As we reported earlier, the Top 10 boys performed Tuesday rather than the girlsas previously scheduled because Crystal Bowersox was hospitalized earlier in the day. Ryan assures us she is fine and will be back on stage Wednesday.
Kara thinks the group is getting settled in and Simon thinks the girls are ahead by a “smidge.” We are off to the races.
Michael Lynche – “This is a Man’s World” (James Brown)
Mike is “huge” into theater, and tells us he went to a performing arts high school and also played football. He says he benches 505, which is three Ryan Seacrests! The all around guy, you know.
Mike dresses for the night and really puts his soul side front and center. The arrangement is lame, but his vocals are sharp. He can sang, that’s for sure. I like this so much better than what he did last week. He shows his strength and power, as well as his showmanship, although he needs to tone it down just a tiny bit. I think Michael Lynche just bought himself another week.
Randy gives Mike a standing O and says he feels like the season is getting rolling. He thinks Mike has the fire! Ellen says she’s liked all his song choices and that this will be the performance the others will have to beat. Kara says she didn’t get it until tonight, but tonight, he’s not the same guy and she’s feelin’ it! Simon says Mike went from being a pussycat to a lion in one week, and that it didn’t sound dated. He calls it Mike’s best performance in the competition so far. Mike tells us they didn’t find out about switching with the girls until 10 a.m.
John Park – “Gravity” (John Mayer)
Another rather boring song from John. He does have a nice tone to his voice, but he strays far away from the melody once he gets into it. Can I use “pitchy” here? He’s sitting on a stool and I want him to stand up. He might be able to find a little depth, but no, he sits the entire time.
Randy doesn’t think John brought anything new or spicy, and says it was flat. “I didn’t see anything special about it.” Ellen says it was a better choice, but needed a little more soul. She urges him to feel the song a little bit more. Kara says it was “way better than last week,” but says he lacks a connection to the song. “I want you to take some risks,” she tells John. I don’t know if he’ll be around another week, but whatever. Simon says John’s a cappella group may get their lead singer back. Ouch. He calls it a “so what” song choice and says he struggles with the “believability.” He says in 20 minutes we’ll forget the performance. I think he’s right. They continue to rip him to shreds and John looks like he’s about to cry. He should, because he’s doomed.
Casey James – “I Don’t Wanna Be” (Gavin DeGraw)
Bad move, Casey. He admits that he never watched ‘Idol’ and didn’t realize this song has been done to death (best by Bo Bice in my opinion). Casey says he watched everyone else’s performances, though, and hopes he can add something new. Casey spent most of his live without a TV! Imagine that! He even restored his own house!
Casey’s playing electric guitar and he’s very good. Thing is, the goaty vibrato is totally annoying me. He sounds like Cat Stevens, and I’m sure that’s not the effect he is going for. But he does know how to play guitar! That’s all I can really say about this one!
Randy isn’t impressed by Casey’s vocal, but does say this is the kind of record he would make with Casey. He calls his guitar playing “hot.” Ellen says she he sounded great and loved Casey on guitar. She does point out Casey was a little stiff, and wants him to play and move more. Kara says Casey took two steps backwards for her. Ohhh. She compliments his guitar playing, but reminds him this is a singing competition. “Everything that was distinct about your vocals went away.” Simon says Casey turned into “somebody you will see in any bar across America.” Double ouch! “I don’t think you’ve got the grit in your voice to make that authentic,” he says. He really seems shocked, but admits they were probably right about his vocals.
Alex Lambert – “Everybody Knows” (John Legend)
Alex tells us he created his own language when he was in the sixth grade. He tells us he was extremely nervous last week because he hasn’t performed much. Alex has picked up his acoustic guitar. He doesn’t sound anywhere near as bad as he did last week. The song is much better suited for his voice and he has a lot more control. His voice is strong, but he needs to work a bit on phrasing and breathing.
