Melinda Doolittle ranks the ‘American Idol’ Top 24 for HitFix

Editor’s Note: Season 6 favorite Melinda Doolittle is one of the experts in HitFix’s Fantasy American Idol game and throughout the competition, she’ll be providing analysis on this season’s contenders. Based on her in-depth rankings of the Top 12 Men and Top 12 Women after their opening performances, do we dare suggest “American Idol” might want to consider adding a fourth judge?


The girls win! I actually didn”t see this one coming. I really thought the boys had it, but it looks like the girls learned a lot from watching the guys the night before. They were able to see how the staging worked, how the judges reacted and how the audience reacted before ever stepping foot on the stage. It”s definitely a perk, and they took full advantage of it.

So, since we have to do rankings, I thought I would briefly tell you what I thought of each performance this week. Let me know if you agree or disagree. Let me start by saying, this is the hugest and saddest elimination ever! I can”t believe I have to pick only a Top 5 (maybe 6 or 7) boys and girls to make it through. It just doesn”t seem right, but here we go…


BOYS (From #12 to #1)

Jordan Dorsey – “OMG”

I was hoping he made me forget about all the Hollywood Week drama, but this was a bit uncomfortable for me to watch. What I hate the most, is that since he”s  a vocal coach, this is what he has to take home and show his students. Was a bit  confused about him saying this song wasn”t “him”. I never recall any of us being forced to sing a song we didn”t want to do.


Jovany Barreto – “I”ll Be”

Wasn”t really into this one. The great thing is that all the guys can really sing, so it comes down to song choice and delivery. Sadly, this just wasn”t his best night.


Clint Jun Gamboa – “Superstition”

Superstition”? Really?! Not that he didn”t have some impressive moments. Boy can sing! Sometimes he”s screaming a bit, but I could let all that go if he hadn”t done “Superstition.” Really?! (Trying to let it go since he comes from the world of karaoke, but…)


Brett Loewenstern – “Light My Fire”

I really like his tone, but I don”t think we even got to hear the beauty of it until the very end of the song and it was completely overshadowed by his hair tossing. I feel like nerves got to him. He”s so much better than that performance.


Robbie Rosen – “Arms of an Angel”

I really wanted this to be great! I have loved his voice since day one. I have no idea what happened. I guess maybe this was just the wrong song for him. This one really made me sad. He did, however, make some really cool melody choices, but I”m not sure it was enough. I hope it was.


Tim Halperin – “Streetcorner Symphony”

Love this song! This is seriously one of my favorite Rob Thomas grooves.  However, it doesn”t have a lot of range to it, so I don”t think it was the best song to showcase his voice. Again, this kinda makes me sad because I really love Tim.


Stefano Langone – “Just The Way You Are”

Man, he”s cute! Hehehe… I really love the pure tone of his voice also. I wish the song was done in a lower key, but he still did a really nice job. And you never know…when he picked the key, his voice was probably in tip-top shape and then he went into the vigorous schedule of “Idol.” That happened to me a couple times. Ugh.


James Durbin – “You Got Another Thing Comin””

Haven”t been his biggest fan, but he sang the living daylights out of this song. I really hope that he gets to the point where he feels his singing makes him “rock” enough. Then, maybe he won”t throw up the “rock” sign so often and maybe the tail can go too.


Scott McCreery – “Letters From Home”

Gracious! His voice is absolutely gorgeous! He has this one look that he does into the camera the whole time, but I think he”ll grow out of it. He nailed the song…absolutely nailed it!!!


Paul McDonald – “Maggie May”

Outside of him yelling, “What”s up TV Land”, this was a great performance. LOL! He”s so comfortable on the stage. I will admit that his lyrics are a little hard to understand, but I don”t seem to care with him. He”s a joy to watch and listen to.


Jacob Lusk – “House is Not a Home”

So excited to hear him pull the reigns back a little bit and deliver a stellar performance! This guy can saaaang! His range is amazing! I loved it, plain and simple.


Casey Abrams – “I Put a Spell On You”

If you don”t know yet…Casey is my favorite! I love that he gives the song exactly what it calls for and that it”s always his own interpretation. This is a growling and howling song and he did just that. Did I notice a few pitch issues? Yes. Did I care? No. His delivery was amazing. And that ending? So perfectly haunting! PS – he did all this after JUST getting out of the hospital! Yep. I”m a fan. 


GIRLS (From #12 to #1)

Ta-Tynisa Wilson – “Only Girl”

I really feel like she needed this night to go perfectly for her in order to have a chance in this competition and I hate that it didn”t. That”s all.


Julie Zorrilla – “Breakaway”

I”m gonna state the unspoken rule: Don”t do Kelly Clarkson songs on AI. I will gladly stand corrected if anyone ever nails one.


Rachel Zevita – “Criminal”

The arrangement of the song was awesome. I think if she had nailed the vocals, maybe the judges wouldn”t have cared that it was a bit Broadway. She”s such a great singer, but I had a hard time with her performance tonight. It didn”t live up to the hype I had built up in my head.


Karen Rodriguez – “Hero”

Not my favorite song choice, but she did a good job. Loved the bi-lingual approach, but I felt like she didn”t actually make the song her own until the very end. I love that she is able to sing everything Mariah does, but I want to know what her voice really is. I was missing that tonight, but I know she”s capable of blowing us out of the water. I just hope she gets the chance.


Haley Reinhart – “Fallin””

Like her quirkiness and the originality of her tone, but not fond of the growl done that many times. Once again, I agreed with Randy. This song didn”t show off what she can really do.


Ashton Jones – “Love Over Me”

 I agree with Randy. I wish she would have picked a different song, but she sang this one extremely well. I can only imagine what would have happened if she had an even better song for her voice. Love her confidence also. She”s so sure of herself up on that stage. Wow!


Kendra Chantelle – “Impossible”

Great job! This girl can sing! There”s something I”m not quite connecting to, but it has absolutely nothing to do with her voice. She nailed it!


Lauren Turner – “Seven Day Fool”

 Love her!  Bluesy and gutsy make me happy. :-) She sang the heck out of this song and totally made a believer out of me. Can”t wait to hear what she does next. Hope she makes it to the Top 12 (13).


Thia Megia – “Out Here On My Own”

In all honesty, I questioned whether Thia was ready to be on this show, but she shut me up tonight. She did a great job! It”s so hard to start a cappella and she did it perfectly. Her tone was absolutely gorgeous too. Not sure if I”m completely with Randy on the Michael Jackson comparison, but obviously my mind can be changed.


Lauren Alaina – “Turn on the Radio”

Great delivery of this song. I think she was awesome. She really performs with an ease that belies her age. I”m so interested in what she does next and I”m pretty positive she”ll be around for awhile.


Naima Adedapo – “Summertime”

I was so nervous that I would be comparing this to Fantasia”s version, but she put a new twist on it and I loved it. She”s a true artist. Love her phrasing, her tone and her freedom on stage!


Pia Toscano – “I”ll Stand By You”

Wow! Didn”t see that one coming. I had kinda written Pia off, but I stand corrected! She is a powerhouse! She hit those notes at the end with amazing pitch and power for days and didn”t even begin to break a sweat! Amazing! 

Whew! I have no idea how the judges are going to pick their Wildcards! But that just means we have a great season ahead of us! Hope your faves make it in!