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Round of 20: Men - March 1

Last night, the women killed... okay, so Paris killed, everyone else died. Now, it's the men's turn to take the stage. Surely they can outsing the suckfest that was Tuesday night, right?

RIGHT?!

Ten men, each taking the stage one after the other, and they promise a good show. They better deliver. That's all I'm saying. The three judges are back in their assigned seats.

First up, Taylor Hicks. He's singing "Easy" by the Commodores. "Being recognized is totally weird" according to him, because he's either "The Grey-Haired Guy" or "The Dude with the Harmonica." "It's a headlight now," he says, referring to his toboggan... which he's not using tonight.

What they say: Randy didn't think that it was his best performance, with pitch problems, but still likes it. Paula likes the wardrobe and the enthusiasm. Not her favorite song choice, though. Simon agrees on the song choice. "Just imagine you watching that back, and you would say 'This was a really average performance.'

What we say: Nice to see that he's not straying from what got him there. He's taking a song and making his own. Very good start. Already, things are looking up... albeit in a down sort of way. But still... Pretty good compared to... yeah, you know.

Oh yeah, and Paula needs to shut the hell up!

Elliott Yamin is next. He had his song ready last night. He's pretty confident, singing "Mood for Love" for his brother, who's birthday we're celebrating today. Meanwhile, it's all about Elliott's biggest fan... his mother. She wound up in intensive care the day before he left for Hollywood... He uses that scare as fuel.

What they say: Randy enjoys the natural talent, as he gives the Dawgfather standing O... Paula calls this song difficult, and can't wait for the next performance. Simon thinks that he's grown in confidence. "My only thing is you can't win a show like this with a song like taht, but it was a GREAT performance."

What we say: Agreed. I'd like to see him move some more. But props for taking a challenge with this song. I was expecting some scats, though. It wasn't as perfect pitchwise, but the performance wasn't that bad.

Someone get Paula a tranquilizer, please.

So far, we've had two aces... Now it's time for trips, as we get ready for Ace Young. He'll sing "If You're Not the One" by Daniel Bedingfield, a very hard song to sing if you're not Daniel Bedingfield. His days are different, but one thing remains the same.... a lucky beanie in his back pocket. "It's my comfort."

What they say: Randy is glad to hear the range in this song. "I think you sing better than you let on. Pick harder tunes." Paula thinks that this was a good week for him, calling the falsetto "surprising." Simon thinks he struggled. "I think you have to find a particular song to fit your vocals."

What Ace says: "My voice is a little beat up from practicing."

What we say: Ace just played Big Slick against a pair of good singers and just DIED. Where should we start.... He's weak intonally. You can see the poor fellow struggling to get the song out, especially when you have to switch from normal to head voice. He simply does NOT do this song proper justice. He's going to have to hope that his idolish good looks get him to the next round, because this song didn't do it.

What the beanie says: ... Nothing. It's a beanie.

Next, "A Change is Gonna Come" from Gedeon McKinney channeling Sam Cooke. His most memorable experience... Simon going up on stage and saying "If you forget any of the lyrics, there is a 99% chance that you're going home." He said "Gedeon, you got this..." He... forgot the title of the song... and half the lyrics. He says that he'll never forget the lyrics again. We'll hold you to that, boy.

What they say: Randy: "You're a really great natural performance." By the middle, he's like "You know what? I don't care!" First part, not so good. After that, excellent. Paula calls him unique and smart with selection. Simon agrees with Randy. "You're like someone Berry Gordy would've gotten a hold of 30, 40 years ago." He goes on to say it was brilliant and authentic. 

What we say: Impressive range, this Gedeon. Unfortunately, the lyric is marred with pitch problems to start. But still, it's an improvement from last week, and he's very much the showman on this. And it is authentic. I am now a believer in Gedeon.

Next up, the youngest man... Covais... Ryan says he's gangsta... yeah, right. Kevin's singing Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." "Suddenly, here I am at Idol getting e-mails from 12-, 13-year-old girls..." He's a playa, man...

