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

AMERICAN IDOL Top 12 Guys Performance Recap

March 1, 2011 by  

After all the drawn out drama surrounding the announcement of the new judges and the wild speculation about what the show would look like without Simon Cowell’s distinctive and defining voice, I wasn’t all that excited about AMERICAN IDOL this season.  Last year’s lackluster contestants had me all but walking away after being a loyal and dedicated fan since season one.  But given my history with the show, I had to give it one more shot.  So I tuned in, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that right away I felt the new energy.  It was palpable.

Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler certainly contributed to the new dynamic, and hell, even Randy Jackson seemed to be stepping up his game, but I also think the producers deserve some credit for taking the opportunity and really making the best of it. The audition shows had better pacing and the subsequent rounds felt a bit more grounded.

But the auditions and Hollywood Week are over and the real show starts tonight as the top 12 guys take to the IDOL stage for the first time for your votes.

For those of you who are new to the weekly GIVE ME MY REMOTE IDOL recaps, I’m a ‘blog as you watch’ kind of gal.  I take in each performance and then jot down my thoughts before they can be influenced by the judges.  That way I can share my authentic feelings.  Not to say that I won’t change my mind after a few viewings of a performance, but what you’ll be reading is my gut reaction.  Sometimes we’ll agree and other times you’ll be wrong (ha!) but either way, I am glad we’ll be watching AMERICAN IDOL together this season.

Tune in to GIVE ME MY REMOTE every Thursday when we LIVE blog the results show.  (Note: Keep an eye out on Twitter [@gmmrTV] for an announcement from me about this Thursday’s live blog.  I’m going to be up in the air on a flight to Los Angeles during the show, but as long as I can get the internet, which I think I can, I should be able to watch and blog).

Next week we’re going to have a special IDOL blog as I’ll be in the audience for the Thursday night performance taping.  My very first IDOL experience…I can’t wait!

Ok enough already…let’s get to the performances. Here’s my take on each of the guys. Then it’s YOUR turn.

Clint Jun Gamboa
This kid has a voice, a serious voice, but somehow I’m never really blown away.  Maybe I’m distracted by those glasses. Hmm.  His performance of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious” was exactly what I expected from him and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.  While the song is a classic, it’s classically overdone on the IDOL stage.  It’s worn out.  Hoping he picks a more contemporary song next week.

Jovany Barreto
“I’ll Be” your wedding singer.  I know it’s a myth that the IDOL singers can pick any song they want from week to week, but I’m stunned that Jovany thought this song was the best way to represent himself to the voting audience on the first true night of competition.  The vocals were ok, but he didn’t inspire me to pick up the phone and vote.

Jordan Dorsey
Jordan’s divatastic attitude during Hollywood Week hasn’t done anything to endear him to me going into tonight.  I’m willing to forgive and forget if he brings the vocals, but he didn’t. While I applaud him for choosing Usher’s “OMG” which is the most relevant song we’ve heard on IDOL in probably two seasons, the performance itself was weak.  His voice sounded shallow and from my seat on the other side of the TV, he didn’t really seem to fill the theater with his voice.

Tim Halperin
Maybe tonight wasn’t Tim’s best night but he’s still getting my vote. No doubt about that. As those of you who follow me on Twitter might know, Tim worked at my company’s Ft. Worth office until he left for the IDOL big time, so naturally I’m sticking with this guy for the whole of his journey. I actually had read spoilers indicating that the judges didn’t love Tim’s performance, so I was kind of expecting a train wreck.  Although I think we’ve seen Tim better throughout his IDOL experience thus far, I actually thought he sounded really good.  I think he’s probably more comfortably behind a piano and not having to work the stage, but I think he’s one of the best guys in the IDOL race this season.

Brett Lowenstern
Coming out of Hollywood Week, there were few contestants I loathed more than Brett.  I just don’t get it. I don’t think his voice is all that magnificent and he’s not backing it up with looks or personality, so I’m a bit befuddled. To me, I don’t think this guys has the ‘It’ factor that IDOL so desperately needs from this season’s winner. His performance tonight wasn’t bad by any means, and the judges seemed to really love it, but not me.

