CLINT COOPER: If this week runs true to the first two rounds of 12 on "American Idol," the competition will conclude with two decent singers and one with some potential and some flaws. America selected flame-haired teenager Allison Iraheta and music theater veteran, punk-rock-looking Adam Lambert as its apparent top two choices last week. The third choice was Kris Allen, who, like Michael Sarver the week before, had shown promise but was hardly among the best singers during the previous night's competition.
KAREN NAZOR HILL: I thought Kris Allen's performance was weak, at best. The judges told him he chose the wrong song, and I agreed. Allison Iraheta, a high school junior who sang Heart's "Alone," reminded me of the first American Idol, Kelly Clarkson. Her performance was energetic, and I think America did well to vote her in. Adam Lambert, though, is in a league of his own. I couldn't believe the range of notes that came out of his mouth. It was a challenge to take the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" and make it his own. But, boy, did he. I'll bet Mick Jagger would be impressed. As of now, and I know it's early in the game, Adam Lambert is ahead of the game.
CLINT: This week promises another drama purveyor as in the first two weeks as 18-year-old Nathaniel Marshall gets his chance following group one drama diva Tatiana Del Toro and group two jester Nick Mitchell, also known as Norman Gentle. Nathaniel was extra whiny in the Hollywood rounds, complaining and crying that he wasn't being given a proper chance. But it also brings some potential stars that viewers saw in the same round, such as Lil Rounds - I love that name - of Memphis and visually impaired Scott MacIntyre.
KAREN: I'm looking for Scott MacIntyre to make it through. I really like him and, though he's got talent, if he doesn't choose the "right" song, he won't make it to the top 12. Last week, there were some good singers who didn't make it through clearly because they chose the wrong song, including Mishavonna Henson, who sang a song by Train, and Matt Giraud, who performed a Coldplay tune.
CLINT: The judges and host Ryan Seacrest have not made it clear how many contestants will be invited back for the wild-card round, but it promises to be interesting. From group one, surely Anoop Desai will return. Perhaps, just for drama, they'll even bring back Tatiana (I hope not). From group two, I hope Megan Joy Corkrey gets a shot. She reminded me of last year's Brooke White, a favorite of mine who, coincidentally, performed on Thursday's show. Jesse Langseth, who did well on "Bette Davis Eyes," and Kai Kalama, who warmed many hearts with the contestant-round story of his care for his cancer-ridden mom, may also be possibilities.
KAREN: Hopefully, Tatiana is gone for good, and Nick Mitchell, too. I can't believe Nick made it as far as he did. What were the judges thinking? Though he was tagged a comic from the beginning, I thought he was downright boring. He didn't make me laugh, and I didn't think he could sing. I agree with you that Megan Joy Corkrey deserves another shot (I liked her cute little dance and her voice), as does Jesse Langseth and Kai Kalama. The judges told Kai his choice of song last week, "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted," was too old-fashioned. If he is invited back to the wild-card round, the song he chooses will make or break him.