|How will Heejun do in his first live performance?|
Another season of live 'Idol' performances kicks off tonight and I'm back to do a play-by-play right here on Foxydonna on Idol. The Top 12 boys perform tonight, and we'll also learn the identity of the 13th boy - either Jermaine Jones, David Leathers, Richie Law, or Johnny Kaiser. I'm assuming tonight's big "twist" will be the return of a 13th girl, but who knows.
Let's get this party started, shall we?
Ryan opens the show by walking down the line of the contestants. Scary voiceover man is back, introducing the judges and then Ryan. Ryan welcomes us. "We have finally hit the big time!" He shows off the new stage and the band does a riff. Ryan is wearing a gray suit, with a vest, blue shirt, and no tie. Jennifer gets a laugh over her dress, and Steven Tyler gets some love. The girls are in the mosh pit.
The boys come out and the crowd goes wild. Ryan intros them. They blow kisses and mug for the camera. Ryan tells us we'll find out who the mystery guy is. Ryan tells us the guys got to pick any song they want and got a camera to take home.
First up is Reed Grimm. He shows off his nieces and cheese. He tells us he's going to work the crowd into a frenzy.
Reed Grimm - "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5
Reed doesn't really have the swagger or the moves. Seems like they bleeped something out there. Reed, did thou sweareth? The song is actually a pretty good choice, though as he has the scat down. Reed hits a drum kit mid-song. This might get old after a while. He reminds me a bit of Casey Abrams, vocally at least. Odd moves like Paul McDonald.
Adam Brock - "Think" by Aretha Franklin
Adam shows off his wife, kid, house and dog back home in Pennsylvania. He's got a degree as a chef from the Cordon Bleu. He's cooking sausages. He reminds us there's a large black woman trapped in his body. White chocolate.
Adam's dressed all in black. He lumbers around the stage, playing it for all it's worth. He reminds me of Gokey, sort of out of place and overdoing it. He does have decent vocal control, but really, that's about it. I predict Adam will be out after this week.
Steven says Adam is setting the bar high right out of the box. J'Lo loved the big finish and says he definitely delivered at the end. Randy loved the throwback vibe. He points out the Steeler "terrible towel" Adam has hanging out of his back towel.
DeAndre Brackensick - "Reasons" by Earth, Wind and Fire
DeAndre is a senior in high school. We see videos of his in a "76 Trombone" outfit. DeAndre breaks out the falsetto. Now he's a cutie, that's for sure, and as we've learned, that can take someone pretty far in this competition. But in reality, he has a pretty good voice and good moves. Good song choice. He's clearly going on. Mom and Dad are delighted.
J'Lo says she understands the screaming girls. Steven says this was a great song and J'Lo gushes how happy she is that he made it back this year. "It's gonna be such an amazing year for you." Randy says DeAndre is one of the most commercial guys out of the box and is ready to go. "Dude, pulling for you. Loving you, loving you."
Two little girls come up on the stage and DeAndre's spot in the Top 12 is assured. I'm wishing he'd done some hair whipping.
Colton Dixon "Decode" by Paramore
Colton shows off his studio in the basement of his parents house. He also tells us that his hair grows fast. He doesn't explain the skunk stripe. He told us he wasn't going to play the piano, right? But he does anyway. But then he stands up. Colton's playing the rock card hard. He shouts and stands on the piano and finishes off kneeling on it. Big finish with scary lighting and full frontal face ala James Durbin and Lambert.
Randy is happy Colton is back and says there are so many flavors already. J'Lo loves Colton's heart and wants America to feel it. She calls him a relevant artist. Steven says last year Colton didn't have a chance to show his real talent. Colton asks the audience for validation. Another one who's going to make it to the Top 12.
Jeremy Rosado -"Gravity" by Sara Bareilles
Jeremy gets a little sit down time with Ryan. We see the office where he worked and is known as "Jer Bear!" Jeremy's rather generic. Seems like a good guy, but this probably wasn't the best choice. He's certainly earnest. But not different, really. We'll call him fodder.
Steven says the song was beautiful and he couldn't have picked a better song. He praises Jeremy's kindness. J'Lo says some people are blessed from God with a voice that affects people. She says she loves it. Jeremy is touched. Randy says, "America meet Jeremy." He says he was impressed by the tender moments and the booming moments. He loves Jeremy.
Aaron Marcellus - "Never Can Say Goodbye" by the Jackson 5
Aaron's a struggling artist trying to make it in New York. We see him running for a bus. Aaron has good vocal control and tone, but Simon would have called him "Broadway." His runs are solid and he has good range. He seems very comfortable onstage. I actually like this guy. But, I'm afraid he's fodder.
The judges give him a standing ovation. Aaron smiles broadly. He was good. Randy says, "That's how you sing some vocals, man." He calls him an old-school veteran. J'Lo says Randy said, "Boy can sing." She thinks he can sing anything. Steven says Aaron's the "whole package" (heh). Aaron says the experience was "Wow."
