Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Top 12 ‘Idol’ guys sing ‘Billboard Hits’

Because this is a two-hour show, we’ll skip the fluff and filler and get right to the performances, okay!

Todrick Hall – “Since U Been Gone” (Kelly Clarkson)

Maybe Todrick thought this would be an opportunity to do something original, but it may well have been the lamest song choice by a contestant in Idol history. He tries to funkify the song and to say it doesn’t work is an understatement. It really doesn’t sound anything like the original.

Ellen likes that Todrick did something different and took a chance. Randy warns that one should not obliterate the song when trying to make it your own. Kara agrees. Simon puts the hammer down. “I thought it was a crazy arrangement of the song,” he said. “It was verging on stupid what you just did.”

Aaron Kelly – “Here Comes Goodbye” (Rascal Flatts)

This is the song Chris Sligh wrote that became a mega-hit for Rascal Flatts, so we essentially have two Idol songs in a row here. Aaron has a nice country vibe to his voice and has some good moments, but he needs to season a bit. He should have waited to audition, I think. He’s no Archuleta, that’s for sure.

Simon thinks it was “quite a good performance” and thinks Aaron will “absolutely be here next week.” He urges Aaron to have more self-confidence. Kara doesn’t think Aaron knows how good he is and think he will do incredible things. Randy is a big fan. “You’ve got a huge voice, dude, believe in yourself.” Ellen loves Aaron’s humility and says he did a good job. She thinks he’s going to get better and better.

Jermaine Sellers – “Get Here” (Oleta Adams)

Jermaine has good vocal control and a wide range. He sounds like three different people singing this song, though, and has some pitchy, horrific moments. Jermaine really didn’t need to show us all his different voices. I was hoping he would do better.

Ellen thinks he was pushing too much and that he didn’t seem to be feeling the song. “Just relax into the song,” she says. Randy says he sees Jermaine more like a Maxwell. “Sing the melody – that’s why it works.” Randy advises him to pull it back. Kara says she thinks he was trying to show everyone what he could do. It felt old to her. Simon says this is the kind of song someone in their 50s in a cocktail bar might request. He says it was over the top and that Jermaine has totally blown the opportunity.

Tim Urban – “Apologize” (One Republic)**

Tim has a rather generic voice, nothing special. His falsetto is shaky and he hits a couple of notes that are painful. Didn’t Kris Allen do this last year? Nope, they certainly made the right decision in not putting him through. They could have given us all that Thaddeous love.

Simon congratulates Tim for coming back and says they made the right decision in not putting him through the first time. He says the vocals were weak and his voice isn’t good enough. Kara says the music overpowered him and swallowed him up. “Here you were just buried under the beat,” she says. She advises him to listen to the notes. Randy says this was the wrong song and none of it worked. Randy thinks he’s better than that. Ellen says if the sound was down, Tim may get votes because he’s adorable. She hasn’t got much else to say besides he’s adorable.

Joe Munoz – “You and I Both” (Jason Mraz)

This is also rather generic, but not as bad as Tim. At least Joe has a good voice and the song doesn’t take him way out of his comfort zone. He starts out sitting down, too, which is smart. He’s sort of strange looking, in a rather primal way. I like the bit of accent we hear, though.

Ellen asks if Joe is comfortable on the stage. She likes it. Randy doesn’t think it was the perfect song choice, but that he did a good job. “You worked it out.” Kara likes that Joe picked a song she didn’t expect. She things he’s the best so far. Simon kind of agrees. “With this show, you have to get out of the bubble. This competition can find stars,” he says, noting that Joe didn’t give that kind of a performance. He says it was “limp and forgettable.”

Tyler Grady – “American Woman” (The Guess Who)

No. Tim didn’t start out too badly, but once he launched into the verse, it was over for me. I’m gonna say it before Simon does. You can go into any club or bar in the U.S. and hear a guy sing this well or better. Tim has decided he’s already a rock star! I want him gone.

Simon thinks people are going to remember this song. He thinks Tim is a bit cliche and it didn’t feel natural. He says Tim has to change it up. Kara says Tim has a front man aura but that he needs to get out of the 1970s. Randy says it was style over substance. Ellen says while Tim is copying the poses, he lacks the charisma. She urges him to work on the singing and get into the performance. “Be an original,” Randy adds.

Lee Dewyze – “Chasing Cars” (Snow Patrol)

Good song choice and I like that he’s playing his guitar. He has a very current sound. Unfortunately, he slips off key more than once. When he’s on, though, he’s pretty good. I like that Lee is ordinary – kind of that guy plucked from obscurity who has a good voice and will get a fantastic opportunity from this experience.

