After enduring years of criticism for “pimping” certain contestants during the audition and Hollywood rounds, “American Idol” demonstrated a commitment to equity this year.
Most of the fifteen girls and fifteen guys (voters selected Ben Briley over Neco Starr for the final slot on the male side) who advanced to the semifinals portion of the competition received ample exposure, and very few came off as the producers’ “chosen ones.”
In a testament to the depth of that commitment, one of the few who did seem like a producer favorite and lock to make the finals did not even receive the chance to perform in Tuesday’s live semifinal.
Kenz Hall, the seventeen-year-old Utah native who seemed tailor made for the “Idol” stage, was one of the five female singers cut by the judges during Tuesday’s broadcast.
Like fellow contestants Austin Wolfe, Jillian Jensen, Andrina Brogden and Brandy Neelly (none of whom was unfamiliar to “Idol” viewers ahead of the episode), Hall was forced to sit on the sidelines while the ten other female contestants competed for a spot in the finals. Like those contestants, Hall will head home absent an opportunity to sing for America’s vote.
After performing Tuesday, the ten remaining women–Majesty Rose, Kristen O’Connor, Briana Oakley, Jena Irene, Bria Anai, Marrialle Sellars, Jessica Meuse, Emily Piriz, MK Nobilette and Malaya Watson–now place their dreams in the hands of the voters. Five will advance based on America’s vote; the others will be eligible for one of the three wildcard positions.