Definitely Anoop Desai, whose tie and flack jacket weren't in keeping with "Beat It." Neither was his singing. Kara said she "felt disconnected." Simon lowered the boom: "It was horrible, lightweight and you looked stupid." AHHH!

Somewhere in the middle were Jorge Nunez, who got dinged for attempting "Never Can Say Goodbye." Even Paula admitted it was the wrong song choice. And what the heck was up with Megan Joy (pictured), who must still be going by "Corkrey," even though she said last week she was giving up her married name. Whatever. "Rockin' Robin" was a ridiculous song choice, and her "Caw! caw!" at the end was enough to get her tapped as the contestant to keep at Votefortheworst.com. And I fear the long lapse between performances hurt fan fave Alexis Grace. She's taking the "dirty yourself up a bit" comment from the judges waaaay too seriously. She sang "Dirty Diana" (never heard it) dressed in an odd mix of shorts and black stockings. Simon told her, "It was not as good as you thought it was."

So that leaves rocker Adam Lambert (pictured). His version of "Black and White" was spot on. Randy said he was the most current competitor and the "most right now!" Kara said he hit notes she didn't know existed. Simon said it was totally different. And Paula just frothed at the mouth.

Predictions? Two contestants will go, and I'm thinking there's trouble looming for Anoop and Megan. The live results show is at 9 tonight on FOX40. And Ryan warned they're changing the theme tonight - and it involves the judges. Please, no more intros!

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