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Season 12
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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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Live Semifinals: The Guys
March 6

Four heats later, and we have the top 20. Now they will sing one more time on the Vegas stage for your votes. Five men and five women in 48 hours time will continue to Television City, where dreams become reality, reality becomes dreams, and we always love to stop in when we're in LA. Who'll stay? Who'll go? And who will finally break out of this stupor called season 12?

The Beatles Love Theatre by Cirque du Soleil at the Mirage

Yesterday, Chico got tormented by the Top 10 women (well I did also, because I had to watch it, but at least I didn't have to recap it.). Tonight, I have to get tortured and recap the guy's performances. The theme: select songs that don't make you suck. I don't think that's going to help this evening.

Don't forget to download the American Idol app to rig the vote for the little girls...er...vote for your favorites.

The first person trying to go with the theme is Elijah Liu. He decides to sing 'Stay', which was performed by Rihanna. Let's start singing songs performed by women. This is getting to a rip roaring start.

The Good: I like the orchestration. It's a smooth song - and it is contemporary, which is a nice magnet for the little girlies who would know this song.
The Bad: Randy completely nailed this - the song didn't go anywhere. If you're going to pick a song sung by a woman, can we please select one that has more than a 5 note vocal range? This was mind-numbingly boring to the point where I may have to go into my collection of Rihanna's CDs and use them for coasters for the next poker night.
The Gordon: Hey Nicki, if you have the hots for Elijah, don't worry. He'll be available for courtship after tomorrow's results show.

Cortez Shaw decides to FINALLY give us a quick-paced song. Hooray. He selects Bruno Mars' 'Locked out of Heaven'.

The Good: Great song choice. It's relevant and as it's been #1 for a gazillion weeks, this is a perfect song to style and make your own. He did perform the song well and emoted to the camera.

The Bad: There is something to be said for actually hitting the pitch when you're singing. He also did nothing with the song. It's a complete Karaoke rehash, which means he's going to be compared to Bruno Mars, and Mars, in comparison, slays this kid dead, like in a dragon movie. And he dances like a dragon with his tail accidentally lit on fire.

The Gordon: He may be getting locked out of the Top 10.

Charlie Askew says that he had no idea of what he was doing in the Top 40. Neither did I. I have no clue what he's doing singing 'Mama' by Genesis, and this has Super Train Wreck written all over it.

The Good: I'll give him points for the effort and performance. He tried to sell the song as well as he could. And the second part of the song was actually pretty good, from an Aerosmith style of him singing Genesis.

The Bad: However, for the first half of the song...What the hell was that? This wasn't just train wreck, this was Atomic Train. Silver Streak and Super 8 all in one. And the nuclear meltdown in terms of that he always has to be happy makes me genuinely concerned about his mental well-being and whether the idea of entering this competition was a good idea for him.

The Gordon: If the judges were grading this, he's gone. However, he is the classic example of people who vote in sympathy. If the other singers don't give people a reason to vote, I could easily see Charlie sneak into the Top 5.

Nick Boddington wants to give people a reason to vote for him. He puts on his hat because he's a baldy bean. He hopes that by singing The Goo Goo Dolls 'Iris' he can make people forget about it.

The Good: I would usually harp on this song, because this song has been done to death, but he makes a nice decision with the piano. It's a very nice orchestration and I disagree with Nicki that he shouldn't have changed it. He definitely should have.

The Bad: However, he shouldn't have slowed it down and make it insomia-inducing. And when you change the speed, you also can't change the pitch to be out of tune.

The Gordon: I wanted to like it more than what I did. I was bored. If we get 6 more of these performances, Charlie's getting in.

I was not too impressed with Burnell Taylor last week. Will I be impressed with him this week when he sings 'I'm Here' by LaChanze? We shall see...

The Good: The song hasn't been done that often (besides his audition round. Heh. , and it's a good song vocally to work on.

The Bad: If you're not familiar with the musical The Color Purple, you won't be familiar with this song - unless you consider that he sang it during his audition round. Based on the painful opening and lack of energy throughout the song, I don't think people want to be familiar with this song ever again. And no, his Will Smith Fresh Prince of Bel Air outfit wasn't a costume they wore in the musical.

The Gordon: There are 2 much stronger (im my opinion) R&B singers that will be singing later on in the show. If either of them blows the doors off in their performances, he's done.

