Keertana Sastry
March 20, 2015 AT 06:41 PM EDT

The big news is here! These are your top 12 folks! I’m taking the Idol recapping reins for the week from the always brilliant Stephanie Schomer, but her presence will be felt tonight because, well, I basically agree with all of her opinions. Also, let’s put this out in the open now. I’m still a tad bitter about losing Trevor Douglas last week. Good to go? Great, let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we?

Wednesday night’s latest installment was almost as much an advertisement for Empire as it was an American Idol. Have you guys figured it out by now that next week is Empire’s finale? No? Well let Ryan Seacrest and every single possible commercial enlighten you. But somehow in between Empire promos, we did get the names of our beloved Top 12 and no disrespect voters, but I’m a little iffy on a select few of these choices. 

The first slot filled belongs to the solid Sarina-Joi Crowe, one of the only women who could even call what they did on Motown night an impressive performance (because seriously, the girls really needed to step it up last week). Wednesday night’s theme was all about the contestants re-singing their auditions songs, so Sarina-Joi had the task of impressing voters and judges with the difficult One Republic song “Til the Love Runs Out,” and aside from some pitch issues sprinkled throughout the performance, she definitely showed off her vocal range and growth. The judges definitely agre,e and the first of the top 12 is born. 

Next up is the wonderful and supremely talented Rayvon Owen. Much like Stephanie, I am quite the Rayvon fan and damn does he impress tonight with his rendition of Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake.” The judges say he was “exponentially better” toward the end of the performance, which I guess implies that they thought he was pitchy throughout, but I do not agree. The nerves and/or excitement of having his name called to the Top 12 definitely showed in the first few seconds but then Rayvon soared like a damn eagle. If your regular recapper is right, and Clark Beckham is the frontrunner, Rayvon could inch his way up to that level with a little more practice. 

We take a short break to be re-introduced to Scott Borchetta, who could soon hold the American Idol winner’s future in his hands like a tiny bird. But at least he gets a cool recommendation from Idol-proclaimed “Rock God” himself Steven Tyler. 

The third slot goes to Daniel Seavey and seriously guys, I just don’t get it. I can’t understand why the 15-year-old is this far into the competition because he could easily have done with at least another year of finding his sound. He’s just not ready yet for the giant Idol stage, and it honestly seems unfair to put him up there now when he could have killed it if he just came back the following season. His rendition of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” was straight up awkward. Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban try to coddle Daniel a bit by saying the right song choice would really make him shine, but shouldn’t the American Idol know how to shine with even a wrong song choice? Isn’t that kind of the point? To make any song your own? Harry Connick Jr. said it best: “You’re young and inexperienced… and your inexperience is really showing.” Truer words have never been spoken my friends. 

Maddie Walker nabs the fourth spot, the resident country girl on the list. Although I may not be a huge Maddie fan, I have to admit her vocals are impressive, if not a bit Miranda Lambert-y. The dip-dyed hair is really fun. Can’t get enough of that. She handles “Suitcase” by Gwen Sebastian quite well, but it’s a bit standard fare. I want to see Maddie really excel at a challenge. 

Tyanna Jones takes the next spot and performs Little Mix’s “Wings” with all the stage presence of pretty much most of the other contestants combined. The judges eat that up but forget to mention that she needs to tighten up her vocals some more at the beginning. Picking Tyanna for a top 12 spot is definitely a right choice, but she needs to bring a little more oomph to the music, not just the performance. I swear I say this all out of love. 

NEXT: Clark Beckham—stop being perfect.

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