Well it’s been decided: this is the year of the blond! You gotta click through and see the hilarious cookie cutter approach they took to look and talent this year as I think the girls might have it a little harder than the boys in this the 11th season of Idol. While I think there’s talent for sure, the fact that so many of these songstresses look nearly identical when the makeup gets caked on and those lights explode on stage is gonna hurt them come voting time when you struggle to remember if it was the 4th blond girl who sang or the 6th one that you liked. Unique is often a huge help in the early stages of this competition to make a name for yourself until your talent shines through and carries you to the final rounds.

Still, there are a couple real gems in this lot and even my top pick to take this whole thing is amidst this divas. Girls, I feel, have it harder with the more extreme notes and ranges so it’s going to take a dedicated and talented singer more than a performer to win this boy’s heart as the boys often pull of perfect pitch a bit more readily. So, learn their names and learn them well cause they’re gonna need your calls to survive those initial rounds when anyone can go if voters get lazy to work to keep their faves in. And, no joke, you need to click along and see how much this cast reads like a cheerleaders registry from the 80s haha.

Jessica Sanchez

Age: 16
Hometown: San Diego, CA
Jessica was a late-to the screener in my opinion. Though, when she did get featured she got fully pushed out there, HARD. Popping into our lives with “Natural Woman” she’s got a very strong voice and a ton of energy especially for such a tiny little thing. It was really “The Prayer” as her last performance that put her big time on the maps as I declared her a “Producer’s Choice” seeing how much look-at-her time she got come the last episode. So, while she’s not the most pitch-perfect, she does have a lot of backing.

Jen Hirsh

Age: 25
Hometown: Agoura Hills, CA
One of the older girls you can see the maturity in this girl which will likely help come critic time but sometimes is a bit of a hindrance when they attempt to connect with the tweens and teens who make up such a huge amount of the voting population. She often very confident but never really takes it too far into conceit so I appreciate that. Pretty but not too pretty, nice but not too nice, there’s nothing to hold her back so honestly it’s up to her to win or lose her footing in this race. I think she’s been seen a fair amount and it’s and easy name to remember so a couple logistical things are going her way as well. Voice-wise I’m putting her slightly above middle of the road as my faves always have a really unique sound and thus far she’s just been “really good”.

Hollie Cavanagh

Age: 18
Hometown: McKinney, TX
This once Brit whose accent has disappeared more and more with every episode (good choice with this voting crowd sugar) came on very strong LAST YEAR with “At Last”. Her audition performance was not actually all that great but she’s risen since then and came back with a vengeance this time around and has really come out of her shell. She got bounced last year during the final decision and they made her sweat it out with by pitting her against two of her competitors this year only to say she finally made it through. She’s opened her range and voice in this the 11th season and I like I always say, returning singers do have that extra edge of already being known. And, yet, not my top choice at all.

Halie Day

Age: 24
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Hallie Day was born to perform with a name like that: even Steven in all his drugged stupor knew that from the first day. She’s got a classic beauty look to herself- a bit of a Marilyn. She’s a comeback story for her own life as a once-drug addict, once suicide attempter who now sings for herself and her husband. Most famous for her appropriately chosen “I Will Survive” I think she’s a little too imposing both physically and life-history wise for the church going voters and conservative mommas of the mid west who vote so strongly (bye bye Adam Lambert) to really have a real chance to win. Sorry Hallie.

Hayley Johnsen

Age: 23
Hometown: Beaverton, OR
Hayley stole the show during her group performance of the 50s/60s style and really popped later in the competition. She’s a little chatty in my opinion and it sometimes comes across as either controlling or nervous and my suggestion to her is to learn to listen more than speak on this show cause the judges just loooove to hear their own voices. She’s yet another blond (is there a trend this year or what?) so I’m worried she might get lost in the shuffle of pretty little golden haired things come voting time. Thankfully, I’d argue her voice and its power stands out amongst the others so that might be enough to propel her far enough that you’ll finally see her for her.