Chase Likens - "Storm Warning" by Hunter Hayes
Chase is a college student who is majoring in theater. He rides a bike and loves to whistle. Dogs run to him when he whistles. He also shows off his horses. "I'm as country as a country boy can be. And that's no lie. The girls like him. He also seems very comfortable on the stage. His theater training is paying off. He's very good. Nice little twirl at the end. Perfect song choice. Super performance. And I don't like country.
The audience loves him too. Steven welcomes Chase to 'American Idol.' J'Lo comments on Chase's movie star good looks. She says he's grown so much through the competition. Randy says Chase has skills and is a good looking guy like he and Steven. "You're ready." Chase is very tall and makes Ryan looks runty!
Creighton Fraker - "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper
Creighton is a preacher's kid who left small town Idaho to live in the big city (New York). He says he's unique and different, and "you have to be who you are." Creighton starts out on a stool. He has a bit of a lisp. A rainbow lights up the Adam Lambert Memorial Stairway. He's a performer and I sense he's sending a message to America. Good for you Creighton Fraker. It's about time.
J'Lo says America's got their work cut out for them. She can't imagine how we're going to choose. She doesn't want Creighton to go. She lurves him. Steven says Cyndi is home crying. "You did real good today." Randy says they found some incredible singers. We're losing six tonight? Really.
Phillip Phillips - "In the Air Tonight" - Genesis
PP's father is so proud he's gonna "bust." PP doesn't want to be famous just for fame. He wants to make great music. He's changed up he song so that it's pretty much unrecognizable. This guy comes across as a total bumpkin, but he's actually more of an indie type. He's certainly a good candidate for the fifth WGWG 'Idol' winner. Think Dave Matthews.
J'Lo tells us we should know the4 name Phillip Phillips. She says they came back from the road talking about PP. "There's no doubt you're one of the special talents we found on the road." Steven says he has a crazy kind of voice and it's not easy making his voice fit other people's songs. Randy says he wasn't jumping up and down about the rework of the melody. "Just stick with the melody," J'Lo adds. PP, Sr. says his boy "blew it out." I love PP Sr.
Eban Franckewitz - "Set Fire to the Rain" by Adele
This song is a bit too old for 15-year old Eben. He get the big flame background. He's flat and pitchy, and it's a hot mess. I think he knows it too. Hey kiddo, you only get one chance and this, and methinks you blew it. Eben strickes me as the kind of kid who's never been criticized.
Randy says Eben is mad young and cool, calm and collected. He says it wasn't all perfect, but he collected himself and nailed it at the end. J'Lo says maybe he couldn't hear himself, but the he held on and put a bravado at the end. Steven says Eben has a great voice. He points out the pitchiness in the middle, but all in all it was a good performance. Eben says he's been taking it one step at a time all the way through. "Hopefully, America likes me and puts me through to the next round. "
Heejun Hun - "Angel" by Sarah Mclachlan
We see his home in Flushing and meet some of the special needs kids he works with. I love Heejun! The swaybots are swaying, and I'm sure J'Lo has tears in her eyes. Heejun has a strong, rich voice, but this song wasn't quite the right fit. He's got some issues with enunciation, but who cares. The audience certainly doesn't. Me, I don't care what he sings, he's my Idol this year no matter where he places.
J'Lo says Heejun's voice is as smooth as silk, but doesn't think that song showed it off. Steven sings "Heejun, you sure can sing." He doesn't think it was the right song. Randy agrees. But he's happy they found Heejun. So am I. He says he picked the song because he wants us all to know we can find our angels.
Joshua Ledet - "You Pulled Me Through" by Jennifer Hudson
Apparently some fans have named Joshua "Mantasia." This is not a good thing. We see Joshua at home making smoothies. Joshua has the gospel edge and this is a perfect song for him. Powerful, powerful performance. Wow. You don't see that too often on 'Idol.' Not since the season of J'Hud and Fantasia. Wow.
Randy asks for an Amen. He says he loves him and says this is what singing is about. He loves great voices and says, "You are definitely one of them." J'Lo wants to punch him. She thinks he could be a gospel star. "It's a privilege to sit here." Steven says he can't believe where Joshua went and came back. Joshua says he knows the struggle he and his family has been through and hopes he can help someone else get through it.
Now for the big reveal. And it's Jermaine Jones! Yay! God, he's positively huge. He says when he got the call, he was overjoyed and very grateful. Mom wasn't going to answer because she didn't know who was calling.
Jermaine Jones - "Dance With My Father" by Luther Vandross
I love this guy and love, love, love this song. Jermaine has a rich, stong, deep, solid voice and sings this with so much emotion. I am blown away.
The judges stand and I have to admit I have tears in my eyes. Randy says, "Very, very nice." He says there has never been a deep baritone on the show before. J'Lo says he has a special voice and spirit. Steven thanks Jermaine for proving why they brought him back. Mama comes up to the stage and give him a hug. I so want him to make the cut.
Best and Worst
This may have been the best male semi-final round ever. My favorites were Aaron, DeAndre, Joshua, and Jermaine. Is it too much to hope for four black guys in the Top 12? Maybe. Least favorite Eben, Adam, Colton, and Creighton. Middle of the pack, Heejun, Chase, and Jeremy. I have no idea who'll be leaving. No idea at all.