Okay, folks. After seeing the crop of 24 semi-finalists in Season 9 of “American Idol,” I’m convinced that the judges are high. They call this the best group of singers ever? Um, far from it…I think it may be the worst crop in years, possibly the worst since the first couple of seasons. Every single contestant this year has at least one flaw, and most of them have multiple flaws and glaring weaknesses. Anyway, the guys sang last night, and honestly, most of them were pretty awful. But the judges selected a few to prop up even if they were just okay…maybe it’s the way the field is, but this is not good. Here is the recap of last night’s dude-fest:
THE PRETTY GOOD
Todrick Hall, 24, kicked off the night with a super cool and quirky version of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone.” Sure, he messed with the arrangement enough to make you wonder what he was singing, but that was part of the charm. I thought it was really good, especially going first. Most of all, it was a RISK, something most of the girls knew nothing about on Tuesday. Of course, the judges thought it was too much of a risk. Geez, they are hard to please, aren’t they? Ellen said Todrick is a great performr and she loved the risk, but the chorus was rough….Randy said it was too much of a risk and Todrick needs to focus on his singing…Kara agreed with Randy….and Simon said Todrick looked like a dancer trying to sing instead of the other way around, and he didn’t like the crazy arrangement. Whatever, he’s safe for at least one more week….I think.
Casey James sat down with his guitar and did a decent job with Bryan Adams’ “Heaven.” Of course, Kara was drooling so much that they needed a mop afterwards. I mean, her googly eyes were super googly. After professing her love again, Kara admitted that it was pitchy in spots but that Casey does have a good voice…..Randy said it was a great choice and he loves Casey’s voice….Simon said it was the right song, that Casey is honest and likeable, and that it was the best of the night (he went 11th)…..and Ellen said she could feel Kara undressing Casey with her eyes, but that he sounded great. Yep, pretty much.
Andrew Garcia, 24, is really talented and I am rooting for him. But he messed up last night by taking on what I think is one of the worst songs in the history of rock music, Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar We’re Going Down.” Seriously, do the lyrics to that song make any sense? Does it even have lyrics or just mumbling? Still, Andrew’s performance was a B-minus when most of everything else was C or worse. Simon said he was looking forward to Andrew’s performance but was disappointed….Kara said it was risky but too risky and wound up being a strange rendition….Randy agreed, saying the arrangement came out weird and that Andrew tried too hard….and Ellen said she is a fan but he was too serious last night. This dude is too good to be this cocky about his song choice.
THE IN BETWEEN
20 year old Joe Munoz, who looks like a cross between David Archuleta and Ben Stiller, but Hispanic, took on Jason Mraz’ “You and I Both,” and while I won’t hide the fact that I despise all things Mraz, it wasn’t all that bad. Forget that the producers hid this kid from us so far. Ellen said Joe looked comfortable on stage and sounded good…Randy said it wasn’t a great song choice but he liked Joe’s voice….Kara liked the song choice but said there were a few issues, and that he was the best so far (Joe went fifth)….and Simon said he doesn’t believe Joe is a star, and that this performance was safe and forgettable. Ouch. That last word hurts more than most words the judges can use.
20 year old Tyler Grady is a so-called “student” of classic rock, grabbing all of his moves from watching footage of Led Zeppelin and The Who, but he may not have the pipes to match his act. Tyler did The Guess Who’s “American Woman,” and it was at times pitchy, but not all that bad overall. Simon said it was memorable but not in a good way, and that his pretending to be a rock star thing is getting old…..Kara agreed with Simon…..Randy said it was too much style over subtance….and Ellen said it looked like Tyler was going through the motions, and that he needs to work on his singing more. A bit harsh, but I think Tyler is safe.
23 year old Lee Dewyze was selling paint in Chicago before landing in Hollywood, and chances are good he’ll never lift a paint can again. But I’m not sold on this guy, because there is way too much Scott Stapp in him. He does have a good voice technically, and he is likeable, but on Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars,” Lee was chasing the high notes too much. Ellen said it was a good choice and she likes Lee’s tone, but that he screams too much….Randy said he didn’t like the song choice and that it didn’t work for him….Kara said the song has too small a range for it to work for Lee….and Simon, oddly enough, thought it was the best of the night (Lee went 7th), and that he’s a good, natural singer. What?
