'American Idol' - 'Top 12 Boys Compete' Recap
by Kona Gallagher, posted Feb 24th 2010 11:25PM
I don't know about you all, but I was severely underwhelmed by the girls' first performance, so my main hope going into the Top 12 guys' performance is that it won't bore me to death. I also hope that I can get back in sync with the judges a little more tonight, because my opinions differed wildly from theirs.
Two hours later, one of these things happened. While the guys had more high points than the girls, they were generally underwhelming. However, the night was not without its funny moments and mini-heartbreaks, and at the end of it, Kara DioGuardi realized she needed to hire a lawyer.
While we don't get a funny sexual harassment video to kick off this show, we do get a few interesting comments from the judges: Ellen confirms what some of you were saying in the comments: that what they hear in the theater is way different from what we hear at home, so that can absolutely contribute to some of the discrepancies between what the judges think, versus what the viewers do. Also, Simon continues to use his last season on the show to get even more blunt (who thought that was even possible?) and tell the guys that if they screw up tonight, their careers are over. So ... let's get started!
I think we all pretty much knew from the beginning that Todrick Hall wasn't going to be a shrinking violet in this competition. So, yes, of course he's going to do a soulful, John Legend--type remake of Kelly Clarkson's 'Since You've Been Gone.' Not only did he put his own spin on it (and then some), but you can tell that he's had a lot of experience as a performer, as he looks absolutely comfortable up on that stage. He's not boring me, and for that, I thank him. The judges all basically tell him that he perhaps changed the song a little bit too much, and didn't sing enough. Simon says that he came across as a dancer who was trying to sing. He even says that Todrick murdered the original. Say what you will, but the majority of contestants who "make songs their own," are really just ripping off other people who have covered that particular song. Very rarely does the arrangement come from them, as this one did.
Aaron is doing a more traditional song, Rascal Flatts' 'Here Comes Goodbye.' He does a perfectly fine job with it, and hits a really nice note at the end. However, is it just me, or did that seem like a really impressive State Fair performance? He just doesn't seem to have the elusive star power that the judges are always talking about. Simon actually compliments him, but does say that he needs to be more confident in his abilities. Kara also encourages him and tells him to keep in the pop/country vein. Randy and Ellen also praise him, so Aaron is off to a pretty great start.
'Get Here' is another pretty common song on the show, so it's tough to make it stand out. Is it just me, or was his mic way too low? I feel like I could barely hear his vocals at all. So I'm pretty sure he did a good job with the song, but the mix was so off, that I can't be positive. Ellen liked the song, but thought that he was trying too hard. Randy and Kara both think that it was too old of a song, as did Simon. He also thought that the middle was too over-the-top. Not only that, but he thinks Jermaine totally blew his opportunity.
Tim is the guy who is in the Top 12 because Chris Golightly was cut from the competition, so he kind of has a little bit more to prove. Unfortunately, he hits some pretty terrible notes during his performance of One Republic's 'Apologize.' The poor guys' nerves are just getting to him, and during the song, he's clutching the mic for dear life. Simon starts off by saying that Tim doesn't belong in the competition. It's a pretty harsh criticism, to say the least. Kara tells him that he was overwhelmed by the music, and Randy tells him it was the wrong song. It's not looking too good for ol' Tim Urban.
I always forget who Joe Munoz is, so I'm kind of interested to see his performance tonight. I kind of feel like I'm seeing him for the first time. He's singing one of my favorite Jason Mraz songs, 'You and I Both.' He does a good job, but I'm afraid that he's still running into the same problem: he's just not that memorable. I doubt I'll remember this performance by the end of the show tonight. Ellen praises him for his confidence, and while Randy wasn't in love with the song choice, he thought Joe did a good job with it. Kara even goes so far as to say that he had the best vocals of the night so far. Simon, however, doesn't see the star power.
