Wednesday, March 06, 2013

American Idol Top 20-Males

Going to live blog this as I watch the DVR recording, pausing between performances to comment on them, and perhaps adding some additional words after the judges have spoken. I am going to try to get this all in by midnight.

Some extremely interesting wardrobe choices by these fellas tonight. At least the people who care about such things cannot complain about how they are unoriginal dressers, like Phillip Phillips was last season.

1. Elijah Liu- "Stay"

It is pretty bad luck for him to have to go first in the program. I thought he showed reality show promise with his Top 40 performance two weeks ago, but a lot of other people thought he sucked and did not deserve to advance. They sure are not doing him any favors with how they are editing him in the video package, which has him talking again like he is some sort of legendary playa with the ladies. Compared to the other nine guys, he may have a point however.

Is he wearing some sort of military jacket? Perhaps Dennis Rodman will think he is a high ranking North Korean official. Vocally, I thought this left a lot to be desired and I do not think he sounded as good as he did the last time. The song, which I do not know, was boring, and never really went anywhere. If he wanted to appeal to the kinds of voters he could get, he should have done something uptempo and moved around a bit. Perhaps, that is beyond his performance range. I am guessing the judges are going to pan him, with the hopes he will not be returning next week.

So, it's the new Rihanna song he sang. I guess that means it is destined to hit number one, once this Harlem Shake nonsense fades away. The judges liked it more than I thought they would.

2. Cortez Shaw- "Locked Out of Heaven"

The second singer of the evening also sings a very recent hit and threw in some dance moves at one of the song as well.

I really do not know what to say about this. It was decent and Cortez certainly has a voice. At the same time however, it appeared as if he were thinking too much about the performance while in the midst of it, and generally seemed a bit like a second rate version of Bruno Mars.

There is lots of talk about the styling after Cortez's performance. I just hope that Idol does not bring that creepy Tommy Hilfiger back this year.

3. Charlie Askew- "Mama"

This is a Genesis song that I have never heard of. In Googling the title, it appears that Charlie is going to have an "emotional breakdown", so I have something to look forward to after typing this commentary.

First of all Charlie, lose the mustache. You are too young to look like a pedophile, and also never wear a tank top again. He is calling his fans the "awkward turtles." What I want to know is if there are any turtles out there with massive amounts of swagger.

When they showed Charlie singing the Gotye song in Hollywood, I thought it sounded pretty good and while rough around the edges, he had potential. I thought he was a disappointment in the Top 40 and parts of what he did tonight sounded horrible. He was able to get his voice up for some high screaming notes, which takes some talent, but this was a really weird and not good performance for the most part, and I just do not think that he is destined to be a player in the singing world after the show, to say the least. Time to watch the meltdown.

I expected more of a scene. Apparently he is having a bad week. So am I. Perhaps, I am not sure how much this involves a teenager with some issues who is way in over his head and has started to believe his press in addition to feeling the Idol pressure and how much involve the machinations of a theater kid who just embarked on a brilliant vote getting strategy of winning over an army of preteen emo girls. #charlieissad #voteforcharlie

4. Nick Boddington- "Iris"

The Charlie Askew Tension will be present in the Mirage as it is Nick's turn to sing. He admits that he is bald and will always be wearing a hat. Maybe he should have worn a turban as a tribute to Gurpreet Saran Singh.

I am pretty sure this song has never been done on Idol before. Lots of one word titles thus far. Nick plays the piano and sounds competent on it with a couple nice moments, but overall, it was far from spectacular. The whole mood of the evening now feels so awkward, with or without the turtles, after Charlie's "meltdown" and Nick's confession of being a follicularly challenged white guy. He is probably one of the better male singers (not sure if that is saying much this season), but I think he would have a better chance of securing a spot in the Finals if he promised to wear a different crazy wig every week.

For the second time now, Nick gives off a vibe of self-defeat while listening to the judges' criticisms. That might make it hard to get the kind of female vote he is going to need to advance.

No Idol theme music as the show comes back live? Charlie has ruined this entire evening, hasn't he?

5.  Burnell Taylor- "I'm Here"

Before the break, we learned that Burnell was going to sing the song he auditioned with. I guess people will not hold that against him. What is up with his "ensemble?" He looks exactly like Tracy Morgan doing a Saturday Night Live sketch of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air in 1991.

He runs for a total of three hours a day on the treadmill? Who could possibly have enough time for that? Anyways, I remember the movie "The Color Purple" being quite powerful when I saw it as a child. That was a long time ago though and I do not remember this song being in it. Vocally, Burnell sounded pretty good for the most part. He definitely has an interesting tone, but I am not sure if his vocal stylings are going to prove to be all that diverse. It also seemed as if he needed a simpler arrangement, as the band was kind of drowning him out, but I knew the judges would love it.

Actually, maybe he looks like more like Dwayne Wayne's friend on "A Different World" tonight. Is that Janelle Arthur in the audience looking incredibly bored? The judges really get to talk a lot in these shows, with two hours to fill. It's a bit like a Rand Paul filibuster.

6. Paul Jolley- "Just A Fool"

In the Top 40, Paul was the lucky beneficiary of a tiebreaker, which in retrospect, really made no sense, because who else would have gotten his spot if Jimmy Iovine had said no? Obviously, that whole thing was scripted.

