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In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, Quisla Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN

Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 TV, FremantleMedia North America
Origin: CBS Television City, Los Angeles, CA
Airs: Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 8pm ET and  at 9p ET on Fox

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Semifinals: Group 2
February 25

Last week on Idol, we had our first three finalists enter the fray in Alexis Grace, Michael Sarver, and Danny Gokey. Now the contest continues with 12 more singers, all hoping to capture three more slots.

Randy says they've had the advantage of watching last week's episodes. Kara says you have to do the best you can possibly do. Paula is excited about this group, and hopes they pick the right group. Simon says that it's too late for advice.

We have a bartender, a welder, a font designer, and a comedian among us tonight. Here's your lineup...

Jasmine Murray (17; Starkville, MO)
Matt Giraud (23; Kalamazoo, MI)
Jeanine Vailes (27; Sherman Oaks, CA)
Nick Mitchell (27; Brookfield, CT)
Alison Iraheta (16; Los Angeles)
Kris Allen (23; Conway, AR)
Megan Joy Corkrey (22; Sandy, UT)
Matt Breitzke (27; Bixby, OK)
Jesse Langseth (25; Minneapolis)
Kai Kalama (26; San Clemente, CA)
Mishavonna Henson (18; Irvine, CA)
Adam Lambert (26; Los Angeles)

Trivia: five of the semifinalists tonight are from California.

We're doing the Hot 100 again this week, and we're starting with 17-year-old high school student Jasmine Murray. She would watch it downstairs while mom was watching upstairs. She was the best of her group in Hollywood, but can she be the best with "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles.

What they say: Randy says it was pitchy all the way throughout, and the song was unlike her in that it was a simple melody made not so simple. Kara calls her commercial and very "all over the place". She kinda lost it in the beginning. Paula has to agree with what the others say. She likes the confidence. Simon likes her, but is disappointed. "I think you're a couple of years too early."

What Jasmine said: "I had a great time, and I thought I did well."

What we say: Completely heavy-toned for such a light song. And it's a little pitchy in spots. Not a good way to start the night. She could've picked a better song than this.

Next up, dueling piano player Matt Giraud. So far, he's had a good round interpreting such ethereal fare as "Georgia On My Mind". Tonight, he'll be doing "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay with his own little twist.

What they say: Kara starts it up by NOT being blown away. Paula thought he was top notch in Hollywood, and she was trying to instill a soul in a rock standard. Simon thought it verged on horrible, turning from someone cool to a jerky pop star. Randy agrees. "You've got mad talent. You have to sing difficult songs."

What we say: Breath control, son! That was a very hard song to sing, and I don't think he nailed it all the way. You have to have the longevity of voice to sing a song like that. And again... Song choice didn't do you ANY favors. He needs to remember who he is as an artist before he tries something like that.

As a reminder, all of tonight's performances are on iTunes.

Next is a naughty little thing... Jeanine Vailes. Simon's been giving her props all competition. She's singing one of her favorite bands, Maroon5's "This Love".

What they say: what does it say that all four judges have the same thing to say, and that the best thing they can come up with is "You have great legs". Paula says she does NOT deserve another chance.

What we say: WAY too sharp to start. And another singer in a line of singers that are foregoing the simple melody to try and stand out. The problem is that you're standing out in a bad way. It's just way too overcooked. But yeah.. she's got some nice legs.

This might be the opportunity of a lifetime for Nick "Norman Gentle" Mitchell, based on what we've seen tonight. He created the character to be funny.. and sing. He doesn't know who he's going to be, but he knows he wants to entertain with "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" by Jennifer Hudson.

What they say: Simon... yeah, it's your turn, buddy... "I pray you do not go through to the next round." He calls it "horrific comedy". Randy says it's one of the most entertaining performances ever... though the vocals left little to be desired. Kara... "At least we remember him." Paula says he's a true performer, but this is not the stage for him.

What we say: And how did you get in the semi-finals again? Seriously. And what does it say about group 2 that this guy is the best of the lot so far? Last week, I had Jamar Rogers, the person who got cut for some of these male singers, napalming his TV set. I think his weapon of choice this week will be an outboard powerboat mower.

Next up, high-school student Alison Iraheta. She says "Idol School" is a little harder. It's a room. She hasn't done the best so far, but she's used that as fuel for her fire. Tonight, she's using her raw talent on a raw song with "Alone" by Heart.

