The ladies had the stage last night… and tonight it’s the boy’s turn.
I definitely have fewer favorites among the guys.
Todrick Hall is going to start us off. He’s a dancer who was recently performing on Broadway with season 3 winner Fantasia Barrino. “Since You Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson is his choice. To say this is the same song is a falsehood. The arrangement is totally redone in a blues-jazz style that personally, I think works really well. He had some pitchy moments, especially in his over-used runs in the chorus. Ellen loved the reworked style, but was able to discern that it wasn’t the best vocal performance. Randy thought the song was completely obliterated. Kara thought the arrangement was changed too much. Simon thought he was a dancer who was trying to sing. He called it the “murder of a perfectly good song.”
So…. do it just the original, only different, but show some creativity, but don’t change the song.
The judges are nothing if not inconsistent.
Aaron Kelly, or as I call him, TwinkyBits is singing second. He’s only 16, but this is the guy all the eleven year old girls and 42 year old boys are going to swoon over. He’s picked a Rascal Flatt’s song, “Here Comes Goodbye.” Oh boy his nerves have got him by the short hairs tonight. Does he even have short hairs yet? He’s simply not that strong of a singer, and his nerves have stolen his breath control which makes him keep going flat. His money note was wavering and not quite in tune. Ouch. Simon thought it was “quite good.” Kara babbled on about the contest and how it inspires confidence. Randy noticed the pitchy moments, but said he’s got a great voice. Ellen thinks he’s going to be on the show for a long time. Gee, I wonder who they want to push through for next week?
Jermaine Sellers is up now. This is the guy that threw the band under the bus. I remember not really liking him up to this point. He’s picked “Get Here” by Oleta Adams… an absolutely beautiful song. This was stunningly awful. I hate his arrangement. The melody is all over the place, and there’s a point that he built up to that seriously sounded like a tornado siren back in the midwest. His head flip-topped open like a Pez dispenser and someone off camera turned a crank. Utterly unpleasant. Ellen loves his look, but felt it was over performed. Randy thought it was a weird song choice that he tried to do too much with. Kara mumbled something about his age and the unnecessary runs. Simon said it was too old and he over sang it.
Tim Urban, one of the Hair Triplets that as yet has done nothing to stand out from the pack, gets his chance to unleash some serious coiff-age on us now. He’s got a whole Zac Efron vibe about him. Apparently he wasn’t one of the original top 24. He was a last minute replacement for Chris Golightly, the white boy with Sideshow Bob hair that was one of my early favorites. Apparently Chris was under contract with a boy band and the release necessary for him to continue in the competition was not received in time to allow him to continue. Anyway, Tim is here now and has picked “Apologize” by OneRepublic. Ok look… if you’re gonna pick a song whose hook is all about a falsetto note, you should probably be able to hit that note. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t take an expert to figure this one out. Unfortunately for Tim, he never did hit the note, but he sure tried. Over and over again. Each successive attempt was worse than the previous until by the end his vocal chords just flat out gave up, packed their bags, forcefully extricated themselves from his neck and yelled, “Later, Bro!” from stage left. Simon said they made the right decision in not inviting him into the original Top 24. Kara is sure on the babbly train tonight. Said he was cute. Randy called it the wrong song, and noted that he doesn’t have the falsetto to do it. Ellen said it didn’t sound good, but with the sound down, he’s adorable.
Joe MuÃ±oz is up next. I’m not sure who this guy is. I don’t really remember a note from him at all, and you would think those eyebrows would have made an impression on me… He’s picked “You and I Both” by Jason Mraz. The beauty in most Jason Mraz songs is the interesting rhythms that his word make against relatively simple backing tracks. Joe’s timing was really weird. The accented notes were in the wrong place which makes it seem like he’s fighting the band to go a different tempo. Once the chorus came in he seemed to fall into the pocket, but that’s when he started getting breathless. I could be wrong. He may have great breath control, and this was just his impression of Enrique Iglesias who often sounds like he’s on the verge of passing out when he sings. Joe’s pitch was pretty much ok, but there was nothing spectacular about his voice. I hate to say it, but it seems as though the Idol producers must have had an extra ~ in the budget which they decided to spent on him. Ellen thought he was very comfortable on stage. Randy didn’t think it was the perfect song choice but he worked it out. Kara thought he was the best vocal of the night, even though it wasn’t great. Simon didn’t think he showed any star power.
Tyler Grady is the next Hair Triplet up. I remember him, mostly because of his attempts to channel Jim Morrison and Robert Plant. He’s picked “American Woman” by The Guess Who, somewhat predictably. He’s done nothing interesting with the arrangement and it’s quite obvious that he has spent many hours watching concert footage from the early 70’s. He’s got the Jagger Swagger down, but what he doesn’t have is a remarkable voice. He can sing notes in key and they don’t make me want to install icepicks into my aural orifices, but there was nothing about this performance that was different than a 70’s Revue show in some Vegas Hotel and Casino where you can get a lap dance at a slot machine. Can I just say, HOLY HELL with that CHIN dude! It’s like the toe of a square cowboy boot. He could shovel snow out of the drive with that thing! Simon thought it was a memorable performance, though it was cliched and he didn’t spend enough time on his vocals. Kara made the Jim Morrison connection but thought it was too “schticky.” Randy thought it was more style over substance. Ellen thought he lacked the excitement and charisma that he’s trying to emulate.