Yes, it makes sense that Tyler is doing something from the seventies, but if he's not careful, he's going to seem like a performer at an amusement park. Maybe it's just because Lenny Kravitz has already covered this song for 'Austin Powers,' but this just seems really fake to me. Plus, the vocals aren't really all that great. I like Tyler, but this performance just doesn't do it for me at all. Simon agrees and says that Tyler seems like he just came from "pretend to be a rock star school." The rest of the judges basically agree, and urge Tyler to be more original.
Snow Patrol's 'Chasing Cars' is a pretty good song choice for Lee. He's also the first contestant tonight to play an instrument, so that will be interesting. He hits a few bad notes, but you can definitely see where he's going and get behind him. It's their first live performance: I'm really going to cut them all a lot of slack for awkward notes, as long as there's some sort of performance there. Lee doesn't blow me away, but I can definitely see him getting more interesting as the competition goes on. Ellen loves his song choice, but Randy disagrees and calls Lee more of a rocker. Kara agrees with Randy, and tells Lee that the range of the song was too low. Simon, however, surprises everyone by heaping downright effusive praise upon him. It's pretty amazing.
John was one of my favorites from the auditions, but I feel like we've barely seen him since. So it's nice that he reminded me why I loved him so much by talking about how much he wants to marry Shania Twain. He decides to sing "God Bless the Child," which is a beautiful song, and a very unusual choice for 'Idol.' While he does a lot of beautiful things with the song, it really doesn't fit his personality. He needs something more upbeat and fun. The song just kind of drags him down, which is a shame. Simon and Kara both think that it didn't have enough personality and that there wasn't enough of a connection. Ellen also agrees that it was the wrong song, but that it was a great performance.
Michael Lynche is also busting out the guitar, although I'm not sure he's actually playing it. It looks like he's strumming haphazardly and just kind of keeping the beat for his performance of 'This Love.' I really hate musical instruments as props, but this is a pretty fun performance otherwise. Mike's doing what John needed to do: he's having fun and showing his personality. The judges basically agree and praise him for showing his personality, but they do mention that he hit a couple of bad notes. Simon says that he was "the support act before the main act."
There's something that's always bugged me about Alex Lambert, but I can't quite put my finger on it. He's singing 'Wonderful World' by James Morrison, and he does a great job, but he just seems somehow inauthentic to me. I don't know; I just get a weird vibe from him. Simon calls it the most uncomfortable performance of the night. Kara and Randy both tell him that he sounds like James Morrison, but that he needs to pull it together. Ellen compliments him on holding onto the mullet.
He's singing 'Heaven,' maybe to Kara, which is a good choice, except everybody's still giggling about Kara's crush on him, and he looks like he's about to bust out laughing as he begins the song. I'm really impressed with his ability to keep it all together, although you can tell it's not easy. It's definitely not his smoothest performance, but he does a good job. Kara basically falls all over herself, once again, and Ellen actually apologizes for all of the nonsense going on, because it wasn't fair to him. However, the judges all praise him effusively and tell him that his talent is on par with his looks, which is a pretty damn good compliment for this guy.
Andrew's another one of my early favorites, so I'm really pulling for him. He's singing 'Sugar We're Going Down,' by Fall Out Boy, which is an interesting choice and kind of a lyrically difficult song to sing. He does a slower version of it, and while it's not as good as the Paula Abdul song he did during Hollywood week, it's still pretty interesting. I really look forward to seeing what else he comes up with in the competition. Simon calls it too serious and too indulgent, although says that he has a "great recording voice." The rest of the judges agree with Simon and continue to talk about how amazing his rendition of 'Straight Up' was.
|Todrick Hall||25 (2.4%)|
|Aaron Kelly||56 (5.3%)|
|Jermaine Sellers||11 (1.0%)|
|Tim Urban||15 (1.4%)|
|Joe Munoz||23 (2.2%)|
|Tyler Grady||11 (1.0%)|
|Lee Dewyze||129 (12.2%)|
|John Park||24 (2.3%)|
|Michael Lynche||28 (2.6%)|
|Alex Lambert||17 (1.6%)|
|Casey James||504 (47.5%)|
|Andrew Garcia||217 (20.5%)|