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
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of 20: The ... Men?
Now this was supposed to be the women's sing song tonight, but Crystal
Bowersox has been deemed unable to sing, so we get to hear the guys first this
week. I hope Crystal feels better so she can perform in 24 hours. I hope my
eardrums will feel better after the cacophonous mess that was last week.
We'll be joined by GameShowNewsnet.com's Jason Block and Lee DiGeorge as they
try to find a cure for week #1's musical malaise.
hope the first cure will be provided by Michael
Lynche, who tells us that he played football in high school. Never
could have guessed it. He wants to be the star athlete as he sings '(This is
A) Man's World' by James Brown.
The Good - MUCH better
choice of song, and a more much emotional, passionate effort. From a stage
standpoint, it was a much better performance. He shed his inhibitions from
last week and let the song flow. Kara is right in terms of his performance; he
let himself out, and in a good way.
The Bad - It's the right
kind of song, but it's a little too big for him (as displayed by his flat
opening notes), and I kept making comparisons to James Brown's version in
those old commercials. That makes me wonder if he couldn't sing something a
little more contemporary or twist it up a little, because the performance
screamed 'watered down clone'.
The Jason - This is a MUCH
better song choice for many reasons. First, it's an R&B classic. Secondly,
it's in his wheelhouse. And lastly, he sings it with more passion and emotion
than most of the men combined last week. This was a quality performance that
will definitely get him into the round of 16 next week.
The Lee - I don't quite
agree with the judges. How is this "relevant?" (B-)
The Verdict - Now THAT is
what I expected from Michael last week. He's going in the right direction, and
even though he performed first, I think the performance was memorable enough
that he will stick around.
we say the same about John
Park, who survived last
week? His a cappella group has been very supportive, and I'm wondering if they
suggested John Mayer's 'Gravity'. Will John thank them for their advice later?
The Good - Miles better than
last week. The song was relevant and people will recognize it. Much better
technically, and he did dress to the point. And his parents look cute in the
The Bad - It was a flat,
sing by the numbers song. No inspiration behind it, and no breath support,
since a lot of the notes were flat. I also hated the song choice; it's boring,
and he didn't do anything with it, vocally. Remember something else about Idol
- you're not just trying to get votes through your singing. You get them
through your personality and charisma, and right now, between his interviews
on stage and his personality in his montage tapes, he's about as interesting
as dry wall.
The Jason - Better than last
week, but I have a bit of a problem with the enunciation of some his words,
and I thought he was trying to be a karaoke version of Mayer, instead making
it his own. It felt flat and passionless.
The Lee - Sounds much better
than last week, but completely forgettable (C)
The Verdict - John jokes
that his group will hope he loses so that we'll come back. With a very
forgettable performance this week, I agree with Simon that should there not be
any disasters, the group may have their lead vocalist back by Friday.
As someone who hasn't had a TV while growing up, Casey
never watched American Idol, so he selects a song that's been performed by a
number of people; Gavin DeGraw's 'I Don't Want To Be'. Will Casey, his guitar
(which he says will help him) and his 'magic box' (which he says he'll show us
if he makes the Top Ten) get him to next week?
The Good - Like Michael's
performance, this is what Casey should have brought out last week. Great
choice of song, because I think this is closer to who Casey is. And he can
certainly play that electric guitar; very nice solo at the end of the song.
The Bad - However, Casey
should have channeled his vocals from last week. The pitches were weaker, the
tone was affected and the lyrics were neither clear nor well-pronounced. There
needed to be just as much focus on the singing as there was on the guitar
solos, which there wasn't. Maybe there was a midget in the box using a
The Jason - Oh, I wanted to
like this one SO bad...but his vocal tremolo bothered me a lot. And while he
can shred the guitar, the vocal passion in this song which is shown by DeGraw
isn't here at all. This was, and has, been done better.
The Lee - Is that Kara's
box? Whatever's in the box is not working. A huge step back. (C-)
The Verdict - I disagree
with both Lee and Jason here. The singing effort was much better last week,
but the performance value was better this week. As a performer, he took a
major step forward to solidifying his fan base. Let's see if he can wrap it up
together next week.
Alex Lambert blames
last week on nerves, but he claims to be better this week, because like Casey,
he's bringing his guitar on stage. The man who claims to have created his own
language will try to enjoy himself more with 'Everybody Knows' by John Legend.