What they say: Randy enjoyed the performance, imitating Kevin's run at the end. Paula calls him infectious. Simon says he's likable, but he'd turn him off on the radio... in the king of all back-handed compliments.

What we say: The performance gets a 9, the vocal gets a 6 and a half... Stop looking at the camera like it's a mirror... Start engaging... That's more like it. Now sing all two minutes like that, and you may stand a chance. At least you had fun.

And I think we have a possible body double here... Kevin....

... and Chicken Little? (*ding*) We have a match! From the chicken to the Sway, as Jose "Sway" Penala does Stevie's "Overjoyed". He thinks his first performance, with his parents watching, was the best.

What they say: Randy says that it wasn't as good as it was last week. Going back to last night's comparison risk. "I still believe in you, but it wasn't good for me." Paula says that he was a little disconnected. He wasn't in the zone. Simon says that this is how "not to do well", saying that it was pure karaoke.

What we say: If there was an alarm for "safe performances".... It would be going crazy right about now. Well known song. Flat notes. Scared look on his face. An imitation of a performance. It didn't go anywhere that it didn't go when Stevie did it.

Next, Will Makar takes on Kenny Rogers' "Lady", representing Texas. He just thinks that living the dream is a memorable event... Oh yeah, and he met some dude from Philly that lost out to some chick from Texas back in 2002...

What they say: Randy says he needs to show something to be "amazing". "I wasn't blown out." Paula says she has a good tone and a good song choice. "Too safe, a little bland." Simon says that Will has a target audience of 11-year-olds who will love that. Randy says "loosen up!"

What we say: A nice subdued performance, but he's suffering from breath control, and it really brings down the total effect. But he should have no problem going on to the next round. Too bad he did just enough to survive.

Next, Bucky Covington, who is going with Garth tonight. "One of the first guys who put a little rock into the country." Bucky's most memorable moment... the food. He goes from chicken'n'dumplings to chicken'n'everything else. "I definitely think I'll be losing weight." He sings "The Thunder Rolls."

What they say: Randy said that this was a great song choice for him. "You definitely did you thing." Paula says that he hits every note nicely. Simon thinks he's sincere, but he has a problem with Bucky being "a supporting act".

What we say: That was a copycat Garth Brooks performance. Not much more need be said.

Bucky doesn't know what the hell a spicy tuna roll is. Sir, your shipment of biscuits and sweet tea is in the mail. Next, David Radford sings Sinatra, as he remembers... not having a belt... and having to use a carphone charger. He sings "The Way You Look Tonight".

What they say: Randy says he stays in this zone, but the Dawg is bored... Paula wants to see better connection. Simon says his voice needs to have charisma and confidence. He's lacking both.

What we say: Like John Stevens, only sharp. That's not a compliment in either sense, by the way. But he's back to form after last week's debacle. Too bad it's only a step out...

And finally, Chris Daughtry, who's doing Fuel's "Hemorrhage" to finish us out. He's ready to throw down, as he's changing from being a service rep to servicing America with his voice. "I could get used to it, but it's a little crazy."

What they say: Randy loved it, singing the right song choice. Another standing O from him. Paula asks if he knows how good he is... Simon: ... "There have been a lot of compliments... However, this was the only performance that stands up in the real world. It was the only real performance. Tonight, you are the standard everyone should be looking towards, because it was in a different class.

What we say: That was authentic. This is easily the best vocal of the night. I wish he did a little bit... oh, wait, nevermind. He's doing a little bit more performing now. This is Chris's night.

Quick rundown...

Encore!: Taylor, Elliott, Gedeon, Chris
Bravo!: Kevin, Will, Bucky
Comedy Central: Ace, Sway, David

We'll get what the G-Dawg has to say about the 20 who sang... and the 16 who'll be left in the wake of your votes tomorrow.

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE...

 

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