Michael Lynche, 26, is a big dude. A big dude who is a personal trainer and can kick anyone’s ass in that building, save for some of Simon’s security guards. He can also eat anyone in the building. So Michael did another white boy cover, Maroon 5’s “This Love,” while strumming a guitar, and it looked weird but he sounded good enough. You really can’t not like Michael, but I don’t see him going the distance. Ellen said Michael has so much personality but had a few pitch problems….Randy liked Michael’s energy and persona….Kara said Michael brought the energy but was not “outrageously great”…..and Simon said he felt like he was watching the support act for the main performer, that he delivered very little with this performance and that he knows Michael can do better. Agreed!
19 year old Alex Lambert has Adam Lambert’s last name and little else. Alex sang James Morrison’s “Wonderful World” and it was vocally almost identical to the original version. And let’s be clear…James Morrison can sing his ass off, which means Alex Lambert can too. His tone is awesome. But here’s the problem…he looks like a mouse on stage singing for 30 million cats. Dude needs to corral his nerves, and fast…and if he does, he will be around for a few more weeks. But I don’t see that happening. Simon said it was extremely uncomfortable watching Alex, but that he likes his voice….Kara said it sounded just like James Morrison, and that it was both a problem and a huge compliment….Randy said he loves Alex’s tone but he needs more conviction on stage (ya think?)….and Ellen said she likes Alex and his mullet, and that he has a great voice, but she then likened him to an unripe banana. Okay, whatever. I know you’re all going to hate me for this, but I think Alex is safe this week.
Aaron Kelly, 16, sang Rascal Flatts’ “Here Comes Goodbye” and if there is anyone on here who is not cut out to be a star, it’s this kid. For me, it was one of the worst of the night…pitchy and karaoke-ish, but the judges tripped over themselves to praise him. Money must have exchanged hands here, it had to have. Simon said it was a good performance but that Aaron has to stop looking embarrassed…Kara said Aaron is her favorite kind of contestant (yeah, right Kara!!)….Randy said Aaron has pipes but that there were a few pitch issues…and Ellen said ditto to all of the above. Well here’s the thing….Aaron wasn’t that good, but there were a few worse than him last night, and only two need to be worse for him to hang around.
Tim Urban, 20, was a late replacement for this round after being cut in Hollywood, and for some strange reason he decided to not tell his family that he was asked back, and waited for them to find out watching on TV. Cruel, cruel, cruel. Anyway, I have made no bones about the fact that Tim was not better than guys like Thaddeus Johnson, but okay. Tim took on One Republic’s “Apologize,” and it had a few good moments, but he looked stiff on stage and was all over the place pitch-wise. Simon said they made the right decision the first time they sent Tim home, and that his vocals just were weak….Kara said the song swallowed Tim up the way she wants to swallow Casey James up (okay, I added that last part)….Randy said it was the wrong song for Tim, that he doesn’t have the natural falsetto to pull it off….and Ellen said it was a good choice but that Tim couldn’t hit the high notes. She added that girls will like him, and that could be true, but dude cannot sing.
21 year old John Park professed his love for Shania Twain, because Shania had fawned all over John in the initial auditions. Funny. But then John goes and sings “God Bless This Child,” followed by some weird reasoning that it’s for his parents that have debt problems or something. I think he meant that they need the money, so “God Bless This Child for being on ‘American Idol’ and let’s hope we can milk this thing!” Anyway, it was horrible. Simon said you need an incredible voice to pull off that song and John doesn’t have that….Kara agreed with Simon, calling it “loungy” and “indulgent”….Randy said it was weird, and too “old” of a song but that he likes John’s voice….and Ellen said she liked it but he won’t get the young girls’ vote. He may not get any votes, not even from his financially strapped family.
THE REALLY, REALLY BAD
Jermaine Sellers, who sings in church back home, should not be singing for anyone. At least he shouldn’t sing Oleta Adams’ “Get Here.” First of all, dude could not find the right key, but then as he hit high notes sounding like a cat in heat, I found myself wanting to switch over to the Olympics until Jermaine was done. Wow, was that ever bad. Ellen said she loves the song but that Jermaine pushed too hard and went off key…..Randy said it was a weird song choice and Jermaine tried to do too much….Kara said she thinks Jermaine can sing but that he didn’t show it last night….and Simon said it was too “old” of a song and that the screaming/screeching in the middle was really bad, bad enough that he thinks Jermaine “blew his opportunity.” Um, yes he did….and if he doesn’t go home tonight, well….really, nothing surprises me with this show, so I won’t be that surprised, I guess.
So there you have it…I’m saying Jermaine and John go home, with anyone not named Andrew or Casey a very real possibility as well.
My four going home…Jermaine, John, Haeley and Lacey.
What do you all think? Are you as disappointed as I am with these performances so far?