“American Idol” reveals the final 24 tonight

Now that the weeks-long exercise in public humiliation — aka the audition phase — is over, I can finally watch American Idol. Last night, the Hollywood round began, which means tonight we’ll meet the 12 women and 12 men who will vie for the ultimate title.

I already have a favorite: Amanda Overmyer, the goth nurse from Indiana. The Janis Joplin comparison is probably going to get old, but she really does have that groove. The minute Amanda started singing last night, my girlfriend laughed and said, “You’re such a sucker for a gravelly voice.” I am, I am! Plus, Amanda reminds me of Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde.

Here she is with that whiskey-soaked voice of hers:



Meanwhile, I’m not quite sure what I think of Carly Smithson yet. She’s the one who has already had a record deal, which still makes me go hmm. But she did belt the hell out of that great Heart song “Alone” last night (after a slow start), and I can’t help but dig her tattoos.


And of course I think Josiah Leming could turn out to be quite impressive, even though he got a little too full of himself when he dismissed the band and backup singers last night. The nerve!

Syesha Mercado could also prove to be a phenom. But she already seems to be misusing her voice — she could barely speak last night.

Finally, isn’t Simon surprisingly fit this year? And Paula’s still crazy, which is reason enough to watch. Tune in to Fox tonight at 8/7c to hear Paula babble and behold the final 24.