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
Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop
19 TV & FremantleMedia North
CBS Television City, Los
8p Tues & Wed, Fox
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of 24: The Men
Tuesday's episode featured the top 12 ladies, which was an average episode
featuring some decent performances, some nerves, and a bunch of train wrecks.
Now the judges have insisted this year that the ladies are better than the guys.
So after this episode, the mentality will either be that 1. The judges are
completely wrong and they were just saying it to try to manufacture a female
winner or 2. The judges were right and I just spent 2 hours of my life having as
much fun as Conan O'Brien at a Jay Leno family reunion.
Joining me at this musical party are GameShowNewsNet.com contributors Jason
Block and Lee DiGeorge. Joining us for the first song this week is...
Todrick Hall, who's
not short on attitude, vocals, acrobatic abilities, or little kid's money ($50
of it, to be exact). He starts us off with...Kelly Clarkson's 'Since You've Been
The Good - He certainly
defined who he was in an R&B genre. And he certainly made that song his own.
The Bad - I know what he
'wanted' to do. The problem is he didn't execute it. The pitch was
cringe-worthy, the dancing was crazy (in a bad way), and the arrangement sounded
like something Bobby Brown would do if he was strung out on his drug of choice.
And the ragged half shirt/half jacket/half vest combo made it look like Kelly
found out about the performance and tackled him backstage in a futile attempt to
stop him from getting on stage to perform it.
The Jason - He takes a song
that was a rock anthem, and turns into a Ne-yoesque R&B slow jam. This shows he
will be a force to be reckoned with, because he took a song and made it his own.
The vocals may not have been totally off the chain, but that doesn't matter in
this case. Simon, Randy and Kara were way wrong.
The Lee - There's a fine line
between brilliance and craziness. Todrick Hall crossed it. C-
The Verdict - If 'he brought
on creativity' is slang for wrong song and brutal arrangement for said song,
then Todrick was extraordinarily creative this evening. However, if Jermaine and
Michael blow the doors open, then Todrick will also be extroadinarily gone after
Aaron Kelly says
that his defining moment was when he screwed up his last song. That's usually a
moment you don't want to remember. Hopefully he can have a different moment with
'Here Comes Goodbye', by Rascal Flatts. Will he try to avoid hearing Good-bye
The Good - VERY good song
choice. He's a pop country singer, and that's a great song for him. It's got a
nice vocal range which exploits his vocal set in a good way.
The Bad - He was a little bit
flat on the high notes. The one thing that David Archuleta had that Aaron needs
is confidence. He needs an injection of Todrick's swagger on stage without also
accidentally transferring over Todrick's arrangement skills.
The Jason - Another good risk,
because he is showing his vocal and genre range. But the problem is that he was
showing his big nerves, because he felt very uncomfortable on stage. And the
vocals were a little off. I think he is safe, but barely.
The Lee - He remembered the
words and did Chris Sligh proud. B
The Verdict - I'm going to
agree with Lee on this one. Aaron did exactly what he needed to do this week.
The fact that he performed after Todrick's musican nightmare doesn't hurt. He
should have no problems on Thursday.
Jermaine Sellers brings
with him many years of gospel experience. He has the opportunity to knock
Todrick out of the competition right now with a great performance. He chooses to
wield his dagger with...Oleta Adams's 'Get Here'? What's up with the R&B guys
singing women's songs?
The Good - He looks like he's
dressing his Sunday Best. And the hat is tres chic.
The Bad - You can't reach his
pitch by airplane. You can't reach his pitch by railway. You may need to send
out a caravan with camels to find where his pitch went to. And yes I don't care
how it gets here. Get here when they can, because my eardrums are bleeding. And
while you're at it, send a caravan for his likeability, which he completely blew
out of the water after blaming the editors for making him look like a diva and
then cementing the image when he doesn't remember making up with the Idol Band
The Jason - We are seeing a
pattern here. The choices are fine, but the executions are not that great. He
was awful in the high range and with Todrick being more risky, he could be in
The Lee - Painful in almost
every sense of the word. D+
The Verdict - He should have
went contemporary with Ne-Yo, Usher or Craig David. Instead, it was a terrible
song and performance which made him look like a bitter 80 year old. Not only did
he not get rid of Todrick, I think it's possible that they are both going home.
