top 36 american idol 320 'American Idol' reverting to form    yay or nay?“American Idol” announced Tuesday that it’s reverting back to a Top 24, with 12 men competing against each other and 12 women competing against each other. Is this a good thing?

We say yes. A resounding yes, for several reasons: gender balance, higher quality and more exposure before Top 12 starts.

Gender Balance
We love guys, nothing against ’em. But last year’s “American Idol” Top 12 was 8 men and 4 women. We attribute this to the fact that the majority of people who vote (vote, not watch) on “American Idol” are female and they may be swayed by a cute guy who isn’t actually one of the best vocalists. Then what happens is a female (usually a quirky girl, a la Jesse Langseth or Mishavonna Henson) gets left out who maybe could have made the Top 12 in lieu of a Scott McIntyre or Jorge Nunez, who maybe should not have.

Higher Quality
With a Top 24, each singer has to perform three times before they can reach the Top 12. Now of course, there could be someone who just has a bad night right out of the gate and goes home too soon. But more often than not, we really do cull it down to the best 12 out of the 24 the judges hand us because three performances is enough to know if someone can hack it or not.

More Exposure
This goes hand-in-hand with the quality issue. Last year, we saw each finalist exactly ONCE unless they were in the Wild Card night. That stunk. We like to be more familiar with our finalists before Top 12. For example… your recapper saw Kris Allen sing “Man in the Mirror” and didn’t like it, so it took her a long time to come around on him once the Top 12 started. Also, the first three people to advance (Alexis Grace, Michael Sarver, Danny Gokey) were distant memories by the time the Top 12 started and maybe that’s why Alexis Grace went home too early.

So is the Top 24 gender-split format that “American Idol” instituted in season 4 a good thing? We come down firmly on the “yay” side. What do you guys think? Vote below!

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Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."