Ellen likes the song choice but didn’t like when he screamed it. She loves the tone of his voice. She thinks he should stay. Randy clucks. He doesn’t like the song choice and thinks it was too “rangy.” He advises Lee to choose something he can sing his teeth in. Kara recognizes that Lee changed it up to get to his “sweet spot” and made it unrecognizable. Simon disagrees with Randy and Kara. He thinks it was the best performance so far. He says, “This guy is a naturally good singer.” He advises Lee to follow David Cook’s example and try to make songs his own.

John Park – “God Bless the Child” (Chicago)

This is beyond horrible. Bad song choice, terrible phrasing, weird riffs… yikes. He goes into this flat bass tone that makes me shake my head in wonderment. Very amateur and cocktail lounge-like.

Simon says, “You have got to have an incredible voice to take on that song… and you don’t.” He said it was a pointless performance and didn’t point out what kind of an artist he will be. Kara agrees. She says there was no connection and calls it “loungey, sleepy, and indulgent.” She recognizes he can sing, though. Randy says he saw a little bit of the John he likes on the runs. Ellen doesn’t understand why he chose that song. But, she though he sounded great anyway.

John says the song is very important to him and sang it for his parents who are in the audience.

Michael Lynche – “This Love” (Maroon 5)

Now this is more like it. Mike takes a song, changes it up for his own style, and sells it. He doesn’t overdo the riffs, seems very comfortable on the stage, and tears it up. Yup, best of the night, by a mile!

Ellen says Mike’s personality is bursting out of him. She thinks it was a great choice and she loves him. Randy starts going on about how Mike hurt him when he picked them up. Kara says if they had a lot of great peformances they would be more critical. Simon says Michael was like the support act before the main act and delivered very little. He thinks Michael is better than that performance. Ellen thinks people are going to love Mike, though, and everybody is already on his side. She warns him not to get too cocky.

Alex Lambert – “Wonderful World” (James Morrison)

It’s like he’s talking the song or something. He’s got an interesting voice, but it’s a bit lacking in tone and richness. He looks like he has a mullet, which distracts me a bit. I didn’t care for the performance.

Simon says that was the most uncomfortable performance of the night. “I don’t know who was happier for that to end, you or me!” He says Alex has a good voice, but he needs to get his nerves together. “If it’s uncomfortable for you, it’s uncomfortable for people watching.” Kara says she wants to give Alex a hug. She thinks he sounds a lot like James Morrison. She thinks he has great potential. “Believe in yourself,” she says. Randy loves his tone, but he needs to pull it together. Ellen likes that he’s holding on to the mullet. She thinks he’s adorable and “not quite ripe enough.”

Alex says he’s only performed three or four times in a small coffee house in front of 20 or so people.

Casey James – “Heaven” (Bryan Adams)

Wow! Casey is singing while Kara and company are carrying on like junior high school kids. But it doesn’t phase him at all. Casey smiles all the way through the song, but his vocals are spot on and he does everything right. I have the same feeling watching him I had the first time I saw Bo Bice at this stage of the game. He’s a contender for sure. Now they just need to stop with all the harassment. It’s getting old. Let the dude sing.

Kara starts out. She says she doesn’t recognize him with his shirt on. Heh! She says it was hard to to listen to. Kara is all aflutter. Ellen says she could feel Kara undressing Casey with her eyes. Randy says he really liked him, loved the swagger. Kara pipes up again. She says “You are eye candy, but you are also ear candy.” Simon says they were both cursed with good looks. He thinks he chose the right song. “You came over as very likeable.” He thinks this was the best performance from Casey since he’s been in the competition.

Andrew Garcia – “Sugar We’re Going Down” (Fallout Boy)

Andrew seems to be rushing this a bit too much and the lyrics are too complicated. I’m not loving the song choice, but I do like his voice and conviction. I think he was in a tough spot following Casey, who is somewhat similar.

Simon says he was looking forward to hearing Andrew more than anyone else. He says he was disappointed. He says it was very intense and forgettable. Kara says it was a risk, but it was a strange risk. The song wasn’t meant to be acoustic. Randy says the arrangement was strange for him. “I’m a fan of you,” he says. Ellen is a fan, but says he was inside of himself until the point where he looked at his wife. They all pointed out how memorable his performance of “Straight Up” was.

OK, time for me to pick who’s going home. I’m going with Tyler Grady and Tim Urban. Neither deserves to be on the Idol stage.

Results Thursday!

**VFTW pick!

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