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'American Idol' 13: Top 10 guys sing but only five will get the votes to move on

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There are advantages to being second, and the second night of the Rush Week semifinals on "American Idol," where the Top 10 boys were named and performed for votes to become part of the actual Top 13 finalists, was ample proof of it. Not only were the ten performances superior overall to those rendered by the Top 10 girls on Tuesday night's show, the "Idol" judges' critiques weren't tainted by the continual use of the word "nerves." No, if anything, the guys didn't seem to be nervous (for the most part), nor did their performances seem impacted by the run through "victory lane" (as host Ryan Seacrest described the tunnel from the waiting "Chamber" to the stage), which seemed to leave some of the girls breathless and out of sorts. All in all, for those casting votes and undecided about which guy might be a favorite, good performances may have made the selection process a bit more difficult.

With what has to be a stroke of exceptional cruelty on the part of "American Idol" producers, each of the Top 10 boys was named (as recounted by Lyndsey Parker at Yahoo TV Feb 20), finally leaving five guys in "The Chamber" whose names were not called. They would not get to sing, nor would they advance in the competition. Like wallflowers, they came but did not participate. Well, technically, a few of those not chosen spoke with Ryan Seacrest, but otherwise… nada.

The Top 10 boys, in order of performance were:

Caleb Johnson

C. J. Harris

Emmanuel Zidor

Sam Woolf

George Lovett

Dexter Roberts

Alex Preston

Malcolm Allen

Ben Briley

Spencer Lloyd

On a special note, contestant Ben Briley was named to the Top 10 boys' circle Tuesday night, his slot the result of winning a vote-off between himself and Atlanta hopeful Neco Starr. As the night grew longer and the show's end nearer, it is doubtless he was certain that the judges uncertainty of putting him in the Top 30 (resulting in the vote-off) was a sign he would be one of the five left unchosen.

Fortunately for the Tennessee singer, he was chosen, getting to perform for a shot at the being voted into the Top 10. Or, barring that, getting a shot at being one of the judges Wild Card and being part of the Top 13.

And it appears that Judge Harry Connick Jr. might be tainted by the "Harsh Harry" nickname he picked up during the auditions. He was booed several times by the audience as he gave his critiques. (He received his first boos of disapproval from the audience during the girls' performance on Tuesday night, something that fellow judge Jennifer Lopez noted for posterity, and Harry jokes was probably the first of many. Looks like he was correct…) But one round of boos was notable in that after the critique, Judge Harry brought to everyone's attention that he had been booed while Judge Keith Urban had, although saying nearly the same thing, received virtually no feedback from the audience. Harry called for a collective "boo" for Judge Keith. The audience complied.

Nothing wrong with a little fairness, even when judging the judges...

"American Idol" will name its Top 13 finalists Thursday night on Fox Television. After this week of three shows, the air times revert to the series' original time slots of 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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