‘American Idol’: Curtis Finch Jr., Elijah Liu & Devin Velez Are Top 10 Men

Wednesday night, the ladies were up for the first Las Vegas performances and we met the first five to consist of the top ten. Thursday, it was the men’s turn to to face a live studio audience for a sudden death performance in Vegas.

While the guys will be singing their hearts out in front of a life audience, the fate of the contestants still rests in the hands of the judges. Once the remaining top ten men and women are selected, then America will have a chance to get started with the crazy voting action.

The first group of ten guys include my favorites, Charlie Askew and Curtis Finch Jr.  Paul “Bambi Eyes” Jolley is up first. If he can keep up his confidence, he will probably have a good shot. Mr. Jolley keeps it intimate, sitting simply on a stool with a backlight and giving quality silhouette, y’all. For the big finish, he stands up and belts it.

I didn’t realize this was a Keith Urban song! Hearts in my eyes! Keith graciously thanks Paul for using his song, praises his voice but then basically tells him to tone down the theatrics. Nicki Minaj, in a Hypercolor wig, says much of the same. Randy Jackson gives him props for his range and for being ballsy enough to sing Keith to Keith. Mariah Carey unsurprisingly agrees with Randy and is a fan as well. Go Paul. He seems sweet and definitely kicked up the confidence tonight.

Johnny “Redeye” Keyser promises to deliver some “blue-eyed soul.” He sings a perfectly serviceable “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz but nothing that really knocked me off my feet. (Then again, I have really big feet.) He does look like he left the eyeshadow at home, though! Keith compliments him and calls it Johnny’s best performance of the season. Nicki is all about some Mr. Keyser. Again, she makes sure to check his relationship status and gives him a “Good job!” Randy is on my wavelength with his read of an “okay performance.” Mimi compliments his sex appeal too. She and Nicki-Nick would like to see more of ol’ Johnny.

JDA is 27 years old, sells “luxurious French cosmetics” and knows how to rock a leather miniskirt. He comes out to Adele’s “Rumour Has It” and I love him collapsing to the ground and all the sparkle. The man knows how to put on a show! He almost lost me until he ripped off his jacket. Definitely a fun performance. Keith gives him kudos for his stage presence. JDA gets much love from Nicki and the label of “superstar performer” for working the audience. The only note is on his vocal and Randy tells him that he needs to work on the originality. Mimi then sings his praises too.

Kevin Harris is up next and I believe this is the first time we’re seeing him. He sings the Byan Adams tune, “Everything I Do.” I feel like all the guys have been perfectly nice, but nobody has really blown me away like my ladies. Keith gives a “very good.” Nicki is all about Kevin’s performance and voice. Randy was bored and “agrees to disagree,” and Nicki is totally shocked. Mimi tells him that he’s one of her faves  but wishes he would have gone with a different song that showed off his talents better. And quick question, how many bow ties is Kevin wearing? Oh, it’s for his kids. That’s cute.

Chris Watson is a 25-year-old waiter in New York City. He’s the guy who likes a scarf tied around his head. He delivers a version of “Sitting On the Dock of the Bay” that’s very much his own. Much like JDA, Chris knows how to work a crowd. I really hope he bedazzled his outfit himself. Or hired gypsy dressmaker Sondra Celli to do it. Keith likes the showmanship but again, the voice isn’t totally there. Nicki says he’s pretty and declares herself to be “obsessed with him.” I’m obsessed with the idea of watching Beyonce‘s movie Obsessed with Nicki over a can of multi-flavored popcorn, but that’s completely beside the point. Randy again, is the voice of reason, IMO. The vocals aren’t enough. Mimi is all about letting them down gently.

Devin Velez is in high school and a coffee barrista. I have to agree with Nicki that he’s one of my favorite male voices. I literally gasp when I hear that he’s chosen Beyonce’s “Listen.” I’m not even mad that he dropped the register low enough for his man voice because I can actually sing along with him. And then in Spanish! Yes! The first male performance that really got me. Go on, Devin, with your cream sportcoat! Keith gushes for the first time tonight. Nicki gives him props for the Spanish and his singing. Randy is also effusive and slow claps even. Mimi rambles per usual, but is generally positive.

Little Elijah is 18 and looks so young. I don’t remember seeing him yet, so I’m curious to hear him perform. He gives total Bruno Mars vibe. Good God, I feel like I have milk in my fridge older than him. Keith says his performance was a bit shaky but calls him very relevant and I agree. Nicki loves him and tells him, “I want to have your babies.” They’re both right that he looks like a complete pop star package. Papa Randy does give the truth that it wasn’t his best performance but Mimi compares him to New Edition and she’s all about the mixed race!

We see a clip of Charlie Askew waiting in the wings, holding a golf club (or cane?) with zero explanation why. I’m already laughing in preparation for whatever my favorite boy is planning. Go Charlie! Charlie is dressed like Willie Wonka and he is wearing a belt styled by JDA. To quote Nicki, I’m obsessed with this kid. Sadly, he’s clearly overwhelmed by the enormous studio audience and is just shaking. Poor baby. Despite that, he powers through and gets a standing ovation from Nicki. Hmm, I’m not totally sure it was his best. Keith references Freddie Mercury in his performance. Nicki tells her Barbz to love Charlie. Randy wasn’t feeling the theatrics but Mimi loves the song choice. Poor Charlie looks like he’s going to pass out.

Country boy, Jimmy Smith, is in his favorite pair of tight bleached jeans. He seems comfortable on the stage but still, nobody has come close to touching the ladies tonight. Again, someone’s singing a Keith song. Nicki is sad to tell Jimmy she was bored and Randy agrees. Mariah thinks maybe the pressure got to him but always leaves ’em with a smile.

Curtis Finch Jr. is going to do some Luther Vandross after the commercial break. Can I get a hell to the yeah? I have a feeling ol’ Curtis is going to bring it. If he plays his cards right, he might even get Mariah to cry. I can’t wait! Curtis is a gospel singer, probably my favorite kind of singer. Oh thank you, Curtis, for your rendition of “Don’t You Remember.” Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, indeed. Keith loves his voice, as does Nicki. Randy’s small note is to tell him to keep it young. Mariah was “moved to tears,” she says. I knew it! I would love to hear Curtis’ version of R. Kelly‘s “When a Woman Loves.” He blesses them throughout the critique. I love me some Curtis.

Randy announces that there’s one split decision, so Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope-Geffen-A&M, will be called upon determine the tiebreaker.

Curtis makes it through with little fanfare because, come on, he’s Curtis! Curly-haired Jimmy Smith is next to hear his fate and is not continuing but gets a hug from the gals. Mariah tells Kevin Harris that he is sadly not continuing on. Cute as a button, Elijah gets a fake out that he’s leaving but makes it through. Keith, you tease! He still has the chance to have Nicki’s babies. JDA struts out to receive the news that he’s not staying in the competition. This evokes many boos from the audience. Please, it would be worth it for a hug from Mariah.

Pretty Paul Jolley is the split decision and Jimmy steps up to keep Paul in the game. How exciting! I want more split decisions! Chris Harris looks pretty but terrified and has to go home. Charlie looks like he might have a heart attack as Mariah toys with him briefly before announcing he’s staying. The smart boy takes an opportunity to get a hug from Nicki and Mimi. Ha!

Johnny and Devin are the only two left and I’m going with Devin. And I was right. Here are the five men who remain standing, or sitting, I should say. The boys better be scared because I still think the women had it this week.

Next week, we find out who the remaining top ten will be for both the ladies and gentlemen. Until then, hold onto your captain’s hats!