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Round of 24: Men - February 22

Last night, we heard 12 women. We voted on 12 women. Not one of them deserves a shot at the top 12 JUST YET... Well, maybe a couple. Okay, four. Paris, Katharine, Mandisa, and Lisa. But that's it. But enough of my rambling. We'll see how the public voted... tomorrow. Tonight, it's all about the dudes.

Once again, Ryan welcomes us to the Canadian Idol set, magically ported from Toronto. After a quick recap of last night's happenings, intro of the starting 12, and the three judges. Simon says "be original." Paula wants to hear different. Randy... "They gotta be great tonight, because the girls brought it."

First up, a montage of the men's journey to American Idol to Robbie Williams' "Let Me Entertain You"... This is rather redundant, isn't it? Something just came to me... 12 Beauties... 11 Geeks... and Ace. This isn't American Idol, it's Beauty and the Geek!

First up... The somewhat smarmy looking Patrick Hall, who thinks that it's tough to be first. He first auditioned in Vegas, and Simon wasn't hot about the sunglasses. But he was called "Clay Aiken, but likeable." He sings "Come to My Window" by Melissa Etheridge, wanting to show another side and get away from Aiken mentality.

What they say: Randy calls his nerves. "It started a little rough, but you did your thing. I don't think this was your best performance, but it was good." Paula says, "Stick to what you do best." Simon says it was a great song, but not for Patrick. "You didn't show any emotion.
It was just average. You didn't show any star quality."

What we say: Well... it starts out questionable, but gets better over time. And when he loses the mic stand and just gets into it, it goes back into being questionable. I guess the problem came to song choice. You can't do Melissa Etheridge half-assed. You need to sell the attitude. Patrick.. can't even give it away.

Patrick says he's going to go back to his roots. We'll see if he gets the chance... Next, crooner David Radford, who was labeled in Chicago as "one-dimensional." He stuck to his guns, however, and it got him to this stage, where he'll sing Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love".

What they say: Randy: "I felt like I was in high school again. I thought it was back with the audition. There was no originality, the voice wasn't great. Dude... It was terrible." Paula disagrees with Randy, saying he has tremendous charisma and was true to who you are. Simon like the crooner thing, but tonight was more of a joke. "Having said that, I have a feeling the audience at home will like you, but you have to take yourself a bit more seriously."

What we say:... God, what's up with his face? I know you're a crooner, but you're supposed to sound like the character, not look like it. At least he looks like he's having fun. Too bad he's so going home tomorrow.

So far the guys are taking risks and falling short. Next is Bucky Covington. He cites nerves. Tonight, he'll do "Simple Man" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, saying he's a big fan.

What they say: Randy's a big Skynyrd fan. But he doesn't want Bucky to push his voice too hard. He likes the range. Paula says he picked a good song, and that he's growing. Simon says he did better with the band and that he was raw. "Having said that, there are thousands of
bars in America where you'll find Bucky doing that stuff."

What we say: FINALLY! An honest singer! Reminds me of Bo from last year. He doesn't stray from what got him there, but at the same time, he needs to break out a bit. We'll see if this carries him, though. I'm guessing it does.

Hey look, it's Fred Savage! No, it's Will Makar, one of the Rat Pack from Hollywood Week. He's singing "I Want You Back" by Jackson 5ive, eight years removed.

What they say: Randy likes him, "vocally, it's hard to go into the stylized singer, but you did your thing. I was entertained!" Paula calls him adorable, likening him to Bobby Brady. Simon's reality check: "You are cute and enthusiastic, but vocally, it was completely and utterly average. It was just OKAY!"

What we say: Too much power, too less pitch. But it's easy to like him, because he's sounding like himself, rather than a prepubescent (Q-Note: don't you mean "pre-pedophile"?) Michael Jackson. That said, he's got at least one good week on him.

Where there's a Will, there's a "Sway". Here's Jose "Sway" Penala, the first from San Francisco to make it to Hollywood... unfortunately, that's where he flubbed the lyric. Tonight, he'll sing "Reasons" by Earth Wind & Fire for his parents.

What they say: Randy, saying we've got a hot one tonight. "Dude, that was hot. You showed originality, you showed range." Paula called it truly amazing going from falsetto to range. "You deserve to be on that stage." Simon: "I thought it was a really pimpy third-rate copy of Earth Wind & Fire."

What we say: He sounds good, but we'd like to hear how he really sounds... In this, he's just doing enough to match Philip Bailey. But still, enough to get him through this week, but if we don't start feeling Sway, he's gonna start to fall off, because now, he has an expectation. But for now, the competition has begun.

From the performance of the night to... Chris Daughtry. He thinks everyone's doing alright, but we're all getting our game face on. Tonight, the Vin Diesel lookalike is singing "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Jon Bon Jovi.

