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In the world's ultimate talent search, where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN
Host Ryan Seacrest
Judges Mariah Carey
Randy Jackson
Nicki Minaj
Keith Urban
Mentor Jimmy Iovine
Announcer Mark Thompson
Creator Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP Nigel Lythgoe
Ken Warwick
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Simon Fuller
Trish Kinane
Packager 19 TV & FremantleMedia North America
Origins CBS Television City, Los Angeles
Web americanidol.com
Airs 8p Wed & Thurs, Fox
@American Idol

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Vegas Semifinals: Part 3 - The Guys
February 28

This has been a season of new beginnings with new judges paring a new class of singing hopefuls down to the top 40. Now they take a new stage with a new challenge in the Semifinal Round. One song. One shot. Who has what it takes to sing for YOUR VOTE? Welcome to SUDDEN DEATH!

So we have had 30 bland singers perform, and 15 of them have advanced to the semi-finals (because dropping them down into a live volcano is not one of the judges options). For the next 2 hours of my life, we'll be experiencing 10 more singers perform; 5 males advancing and 10 of them trying to put me to sleep.

The Beatles Love Theatre by Cirque du Soleil at the Mirage

The guys can choose any song that they want, and Mathenee Treco starts with Elvis Presley's 'A Little Less Conversation', which has been known to kill off Idol hopefuls. Will it do the same here?

The Good: The second half of the song showed off his vocal range and power, which was nice.
The Bad: He needed much more conversation - as in a seminar on the lyrics, which would have made Elvis come onto the stage and pull a Honky Tonk man and smack him with a guitar.
The Gordon: The only problem with the second half of the song was the first half was incredibly boring. He did nothing with the song, and at this stage, an exact duplicate (Karaoke) is not going to get the voters, the judges and me. If other singers show up, he's dead - just like the King.

Next up, Gurpreet Singh Sarin will go with "Nothing Ever Hurt Like You" by James Morrison. He's already way behind that 8 ball due to his ethnicity and his awful group audition. Can he rebound here?

The Good: I liked the Gold Turban. It matches the yellow pants.
The Bad: Everything else. Horrible choice of song with no vocal range whatsoever, he did nothing with said song, didn't emote at all to it, and was so flat both pitch-wise and emotionally that Goodyear Tires called and was looking for a new spokesman.
The Gordon: He took a risk and completely bombed. In the words of Nicki, 'Today was not the day to take that risk'. You can't use a 'I'll come back and do it next time', because I strongly doubt there's a next time here.

Vincent Powell is next with 'Cause I Love You'. Right now, I need that song from Lenny Williams, because so far I haven't loved anything.

The Good: This was a good choice of song if you like the song range and emotional punch Lenny put into the song. The falsettos were dead on and the money notes sparkled like Nicki's bling.
The Bad: This was NOT a good choice of song if you want to get votes. Why? Because people haven't heard of the song and you need the relatability for this.
The Gordon: The vocals were fantastic...or maybe I've just been waiting for someone to sing better than your standard groundhog. Either way, he'll get in - now he just needs a personal song choice assistant - preferably the same personal shopper, as he's looking dapper.

Nick Boddington has to go up right after that performance. His choice of song is "Say Something Now" by James Morrison - the same James Morrison that Gurpreet Singh Sarin butchered 2 singers ago. Uh oh...

The Good: Nick was the first person to emote the song to the audience. He sold the song to both the crowd and the camera. THAT is how you perform.
The Bad: Now he needs to learn how to select songs. The song has a falsetto vocal range and there was no power behind the vocals.
The Gordon: Nick didn't do anything wrong on the song, but he didn't do anything outstanding either. It was better than Karaoke, so that's a plus, but it could come down to prior performances. And any singer selecting James Morrison needs to be injected with adrenaline before performing said songs.

Josh Holiday is going to do an original song. It did work for Zoanetta, but will it work here?

