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Posted: 7:08 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013

'Idol' names top 40, including two with Georgia ties 

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Hollywood week
Hollywood rounds come to an end Thursday night. Top 40 begin performances next week.

By Rodney Ho

The top 40 were named tonight, which included eight cuts of the men from last week and a lot of women.

Three early women stood out tonight: Janelle Arthur (again!), Candice Glover and a surprising Angela Miller, who went big and bold. Among the guys I think could go far based on early performances that I can still remember: Devin Velez, Curtis Finch Jr. and Charlie Askew.  Over-rated? Lazaro Arbos. And I'm still not sure how far Zoanette Johnson can go with her crazy schtick.

We have one Georgian resident: Isabelle from Duluth. And Gurpreet spent 15 years here so he's a former Georgian, at least. (My interview with him will post tomorrow.)

Naturally, it's still too early to see how much talent the final 10 will really have.

As for the judges, I actually like them. But their star power has not slowed the rapid departure of audience. Overall audience is down by about 25 percent year over year. That's huge. The 18-49 dropoff is slightly slower but it seems Nicki Minaj wasn't able to draw enough younger folks to mitigate the loss of everyone else.

Here's the top 40:

1. Adriana Latonio

2. Amber Holcomb

3. Angela Kristine Miller

4. Aubrey Cleland

5. Brandy Hotard

6. Breanna Steer

7. Bryant Tadeo

8. Burnell Taylor

9. Candice Glover

10. Charlie Askew

11. Chris Watson

12. [Christina] Isabelle Pasqualone

13. Cortez Shaw

14. Cristabel Clack

15. Curtis “C.J.” Finch, Jr.

16. David Oliver Willis

17. Devin Velez

18. Elijah Liu

19. Gurpreet “Peter” Singh Sarin

20. Janelle Arthur

21. Jenny Beth Willis

22. Jett Hermano

23. Jimmy Smith

24. Johnny Keyser

25. Josh Holiday

26. Joshua Jada Davila

27. Juliana Chahayed

28. Kamaria Ousley

29. Kevin Harris

20. Kree Harrison

31. Lazaro Arbos

32. Mathenee Treco

33. Melinda Ademi

34. Nick Boddington

35. Paul Jolley

36. Rachel Hale

37. Shubha Vedula

38. Tenna Torres

39. Vincent Powell

40. Zoanette Johnson

So who stands out early on ? Candice, Janelle and Angela clearly did on their solos among the women.

So here's my recap:

The producers start with a stunning show stopper.

Angela Miller from Massachusetts started with an original song, a very risky move. "It's about being set free from baggage and weight you carry form hard times." It's called "You Set Me Free." Up to this point, I've found her cloying. But she brings drama and proper intensity to her original song. Incredible! The judges give her a standing ovation that is actually well deserved. "If that was recorded right there, I'd play that in my car," Keith said. "The vocal behind it!" Randy said. "The song, the sentiment, the passion," Mariah said. "Before today, I don't think you were on the top in our brains. This just completely changed that," Nicki said. No kidding she's in.

Candice Glover ("Girl on Fire" Alicia Keys) - She's not the cleanest singer but she does bring passion to play, a necessary component to make it to the top 20 at this stage. "You took it an did your own thing," Keith said. In for sure.

Janelle Arthur ("I Told You So" Randy Travis/Carrie Underwood) - This is her third season trying out for "Idol" and she's ready. Her voice isn't quite as pure as Carrie's, but she brings enough emotion into it to make her worth watching and hearing. "You always keep it subtle. You are a superstar, a country superstar," Nicki said. Duh. Also in. I still think she has a shot to win it all.

Zoanette Johnson ("Bah data Bah," made up song ) uses the drums, a rare moment on "Idol. She riffs on all the judges, then tells the band to slow it down. She drops her drum stick. Then gets going again. She then just screams. It was kind of crazy, another hot mess. I actually found this more amusing than anything I've seen her perform before.  She is someone Vote for the Worst will embrace given what a wild card cartoon she is. Yes, she's in the top 40!

Jett Hermano makes it through but we don't hear her song. Will she just be fodder?

Shubha Vedula has no trouble tackling a Mariah song "Hero." Juliana Chahayed from the Long Beach audition gets a bit of "Landslide in."

Kaz Ben sounds weak doing an original. Her vocals are weak and airy, which might work okay in a coffeehouse but not on a big stage. The song itself is kind of dull, too. So she's gone.

Ashlee Feliciano isn't quite on key during her "Thousand Years" by Christina Perri up front, ends with a big high falsettos. It wasn't bad but probably not good enough. "Not a bold song choice," Randy said. No for her.

Melinda Ademi ("Price Tag" Jessie J) has 'tude and swagger. Everyone is singing along - even Keith Urban. She's fun, period. She was an easy placement into the top 20 with something upbeat.

Kree Harrison so far doesn't seem all that special so far on stage. She tackles "Stars" by Grace Potter. Keith acts like has goosebumps when she hits the big chorus. I don't think she has much in the way of stage presence but her vocals are pretty strong. "Your voice is one of my favorites," Keith said. "My arms get covered in chills." "There is something that feels genuine about you as a performer," Mariah said. She is in.

Two notables that also missed out: Sarina Joi-Crowe and Rianna Oakley, who takes it really poorly.

At 40 minutes in, they had 24 women so three get cut. Two go into a sing off. Stephanie Schimel opts for Phillip Phillips' "Home." I like her a lot. Rachel Hale is the other close call. She had flubbed her solo but they really like her bubbly personality. She opts for an 'Idol" alum's song, too: Haley Reinhart's "Undone." Very pretty. Close call.

They have 28 guys that have to be cut to 20. So they have Adam Sanders first with a Celine Dion song after a terrible solo song. It's a little overwrought. Next: Josh Holiday ("Georgia on My Mind") is just okay to me though he hits the big notes well (tearing his pants.)

Those who go home: Peter Garrett. Marvin Calderone. Devon Jones. Kenny Harrison. Will White. Tony Foster. David Leathers Jr. Adam Sanders.

Yes. David Leathers gets cut AGAIN. But at least Johnny Keyser is still around, though what I've heard of him this year hasn't impressed me as much as last year.

The next round is in Vegas.

Rodney Ho

About Rodney Ho

I cover local radio and TV for both the print and online editions. I write a blog on the same topics.

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