Paul Jolly survives Jimmy Iovino (and his internal psyche) to sing again. His choice of song is "Just a Fool", by Christina Aguilera featuring Blake Shelton. Who will look like a fool after this performance?

The Good: This is the best that I've ever heard him.

The Bad: He wants to be the guy version of Taylor Swift. The problem is that 1. a song choice of Christina Aguilera doesn't justify that and 2. his performance screams 'broadway Cabaret Musical Nightclub'. Mariah is closer to the point - he's a variety singer right now, but he needs to sharpen his genre selection and song choices to attract the voting base that he wants.

The Gordon: Best vocal of the night so far (which, admittedly, isn't saying much, but hey, it's a start.)

Lazaro Arbos is trying to take the judges critiques and select a better song. Is 'Feeling Good' that song?

The Good: The second half of that vocal is probably the best that we've heard this evening. He definitely spun the song out to make it a little different. It's not too much different, but the emotion into it made this a nice performance.

The Bad: The reason why he goes so high on the second half of the song is because it's to contrast the first half of the song, which is a bit of a muddled vocal. Last week, he wore a pink shirt that made him look like a sherbert cone. This week, the same pink shirt with the grey jacket over him makes him look like a pink ice cream scoop with marshmallow topping.

The Gordon: If you listen to the audience, he's getting in. Forget the vocals - he's an amazing story, and that could propel him to the title, whether he deserves it or not.

Curtis FInch Jr. believes he can fly. I believe I'm going to cringe because I have to deal with 90 seconds of R. Kelly's crapterpiece.

The Good: At least he tried to spin his own rendition of the song and gospel it up. From that stand point, he succeeded.

The Bad: I get it that he made the song his own. The problem is the tone and falsetto, and whereas it was good technically, there should have been a lot more power and a lot less restraint on the vocal. And that last money note was so buzzy that it sounded like the bees also believed they could fly and made a beeline right into his mouth.

The Gordon: I liked this a LOT less than the judges. Maybe it's because the energy didn't translate to the home like it did on the stage, but I wasn't feeling it. I do think, however, that he gets in.

We're up to Devin Velez, who decides to sing...Perry Como? 'Somos Novos' (It's Impossible) from Perry Como? La Gente Esta Muy Loca...

The Good: He does a really nice, sweet version of the song. Vocally, he's on point.

The Bad: It's a horrible, horrible, song choice. I'll explain this later on, but the song choice was a mistake. And that outfit makes him look like he would have been Perry Como's vocal back up in the 1950's.

The Gordon: Here's the problem: Your voting group are American 10-20 year old girls. Devin has sang old Spanish songs that won't attract that group. In addition, I think the Latin vote is going directly to Lazaro Arbos. So while I like the singer, I don't know where he's going to get his votes from.

Finally, it's Vincent Powell singing 'End of the Road', by Boyz II Men. Is this going to be the end of his road? (Sorry, I had to say it)

The Good: I liked how he coordinated his glasses to Randy Jackson's glasses. Keep styling and profiling. And I like that his dress code is going to get him into any night club in Las Vegas after the show.

The Bad: The pitch was terrible all around the song. If he was a motorcycle, the road would have shredded his tires and AAA would have had to tow it off to the shop.

The Gordon: This was brutally bad. He shouldn't get in, but if he does, he can thank the fact he was in the last spot this week, along with his performance from last week.

The Verdict: Let's do this based on Boys II Men songs. Because I feel silly.

Thank You: Curtis Finch, Jr., Devin Velez, Lazaro Arbos

Please Don't Go: Nick Boddington, Burnell Taylor, Paul Jolley

End of the Road: Elijah Liu, Cortez Shaw, Charlie Askew, Vincent Powell

However, that was only based on musical performances and NOT who I think is advancing. Just like the girls, I found a whopping zero excellent performances from the guys. Which means that some of these votes are going to be based on back story. And hence, we may have a surprise or two...

The Rationale: One of those spots is going to Lazaro. You have 4 R&B singers going for 2 spots - Finch will get one and Powell will probably get the other one, despite the brutal effort tonight. Between Jolley vs. Boddington for the pop spot, I think Jolley gets in, plus Jolley can court the country vote that no one else wanted. For the last spot...no one else impressed, and while Devin Velez SHOULD get the last spot, I think we get a surprise....hello, Charlie.

My 5 picks:

Lazaro Arbos
Charlie Askew
Curtis Finch, Jr.
Paul Jolley
Vincent Powell

America votes tonight. Fox reveals tomorrow.

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