AMERICAN IDOL Top 12 Guys Performance - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

AMERICAN IDOL Top 12 Guys Performance

February 25, 2010 by  

Last night it was ladies night, and now it’s time for the guys to take center stage. Maybe it was the first night jitters, but on the whole the girls left people wanting more. In a season where the pundits are already saying a girl is going to take it all, can the guys step up and give them a run for their money?

There’s a lot of talent with the guys.  My money is riding on Andrew Garcia who has been a shining star since his first audition.  The producers and judges have given him the love, but will they give him the pimp spot tonight? And which guy will give Andrew a run for his money?  Kris Allen was virtually unknown when he took as part of the Top 12 last year. He made people take notice and never let them look away.  Who will be that guy this season?

These are your Top 12 guys and THIS is American Idol.

One by one the guys are announced, and yup….Andrew Garcia was given the pimp spot. Oh these producers are nothing if not predictable.

In the pre-performance banter, Ellen let us know that being there and listening to the singers live is completely different than watching at home.  After going home and watching last night’s show back, she realized that a few things are forgiven while in the live studio, but pointed out if it sounds bad in the theater, it’s only worse for the people at home watching and voting.  So true.

We’ve got a lot of singing ahead of us, and I have a lot of writing, so let’s get to it. First up tonight is…

Todrick Hall
“Since You’ve Been Gone” | Kelly Clarkson
Excuse me while I pick my jaw off the floor.  I wasn’t expecting THAT. It’s almost as if Todrick designed his entire performance based on the judges comments from last night. Time after time they told the girls that it was all about taking a song and making it your own. No one can argue that Todrick didn’t do exactly that on the stage. I love the original Kelly Clarkson anthem but I didn’t hate Todrick’s bluesy arrangement. Musically it was far from perfect and I think that’s the bigger issue here. The vocals were definitely shaky at times and we didn’t hear enough of Todrick’s range. The guy took a risk, there’s no denying that.

The Judges: Ellen liked his stage presence and performance but thought the chorus was a little rough. Randy wasn’t digging the performance. Most importantly he said that he wanted to hear more vocals next time.  But then he got down on Todrick for changing the song too much. Talk about sending mixed signals to the contestants.  Switch up the arrangement and make it your own, but don’t switch it up too much because we liked the original so much?  Come on.  Kara agreed that he’s strong enough of a singer that he didn’t need to change the arrangement that much to be effective. Simon said it was a crazy arrangement that didn’t improve upon the original, and he was verging on “stupid”.

Aaron Kelley
Rascal Flats
In all of the Top 24, I’m least excited about Aaron Kelley.  As I said in the last TV Talk Podcast, I think this kid was cast for the tweens vote.  A lot of the guys in the Top 12 are a bit older and the producers wanted to try to find the next David Archuleta so this guy was cast. But I’ve seen David Archuleta and this kid is no David Archuleta (which isn’t saying much to begin with anyway). If anything, I think the break out teen heartthrob could be Tim Urban (more on him later). Aaron’s performance wasn’t a complete trainwreck, but the kid has zero charisma. I needed Dramamine after watching him swaying back and forth the entire time.  Some shaky notes, but not a god awful vocal despite how hard he pushed. He had a few good moments on the stage tonight, but I still don’t see him going very far in the competition.

The Judges: Simon praised Aaron’s performance saying it was “quite a good performance”. He talked to Aaron about self confidence. Kara said Aaron has no idea how great his “raw, natural talent is”. Kara thinks we are going to see incredible things from this guy. Randy liked him but too talked about his confidence. Ellen said he was going to be around for a long time.  So it’s me vs. the judges. One of us will be eating crow.

Jermaine Sellers
“Get Here” | Oleta Adams
Surprised that Jermaine made the Top 24 since the producers edited him during Hollywood Week as a complete cocky d-bag.  The judges are very deliberate in what they allow us to see.  Interesting that they showed us that side of Jermaine.  Maybe it’s why they let his little mea culpa be such a big part of his pre-vid tonight. As for his performace…Yikes. I don’t know if it was nerves or what, but I have to believe Jermaine is better than what we heard tonight. The performance was sharp from beginning to end, and in some places it went so far off the rails that I actually cringed.  That wasn’t good at all.  But I can see beyond this performance and I know he has potential, but I fear he’s going to get skewered for his vocals.

The Judges: Ellen thought he was performing the song rather than singing it authentically. She thought he was trying too hard. Randy thought he was trying to do too much vocally.Kara thought he was showing his range but it wasn’t special enough. Simon thought it was over the top and that he totally blew his opportunity with that performance.