That being said, there's 9 more performances that may make both him and Todrick
look like superstars by comparison.
Tim Urban is
one of those 9. Of course, he's not supposed to be there, but is, thanks to
Chris Golightly taking a leave of his senses. In order for Tim to not take a
leave of the stage, he needs to perform 'Apologize' by One Republic very, very
The Good - He is dressed to
impress. And Ellen thinks he's adorable, which means that regardless of what
happens, he'll get some extra TV time on her show when he gets booted.
The Bad - And I say when he
gets booted, which could be very soon because we go back to the lessons on why
NOT to pick a song. It forces Tim to go to his very weak falsetto for some of
the notes, which wouldn't be too be bad if he was on pitch at the beginning of
the song, which he wasn't. Kara is 100% right here - he had a guitar during
Hollywood Week. Why in the world didn't he pick a song that implemented the
The Jason - Unfortunately, he
didn't make the best of his chance. His vocals were all over the place, and his
lack of TV time didn't do him his justice. He looked awful out there.
The Lee - His falsetto rings
The Verdict - Tim has to
apologize to the audience for having us sit through 90 seconds of pain, then
apologize to his parents for making them spend money to go to L.A. to hear the
pain live, than apologize to producer Ken Warwick for having to distribute that
pain to 30 million people, and finally apologize to his 5 fans, who after
hearing that pain, will be the only people to vote as he exits, stage left.
Joe Munoz froze
up during his performances with a guitar, then almost froze up during his last
song on Hollywood Week. Can he get through 'You and I Both' by Jason Mraz? Or is
this going to be another musical train wreck?
The Good - He recovers after
the first half of the song. He has a much better stage presence than some of the
other singers. He also looks well prepared if any of these nor'easters
accidentally wade into sunny California.
The Bad - Hate, Hate, HATE his
tone. It's way too tremolo for me and reminds me of Carmen Rasmussen (and not in
the good way) during Season 2. The song should have given us a reason to vote
for him, and I didn't feel that during this performance. And the very shaky
first half of the song made me wonder if there was an earthquake in the studio.
The Jason - While the song is
not memorable, his performance was. He was not over the top, and had just enough
to get through. Advice to Joe though...stay off the use of the vocal trills. We
got it, you can do it.
The Lee - If he were in any
other group, he'd be in danger, now, he's one of the heads of a very weak class.
The Verdict - Another really
poor song choice here for an artist with a Latin voice that screams Marc Anthony
or Jon Secada. The difference here is that he executed the song well, but will
that be enough tonight on a song that's clearly forgettable?
Tyler Grady wants
us to know he's all about the 1970's rock era. And just to make sure we don't
forget, he's going to perform 'American Woman' by The Guess Who.
The Good - We know his style
and gimmick and he wears it well. He was also pretty good, pitch-wise, which
based on what we've heard so far, is a massive accomplishment.
The Bad - Ironically, he
picked a song too big for him and it felt like Morrison-lite. He played it by
the numbers, which is fine if he's doing a revival concert, but his voice itself
can't match the richness and deepness of The Guess Who or Morrison.
The Jason - Great arrangement,
and we see the next Adam Lambert right here. He has sex appeal oozing all over
the place and he just cemented his position as a dark horse in the competition.
The Lee - Sir, this is a
singing competition... and that's the one thing you didn't do well. C-
The Verdict - I'm in between
both of Jason and Lee's opinions. I think he has no problem getting through this
week, but I think he needs to make himself more contemporary. There are newer
rock artists out there with more lithe-like voices that he can cover and sound
really good performing. He's very close to getting to the Top 12. He's just not
Lee DeWyze hopes
that he can ride the momentum that he had on the last day of Hollywood Week. He
looks to continue with 'Chasing Cars' by Snow Patrol.
The Good - Now this is what
I'm talking about when it comes to picking a song. Very nice contemporary
selection, and he took a chance on changing the chorus line to exploit his
range. He took a risk and he semi-pulled it off.
