On Thursday night, "American Idol" revealed its Top 12 finalists for the ninth season of the hit show. MTV News "Idol" expert Jim Cantiello whipped up a handy cheat sheet for each finalist, breaking down each candidate's journey thus far. He also got the "Idol" hopefuls to weigh in when he caught up with them at Thursday night's Top 12 Party in Hollywood.
During his audition, Casey James turned Kara DioGuardi and guest judge Victoria Beckham into slobbering schoolgirls when he happily took off his shirt at their request. And now the poor guy can't seem to get off the casting couch! For three weeks, the conversation around Casey has been more about Kara's crush on him than his viability as a music artist.
Best Performance: Casey showed an appealing vulnerable side when he warbled Bryan Adams' "Heaven," which sent DioGuardi into a disruptive tizzy. To James' credit, he was able to tone out the cougar's giggles and get through the song without incident.
Weakest Performance: Casey's "Idol" inexperience showed when he picked Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Want to Be" because it had been covered on "Idol" so often in the past. (You got that backwards, buddy.) Despite Casey's best efforts to switch up the song with added electric guitar riffs, his performance had the authenticity of a Pat Boone heavy metal album.
Tragic Backstory: When he was 21, Casey was involved in a life-threatening car crash. Doctors told him he'd never play guitar again. But Casey was determined to pick up the ax again, and now he's able to rock out whenever he wants.
Why He Will Win: Never underestimate the power of the cougar vote! And since Kara and "Idol" producers go out of their way to make references to his shirtless audition, expect those middle-aged women to continue dialing like mad.
Why He Will Lose: Casey's been coasting for three weeks. He has to step it up quickly or else Lee Dewyze will start stealing the horny housewife contingent.
What He Should Sing: Simon's already established that he doesn't have enough "grit" to pull off bluesy rock numbers, but we think he has enough soul to make Paul Weller's "You Do Something to Me" his "Idol" moment.
On Being A Sex Symbol: "It's not even a reality for me," he said. "It doesn't come into reality because I'm just the same dude I've always been. Casey James should be sitting at the house with his dogs chilling out right now, or at a gig."
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