‘American Idol’ XIII review: Did Casey Thrasher, Alex Preston, and Jillian Jensen make top 30?

The logo -Tonight on “American Idol XIII,” we had the beginning of what is without question one of the more difficult parts of the entire season: The green mile. Only so many contestants can advance to the next phase of the competition, whereas others are sent home into temporary obscurity … when they can audition next year and we’ll try to root for them all over again.

Like with Hollywood Week, these reviews are tough since there are so many different contestants that you see over the two hours. What we’re going to do is give you a little blurb on everyone who was put through, and lament those who didn’t in silence. We’re still so annoyed by the “to be continued” end that it’s hard to even remember all of the rejected.

Emily Piriz – She’s not the most memorable contestant in this group, but she’s got a nice voice and piano skills. Plus, her solo was to “Stars,” which seems to be the signature singing-competition song at the moment. We have literally heard more Grace Potter on this show than in real life.

Spencer Lloyd – A very good, fun performer that the ladies are going to love. You get this guy in front of America, and we imagine that he’ll be sticking around for a good while. He just has to get that far.

Jillian Jensen – By and large, Jillian’s reality TV experience has been well defined by her crying on various shows. The good news for her here is that she had a legitimate reason to cry; she’s got a heck of a voice, and when she gets a chance to be original, she can really shine. But in the future, fewer tears. It’ll get old quick.

George Lovett – Right now, George wins the award of “why haven’t we seen more of him?” this season so far. He’s got a ton of soul in that voice, and his take on “I Won’t Give Up” was really nice! Plus, “George Lovett” just sounds like a total musician name to us for some reason.

Sam Woolf – This original song from Sam to us really wasn’t about his voice so much as it was about his connection to the song, and the passion that we saw from him. This show is all about connecting to the voters, and he will do that.

Malaya Watson – A great young singer with range, and a little bit of personality. The only thing we worry about is whether or not she is too timid, and is going to be overshadowed by some of the others.

Maurice Townsend – He has a very inspirational story, and that will help him if he gets to the top 13. But the only thing that we hope is that somewhere along the way, that does not overshadow the fact that he needs to be great week in and week out. There have been better singers in his style.

Bria Anai Johnson – She almost pulled a Joshua Ledet with this great cover of “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” Very deserving choice for her as she tries to get into the next round.

Jessica Meuse – We still don’t know whether to call or “Jessica” or “Jess,” but we’re excited to see her in the top 30. Usually, the “alternative artists” with the tattoos or the colorful hair get cut in favor of the 16-year olds. We hope she stays for a while, and brings a different edge and material to the proceedings.

Dexter Roberts – We don’t really love country music, but we love this guy. There is nobody who is more country music than Dexter. He’s probably five times as country as Keith Urban. He and Blake Shelton should go off drinking on a porch somewhere after this.

Emmanuel Zidor – We don’t necessarily think that Emmanuel is the best singer ever, but he just has such a fun-loving, entertaining way about him! We could literally watch this guy just have a conversation with a dishwasher and we’d be entertained. Maybe he should make a web series called “Emmanuel tries to get J.Lo to buy him things.”

M.K. Nobilette – We still really don’t know that much about M.K. this season. She hasn’t received a ton of screen time, but there is also something that is very real and genuine about the way in which she performs. You really see it. On a different note, it was nice to see the show actually be willing to acknowledge someone’s sexuality, even if Keith’s “the world is changing” at the end was a little over-the-top.

Kristen O’Connor – A great performance of Katy Perry’s “Unconditionally,” and now she has to brace for the challenge of being a young female pop singer on the show. Unless you are Kelly Clarkson or Katharine McPhee, that hasn’t been easy.

Jordan Brisbane – How bad would’ve been if this guy got sent home for his birthday? He’s really good, and he definitely doesn’t sound like someone who just turned 16. Now that we’ve said all this, he could use another year to improve and get his not-singing personality to a higher level. He comes across a little flat in interviews.

Andrina Brogden – Easily the cruelest moment of the episode, mostly for the way in which this was handled. While Andrina was put through, she was put in while another person randomly brought in with her wasn’t. Cruel? Definitely, and totally unnecessary.

Malcolm Allen – First of all, the yellow sweater was pretty boss. Also, we just feel like he’s got everything. He has the voice, the confidence, and the cool look that makes him stand out.

Alex Preston – This is one of our favorites, since he’s a legitimate musician with songwriting talent that could bring something very unique if he makes it to the live rounds. He may be a little too out there for some voters, but not for us.

The show ended on a terrible cliffhanger of Casey Thrasher and C.J. Harris, two Alabama guys, each singing for their lives. We don’t know why there was a cliffhanger here since the show has enough drama on its own. We personally feel like the judges are going to pick Casey, but we’d take C.J. since he’s got almost a different style than everyone else in the competition. If nothing else, these two guys could go form an Alabama band (Bama band!) if this doesn’t work out for them. Epsiode Grade: B- (mostly for the unnecessary drama).

What do you think about the choices this time around? Share your favorites in the comment box below, and also click here to see some other highlights from some of the contestants to have come before this crop. We’ll be back tomorrow night to review the rest of the craziness, and find out the full group advancing to the next round. Brace yourself!

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Photo: Fox

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