Where the heck did Pia come from?! Sure, we knew she was talented, but she’s been keeping those pipes under lock and key. She’s INSANELY good!
I think we just found our next American Idol. Although some of the Top 12 girls’ performances were less than stellar (yes, I’m talking to you, Julie Zorilla), there were definitely four chicks who stood out heads and shoulders above the rest — and one in particular who I think might win the whole shebang.
1. Pia Toscano, 22: It was pretty obvious why producers wanted to end the show with Pia’s rendition of “Stand By You.” It was unlike anything I’ve heard on Idol since the Carrie and Kelly days. The judges said it best. “I’ve been here 10 seasons and we’ve had some amazing performances, but let me tell you something…you just put yourself in the top!” Randy Jackson said. J. Lo told her, “You are tricky. You were saving that. You were saving that for when it counts!” If you’re a better, put money on this beauty. She’s going places.
2. Thia Megia, 15: It’s no secret I’ve been a Thia fan since day one, but this teenage wonder really held her own tonight. Singing a simple and part A capella rendition of the Fame hit, “Out Here On My Own,” Thia had all three judges raving. “Sometimes a person’s pitch is so perfect, it doesn’t matter what song they sing. And you just did that,” Steven Tyler told her. “[You're] really, really special,” Jennifer Lopez said, beaming.
3. Karen Rodriguez, 21: Karen has said she wants to be the first Latina American Idol and after tonight’s performance, she’s well on her way. The New York native tackled Mariah Carey‘s hit, “Hero,” and even had Randy Jackson (who usually hates when contestants sing Mariah’s songs) impressed. Instead of singing the whole thing in English, Karen connected with a different (and important) demographic by translating a verse into Spanish. Not only did she do Mariah proud, she added her own unique twist, making her a front-runner in my mind.
4. Lauren Alaina, 16: When Nigel Lythgoe first saw Lauren perform in October, he tweeted he might have found the next American Idol…and he might have been right. Although my money is on Pia right now, Lauren didn’t disappoint tonight. Randy said she reminds him of a Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson mix, and I think he hit the nail on the head.
5. Here’s the big question mark! I have no clue who should take this fifth spot. On one hand, I’d love to see Hailey Reinhart — who killed it tonight with Alicia Keys‘ “Fallin'” — make it through. However, I thought Lauren Turner — aka mini Bette Midler — also rocked it. Honestly, I’m conflicted.
Lastly, before I wrap this up, can we please discuss Julie Zorilla‘s godforsaken performance? Before tonight, oddsmakers had Julie, 20, in the top — but I doubt that’s the case now. Julie did NOT perform well under pressure. I think the Rachel Berry lookalike is going home, don’t you?
Who was YOUR favorite girl tonight? Who is going to make it through to the Top 12? Sound off below!