Tonight! The Top 12 guys take the stage...
THIS IS AMERICAN
The Lovely Steph Leann and myself are in the living room of The Cabana, fresh off a dinner at the garden where I guess they grow the olives. Pretty good Shrimp Portofino, she had soup, we had dessert, and are now in the woes of fullness, on the couch and recliner. The guys? Todrick... Aaron.. Jermaine... Tim Urban.. Joe... Tyler... Lee... John... Big Mike... Alex... Casey... and Andrew...
Simon puts it plainly... "if you lose it tonight, or forget the words, your career is over..."
Not sure if the vocals are perfect, but the energy is up, and its a fun version of an already fun song. The Lovely Steph Leann says, "Pretty cool", and America's Favorite Lesbian Ellen DeGeneres is all smiles. She thought the chorus was a little rough, but loved the performance. Randy the Dawg is one of those that has been saying "make the song your own!", as is Kara the Hotness... and yet, they both sit here and say, "I didn't recognized that song, that was a crazy arrangement..." Simon didn't like it either, saying, "You murdered the song." I kinda liked it. So there.
Aaron Kelly, 16, from Sonestown, PA, is the youngest guy in the contest this year. He's singing Rascal Flatts "Here Comes Goodbye", which as a huge Rascal Flatts fan, The Lovely Steph Leann picked up immediately. He sings, he finished, I'm underwhelmed. "You could tell he was nervous, but it was good," The Lovely Steph Leann pipes up.
Simon says, "It was quite a good performance." Kara the New Hotness says, "You have no idea how great your talent is." Randy the Dawg says, "You got all those pipes..." And Ellen the Talk Show Host says, "You'll be here a long time."
Personally, I think Jermaine Purifory should be here, not Jermaine Sellers... but Jermaine Sellers it is. He's 27, from Joliet, IL, singing "Man in the Mirror" during an audition, and seemed like he was blaming the band.
He's singing "Get Here" by Oleta Adams, one of those tender, soft, precious songs that has to be very, very hard to sing. How's he doing? Eh. Just eh. The original is by far and away better.
Ellen says she loves his look, she loves the song, but felt that he was only singing the song as a performance and not really feeling it. Randy the Dawg said he loved the song, but the song seemed too old for him, and that The Wrong Jermaine was trying to do too much with it. Kara the New Hotness agreed with Randy the Dawg. Simon the Cowell says it sounded like a cocktail piano bar song, and that he was trying to oversing it.... The Lovely Steph Leann nods her head.
Up next is Tim Urban, 20, from Duncanville, TX, a dude I know very little about. I have to give a nod to Erin the Marine Wife, as we discovered that Big Mike isn't the one who was cut (his father did tell people, and caused some trouble), it was a guy named Chris Golightly who was cut for unspecified reasons. Anyway, Tim "Not Keith" Urban got the call, and is on the show now.
"Apologize" by OneRepublic is the song... The Lovely Steph Leann groans, "I hate this song." Poor KT, she's missing this, as this is her favorite song of all time. Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the song either. Hitting the high notes on "tooooo laaaaateeeeee" wasn't good for Tim "Not Keith" Urban...
Simon says, "Congrats for coming back, but based on that performance, we made the right decision the first time when we cut you." Kara the New Hotness said the music just swallowed him up. Randy the Dawg said it was just the wrong song all the way around. Ellen the Talk Show Host says it was smart to choose a song that people like, but it just didn't sound good. The Lovely Steph Leann says, "I do like him better than I do that Ashley Rod girl..."
Joe Munoz, 20, from California, another guy we don't know alot about, another guy who did "Man in the Mirror" during Hollywood Week. Joe the Latin Lover is doing "You and I Both" by Jason Mraz, one of my Top 250 songs of all time. And Joe the Latin Lover seems to be doing quite well... maybe a little safe, but he's not trying to do too much with it, he's not trying to oversing it, he's just doing the song the way I would have done it, were I able to sing. Which I am not. Not that I don't try. Its a song that has over 40 plays on the iPod, so I've sung it loud before...
Ellen the Talk Show host liked the song, liked the performance... Randy the Dawg says, "Not for me for you, for me, for you, for you, for me, you worked it." Kara the New Hotness didn't expect him to sing this song, but loved it. Simon the Cowell says, "I kinda agree... but not really. Based on that performance, I don't think you are a star."
This seems like a song that the band would love to play onstage. None of that pansy Oleta Adams, "Get Here" crap, oh, nay nay... let's rock it out with some 1970 Guess Who? music baby. Dig it.
As for the song, its not bad. Its not great. Its... well, eh. I said, "He seems like he's shouting alot of it," and The Lovely Steph Leann defends him by saying, "Well, that's much of the song...." Simon the Cowell said the song was a bit cliche and unnatural. Kara the New Hotness says he has a frontman personality, but isn't keen on the 70s gimmick. Randy the Dawg says they've seen this from him already, they want something more. Ellen agrees, telling him he needs charisma.
Lee Dewyze, 23, from Chicago, IL, and is a paint clerk. But now, he's a guitar playin' Idol hopeful. He was the rockin' kind of guy singing "You Found Me", which was awesome in Hollywood Week. He's singing Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars", which seems like a song right in his wheelhouse.
His shirt says "Weapon of Choice", which makes me like him already. His vocals aren't perfect, but he almost seems like the most normal, down to earth guy out of the entire roster. Ellen the Talk Show Host says she thought it was a good song choice, though he seemed like he screamed a little bit. Randy the Dawg didn't like the song choice at all, wishing he had gone a little harder. Kara the New Hotness didn't like the really small range of the song. Simon the Cowell says, "I thought this was the best performance of the whole night so far."
