The “American Idol” talent pool has been narrowed to 30, and two Metro Detroit singers are in the mix.
Jena Asciutto of Farmington Hills made it through to the next round of the competition on Thursday’s episode of “Idol.” The 17-year-old – who made a point to note her first name is pronounced “Geena” – was dubbed “The Sleeper” by judge Harry Connick Jr., who pegged her as one to watch this season.
Asciutto joins 16-year-old Malaya Watson of Southfield, the tuba player at Southfield High School who made it through on Wednesday’s episode. Watson, who did an endzone dance when she graduated to the next round, stood out with her show-stopping Hollywood Week version of Fantasia’s “I Believe.”
Both Asciutto and Watson compete on Tuesday’s “Idol,” the first live episode of the season. On Wednesday, the season’s Top 15 guys perform, and that pool includes Grand Rapids 26-year-old Maurice Townsend, the father of four who celebrated his advancement to the next round on Wednesday’s episode. “I get to go home and tell my babies, my wife, that I made it,” Townsend said when he received the good news. “The Top 30, man!”
As these things go, there’s a twist in the mix. A teaser for next week’s live episodes said the judges will cut one singer before the competition officially begins. Next week will also see the prospective “Idols” working with former contestants Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry.
There is one more twist afoot in the season’s Top 30. A total of 31 singers made it through – 15 girls and 16 guys. Two of the male contestants, Neco Starr of Atlanta and Ben Briley of Gallatin, Tenn., are vying for the final spot among the guys, and America will make the decision before next week’s live episodes via an internet vote.