He does not even try (or is incapable) of toning it down during his interview with Seacrest. He has to be aware of that right? This was another song I did not know, but I thought Paul sang it well. I guess. Nothing at all is overly impressing me tonight. While he seemed a bit jittery during his pre-performance interview, I thought he sang with confidence and sounded about as technically proficient as anyone had this evening thus far. It would be smart of him to drop any pretense of trying to be a country singer though. While he may love that kind of music, and come from the right part of the country, I just think he would have a hard time building a significant fan base in that genre.

Ha, I think Keith Urban was having the same thoughts I was. Paul states that he wants to sing pop-country and sees himself as the "guy version" of Taylor Swift. Oh boy. He might enjoy some aspects of what would go along with that. So much elephant in the room. Seacrest may be relieved that it is not about him.

After the break will be Lazaro. This is kind of like Idol Season 1 with these guys.

7. Lazaro Arbos- "Feeling Good"

How many people have been voted off in Idol history right after singing this song? It's cursed! This has been done to death on these singing shows and nobody who has done it has ever won Idol. I guess it did not prevent Melanie Amaro from winning the X Factor (whatever happened to her?) but I bet a ton of people on that show and The Voice and Duets or whatever else have also lost after trying to cover this tune. Lazaro should have done some homework.

Once again, I think Lazaro has a really nice tone to his voice and a lot of people will certainly find his singing style enjoyable as well as finding his personal story inspiring, but it just does not do it for me vocally. It may or may not be related to his stuttering, but it seems like he struggled with enunciation when he sings and is unable to fully commit to various words in the song. What kind of artist would he be post-Idol? That seems like a fair question to ask, if they ask it of so many others. I am pretty sure the judges will give him high praise as I un-pause in a moment, but there are so many other singers around America who could have done what he just did, perhaps better.

Just three guys left and thankfully, they are probably going to be the best ones. I really hope so at least.

8.  Curtis Finch Jr.- "I Believe I Can Fly"

He comes across as so self-entitled and arrogant, but at least he can sing. Honestly though, I expected more from him tonight.

First of all, why this song? Besides the fact that it has been done way too many times on Idol, why are these self-professed religious people rewarding R. Kelly by continually covering this song? Curtis sang it competently and well in parts, and before he was done, the judges were on their feet giving him a standing ovation and acting like he was the greatest thing ever. While Curtis may be better technically than anyone so far this evening, just about every Joshua Ledet performance last season would have blown this away.

Between how he comes across on television and this song choice, Curtis better not feel too comfortable tonight. I have a hunch that if Vincent Powell picks a good song and sings it as he is capable in the pimp spot, he is going to pick up a ton of votes that Curtis was expecting and cause a shock elimination tomorrow night.

My goodness, shut up Nicki. Next, Randy praises R. Kelly. Do they have any idea what he was charged with not long ago? Are the judges perhaps trying to get him voted off this week with the crazy praise-fest?

9. Devin Velez- "It's Impossible"

Before he sings a note tonight, I really hope Devin does well and becomes at least someone for the guys that I can root for this season. For one thing, he is from Chicago, and I would rather him be recognized as a musical talent from the area here than R. Kelly. Please do not sing in Spanish every week though. The Karen Rodriguez experiment in Season 10 did not work. I have a hunch he will tonight though.

First of all, if he is trying to win this show using his Latino roots, why is he dying the roots of his hair blond? That being said, I think he sounded a bit better in the Spanish part than the English part of this song. Maybe that was because I did not know what he was singing about. All in all, he gave a strong performance, though there may have been a couple bum notes towards the beginning. The judges loved it and I bet he will be voted through, because he sings well, and seems likable and somewhat normal. His mother is probably close to my age. I wish I could hear more about Oliver David Willis's 107 year old (foster?) father.

There are more songs than ever this year that I just have never heard before. That will likely change when they have the themed rounds.

10. Vincent Powell- "End of the Road"

Well, if I were giving letter grades, I do not think I would have given a single performance this evening any higher than a B and if I were judging on a curve against the girls last night, they would be even lower.

I am not a huge fan of the whole Boys II Men style, but they certainly were huge back in the '90s, and a lot of people will love Vincent's song choice. I think he was stronger last week, but still pretty good tonight. He had a pretty impressive high note at point in the song, but maybe sounded a tad hoarse at others. I think he is capable of better and hopefully will get a chance to demonstrate that. Doesn't he kind of look like he could be Randy Jackson's son?

The judges are giving him some criticism, saying he was nervous and did not come alive. I can sort of see their point, and I think that the fact that they are criticizing him as compared to what they said about Curtis is only going to get Vincent more votes. Nicki is enjoying a sucker. Even Simon Cowell was professional enough to wait until the commercial break for that kind of stuff.

So, as expected, the guys were nowhere near as strong as the girls were this week. That's like that one female kicker who tried out for the NFL and was horrible.

Here are the rankings:

10. Charlie Askew
9. Elijah Liu
8. Lazaro Arbos
7. Cortez Shaw
6. Nick Boddington
5. Burnell Taylor
4. Paul Jolley
3. Devin Veliez
2. Curtis Finch Jr.
1. Vincent Powell

Predictions? The only ones I feel confident will make it are Devin (deserved) and Lazaro (not). Otherwise, any of the other ones may or may not advance.

I will guess that in addition to the two Latinos, the other male finalists will be Vincent, Paul, and Burnell.

Curtis deserves to advance, but may not, because he came across as unlikable.

Out of all these guys, I wish I could see if Elijah, Cortez, and Nick have the ability to get better. They are the most "current" out of any of them, but may be out of luck in this season, which is heavily skewed towards the ladies.

Whatever happens with Charlie tomorrow night will be the ultimate wildcard, but will probably make for interesting television.