Randy says he has his own language too! He says it is such an improvement and that it wasn’t as sound-alike. “I really enjoyed that, actually,” he says. Ellen says it was like someone took an unripe banana and put it in a paper bag. She can’t believe the improvement. She liked it. Kara says there isn’t a person out there that isn’t rooting for Alex. Well, that might be a bit of a stretch, Kara, but go one. She says Alex has an incredible, recordable voice, but he doesn’t know what to do with it. “Great improvement.”
Simon says that was a million times better, but the only time someone should be nervous is when they’re useless, and he isn’t. Simon says Alex must have a killer instinct, because once Alex starts believing, he’s going to be a different person.
Todrick Hall – “What’s Love Got to do With It” (Tina Turner)
Todrick comes from a musical theater background, and thinks he can be a singer and a dancer. The arrangement is absolutely awful and he’s not fully using his voice. He needs to start singing male songs in order to really show his potential. He works it too hard and comes across as being desperate. He also seems real phony to me. As for the singing, he’s very hoarse on the faux-falsetto ending. I think Todrick just bought his ticket home.
Randy says the falsetto was hot, but that a great song doesn’t need a different, wild arrangement. “Just sing a nice song and sing it,” he begs Todrick. Ellen says sing and move, and he should always use his strength. She doesn’t think this was the right song at all and that this song won’t help him get any votes. Kara says they all like him and want to see him do well. “When you started moving it got better.” She says that ever since the first audition, which they loved, he’s been all over the place. She doesn’t know where that Todrick went?
Simon says this isn’t working out at all for Todrick. Simon says he’s had the misfortune to see this type of performance at a theme park. “You are getting this completely and utterly wrong,” Simon finishes. Randy comes back and says Todrick needs to relax and just sing. Todrick says he thought they wanted them to change things up and if he comes back, he’s just gonna come out and sing. Todrick is such a diva. Sheesh. I don’t think he’ll be there again, though.
Jermaine Sellers – “What’s Going On” (Marvin Gaye)
Silly opening piece on Jermaine’s onsie. He tells us the judges were cutthroat the first week. For some reason, I’m having a Clay Aiken flashback. Maybe it’s the attitude or the carriage or something. I don’t know. Anyway, Jermaine’s got his hair in some kind of weirdly styled fake mohawk. He sings and moves just like a woman. His voice is too breathy, and not incidentally, very pitchy. His timing is also way off. Oh, where is Thaddeus when we need him. I wanted to see more black R&B dudes on this show, but this is pitiful.
Randy says this is better than last week, but not a great performance. Ellen says she loves his style and that he rocks the onsie, but it didn’t work for her. “Pushed to hard,” she says. Kara says it’s impressive Jermaine can do what he does, but that he’s doing too much. “It just feels forced,” she says. “One trick that means something.”
Simon says they are frustrated and disappointed, but that Jermaine is watering it down by playing around with it too much. Jermaine keeps interrupting them. Simon uses the dreaded “cabaret” word. Jermaine wants to know what he should sing next week? Simon says he’s not sure Jermaine will be there next week. Ellen suggests Frankie Beverly and Maze. Shut up, Jermaine. Just shut up. God is on his side, though, he tells us. Yikes.
Andrew Garcia -”You Give Me Something” (James Morrison)
Andrew’s been a break dancer since middle school. He says it’s connected to his music. He will continue to do what he does best. Andrew has lost his guitar this week to focus on his vocals. And, for me, at least, it works. He’s a bit hoarse, but I like the way the notes are dropping. As with several of the others tonight, he’s a bit karaoke and the performance is very, very safe, and predictable. Still, not terrible and quite honestly, better safe than sorry at this point!
Randy says he loves James Morrison, but that wasn’t the vibe for Andrew. He’d rather see him with the guitar doing quirky things. He didn’t get it. Boo. Ellen disagrees and says she liked it a lot. But nothing will ever live up to Andrew’s “Straight Up.” She says she’s thinking about getting his name tattooed on his neck. Heh! Kara says he’s always going to have to live up to that. She wants a big surprise from him. Simon says the fact that Andrew hasn’t chosen the right song in two weeks shows there’s something lacking. He’s disappointed.