The Good - MUCH better than
last week. He feels much more comfortable up there. It is a very good
performance, and he is starting to make love to the camera, which is a good
stage quality to have. He's developing that 'Sam Cooke' tonal voice quite
The Bad - The song is a very
safe one, with a limited vocal range to go in and out of. The only challenging
part is that end note, which made my tv emit steam in the back. I think a
cathode tube cracked.
The Jason - Here's the
problem with this. He has the same problem as John Park. He is a performing
passionless robot out there. He didn't convey the emotion and the story of the
The Lee - Still looks like a
deer in headlights. Missed badly first verse and last note. Rest was
shockingly solid. (B)
The Verdict - He is starting
to come into his own. After last week, I thought he was a throwaway. After
this performance, I think he's a dark horse to get into the Top 12. Next
week's performance for him will be crucial.
Last week, Todrick Hall freaked
me out by singing a Kelly Clarkson song. This week, he's going to freak me out
with a Tina Turner song; 'What's Love Got To Do With It?' Well, he's right -
they will never compare dancer Todrick's song to the original artist. At
least, I hope not.
The Good - Despite being
jarred by a guy singing a women's song, he did a very good job. When he moved
around, he felt freer and was emotionally connecting with the audience. If you
replay back the song and close your eyes, you can hear a decent effort.
The Bad - The one thing that
I do agree with with the judges on is that the song wasn't contemporary, which
made it feel theme parkey in segments. And the end vocal trills, were both out
of pitch and felt indulgently added at the end just for the sake of singing,
which means that some of the theme park characters may come out and pin him to
the ground, sumo-style, to make him stop.
The Jason - Two weeks in a
row, he tried to do TOO much with the song. He hasn't given a performance that
defines who he is. This was a mess.
The Lee - Miles ahead of
last week. Not amazing, but solid. I'm kind of shocked at the judges' critique
this week. (C+)
The Verdict - I completely
disagree with the judges on this. I really liked the arrangement and
performance to this song. However, I'm not sure that 3 R&B singers will get to
the round of 8, which means that he could be in deep trouble should Jermaine
Sellers come out and mop the floor with him.
And speaking of which, Jermaine
up next. He certainly has the chops to do that with Marvin Gaye's 'What's
Going On?' Can he rebound after last week's mess?
The Good - It was a lot
better than last week. He actually does hit some of the trills well and he
modulates nicely in some of the spots. And once again, Jermaine is rocking the
The Bad - There were far
many more misses than hits on the vocal trills. He performs this song utterly
and completely wrong. The whole point of the song is for people to be socially
aware and instead he's bouncing, around with a bright and happy face. He needs
to tone EVERYTHING down; both the pushing of the lyrics and the attitude,
because if you ever wanted to do a symposium on how to lose votes and make
yourself completely unlikable, go back and rewatch that intro tape, while
watching the arguing with the judges as an epilogue, because it made me want
to take his onesie grab the sides, and drag it over his head to shut him up.
The Jason - If my ears are
right, he is either a half or one octave too high. He is NOT hitting the high
notes, and Todrick Hall is smiling. He got saved by this really bad
performance. And the arguing doesnt help.
The Lee - He's still doing
all of the stupid runs. He sounds horrendous again. He may be the worst of the
The Verdict - Yuck. Jermaine
did almost everything wrong here. Despite all of this, I don't think he's
going home tonight, though he probably should. I'll explain more later....
But right now, Andrew
showing us his break dancing moves. Can he give us his vocal moves with 'You
Give Me Something' by James Morrison?
The Good - This time, the
song choice was very good. There were vocal flashes of brilliance and some
really nice runs...
The Bad - ...which is made
all the more frustrating that he hasn't put the whole package together yet.
His vocal tone and pitch fails him. He oversings the loud high vocal range to
the point of screeching. And after hearing the scrunchy last blurb to end the
song, the something I wanted Andrew to give me was some valium.
The Jason - What is this? He
is butchering this. He is over-enunciating everything, and his Mexican accent
is overpowering his voice, which is killing every note in this mess. This was
The Lee - He's just not the
same without the guitar. To me, this was his worst performance to date. (D+)
The Verdict - After that
performance, one of my colleagues, Chico Alexander, texted me to say, and I
quote, 'He murdered that song dead.' He murdered it so badly that he and the
song could be guest stars on CSI. If he survives to get to next week, it's
only because of the thousand of Twitter Fans who knew him before his last 2
Aaron Kelly loves
photography. He's going to see if he can make 'My Girl' by the Temptations
The Good - The thing that I
thought was the most improved in his performance was his stage presence. He
let himself go, and the nerves seem to be less. The vocal runs were better...