What they say: Randy says we have real singing jumping off. "Might be one of the hottest tonight." Kara says she's serious. With the right song, she's got a hit on the radio. Paula says she can sing the telephone book. Simon says she's the best tonight by a mile.

What we say: Finally. Someone picked the right song. The only down side: it only sounds like every other rendition of "Alone" ever done on this show. But it works for her and that's a good thing.

Next is Kris Allen. He thought his Louisville audition went well. We learned that he has off-putting modesty. But he's got a soft-spoken confidence with "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson. No guitar, though.

What they say: Kara thought the back nine was better than the front, but it doesn't come close to what he did in Hollywood Week. "This was just the completely wrong song." Paula disagrees, saying his personality shone through. Simon... agrees with Paula. He's not the best singer (Danny), but what he did tonight, he showed confidence and personality. "I think the chicks are going to love you." Randy thinks he did it without the guitar.

What we say: I'm not a fan of the arrangement, but when you're singing it a full-step down from the original, something's got to give. Good way to close the first half, but that's not saying much given that the best of the night is a 16-year-old screaming "Alone".

So far, Alison is the woman to beat, Kris the man. And you know what they say, if you want to be the (wo)man, you've got to beat the (wo)man. But that's part 1. Here's hour #2, where Megan Joy Corkrey puts on Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On".

What they say: Paula thought she selected the right song. Simon hopes America votes for her. Randy and Kara both think she can be a star with the right song.

What we say: The problem is that when they play you on the radio, they don't have to see you perform. She was contorting like a pretzel and it's really uncomfortable to see. Unfortunately, this is a visual show and that's going to hurt her. The fact that she wasn't on pitch consistently doesn't help.

Matt Breitzke is looking to weld his way into your heart. he can mold some votes with "If You Could Only See" by Tonic.

What they say: The judges all like him. They all hated his song. Matt disagrees with all the judges.

What we say: he has the same background that Michael Sarver had - and Sarver got in. However, he did the one thing that Sarver didn't do, and that's argue with the judges, We'll see if that comes back to bite him.

Jesse Langseth didn't get a lot of screen time, but the time we saw was bad - namely, her being piss poor in her 'Sing for Your Life' Audition. She gets a second chance, with "Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes.

What they say: Randy answers Jesse and says he wants more vocal range. Paule and Simon want a more memorable performance. Kara wants to clap to the drum track.

What we say: I want a different singer singing that song - and I want to throw Kim Carnes' wig at Kara for wasting our time with the ridiculous clapping.

Kai Kalama feels like he can go a long way. His song - "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted", by Jimmy Ruffin. He's singing for his ailing mom. No word if she is brokenhearted, but we hope not after his performance.

What they say: They all say he's too old-fashioned, and Simon adds that he's corny.

What we say: The lack of spunk leaves me brokenhearted, because I expected something good. Instead we get karaoke - the sort of karaoke that usually eliminates contestants in this round.

Mishavonna Henson promises not to let America down. America will be the judge of that, Mishavonna. Anyhoo, to satisfy her audience, she'll go all the way to perform "Drops of Jupiter", by Train.

What they say: Randy and Simon wanted something more fun. Paula and Kara weren't excited, and Kara wanted her to hit the pitch more.

What we say: You need one song to show America why we shouldn't be disappointed. That song...wasn't it. And if it was it, it needed to be sung perfectly, which Ms Henson did not accomplish.

Finally, It's Adam Lambert time. He's looking to give us something by the Rolling Stones that we haven't had once this evening - "Satisfaction".

What they say: Paula, Randy and Kara loved it. Simon loved parts, but thought parts were excruciatingly painful.

What we say: This was not remotely flawless. Lots of off-pitch spots, but the important thing here is that he performed the song with fire and brimstone, which is what you should be doing up on that stage. You have to let it out there, and he did.

This was probably the worst audition for the Top 12 show...ever. But somehow 3 of these people need to advance, so let's figure out who those people will be.

The Best of the Worst Bad: Adam Lambert, Alison Iraheta, Megan Corkrey
Sort of Bad: Kris Allen, Matt Breitzke, Kai Kalama
SuperBad: Nick Mitchell/Norman Gentle/Mrs. Sassypants, Jesse Langseth, Mishavonna Henson
Sanjaya-Bad: Jasmine Murray, Matt Giraud, Jeanine Vailes

Due to rules handed down by 19/FremantleMedia, three of these people have to go through. Next time, we'll see which three.


To see footage from this episode, visit the official website at