This was the first episode of the live rounds — “live” being a tentative term, since the Top 12 Guys night was actually taped last Friday — so we can finally see how Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez act without relying on Idol‘s editors to leave out all their non-flattering moments.
And how did they do? Pretty well! Although they offered no quick-witted Cowell-esque observations, jabs or compliments (“In a competition full of hamburgers, you are a steak” is one of our favorite positive metaphors from Simon in seasons past), they knew when singers were very very good, and when they were very, very mediocre, and they weren’t afraid to give ‘em the harsh truth. We’ll take it.
TOP 12 GUYS
Clint Jun Gamboa - Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” Very predictable. He didn’t miss a note, but he also didn’t knock us back. And can someone please give Clint a new pair of specs? Those glasses are doing nothing for him. Or would he be unrecognizable without them?
Jovanny Barreto – Edward McCann’s “I’ll Be.” Be what? Bored, apparently.
Jordan Dorsey - Usher’s “OMG.” We kind of want to hate Jordan because he comes off as more cocky than confident. But even though his vocals are a bit strained here, we’ll give him props for performing a song even Usher won’t even sing live.
Tim Halperin – Rob Thomas’ “Come On Over.” Want to win American Idol? Don’t just get through a run-of-the-mill, treacly song like this that offers no “moment.” We like you, Tim! You’re better than this! Wake up!
Brett Loewenstern – The Doors’ “Light My Fire.” Brett strikes us as a Sanjaya-type figure that may result in some comedy relief in later weeks… but, and this is a big difference, he can actually sing.
James Durbin - Judas Priest’s “You Got Another Thing Comin’.” All we hear when we listen to James is a slightly less polished version of Adam Lambert. Still, James picked an interesting out-of-the-box song, had a killer money note and looked totally at ease on stage. It’s not that bad a thing to be compared to Glambert after all, is it?
Robbie Rosen – Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel.” Okay, full disclosure here — Robbie is currently a student at my high school alma mater back on Long Island. (Fun fact: Besides myself, alumni also include Debbie Gibson and Lindsay Lohan! Do with that information what you will.) But I’ll attempt to remain unbiased when reviewing his performance. That said, HE WAS AMAZING. Okay, okay, seriously, he sang an interesting arrangement very well, and, unfortunately, we just forgot it.
Scotty McCreery – John Michael Montgomery’s “Letters From Home.” Scotty seems like an easy target in a competition like this. He isn’t conventionally attractive or burly/manly like most male country artists are expected to be, and that deep, deep voice doesn’t match his boyish appearance. But just close your eyes and listen to him — he’s technically perfect, and sounds no different from any other country singer on the radio. The only thing that could trip him up is losing favor with a cute-boy-loving (and voting) audience, or getting tripped up trying to attempt another genre.
Stefano Langone – Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are.” A song like this should only be used in earlier rounds when you need to prove you can sing. Right now, Stefano and everyone else need to prove they’re a star. Singing this tune efficiently without adding anything new ain’t gonna cut it.
Paul McDonald – Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May.” Dear lord, he really does sound like Rod Stewart. A pretty safe performance, but we expect him to stick around for awhile. After a few weeks, he’ll have to aim for riskier choices for bigger payoffs.
Jacob Lusk – Dionne Warwick’s “A House is Not a Home.” Just cast this man in the big-screen all-male version of Dreamgirls and hand him an Oscar. We’ve found the male Jennifer Hudson! Man blew the house down.
Casey Abrams “I Put A Spell On You.” Season 10 has found its It Guy in Casey Abrams, and the Idol producers aren’t disguising their favoritism, as they gave Casey the coveted pimp slot. He can play the melodica, rock an upright bass, and turn a classic number like this into something completely original while coming right out of the hospital. In other news, we’ve found who will play Zach Galifianakis in the musical biopic of his life.
Worst Of The Night: Surprisingly, no one sang terribly or tragically embarrassed themselves. However, there were a handful of boring numbers. Let’s just go with Jovanny as the night’s worst, since we can barely remember a thing about his performance.
Best Of The Night: Casey gave the most captivating, water-cooler performance of the night, with Jacob Lusk right behind him.
Tomorrow night — the Top 12 Girls try to out-sing each other.