The Bad - ...but he still
had some issues being flat in parts. Some of those vocal runs that he did felt
more forced than natural. You don't have to make every song filled with vocal
runs. And if any real bees were in the area that heard him screw up both the
words and the notes in their segment, they'd be swarming the stage, looking to
The Jason - I liked this
performance a lot, but the tremolo in his voice DROVE ME NUTS. He is not going
to have a problem, because he is a breath of fresh air after the last 4
performances of total suck.
The Lee - Manages to do what
the others couldn't - Prove that he belongs on the Idol stage. (B+)
The Verdict - I semi-agree
with Simon that Aaron needs to be more contemporary, but I thought the
performance itself was 200% better than last week (and he was one of the
stand-outs then). Now can he make himself more contemporary and relevant?
Tim Urban got
a massive reprieve when he somehow escaped the bottom two from last week. His
choice this week: 'Come On Get Higher' by Matt Nathanson. Can him and his
guitar get a second reprieve?
The Good - Like Aaron, he's
much more comfortable on the stage. Maybe it's because of the guitar that he
brought, or as Kara says, the selection of a good song for him. And it looked
like he had fun.
The Bad - He needed to bring
the pitch with him on that stage. He completely undersang the pitch the entire
song, complete with mangled ending. Ellen thinks he's better off being one of
those actors on Glee, which would be to act more and sing less. Ouch....but I
can't really disagree with that.
The Jason - Back to the
suck. His voice was all over the place. This was really passionless and
The Lee - Today must be
opposite day. One of the best of the night. (B+)
The Verdict - Simon actually
gave him credit for an improved performance, which means 2 things: 1. He's
trying to make him feel good when he gets the boot on Thursday or 2. If Tim
does get to stay, it will be because of his attitude and Simon will be happy
that a contestant with a diva-complex will be gone. As much as I'd like to see
the latter happen (since he's a good kid), the performance almost warrants the
Lee DeWyze also
wants to impress the judges, and is looking to stay true to himself while
making the judges happy at the same time. Could 'Lips of an Angel' by Hinder
be the trick as we end the night?
The Good - Once he gets to
the second half of the song, he's very good. He has a much improved stage
presence, and the pitch is much better.
The Bad - He's still flat,
which everyone's attributing to the nerves. You can only blame the nerves for
so long, and while he is improving, he needs to get much better. And his
nerves could make the microphone sue for sexual harassment.
The Jason - This is the
right song choice for the right guy. He ends the show with a very good
performance. He didn't strain his voice to hit the high notes, and did enough
to get through.
The Lee - Go outside of the
box, young man! Solid, and completely unspectacular. (B-)
The Verdict - Unlike Simon,
I don't think that he was the best of the night (Michael Lynche was), but I do
think he has no problems this week. I do agree that Lee needs to get out of
that little box (maybe he's borrowing Casey's box) and either twist a song or
do something out of his comfort zone. I think he has the fan base to do that.
Overall Verdict Overall, a
much better show than last week's ugly fest. However, we still don't have a
'great' performance yet, and we do have 4 clear candidates for the exit.
Trouble: Todrick Hall,
Jermaine Sellers, Tim Urban, John Park
Does anyone remember what John Park sang? No? Ok then. As far as the other
person; as much as everyone would love to see Jermaine leave, I think the
Bible belt base in the South bails out Jermaine, and I also think the surge of
popularity that Alex Lambert will get will take away the fanbase of Urban,
whose voters may relax a little after Simon praises him. That relaxing turns
out to be his undoing, and I think he edges out Hall to be going out the door.
OUT: Tim Urban and John Park
The Jason: This week, we got to see some people who are trying to show
who they are and what they are made of. A couple of them did really good.
Most...not so much. But we still have enough suck to get these 4 in my trouble
Trouble: John Park, Jermaine Sellers, Tim Urban and Andrew Garcia.
Jermaine Sellers did the cardinal rule of arguing with the judges, and John
Park was just there.
Out: Jermaine Sellers, John Park.
The Lee: Top of the class: Urban, Kelly, Lambert, Lynche, DeWyze
Bottom of the class: Park, James, Hall, Sellers, Garcia
Safe due to Idol Pimping: James and Garcia
OUT: Jermaine Sellers, John Park
Join us later in 24 hours to see if the women can semi-raise their game like
the men semi-did.
To see this episode in its
entirety, go to www.americanidol.com.