Scores of former American Idol contestants who were flown into Los Angeles for this week’s big show attended a private pre-finale mixer on Monday night. Held at swanky new downtown lounge The Edison, the three-hour soirée featured a five-song set by season 5’s Ace Young — who recently made his TV acting debut on Bones and is getting ready to release a new album in July — and saw plenty of speculation as to who might triumph in the showdown of the Davids. Bo Bice, for one, was willing to go on record: He thinks Cook’s got it in the bag.

A quick scan of the room revealed some curious cliques: in one corner, brothers-in-soul-pop Chris Richardson (season 6), Justin Guarini (season 1), and Brandon Rogers (season 6) held court, Kevin Covais (season 5) — barely recognizable thanks to a new, mopish hairstyle — made the rounds, while at the bar Jon Peter Lewis (season 3) and Chris Sligh (season 6) bemoaned the “dilution” of the Idol brand, no thanks to “crappy records.” The girls were out in force as well: Nadia Turner (season 4) commandeered a corner booth while Gina Glocksen (season 6) angled for a minute of quality Bo time. Absent from the festivities? This season’s Top 12, who were busy rehearsing their finale numbers at the nearby Nokia Theater.

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