Oh snap! Ryan tried to help Jermaine out a little by asking him about the issue during Hollywood Week.  He gave him an out to clear it all up, and rather than say he was embarrassed he almost tried to justify his attitude.  But it was quite the moment when Ryan asked Jermaine if he and Michael (Associate Musical Director) made up. Jermaine responded…”Michael who?” Oh man! Ok, in all fairness I think Jermaine was a bit confused by the question, but it certainly didn’t help his case at all.

Tim Urban
“Apologize” by One Republic
In case I forget, every week that this boy is in the competition someone is going to have to be responsible for reminding me that he is only 20 years old. I was already in HS when this fine young thing was born.  Because damn, he’s all kind of pretty.  Tim was a last minute addition to the Top 24 when Chris Golightly had contract problems (and given the fuss Golightly has been making, I’m glad he’s not in the Top 24 this year). I don’t remember Tim having the best voice, but something tells me I’m not going to care. Um, may I please take that last statement back?  Clearly everything up to the last sentence was written before the boy opened his mouth. Not even his toothy grin could save that horrific performance.  It was so bad that I had to hit pause a few seconds in because I was so embarrassed for him.

The Judges: Simon congratulated Tim for making it back but then told him that they made the right decision the first time around by not bringing him to the original Top 24. Ouch. Simon said that he might make it through because he’s good looking and people might feel sorry for him, and if so he really needs to get it together.  Simon speaks the truth, but he can me so ugly about it. Kara said the music swallowed him up. Randy said it was the wrong song and none of it worked. Ellen said he couldn’t hit the notes but he might get the votes because he’s adorable.

Joe Munoz
“You and I Both” by Jason Mraz
Who?  Here’s another guy that the producers decided to hide from us pretty much all of Hollywood Week.  Maybe that’s why he was such a pleasant surprise. He didn’t hit it out of the ballpark, but he had a nice vocal quality. There was a richness to his voice that I think will only get better once he works out some of his nerves.  The song didn’t go as far as it needed as Joe could have taken it, and that was a bit disappointing. Maybe my ears are still bleeding after Tim’s performance but I liked this kid.  Was he just cast as canon fodder or do the producers think he really has a chance?  What do YOU think?

The Judges: Ellen thought he had great stage presence and sounded great. Randy didn’t love the song choice but said Joe has a great voice. Kara thought he was the most consistent performer of the night.  Simon thought it was an “ok, safe, forgettable performance”.

Tyler Grady
“American Woman” by The Guess Who
Here’s another guy I don’t get at all.  I haven’t been impressed by the vocals I heard leading up to tonight. I’m all for being retro, but he has to be more than that as a musician. After his performance of “American Woman” I’m even less interested than I was at the beginning of this paragraph. I didn’t think the vocals were anything special, and I thought he was more interested in being a insta-rock star than he was in giving his all in a singing competition.

The Judges: Seems Simon and I are on the same page with Tyler. He said that Tyler comes off as someone who “went t school to learn how to be a rock star school” He went on to say that it felt a bit cliched and unnatural. Kara agrees with Simon and said that Tyler needed to move beyond the 70s shtick. Randy said it was style over substance. Ellen said he was going through the motions and mimicking the poses of his idols but he needs to think more about the singing. Randy added that he needs to be an original. It’s so rare that the judges and I are on the same page.  Well done, panel. Golf claps all around.

Lee Dewyze
“Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
This performance didn’t go in the direction I’m sure Lee hoped it would. He started off pretty great. I liked his vibe and his voice. I thought “Chasing Cars” was a solid song choice. It sounded very authentic, but things quickly turned sour and he hit more than a few wrong notes and didn’t really ever recover. I really like the tone of this guy’s voice and I’m actually interested in hearing more from him.  He clearly can sing, but I think he needs to focus in on the pitch more.  I think he’ll get another shot.

The Judges: Ellen agreed about the tone of his voice but said he lost the pitch when he pushed.  Randy didn’t like the song choice.  Come on Randy, you were really showing me something last night and tonight it’s back to your old standbys.  I told you not to blow all your new material last night.  Kara said the problem with the song was that it was limited in range and Lee tried to change it to take advantage of his voice, but it didn’t work. In one of the most surprising moments of the night, Simon really went to bat for this kid in a big way.  He said it was his favorite performance of the night so far.  He said Lee has an authentically good voice and he thinks he’ll go far.  Based on those comments alone he just might.  Oh and Lee didn’t hurt his game at all by being teary-eyed and charming in his one-on-one with Seacrest.