The Bad - I think he would
have completely pulled it off if he didn't undersing the pitch on the high
notes, which was flatter than a deflated lounge chair.
The Jason - The dogs that will
be chasing cars will have their ears bleed on this one. He was so off key, it
wasn't funny. What is in Simon's Coke cup?
The Lee - Completely
Enjoyable. The only one. A
The Verdict - Despite the
pitch issues, Lee is going to be ok this week. He and his guitar has a lot of
potential, and he has the performance chops. He just needs one or two songs to
make his own to cement it. I think he'll find it.
With all of the mess that has happened before him, John
a legitimate chance to actually make some noise. His choice of song is...'God
Bless the Child'? That's not exactly the song I'd use to make a first
The Good - He bails himself
out on the second half of the song. He does show off his high range (which was
the point of selecting that song to begin with), while flashing that nice
college dress jacket and outfit.
The Bad - Completely and
utterly wrong song. I couldn't understand the words at the beginning, and the
pitch at the low part was terrible. But what was worse for me was that I agree
with Simon - it was an emotionless, sing by the numbers effort that you can hear
in any Atlantic City casino lounge at 4am after you're done cashing in the chips
from winning a few grand at the craps table. And I say craps, because that's
what it sounded like.
The Jason - His bottom end is
what did him in tonight. When he went low, it went south. He is not there
tonight. And it was awful.
The Lee - I didn't realize I
was watching Gospel Idol! Singing was fine, but wrong, wrong song. C-
The Verdict - Sure, the second
half of the song was fine, but I think most people already dismissed him after
the putrid first 30 seconds. If you're singing a song because you like it and
not because it's good, it's the definition of self-indulgent. Like Jermaine, his
likeability disappeared once he started talking to Ryan. If he's safe, it's only
because of the veritable cesspool of suck we've seen so far this evening.
Michael Lynche is
happy that his girl can see him performing on stage. He wants to grace his
daughter by singing 'This Love' by Maroon 5. Huh?
The Good - From a performance
standpoint, it was decent. For the most part, he does hit the notes, and it does
show his versatility as an artist that he can tackle a pop song.
The Bad - If you are an R&B
singer, why in the world is your first song choice out of the gate a Maroon 5
song? Sure he plays guitar, but this needed to be souled up, not rocked out.
There's no vocal range or challenge to this song - well there could have been,
if he made it his own, but he didn't. As we know, this is the point where you
need to start grabbing an audience, and this song isn't going to do that.
The Jason - Uses the guitar as
a crutch. But his voice sounded so much Luther Vandross it was scary. And that's
a good thing.
The Lee - This year's Michael
Sarver aims straight for the middle and hits. The problem is... the middle of
this group still sucks. C-
The Verdict - It's a good song
to select, but this should have been done during week #2, not week #1. Hey, it's
my job to be picky. And I agree with Kara; it's not great, but it's wonderful
compared to the garbage we got so far. It was a nice fluffy safe performance,
but Simon (and myself) want something more out of him. I think he will be able
to deliver it next week.
Whenever we saw Alex Lambert during
Hollywood, it was in a negative light. We need to see him do something more
positive, and I'm hoping it's his singing. Would 'Wonderful World' by James
Morrison give us that positivity?
The Good - From a tone
standpoint, he's got one of the better voices and tones in the entire
The Bad - I don't know the
song that well, and I'm glad I don't, because if I did, I'd be all over him on
the missed lyrics and awful spacing. And why are you blaming your failure on
someone who isn't even in the competition anymore? That turns off people, and
you need them for your votes. And unfortunately, I think Mary Powers could have
been right if she had to deal with that pitch turning her wonderful world into
an awful apocalypse.
The Jason - Boy does he look
bad up there. He is scared, and doesn't feel like he BELONGS up there.
The Lee - I was almost
relieved when Simon made his uncomfortable comment... made me feel a whole lot
less crazy. Sounded OK. C
The Verdict - Simon is 100%
right. This could have been a really good performance if he had the nerves and
stage presence. And Ellen is right - he needs to ripen like a banana. Unlike
other people, he was gracious and likable, and I think that buys him another
week in the competition. But he has to get some more passion and stage prescence
in his performance, or next week is the last week he's going to get.