What they say: Randy liked it, calling him current. "Great recording voice. You got it." Paula was wowed by him, his stance, his quiet confidence, his artistry, his song choice. Simon liked the song choice, and for the first time tonight, he's hearing someone with potential. "Now you have to start showing charisma, but that was superb."

What we say: It's Jon Bon Jovi's voice coming out of Vin Diesel's body, and they're in hell! I thought he was going to oversing it, because this is a big song. But it seemed that he handled it. And yet we have another genuine singer. A couple note problems here and there, but nothing that can't be overlooked. A good performance.

Next up, Kevin Covais, the youngest contestant, who reads from the book of Aaliyah: "Age ain't nothing but a number." He impressed Paula in Hollywood. Today, he sings his idol, Brian McKnight. The song: "One Last Cry".

What they say: Randy likes him because he's honestly talented. "Dude, that was the bomb!". Paula is beaming. "I look at someone who's so young with reckless abandon. I'm very proud of you." Simon likes Kevin, but... "That would appeal to anyone who's over 90 and hard of hearing. That was bordering on excruciating."

What we say: Absolutely no charisma whatsoever. He's just a good voice attached to a gangly ball of nerves. Now we know why he is the longshot. He's a good singer, but he not a good performer.

Next, the perma-grin that is Gedeon McKinney. He has a weird Jamaican accent thing going on. He thinks he has "it." Tonight, he'll show it with "Shout" from Animal House. "It's not a song that I can just sing, but it's a song that I can perform."

What they say: Randy called it unexpected, liking the choreography. He didn't see vocal chops, though. Paula was entertained, calling it marvelous. Simon thought he was watching the warm-up for the Chippendales. "Your smile bothers me."

What we say: Pretty good for a novelty act, but it doesn't show his range. He's right about one thing. He didn't sing it. He performed it. Too bad this is half-singing.

Next, the rebel of the group, Elliott Yamin who doesn't do any sort of warm-up. Will it show tonight? It worked in Boston. It worked in Hollywood. He sings "If You Really Love Me" by Stevie, saying it's his favorite while doing karaoke... uh oh.

What they say: Randy says we've got another hot one. "You sounded brilliant. You got it, and I love it." Paula: "What I loved most about you, it's effortless. Great from beginning to end." Simon:... "Out of five seasons... I think potentially you are the best male vocalist we've ever had."

What we say: I would've gone one half-step up. But other than that, pretty good. This is clearly a song he's done many many times before. Oh, and stop getting up, Paula!

Next up, Bobby Bennett, who got the judges involved in Denver. He had a good voice, but he is a ... weird-ass performer. His weapon of choice tonight: Barry Manilow's "Copacabana". Adjust your tastes and expectations accordingly. This is a promise from her grandmother.

What they say: Randy: "It's like I'm watching Barry in Vegas or Wayne Newton... Um.. Vocally, that song was a little here and there." It was just "a'ight" and wasn't "the bomb." Paula enjoyed the showmanship. "It could go either way, but you commit 100 percent with
passion." Simon called it was a nightmare. "We must be off our rockers! I'm sort of with Randy on the entertainment front, but horror films entertain me."

What we say: Another joke performance. I would've just said "Sod the promise, you've got a show to win." How the hell he got through to this is beyond me. By the way, I have Carnival Cruise Line on the line... they said no. "Don't fall in love"? Heh, don't worry.

I mean, I like Bobby. But then again, I also like broccoli and cheese. Next, are you ready for Ace? Ace Young, a native of Colorado, impressed during Hollywood. Tonight, he'll try to do the same with "Father Figure" by George Michael.

What they say: Randy is laughing, because "you definitely are a star" because he's really working the room. "You can really sing." Paula reminds the girls (and a few guys) that they can't vote YET. Whatever that means. Simon doesn't think he's the best vocal, but he's got the
X-factor. "Once you ease up on your nerves, you're absolutely going to sail through to the next round."

What we say: Good song choice. And he sings and performs it flawlessly. It wasn't overpowering where it didn't need to be, and it just flowed through.

And finally, it's all all about Joe Cocker meets Jay Leno. It's Taylor Hicks, who performed soul in Vegas. And played the harmonica walking to the final judgment. Tonight, he sings "Leave On" by Elton John, citing family values.

What they say: Randy said he was original, but he would've chosen another song for vocalist thing. Paula cites love, and she loves him for that. Both say there's never been anyone like him. Simon remembers that he would never make finals... "I was wrong." "You're interesting."

What we say: Great way to end the night, as a raw individual. This is quintessential Taylor here. He knows he's not Elton. He doesn't even try to be. He's himself, and he's good at it.

Time to rank...

Going On: Sway, Chris, Elliott, Ace, Taylor
Going Strong: Bucky, Will
Going Down: Patrick, Gedeon
Going Home: David, Kevin, Bobby

All right, we've had 24 performances, but only 20 are good enough to gain public favor. Who's going on? Who's going home? Find out in 22...

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