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 specific "Idol" 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.
"American Idol" hopeful Aaron Kelly might be little, but America believes the twangy 16-year-old can hold his own alongside season-nine powerhouses Siobhan Magnus, Crystal Bowersox and Michael Lynche. The Rascal Flatts fanatic knows exactly what kind of artist he wants to be — a tween Gary LeVox — and with the judges' continued support and America's votes, he may become just that.
Best Performance: "Idol" reporters, bloggers and fans instantly compared Aaron to season-seven fave David Archuleta after his Orlando audition, when he belted Miley Cyrus' "The Climb." His live performances have yet to live up to his initial promise, however.
Weakest Performance: On Wednesday night, Aaron tried to tackle a Lonestar track, although the song ended up tackling Aaron. "I'm Already There" was too big a song, too big a vocal and too big a disaster to stomach. Oddly enough, Simon Cowell liked it, an uncharacteristic move for a grouch who often slams youngsters for covering serious songs.
Tragic Backstory: Aaron's birth parents were going through some heavy stuff when he was a baby, so he was adopted and raised by an aunt.
Why He Will Win: The tiny country crooner is the youngest contestant of the season, so he'll have a lock on the grandmother vote. He's also the sole remaining country singer of the season, and country fans are thrilled to vote for their own kind ... even if their own kind is capable of a heinously pitchy performance.
Why He Will Lose: Like many of the other young contestants this season, Aaron's nerves are inhibiting his growth on the show.
What He Should Sing: Fallen top 24 teen Haeley Vaughn butchered "The Climb," so we think it's time Aaron resurrects the smash hit for a proper "Idol" showing.
On His Least Favorite Performance, "I'm Already There": "[Wednesday] night wasn't so great for me, my vocals. We had been rehearsing all day and everything. And I don't want to say that that got to me; I just want to say that having a live audience is a lot different than having to rehearse in front of a regular camera that nobody sees."
What do you think of Aaron's chances on "Idol"? Were you happy to see him make it to the top 12? Let us know!
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