James Durbin
You know when I said there were few contestants I loathed more than Brett Lowenstern?  Yeah, well James Durbin is at the top of that list.  There is something that just rubs me the wrong way with this guy.  He’s just too much of everything I don’t like. Admittedly, I was first turned off by the Adam Lambert impersonation he relied on from his very first audition, but even after letting that go, I never really connected with his voice.  I’m not saying he can’t sing…that’s certainly not the case, but as an overall performer he just lacks authenticity. Maybe he needs to sing a ballad that doesn’t require his (Adam’s) signature scream. The judges love him and he’ll make it through tonight, but I don’t have a sense of his future in this competition.

Robbie Rosen
I’m not sure Sarah Mclachlan’s “Angel” was the right song to properly show off Robbie’s superior talents. He has the chops, but he tried too hard tonight.  He forced too much into this arrangement and it fell flat.  Had he been less ambitious it might have read boring, but I probably would have enjoyed it more.  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Randy Jackson and I are on the same page with this one.  Way to keep it honest, dawg.  (Yeah, I went there.)

Scott McCreery
It seems people are split on good ‘ol Scotty. I don’t think his editing during Hollywood Week helped him win too many fans.  But I really like this kid’s voice. I’m not sure how he will fare when he’s forced outside of his country comfort zone, but with the right guidance, I am hoping he finds a way to stay true to himself. No, his performance of “Letters from Home” didn’t blow me away tonight.  I think he sang it perfectly well but that song is just not the type of song that makes you jump out of your chair to vote.  If he’s going to stick with this old school country vibe then he must find a way to inspire fans because I don’t think song selection is going to take him that far. BTW, I like the little makeover Scott got from the IDOL stylists this week.

Stefano Langone
Ok, I don’t often lead with this but I was really thrown by Stefano’s phraseology choices tonight. He made a few word emphasis choices that took me out of the performance all together.  I love “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars in a BIG way.  But since it’s on the radio every two minutes, people are automatically going to compare the vocals to the original, and when you are talking about a voice as flawless as that of Bruno Mars, it’s going to be a tough sell no matter what.  I don’t know if Stefano chose the right key for this song. I think it was an octave too high for him.  The backing arrangement didn’t help him at all.  The band sounded like the instrumentals to the karaoke version of this song. But I didn’t hate the performance and there is something so charming about this guy. I’m rooting for him.

Paul McDonald
I worry that Paul isn’t IDOL enough for the voting audience.  I worry that he won’t connect with the tweens and that will adversely hurt his chances in this competition.  What I’m hoping is that the talent of this guy will breakthrough and resonate with those whose ears are overly saturated by auto-tuning and think that Justice Beaver is the second coming of The Beatles (not that they all know who the Beatles are…blasphemy!).  Despite picking a loathsome Rod Stewart song (sorry, I am NOT a Rod Stewart fan at all), I thought Paul really brought it tonight. I love the texture and quality of his voice. Very unique. Again, I’m not convinced he’s stereotypical IDOL material, but maybe that’s not a bad thing.

Jacob Lusk
Wowza! “A House is Not a Home” has been done many, many times on the IDOL stage dating back to season one, but I’m not sure if anyone has delivered the song with so much soul and power as Jacob. He might not be my favorite all around performer, but that voice! His range is outstanding and his control is magnificent. I might not want him to be my next IDOL (I reserve the right to change my mind) but I truly enjoy hearing him sing and I hope he’s in this competition for a long time to come.

Casey Abrams
Um, someone needs to give me one of Steve Tyler’s ‘bleep’ signs because I think I’m going to need it right about now. What the frak just happened on that IDOL stage?  Seriously, that was mind blowing!  Casey Abrams has it all!  The voice is a given. Steve had it right, his melodic sensibilities are unparalleled.  With every performance we’ve seen since his first audition, he manages to find a way to step inside the song.  He lives and breathes within it and emerges with a fresh take every time. But it’s not only his voice. This guy can sell it. Jennifer wasn’t lying when she called him sexy tonight. It might not be obvious but it’s there.  It’s a byproduct of his talent and confidence. And good lord does this guy know how to sell a performance. Sorry if I’m being overemphatic, but  again…mind…blown.