John Park
“God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday
One of my favorite songs of all time, I can’t say that “God Bless the Child” was the right song for John tonight.  This kid has a fantastic lower range, but it was all a bit of a mess at the beginning. I think he worked it out in the middle and pulled it out toward the end, but on the whole I think it was lacking. I like the richness and texture of his voice, but I’m not sure if his voice is big enough to tackle a song like that.  The genre seemed to suit him well but he should have picked another song.

The Judges: Simon said that he didn’t have the voice to take on that song and thought the performance was “pointless”. Kara said said there was no connection with the audience. She said it was all a bit indulgent. Guess what Randy said about the song? Moving on to Ellen. She said that she too wishes he picked another song because she’s not sure who he’d be as an artist based on that, but she wants to find out.

Michael Lynche
“This Love” by Maroon 5
Michael took a pretty basic, yet pleasurable song and used his tree trunk arms to squeeze any bit of life from it.  From beginning to end he put the song in this little box of three or four notes, and he wouldn’t allow it to go anywhere else. The song was so bland. I don’t think this guy has the vocal chops to be in the Top 24, but he’s here. After that I feel justified in the skepticism I’ve had since his first audition.

The Judges: Ellen praised his performance and song choice. Randy liked the energy he brought to the room. Kara agreed, but said that had we had a lot of great performances before him they would probably be more critical. It wasn’t “outrageously great”. Simon said he was more like an opening act and he needs to be better than that. Ellen warned him not to be too cocky.

(Oh good heavens, how may more left?!)

Alex Lambert
“What a Wonderful World” by James Morrison
I remember this kind for his 80’s sunglasses and the fact that Mary Power was all up his ass during the group performance.  Can he sing?  Probably. I couldn’t really tell because he was so thoroughly racked with nerves. I was worried that he was going to throw up on stage.  We’ve seen before what an awful dancer he is, and that doesn’t help his stage presence at all.  Nor does the mullet. That’s bad.  His voice is very Mraz’y and I like that. I actually thought he picked a good song to show off his voice, but again it was all buried under his nerves.

The Judges: Simon told him straight up that if he couldn’t figure out his nerves then this whole thing isn’t going to work. Him being uncomfortable on the stage makes those at home uncomfortable.  Simon said he had a great voice, but it’s not going to matter if he can’t get it together. Kara said he has great potential but he just needs to believe in himself. Randy too praised his tone and wants to see him move on in the competition. Ellen said she supports his mullet (Ha!) She compared him to an unripe banana. Alex did tell Ryan that he’s only performed 3-4 times in front of a live audience, and those performances were in coffee shops, so yeah, he was nervous. But he vowed to pull it together.  I think I’m a new fan.

Casey James
“Heaven” by Bryan Adams
Talk about an uncomfortable performance to watch. Casey’s whole pre-vid was about how Kara had the hots for him.  When he took the stage it was almost as if he were thinking about the video the whole time and laughing. For some reason it seemed off to me and embarrassing (esp for Kara). But, Kara’s obsession aside, I think this guy has a good voice and I think he’s getting kind of a bad rap because of how he’s being objectified by Kara.  It wasn’t perfect but few people performed better tonight in my opinion.

The Judges: All kidding aside, I felt kind of bad for Casey. I have no doubt that he’ll make it through, but Kara made her whole critique into a joke about HER. Ellen at least apologized for all the tomfoolery that was happening during his performance (which may have contributed to Casey’s smile throughout the song). Randy really liked the performance and he really likes Casey’s voice.  Kara tried to get serious with him and said he was eye candy and ear candy.  Simon praised Casey’s voice, song choice, likability, looks and said it was his best performance to date.  Oh and Simon called Kara a cougar. Two snaps to you, Cowell.

Ryan: Tomorrow is the results and Friday is Kara’s HR meeting.

We’re closing the show out with perhaps the most buzzed about IDOL contestant coming into tonight’s competition.  Can Andrew Garcia continue to impress?

Andrew Garcia
“Sugar We’re Going Down” by Fallout Boy
I hate to sound so Jackson’esque but I thought that was really the wrong song for Andrew tonight.  He has such a uniqueness to his voice, and that song didn’t allow for any of that.  He’s so much better than that song.  If I were on the panel I’d tell Andrew that he needs to be careful not to duplicate himself. He needs to stick with who he is as artist but he has to explore his vocal vocabulary a bit more.  This guy is good, no doubt, and he’s still my favorite. I just wish he would have come out a bit bigger tonight.