Lee Dewyze is making his debut… for all I know for the first time on the show. I don’t remember a thing about him. He’s picked a great song, “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol. I absolutely love this song, but if I were a contestant, would never pick it to perform on Idol. I would have been right. This was atrocious. If I could afford a new TV, I would throw the remote through this one as penance for sitting through this off key, a-melodic raspy crap sandwich of a performance. He completely changed the melody to something I hate, and to make it worse, he didn’t even hit the notes in his new ridiculous version. He needs to go back to selling roofing tar, or whatever it was he did before, because I don’t care to ever hear another squawk out his box. Ellen thought it was a good song choice but thought he screamed it. She loves the tone of his voice. Randy didn’t like the song choice and he needed to do more of a rock song. Kara thought he was trying to get to his “sweet spot” and didn’t quite get it. Simon called it the best performance of the night. He said he’s a great singer and is authentically good.
Seriously!? What crack are they smoking? They are not hearing the same thing we are. No question.
John Park is the secret Asian brother to the Hair Triplets. He’s the guy that Shania Twain was all ga-ga over in the auditions, but I don’t believe he was shown in Hollywood at all. He’s picked the standard “God Bless the Child” probably best known by Billie Holliday. John is the first guy who has gotten on stage and actually did something close to singing. He’s got a nice 2nd Tenor/1st Baritone voice. Great vocal quality and control. His pitch and interpretation were great. That being said, stupid song choice. You should only break out a standard like this during the theme weeks when it’s called for. This first performance should have been something way more contemporary. If he’s going for the crooner style he could have easily picked something from the Michael Buble, Harry Connick, or Josh Groban songbook to sound like something that could actually be played on stations where the tween music-buying fanatics will hear him. Simon doesn’t think he has an incredible voice. He thought it was emotionless and flat. Kara agreed with Simon and thought it was loungy. Randy didn’t like the song choice either. Ellen thought he sounded great, but wished he had picked a different song.
Michael Lynche is the personal trainer who got a TON of air time during Hollywood since his wife gave birth on national television. Strangely enough they didn’t show much of him singing. He picked “This Love” by Maroon 5. His version is way too fast and he can barely get all the words out. He’s seemingly compressed a cool melody down into three or four notes with no range or movement. Think a very fast-typing Stephen Hawking and you’ll get somewhere close to where this song landed. I wanted him to do a much better job than this. Ellen thinks he has a ton of personality but he was a bit pitchy. Randy of course likes Michael, said nothing about the song. Kara liked his energy but thought it wasn’t outrageously great. Simon thought he was like the support act before the main show. He said there was nothing unique about his performance.
Fuck. There are still three more to go!?
Alex Lambert is the final Hair Triplet. He’s picked James Morrisson’s “Wonderful World.” Has this dude ever had a vocal lesson in his life? If so, did that instructor never tell him that singing through your nose is not good technique and will make people want to bitch slap you from the stage? It’s hard to tell if he was on pitch because of the incessant buzzing coming from his nasal trumpet. What the hell man? Simon thought it was the most uncomfortable performance of the night. He complimented his voice but said his nerves were killing him. Kara wants to hug Alex. She said his tone is crazy good and he has great potential. Randy also loves his tone. Ellen loves his mullet and bananas. What. The. Fuck?
Casey James, the blond Adonis is up next. He blew me away with his blues piece in Hollywood week. He picked “Heaven” by Bryan Adams. FINALLY! Someone on this show can sing! I was beginning to wonder. He didn’t change the song much, but still managed to not sound just like Bryan Adams. He’s got great stage presence, can play the guitar, and let’s face it, the boy is beautiful. He verges ever so slightly on having goat vibrato but it doesn’t quite go full bleet. He’s got an iconic rock and roll voice that will certainly keep him in the running for a very long time. Kara is off in the corner drooling and playing with the vibrate function on her phone, unable to speak. Ellen thought he sounded great. Randy thought it was a great song choice and his swagger. Kara interjected and called him eye and ear candy. Simon called him cursed with good looks. He thought Casey chose the right song and it was his best performance to date.
Andrew Garcia is the final guy to perform tonight. He was my other early favorite from Hollywood week. I will admit, I’m a sucker for a guy with a guitar. He picked “Sugar We’re Going Down” by Fall Out Boy which he acousti-fied and switched around. UMB and I are currently arguing about whether or not it was a good version. I lean towards yes, he stomps on the “oh hell no” button. Our bickering aside, Andrew’s definitely got his own sense of style and has a pretty firm grasp on where he wants to be as an artist. His voice is quite good and interesting. Unfortunately, I think the comparisons to Casey are inevitable and when it comes down to it, the beautiful blond boy will always beat the schlub with glasses. As a schlub with glasses for most of my life, I know exactly the spot he’s in. Simon was disappointed by the lack of originality but thinks he has a fantastic recording voice. Kara thought it was a strange rendition of the song but still loves him. Randy thought the arrangement was strange, but blathered on like the rest about his performance in Hollywood. Ellen is thrilled he’s on the show and agreed that he was far too serious.
Man, it’s really hard to rank these guys. Outside of the last two guys, it’s really about trying to figure out which corn kernel floated highest in this porcelain throne of suck.
- Casey James
- Andrew Garcia
- John Park
- Aaron Kelly
- Todrick Hall
- Alex Lambert
- Tyler Grady
- Joe MuÃ±oz
- Michael Lynche
- Jermaine Sellers
- Tim Urban
- Lee Dewyze
Ok… so what do you guys think? Am I totally off base, or are the Judges right? Are these REALLY the best guys they could find this year? Do you have any predictions yet on who will win this thing?