The Good: Better than an average American Idol Coronation song. Though when you realize we previously had hurricanes, magical ponies, rainbows and Kara Dioguardi, that isn't saying much.
The Bad: The song was extremely generic, just like his performance. And that's a horrible song choice because he had a lot of falsetto, but no power behind it. Keith Urban nailed the critique - way too controlled and not nearly as raw as it needs to be at the end.
The Gordon: He's a better songwriter than a singer. Get Jermaine Dupri on the phone.

We start the second half of the show, which means that this is where your finalists are probably coming from. David Oliver Willis wants to be one of those singers, and the song he selects is "Fever", by Little Willie John.

The Good: It's a good performance, complete with 1960's harmonica, 1960's acoustic guitar, and 1960's back beat and orchestration, which means you know where I'm going to go with this...
The Bad: Nothing contemporary with this whatsoever. And as the majority of the demographics are the little kids, this is an absolute wrong choice of song to be singing. And until the money note at the end, if I was sleeping in the 1960's and woke up to this performance, I would assume nothing has changed.
The Gordon: The word of the day here is 'Contemporary'. David failed to do anything with that and while we got the final 2% of the song that sounded hot, the first 98% of the song wanted me to get a cure for the fever called Ennui-itis.

Bryant Tadeo has a "New York State of Mind", according to Billy Joel. Until I start to get better performances, I have a state of mind to break out a Weird Al Yankovic album and start polka-ing.

The Good: Technically, he nailed everything. He didn't have any pitch issues.
The Bad: You're taking a naturally slow song and making it slower? No no no no no no no nooo...sooo..sleepy...need some...girls...gone...willlllllld...infomercialsssssZZZZZZZZzzzzz.
The Gordon: The one thing you can't afford to be tonight is boring, and to me, he was. I think the arrangement costs him tonight.

Burnell Taylor lost 40 pounds. Right now, I'm losing my sanity. I hope to reclaim some of it with John Legend's "This Time".

The Good: Well he didn't put me to sleep. He was emotional and active and brought a new spin to the song.
The Bad: When he sings the song again and calls it 'Next Time', the lyric should be'Next time, I'll get more than half the notes right on pitch'. The jumping up and down on the scale seemed like Frogger avoiding traffic. I was waiting for him to get squished by the ambulance.
The Gordon: Bryant was technically sound, but boring. This was exciting and good from a performance standpoint, but technically it was a mess. Can we splice both of them and have a DNA Bryant Burnell baby?

Latin heartthrob Lazaro Arbos decides to sing...country? "Tonight I Wanna Cry" by Keith Urban is the weapon of choice. I've been crying through the first 8 singers.

The Good: He was the best singer so far emotionally. Keith Urban liked it and his spirit, so if it was good enough for him, it's good enough for mem.
The Bad: The pitch at the beginning of the song was ghastly. And the suspenders makes him look like a big strawberry sherbert cone.
The Gordon: Let's be blunt here: it really doesn't matter what he sings, whether it's the phone book or Seth MacFarlane and the Academy Awards' 'We Saw Your Boobs'. He's going to get to the voting public just because of his back story. As for boobs - I've seen a bunch of them sing tonight.

Finally (and I say that gratefully), it's Cortez Shaw, who plans to wow us with "Titanium", which of course has been done to death everywhere else. Sigh.

The Good: He hit the right key for this song. He nailed the money notes and maneuvered through the emotional parts. The range was impressive.
The Bad: While the money notes were nailed, he got nickel and dimes with a lot of the smaller notes. And you did not need to make a slow song even slower. What's up with all of the guys doing slow ballads tonight? UGH.
The Gordon: He was the first and only person to give a complete performance tonight. He's a lock to go on.


Vincent Powell
Cortez Shaw
Lazaro Arbos
Burnell Taylor
Nick Boddington
Bryant Tadeo
David Oliver Willis
Josh Holiday
Mathenee Treco
Gurpreet Singh Sarin

Out of the group, the people I see moving to the Top 10: Vincent Powell, Cortez Shaw and Lazaro Arbos. We'll see next week how accurate (or wrong) I am.

To see extras from this episode, go to www.americanidol.com.