As Ryan mentioned, Casey was seriously ill last week.  As in – taken to the hospital he almost had to drop out of the competition – ill.  In fact, I believe that this performance was taped the day or day after he was released from the hospital. May I just say…damn!  I can’t imagine this competition without him. Here’s to his good health moving forward.

Before we get to talking about who will be moving on and who will be going home, I think it’s worthwhile to take a minute and talk about the judges performances tonight. What a difference a season can make.  Gone are the wishy washy comments of Ellen and Kara (seriously, it took me a minute to think of her name) and in their place is the promise of Steven and Jennifer. It was the first show so maybe a bit premature to judge the judges, but I think both did a fantastic job tonight.  There is a slippery slope between wanting to be nice and sugar coating feedback, but I have no doubt they’ll get there soon.

As for Randy, I worried during the audition rounds that he was trying to step into Simon’s shoes and taking on the role of the ‘mean’ one.  But tonight we saw a different Randy. He didn’t hold back and shared his honest opinion, but he wasn’t unnecessarily cruel or harsh. He was just honest. Keep it up, Randy, and you might finally add something important to the show…after only nine seasons.

As for the guys. Casey set the bar high tonight boys and girls.  By far his was my favorite performance of the night. I have no doubt he’ll be moving on next week, but who will join him?

As we do around here, let’s talk about top three and bottom three.  Casey and Jacob are easily my favorite two of the night  Biased of course, but I think I’ll put Tim in my number three spot with Paul right behind him (he would be above if it wasn’t for Rod.)

The guys that aren’t getting my vote tonight? Brett, Jovany and Jordan.

For the first time in IDOL history, you can now vote online.  Head over to and vote away! (for Tim Halperin…please?!)

This is where the fun starts – let me hear what YOU thought of each performance tonight. Break it down for me. Ok?  Who should be moving on and who might be packing there things to go. Did you agree with what the judges had to say? And what about the dynamic of Steve, Jennifer and Randy…are you feeling it?

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2 Responses to “AMERICAN IDOL Top 12 Guys Performance Recap”

  1. luke on March 2nd, 2011 11:28 am

    so many questions, but i guess since you spent so much time on your review, I’ll answer all of them 😀

    Clint Jun Gamboa-Very generic song choice. Totally forgettable, but he does have a surprisingly strong voice.
    Jovany Barreto-You said it perfectly. That was a wedding singer performance.
    Jordan Dorsey-If you agree that it’s the wrong song choice three seconds after singing it, why did you pick the song? And the pelvic thrusts were disturbing.
    Tim Halperin-Yeah, he wasn’t great. That song did nothing for him and I’m not sure if it was just my tv, but I was having a hard time hearing his voice. I saw that he was still trending on twitter after the show, so I think he’ll be safe.
    Brett Lowenstern-I don’t know what to make of him. I found all his sassy finger pointing distracting.
    James Durbin-…..He normally makes me want to punch a baby, but it was even more severe because he actually sounded good last night. My favorite part of the whole thing was Randy telling James “turn around and show Ryan your tail”. Unintentional comedy is always the best.
    Robbie Rosen-Odd
    Scott McCreery-Did he even sing? It seemed like he just talked for a minute then gave us one big note at the end.
    Stefano Langone-The smiling threw the song freaked me out and I absolutely hate that song.
    Paul McDonald-Do you remember the Friends episode were Ross whitens his teeth and Phoebe’s reaction to it was “DEMONS DEMONS”? That’s all I could think about. Aside from that, he has a great and interesting voice.
    Jacob Lusk-Vocally, it was incredibly powerful. I’m so glad he didn’t go crazy with the vocal runs.
    Casey Abrams- Casey for the win. I didn’t realize he had so much stage presence until last night. Really was the best of the night.

    I hope Casey Abrams, Jacob Lusk, Paul McDonald, Tim Halperin and I don’t have a fifth.

  2. Melissa on March 2nd, 2011 10:44 pm

    I’m rooting for Tim as well! He’s originally from Omaha, Neb. and that’s where I live. He’s got all of Omaha behind him and a lot of voters here. He didn’t have the best night last night but I think compared to some of the others, he’ll still be safe.