Aaron Kelly – “My Girl” (The Temptations)
Aaron loves photography. He admits he didn’t think he’d get this far but thinks he deserves to be here. Another really, really bad song choice. I just don’t know what to say about this one. He’s nasally, the arrangement is too slow, and it’s like a little boy in a grown-up talent competition. Why is he here? Oh, right, we need to have a bunch of lame-o boys so the girls will look stellar. If the judges like this one, well, I don’t know…
Randy says he didn’t know if he would like it, but that it was 200 percent better than last week. Ellen likes the way he used the stage. She thinks the song was a little forgettable and wishes he’d chosen a different song. Kara really liked it. She likes Aaron. She likes his consistency. Ugh. Simon, don’t let me down. He didn’t like the song and says it was all over the place. He thinks he went backwards and thinks Aaron doesn’t know what kind of artist he wants to be.
Tim Urban -”Come on Get High”
Tim has four brothers and five sisters. He wishes he could forget about last week and remarks on Simon’s horrible comments. He says this week he’s not going to try to be someone he’s not. Tim’s playing guitar, and really, he’s right in his comfort zone. It’s a bit soundalike, karaoke, if you will, but he’s improved drastically in a week. VFTW, you may have lost your boy! Tim goes offkey a bit at the end, but overall, it isn’t horrible.
Randy asks how it was for Tim. He says he didn’t get it. The audience boos. Ellen wonders if Tim can act. She thinks he should be on Glee! She sees no stage presence or charisma. Kara says she liked the song choice and sees him more in that lane, but Tim didn’t make it his own and it’s frustrating for her because it’s not all there yet. “It could be there,” she says. She still wants to see him there. Simon disagrees and says it was a marked improvement. He says he thinks Tim was more relevant tonight than most of the performers. He’s impressed by Tim’s attitude and work ethic. Wow.
Tim says he’s taking it all in. He says he wanted to come up and perform, and not worry about the judges. I think he knows he’s on borrowed time and wants to enjoy every minute. And, with this performance, he’s certainly going to be back next week.
Lee DeWyze -”Lips of an Angel”
Lee tells us high school was rough for him and he ended up in an alternative school, but the teachers saved his bad-boy butt. He says he was a nice guy who made bad decisions. Do all these guys sound alike this year? Actually, Lee sounds pretty good for what this song it. Again, it’s a bit karaoke, and he’s trying way too hard to sell it. Is he channeling David Cook? Better watch out for that, dude. David Cook is sacrosanct in ‘Idol’ circles and you’re nowhere nearly there yet!
Randy asks if Lee missed the guitar. He says it was a bold move and he likes that Lee took chances and came out of his comfort zone. He likes it. Ellen says there were a couple of pitch problems, but there was a lot of passion and intensity. “It came out as a great performance.” Kara says it was a big improvement and that Lee is very commercial. Simon says, “Vocally, you are head and shoulders above everyone else on your side of the competition right now.” But, he says Lee looks terrified. He’s waiting for Lee to totally connect. “You may be the one to beat.” Why would Simon say that?
I think Michael Lynche was the best of the night, followed by Andrew Garcia. I’m not getting all the Lee DeWyze love, but would put him third. Casey James, Alex Lambert, Tim Urban, and Aaron Kelly are my middle group, leaving John Park, Todrick Hall, and Jermaine Sellers as my bottom three. I think Todrick will survive another week, but forget about Jermaine. He just kept talking during the judges commentary, which pisses voters off. John’s performance was so forgettable, I forgot about it when I was putting my rankings list together, seriously! I think he’s a goner too.
Girls tomorrow. Hopefully, they can add a little zest to the mix!