Erika Van Pelt

Age: 26
Hometown: South Kingston, RI
Erika was one of my early faves being the experienced DJ who clearly has seen and survived rejection which always helps come live performances when the boys and girls need to keep it together under criticism. Her final performance however was a ridiculous, man-sounding rendition of some song I don’t even recognize so she needs to smarten up her piece choices and soften her appearance some as the tom-boy thing again might threaten those arm-chair moms. She barely made it through the final judgment but did so needs to take this second chance and run with it.

Elise Testone

Age: 28
Hometown: Charleston, SC
Elise- whom I’ve harshly called Courtney Love in the past for her heavy-handedness with the make up brush- is ANOTHER blond that has made it through to the Top 12. I think this slightly gruff sounding girl should pick a persona vastly contrasting the other pretty girls if she wants to stand out. I think maybe the rocker thing would work with her whole hard leather look and feel she might head that direction: I’m seeing Janis Joplin for sure in this girl’s future.

Chelsea Sorrell

Age: 23
Hometown: Stockesale, NC
Chelsea was an early girl to make it through these auditions and flew through them easily. One of two country girls, she’s one of those rare performers who get a second chance as she BLEW the lyrics. Always the most dangerous thing to do on stage, she nonetheless must have blown the judges away with her other songs as they pushed her through to this point. Going for that whole Summer from “The OC” look, she’ll look good under that lights but sound-wise I’m iffy to say that she won’t blow it come the big day. She’s a bit of a little girl sounding for me but that might just be the southern twang so who knows. Honestly, after last year’s abortion of a winner Scotty McCreery and his country thing I think we’re not gonna see another one like that for some time now; sorry Chelsea.

Brielle Von Hugel

Age: 17
Hometown: Staten Island, NY
Brielle Brielle Brielle… she started out SO sweetly with her dedication to her ailing father and her kind demeanour and then it was all downhill from there. This is the Jersey (Staten Island, whatever) girl who’s mom is annoying us at every turn. A terrible combo, they’ve terrorized both cast and crew of this show with their self-indulgence and craziness, proclaiming this girl the best of the bunch. She’s not gonna make it far at all I don’t think as her age and immaturity is gonna bomb her out real soon I thing. Her voice isn’t the best either and so I’m calling this one a drama pick to keep people watching as we all wait for her inevitable meltdown.

Baylie Brown

Age: 22
Hometown: Krum, TX
Baylie- ignoring the unsurprising colour of her hair- is MOS DEF one to watch. I’m calling her a Top 3 contender straight up. But, I’m really shitty at predicting this stuff so don’t listen to me ha. She’s a returning favourite from years ago who exploded back onto this stage with looks on par with Amanda Seyfried and talent equal to any other girl out there. She’s still young enough to appeal to the kids but walks and acts like a woman who has the confidence and skill to take this whole thing. I know I’m lavishing her a bit much here but her singing is super emotional and powerful and I really think she’s the girl to beat.

Shannon Magrane

Age: 16
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Shannon (BLOND) is a 6″0, young as heck beauty who got super inappropriately hit on early on by Steven and has been referred to as “that girl” ever since. Unfortunately, I’m a bit hard-pressed to remember her as someone with super stand out performances. She’s good for sure but might be a bit young to take this whole thing. I do think she’ll connect with the younger voters despite her huge height but she needs to make some very young, very smart song choices to have a real chance I think. Never the perfect pitch, I think playing the Mylie and Selena tracks will help her a ton in this one.

Skylar Laine

Age: 18
Hometown: Brandon, MS
Skylar as the second country gal is a bit more memorable in my mind than her other Southern competitor. The sweet girl who works at the family restaurant is ripped from the screen of “Friday Night Lights” in looks and story and that will certainly help her along. She is the epitome of twang and I declared her on my map come her adorable acceptance of a Top 12 spot as she bounced around and joked about “her mamma”. She’s very genuine and down-to-earth and as long as she can pull of other styles of singing (ALWAYS a question with the country folks) then she has a chance.

American Idol 11: Who Is Your Favorite Top 12 Girl?

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