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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 Simon Cowell
Ellen DeGeneres
Kara DioGuardi
Randy Jackson
Creator Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
EP Ken Warwick
Cecile Frot-Coutaz
Simon Fuller
Packager 19 TV & FremantleMedia North America
Origins CBS Television City, Los Angeles
Web americanidol.com
Airs 8p Tues & Wed, Fox
Available In High-Definition Where AvailableStreaming Online

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Round of 20: The ... Men?
March 2

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.

We 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. 

Can 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 crowd. 
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 James has 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 magnetic scrambler.
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 nicely. 
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 song. 
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 Sellers is 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 fashion world. 
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 night. (D)
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 Garcia is 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 AWFUL. 
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 uninspiring performances. 

Aaron Kelly loves photography. He's going to see if he can make 'My Girl' by the Temptations picture perfect. 
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 sting him. 
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 boring. 
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 former. 

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 slots: 

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.