The Judges: Simon voiced his disappointment in the performance and told Andrew that he expected a lot more from him.  But if you’re an IDOL regular viewer you can tell when Simon is criticizing because he has zero interest in a contestant versus what he perceives as constructive criticism.  I think tonight it was the latter. I think he put that on the table to really challenge Andrew because I think Simon knows he’s a real contender this season. Kara said it wasn’t the right arrangement but she hopes to see him for many, many weeks as he’s so great. Randy too loves this guy but encouraged him to return to what they liked best about him.  Like the other three judges, Ellen mentioned his performance of “Straight Up” during Hollywood Week and said that performance alone would carry him for a few weeks because he already has so many fans. I agree.

So that’s that. Similar to last night, the night was pretty much a bust.  Some glimpses of potential but there wasn’t a single performance that complete me took me by surprise and really made me take notice. So far this Top 24 isn’t living up to what we expected from them based on what we saw in Hollywood Week, But it’s only the first week. Those who survive this week better step up their game in a big way next week.

Favorite performances of the night (aka the guys that got me interested): Casey James, Lee Dewyze, Alex Lambert (go back and listen without watching), Andrew Garcia

My votes for the guys that should go home tomorrow: Tim Urban (oh it kills me to write that) and Tyler Grady (but if it was Michael Lynche I’d be ok with that too).

Which two guys do you think should be sent packing tomorrow night?  Favorite performances of the guys Top 12?  Who did you think was a complete disaster?

REMINDER: I’m going to be LIVE blogging the results show tomorrow night.  Make a plan to stop by GMMR and share your thoughts in the comments throughout the entire show.


5 Responses to “AMERICAN IDOL Top 12 Guys Performance”

  1. Alec on February 25th, 2010 4:45 am

    right on. Tim & Tyler were definitely the worst lat night. The dont deserve a second week. Casey was the best

  2. Nisi on February 25th, 2010 7:53 am

    I agree with a lot of your critiques, and I had the same feeling about Alex. It was so painful the first time, but the second go around, without watching, his voice was pretty fantastic. Now, it’s can the kid get over his nerves and gain some confidence before it’s too late. As someone who’s not the most outgoing girl on the planet, it’s not an easy thing to do, especially when millions are watching and waiting on it.

  3. makila on February 25th, 2010 9:23 am

    I really hope Alex Lambert gets it together because he reminds me of a Rob Thomas and who doesn’t need another Rob Thomas around. Kara was sexually harrassing Casey and I think he almost took his shirt off again. At this point it looks like it is going to be a rough season.

  4. Strunkette on February 25th, 2010 9:45 am

    Man the judges are going to wince when they watch Lee. He was so flat at times it completely ruined it for me. I think he has potential but you have got to hit the right notes.

    I previously said I liked Jermaine but I think I got him confused with one of the other guys. They talked about him on Idolatry and I realized I was wrong about Jermaine. ha!

    My favorites are Andrew Gracia & Casey. I feel bad for Casey that he’s having to put up with Kara and I give him props for being able to even sing on stage with that stuff hanging over him. I actually really like his voice/vibe. Andrew picked the wrong song and, like you said yesterday about the girls, he was held to a MUCH higher standard than the rest of the pack. Was it the best song? No, but he sang it well with no off notes (I’m talking to you Lee, and Simon’s praise of him.)

    I’m sad about Tim’s performance. The kid gets brought back in and doesn’t do the best job. I love that song and I think it would have helped him loads if he had at least been loud enough to hear. He was being drowned out by the band. Isn’t that was sound check is for??

    Don’t get me started on Michael Lynch. It pains me that other good singers didn’t get through so he could. You missed your kid’s birth, I get it, but that doesn’t mean you should get a free pass to Hollywood. The guy is never going to be a successful mainstream musician.

    So yeah, Michael, Todrick (have you heard the controversy surrounding him? He bilked a bunch of parents out of money promising them their kids would be extras in a musical.), and Aaron could go home. I’d like to see Tim get another chance and Tyler doesn’t bother me as much as you.

  5. Lisa (aka lmr) on February 25th, 2010 12:06 pm

    Technical question here…I didn’t see any ear pieces yet I remember them from prior seasons. I’m wondering if the singers are just not hearing well enough?

    I agree with all the comments and am still on team Andew but shaky starts all around.