The judges mention that he should do a Kings of Leon song. The Lovely Steph Leann says, "Uh... I don't know who those people are..." We're old.
Up next is John Park, 21, from North Park, IL, who was praised by Shania Twain to the point where it was almost creepy.
"God Bless This Child", a jazz classic, is what he's singing... I think, actually. He sings the first four lines, and until he gets to the chorus, I didn't know he was singing English. I thought this was perhaps a foriegn song, along the lines of La Bamba. I look at The Lovely Steph Leann and say, "I didn't understand any of those first lines... did you?" She shakes her head no.
He sounds pretty good, but mumbles a whole lot. Simon the Cowell tells him that he needs an incredible voice to sing that song, and he doesn't. Zero emotion. Flat. Kara the New Hotness calls it loungy and sleepy. Randy the Dawg said he liked the runs and bridge, but beyond that, not much else. They all tell him he's got a voice, but bad selection. Ellen the Talk Show Host says that was a song that is not going to get the girls to vote for him. I agree... didn't like the song, didn't understand the song, didn't think he was all that great.
Big Mike is singing "This Love" by Maroon 5. He looks like a linebacker, holding his guitar, not really sure if he's even playing it, and singing the song. The Lovely Steph Leann says, "Its a little nasal", but I kinda like the performance. And she likes it too, despite the nasally quality that she's hearing.
How in the world did Big Mike & Joe the Latin Lover end up having two of my favorite performances tonight?
Ellen loves his personality, loved the song choice and love the performance. Randy the Dawg likes him, his persona and the song. Kara the New Hotness says, "It was little depressing until you came up here and did your thing". She admits if there had been lots of great performances, they might be more critical, but since there hasn't been, they won't be. Simon, however, calls him an opening act. I liked him.
Alex Lambert, 19, from Texas, is a high school student. At 19? Anyway, he's the guy who was stuck in Mary Powers group, and in a video flashback, she says cheerfully, "I'll never be in this guy's group again" and he says, "I hate you."
Alex "Don't Call Me Adam" Lambert is singing some James Morrison, a guy I just don't know much music from. The Lovely Steph Leann says, "He kinda reminds me of that Firefly Owl City guy." I can see that... Alex "Don't Call Me Adam" Lambert has this raspy kind of voice, and the makings of what seems like a baby mullet going on.
Simon the Cowell says, "I don't know who was happier for that to end, me or you." He says Alex "Don't Call Me Adam" Lambert has to get his nerves together, and that he's a good singer. Kara the New Hotness says he's got crazy tone, and that he sounds alot like James Morrison, but its not all together yet. Randy the Dawg likes him, as does Ellen, who makes a mullet observation, then tells him he's like a banana that is not quite ripe enough yet. Uh... okay...
And here comes Casey James, 27, from Fort Worth, and we hope he keeps his shirt on. "Heaven" by Bryan Adams is his song of choice. Sitting on a stool, plucking his guitar, he kinda sounds like a... well, a singer. A good singer in a coffeehouse or a small concert. Kara the New Hotness was the one who asked him to take his shirt off, and Idol has played up this whole, schoolyard "Kara likes Casey!" angle, which is sort of goofy. Of course, she is only 39, 40 this year, so who knows?
Kara the New Hotness says, "I'm married, thank you!" and Randy the Dawg says, "For now!" Kara is all kinds of being weird and stuttering and such... Randy the Dawg liked the song choice, the swagger, and says, "I liked you too, but not in that way!" Kara the New Hotness says, "Seriously, though... you are eye and ear candy." Simon the Cowell says, "Casey, we were both cursed with good looks. You chose the right song, it was honest, it was good..."
Seacrest says, "Remember, tomorrow is the results show, and Friday is Kara's HR meeting..."
Oh, just an aside... apparently, as I just learned, "Casey James" is also the name of an adult film star. So if you Google "Casey James", make sure you add the words "American Idol", and then make sure your search filter is on. Cause... well, trust me. Eeew.
Now, to close out the show, its Andrew Garcia, 24, from Moreno Valley, California. He's this squatty Hispanic guy with square glasses, who got all teary eyed when he found out he was headed to the Top 24. He's a guy I hope does well.
Fall Out Boy's "Sugar We're Going Down" is what he's singing, and like several others, chooses to do the guitar route. Andy Garcia is taking a song that just about everyone knows, and puts a new spin on it.
Simon the Cowell says, "I was looking forward to hearing you the most tonight, but you disappointed me." And I kinda agree. It was a decent arrangement, but not a great peformance. Kara the New Hotness thought the rendition was strange, but she really likes him. Randy the Dawg didn't like the version, but is a fan of Andy Garcia. America's Favorite Lesbian Ellen says she's a fan as well, but tonights song wasn't great.
So, here's my rankings for tonight... Joe the Latin Lover... Casey James... Big Mike... Aaron Kelly... Lee Dewyze... Andy Garcia.... Todrick Hall... Tyler Grady... The Wrong Jermaine... Alex "Don't Call Me Adam" Lambert... John Park... Tim "Not Keith" Urban
So, if I'm picking the Dude Half-Dozen, to go along with the Chick Six, as of right now, I'm taking Joe the Latin Lover, Casey James, Big Mike, Andy Garcia and Lee Dewyze and as of right now, Todrick Hall.