American Idol Top 12

The American Idol Top 12 is the point where the show stops being an excuse to mock talentless hacks with delusions of grandeur, and the producers can test to see which singers are marketable other than the winner, who they have already chosen.

Figure 1. See Contestants with Unnatural Hair Color.

Just The Facts

  1. Criticism of the top 12 usually falls into one of three categories: "Bloody awful", "It was good, I can almost feel my face again", or "Generic praise-criticism, dawg"
  2. Paula Abdul's dosage of uppers is generally increased during this part of the season.
  3. All the broken dreams from this part of the season are collected, liquified, and injected into infants before being fed to Rupert Murdoch.

The Rocker

"I'm too hardcore for American Idol! What do you mean people don't take me seriously?"

The Rocker, in addition to being the token faux-tough guy douche among the competitors, is meant to give American Idol and added edge and appeal to audiences who normally wouldn't watch the show. Since any self-respecting rock fan would sooner watch 2 Girls 1 Cup for eight hours Clockwork Orange style before following Idol with any frequency, this strategy has clearly failed. Fox's producers instead provide safe alternatives to real rock to give their 12 to 17 year old fan base the illusion of variety. Case in point:

But nameless Cracked editor, you may be asking, you're picking on Adam Lambert and saying he's not a "rocker" just because he's gay! In response:

Judas Priest

This is Judas Priest. Look them up.

The Very White Guy

#FFFFFF! Get it?!

Since white America is afraid that black people will end up becoming better then they are at everything they hold dear (sports, white collar business and in this case mediocre singing pageants), a contestant of considerable pallor usually makes the Idol top twelve. Regardless of his talent (or lack thereof, usually), the V.W.G. faces the most adversity out of all the other finalists because he must compete with Ryan Seacrest for everyone's attention. Despite his diminutive stature, Seacrest can overshadow any other annoying white dude because he's so fucking insufferable.

This is MY descent into obscurity goddamn it!

The Soulful Black Man/Woman

The rule of black contestants in American Idol is the same as in college brochures: For every four white people in a group, you need to have at least one black person and one non-black minority. It's required that one of these contestants be warm, soulful and likable: in other words, fat.

Reuben and Ruban go waaaay back...

They sing the gospel songs and R&B hits, mostly because they don't require much movement to perform well, and make us feel better about ourselves.

The Other Minority Contestants

The non-black minority contestants can be Asian, Hispanic, Indian, etc., just so long as they are recognizable as minorities to the average hillbilly and create the illusion of diversity. It is also required that they never win. After all, this is American Idol. Speaking another language or having uncivilized relatives in another country that you haven't disowned yet is just unpatriotic.

Fortunately for these individuals, when they hit our glass ceiling they can usually return home to chase their dreams of stardom in other ways. Take Jasmine Trias, from Idol season three:

The Hot Girl

Evidently she won because of her singing ability. Singing ability meaning boobs. Not much more needs to be said. In fairness though, the alternative that year was this chick:

Can you blame the voting public?

Unnatural Hair Color Contestant

Here is another example of Fox choosing "counter-culture" singers in an attempt to broaden their audience. Figure 1 above illustrates this trend, which has continued over the course of eight seasons. Let that sink in for a second. Now, anyone who still thinks that reality television is an accurate representation of objective reality should kindly sterilize themselves.

The person with the weird hair color is also considered the "cool" contestant with a "different style". In a perfect world he or she might even have "talent", or the ability to sound like something other than the Billboard Top 20. But don't worry flourescent haired Idols- after your inevitable failure you can always rebound with an appearance on Rock of Love!


This might be funny if it wasn't so sad.

The Pitiable Contestant in Denial of His Lack of Talent

Without fail, there is always one person who can play on America's sympathy long enough to enjoy 15 minutes of fame before becoming a permanent resident of Whothefuckareyouville. As they perform, you can almost hear the cries of "Aw, look at him!" echoing up from around television sets across the country. These individuals are often considered "cute", but not in the way that a puppy or a toddler taking his first steps is cute. More like little animal pulled out of an oil spill cute, in that way you feel really badly for it existing that way but don't really want to get near it.


You're tone deaf and all but... ah what the hell come back next week!

There are plenty of examples:

Ears bleeding yet? Honestly, we really should read more books.