OK, before we get started, here is the breakdown of the categories as I referred to them the other day:
Annoying: Todrick, Jermaine, Lee, Tyler
Obvious Cannon Fodder: (in other words, people who might stick around for a couple of weeks but nobody outside their immediate family believes they have ANY shot at actually winning): Joe, Big Mike, John, Alex
Teenybopper bait: Aaron, Tim, Casey
Only person I am actually looking forward to hearing: Andrew
Questions? Comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section...
Trust me, this one will likely be shorter than yesterday's, for reasons that will become obvious as we go along.
1) Todrick Hall - "Since U Been Gone": Well, he certainly got the memo from last night about not just singing the song straight. I give him points for his creativity, confidence, and stage presence...and then I immediately subtract said points based on the fact that he didn't so much "change" the song as "butcher" it, and also that he is one of those people who are so addicted to runs that they appear incapable of ever holding a note longer than about half a second.
Simon nailed it...he is a dancer who is trying to sing, not a singer who also dances. To his credit, he admitted as much during Hollywood week, so at least it won't be news to him.
Kara and Randy, on the other hand, are either total hypocrites or they suffer multiple personality disorder...this is where they start the annoying trend of telling people they should just leave the melody alone instead of trying to change it up so much. The exact opposite of what they told the female contestants the night before.
I think the answer is in the middle...change the melody to something GOOD. Todrick only got 50% of the equation correctly.
2) Aaron Kelly - "Here Comes Goodbye": Nasally and flat vocal. No stage presence, other than that one move where he kept raising one arm and posing it. Yeah, I can see why the judges gave him such a tongue bath.
(Psst...that was sarcasm).
3) Jermaine Sellers - "Get Here": Another one who is intent on injecting runs into every single phrase. This was entirely too old fashioned and, just like some of the females, a performance that might have gone over better in the first 2-3 seasons of the show. The middle part sounded like someone was strangling a mongoose.
Oh, but he did give us the funniest part of the night: "Oh, yeah, I've made up with the band. Michael? Who's Michael?"
4) Tim Urban - "Apologize": Rocking the Bama bangs like JPW. Here's my only question...why would you pick a song that features a falsetto voice so prominently if you have no falsetto to speak of? This was awful in an uncomfortable way, which becomes the theme for most of the night.
5) Joe Munoz - "You and I Both": Who? I have never seen this person before. Nice scarf. Good tone to his voice, but his vibrato is out of control. This was actually a pretty good performance, but very forgettable. I don't think he won any fans with that, but I said the same thing about Kris Allen during the first week last season, so what do I know?
6) Tyler Grady - "American Woman": OK, here is where I would go postal on some judges if I were a contestant. Tyler got up there and did the EXACT thing that they have praised him for since his first audition. He strutted around making faces at people, was overly ambitious vocally, and basically played the part of a 70's rock star. That's what he does, and we just saw an entire video package of the judges acknowledging that and praising him for it, up to and including them putting him in position to perform tonight. I never really got it...I always thought it was the very definition of "affected", which Simon always kills people for, but the judges seemingly ate it up with a spoon.
So, tonight, he does the same thing that they have been telling him for months was so awesome...and they tell him he needs to cut that crap out and do something else.
7) Lee Dewyze - "Chasing Cars": Ooooo, I just want to punch this guy in the face. Don't you just want to punch him in the face?
This started bad, and then got worse...the pitch was EVERYWHERE, and then in the chorus it just got terribly, wince-inducingly FLAT. Just AWFUL, and nowhere near on pitch. And he seems to know it when he gets finished.
And then Simon tells him he was "by FAR, the best performance of the night."
I give up.
Seriously, I think this may be one of those times where Simon watches the recording and realizes that what he heard was in no way reflected in this place we call "reality". It will be interesting to see if he acknowledges it on the results show...he has been known to do that before.
8) John Park - "God Bless the Child": Boring, old fashioned, decent voice, but just a brutally boring performance. Moving on.
Wait, wait....Simon. THAT was flat, but Lee was AWESOME?
9) Michael Lynche - "This Love": My god, he is ENORMOUS. That guitar really DOES look like a ukulele.
This was a "nice" performance. His voice is not that strong, but he is having fun up there, though I do question whether his guitar was even plugged in. This is a prototypical "cannon fodder" performance. It's pretty good, and he will most likely outlast a good bit of the rest of this steaming pile of garbage that is the Top 12, but he has NO shot at winning the whole thing.
10) Alex Lambert - "Wonderful World": Is he rocking a mullet in his pre-performance interview? At least a mini-mullet. Interesting...
Oh my gosh...this dude is PETRIFIED. Seriously, he is scared to move. He looks like Whitney Houston in Bodyguard when she knows there's a sniper in the crowd. His vocal starts out terrible, probably because he can't breathe, but it gets better as he goes along.
I think he has talent, it's just hidden under about 30 layers of pure fear. I hope he sticks around, if for no other reason than to see if he can grow a full-fledged mullet by the time the Top 4 gets here. It's about time the music scene experienced a mullet revolution.
11) Casey James - "Heaven": Yeah, thanks for replaying that ridiculous audition scenario. You know, that whole thing really ticked me off. See, it was during the whole Bikini Girl fiasco last season that I gained a lot of respect for Kara, because she called her out on her whole B.S. when she told her to just show up naked next time. How is this any different?
Anyway. Casey's voice is about a B-, but that is obviously not what he's about. Which is fine...I always say Randy is full of it when he calls this a "Singing Competition", because he is. This is a "Pop Star" competition, and that often has little to do with singing ability (Britney, Jessica, the Jonases, etc, etc, etc.). He's just using what he's got, and I have no problem with that. I don't necessarily think he's THAT good looking (granted, I'm not really the target audience), but what he does have is a very natural charm and, most importantly, swagger. And great hair.
He's going to get a contract out of this, no matter what, so good for him.
Kara is absolutely EMBARRASSING herself. Ugh. If Simon was this blatantly unprofessional about a 25 year old female contestant, women's groups would be calling for his job.
And Ellen is professional enough to recognize it and apologize for it. Good for her, seriously.
12) Andrew Garcia - "Sugar, We're Going Down": Here is the one I have been waiting for. I am not familiar with this song, so I have no frame of reference as to what he did to switch it up, but I know I would buy it. Like Crystal last night, he's just a pro...very authentic, and he showed off his musicality and creativity. It didn't blow me away like I was hoping it would, but I thought it was light years ahead of everything else we heard tonight.
Ugh. That was epically bad, as a whole. Enough so that I am starting to believe that they REALLY want a female to win this year. The problem, though, is that because of the stupid Guy/Girl format, there are going to be six of these people in the final 12, no matter what.
I REALLY miss the Wild Card format from last year. Why did they get rid of that? When your Top 12 is the BEST three from the three previous weeks, plus three that the judges put in because they really believe in them, you're pretty much guaranteed to have a quality Top 12.
I wish we could get rid of 4 guys this week instead of 2 guys and 2 girls.
OK, let's wrap it up:
1) Andrew Garcia
2) Casey James
Who SHOULD go home: Randy Jackson, along with like 10 of these talent-deficient bores.
Who WILL go home: Not nearly enough people.