Does Casey James have
a thing for Kara Dioguardi? Does Kara feel the same way? Who is Casey singing to
when he's crooning Bryan Adans' 'Heaven'? Only Casey knows...
The Good - Very good song
choice for Casey, who can show us he can tackle pop and rock. When he was
singing the lyrics (and not the chorus) he can hit and sustain the high notes.
And Kara still thinks he's hot.
The Bad - He executed his song
much better than Michael Lynche did, but I have the same complaint for him that
I had with Michael - if you're a country singer, get out of the box with some
country. And the tremolo and pitch during the chorus made me hope the clouds
would open up and rain on both Kara (so she doesn't get sued, Paula Abdul-style)
and the electronics, which would maybe kill the vocal vibrato.
The Jason - This is the best
performance tonight by far. He has a Chad Kroeger of Nickelback vibe to him. The
tremolo bothered me, but I like his voice a lot. He will have no trouble
The Lee - Good song choice.
I'm completely tired of the Casey James / Kara angle. Concentrate on his music,
which is average, at best. B-
The Verdict - Like Michael,
this should have been done during week #2, not week #1. But like Michael, this
isn't going to hurt him. Casey needs a song that can work his tremolo to his
advantage, but it will be smooth sailing for him to next week.
Andrew Garcia finishes
off our first night with 'Sugar, We're Going Down' by Fall Out Boy. Will we be
finishing tonight with a downer or an upper?
The Good - I liked the
performance of the song. He's got a great voice and tone. I really liked the
stage presence/microphone/camera angle aspect of what he did, vs. the lack of
stage presence Alex Lambert showed.
The Bad - The problem wasn't
the performance, but the song itself. It's a song people don't know, and the
only way you can make a song memorable like that and 'make it your own' is if
you change a staple of something the audience knows. I'm guessing that many
people heard that song for the first time last night, and while it's nice, it's
not good enough to make that lasting first impression. It also shows the
audience that between Hollywood Week and tonight, all he's done so far is
acoustic guitar singing. He's does a good job of it, but what else can he do?
The Jason - This is the same
trick he pulled with "Straight Up", with mixed results. This is ok, but he needs
to come back with something better next week. Because there is no way he is
The Lee - Sugar, we're going
down... almost as fast as your Idol power ranking is after a terrible song
choice and one-noting the song the entire time. C+
The Verdict - If it was any
other spot (besides last) and if they didn't post up his 'Straight Up' Paula
Abdul performance, I'd put him in the same boat with Joe Munoz and say he's in
trouble. I think Paula bails him out, but he needs to get better to make the Top
12. Or maybe not...
Overall Verdict ...because I
do agree with the judges that the girls are better than the guys, as tonight was
a crapterpiece. No great performances, and the only reason why we have 'good'
ones is that you had a bunch that were horrid by comparison. The guys better be
very happy that only 2 of them go home tomorrow, because if it was up to me, I'd
take 8 girls and 4 guys and make that your Top 12. But I can only select 4
people to be in trouble, so...
Trouble: Todrick Hall,
Jermaine Sellers, Tim Urban, John Park
Rule #1 of Idol: The worst singer is gone, so bye, Tim Urban. Rule #2: It's
better to be bad than non-memorable, so I think it saves Hall and Sellers, but
OUT: Tim Urban and John Park
The Jason: This was a train wreck. Week one goes to the women by far.
Most of the song choices were not right for the people who sang it. People went
overboard to try to be risky:
Trouble: Alex Lambert, John Park, Lee Dewyze and Tim Urban.
Lee and Tim will get one more shot. Alex and John were so bad and so
forgettable, so they go.
Out: Alex Lambert, John Park.
The Lee: Top of the class: DeWyze, Kelly, James
Middle of the class: Garcia, Lambert, Munoz
In Trouble: Hall, Sellers, Urban, Grady, Park, Lynche (but since he's so
likeable, he's safe)
OUT: Todrick Hall / Tim Urban
Join us later on tonight to see who has to go back into the snow.
To see this episode in its
entirety, go to www.americanidol.com.