Brett, Clint, Paul, Jovany, James, Scotty, Stefano, Tim, Jacob, Robbie & Jordan.
This one just snuck up on me, for I didn't realize they were only doing one week of semis, going from 12 men and 12 women, to just 12 (or possibly 13) on Thursday night. So, in just 2 nights, half this crew will be gone. To give them all the freedom they would want, there are no guidelines for the songs, they can pick something they love.
First thing Crusty does in introduce the judges, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Randy Jackson. Soon he introduces the gentlemen, and the show kicks into gear. First up we have Clint Jun Gamboa, a karaoke host in San Fransisco, California. He selects Stevie Wonder's Superstition to sing, a song that seems to be sung every single season of the show. He sings it well, although it seemed to me a bit over-the-top. However, the judges just loved him. In the second spot, we have ship-builder Jovany Barreto from Louisiana. He was the handsome guy who showed J-Lo his abs. Now he sings Edwin McCain's I’ll Be, another one that should be retired form competition. Jovany is good-looking, and has a nice voice, and a bland delivery that offered little for the song. Afterward, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez rave about him, but Randy calls him on it a little bit, telling him it was too karaoke.
Jordan Dorsey is the next on the stage, bringing New Orleans with him as he performs Usher's OMG. From the top, it never really worked, and the judges agree with me on that. He never really got into the groove of the song, and was off pretty much the entire time.
After the commercial, we are greeted by one of my favorites, Tim Halperin comes out to sing Rob Thomas' Streetcorner Symphony (Come On Over). Tim get's an interview with Crusty, and then brings his alternative singer/songwriter groove to the stage. The first phrase or two are not good, but soon he gets on his feet, and does really well. He does show a certain stage presence that has been lacking so far. The judges were not happy with his performance, which surprises me just a little. The "red apple in a box of green apples," Brett Loewenstern takes to the stage to sing The Doors' Light My Fire, most memorably sung by Jose Feliciano. While I have enjoyed this young man, I can't say I am loving this choice and the performance. The song and band had a tendency to run right over him. There was a performance in there trying to get out. Now the judges loved it. Randy mentioned the pitch problems, but thought it was fun. At the end, Brett and Crusty have an odd moment, ending with Brett running on stage to an awaiting embrace. Odd.
As we hit the halfway point, rocker James Durbin takes his turn on the stage, singing You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ by metal band Judas Priest. There have been some talk about Durbin being the hetero Lambert, but I am not sure I would equate the two. The song is an odd choice, as for me, how is a fan of Rob Holford, it showcases a lightness to Durbin's voice. But he is hitting the notes, and keeping the tempo. Steven Tyler loves him, and J-Lo loves that he is a natural, so organic. Randy thinks this is textbook on how to do it. After teh song, he towers over Crusty.
Long Island's own Robbie Rosen chooses to perform the hauntingly beautiful Angel by Sarah McLachlan. I have really liked him during this process, and I am not sure this is the right song for him. There were gorgeous moments, and a few unfortunate ones as well. Steven loved it, as did J-Lo. Randy mentions the pitch being off.
Scotty McCreery comes out to sing John Michael Montgomery's Letters From Home, actually written by Tony Lane and David Lee. It is a basic country story song. It kinda works with Scotty's deep voice. There is less singing and more melodic talking, but it is what it is. I suspect he will be going through. The judges are crazy about him, and I think he is a shoe-in to pass on to the finals. One of the West Coast's shining stars, Stefano Langone, comes out to sing Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars. His voice is big and bold, and he pulls off the song. Steven loved it, even the popped vein on his forehead. J-Lo thinks he is a beast, and owned the stage. Randy agree, ready to discount the missed notes. Crusty sees that Stefano is being cast as this year's sex symbol, and asks a tortured question about the songs dedication, which Stefano quickly said to ALL the ladies out there... Yep, I think he is a definite.
Paul McDonald comes out to sing a song Rod Stewart released 40 years ago, Maggie May. I question the song choice, as it is such an iconic song for Rod, but we shall see. With his own definitive style, he manages to pull it off, but I am confused by the boy. Is he Country? Rock? He certainly bathed in quirk, that is for sure. With the wry smiles and laughs, does he understand the lyrics he is singing? Steven loves him, and J-Lo loves that he can smile when he is singing. Ugh. Randy loved it, too. He is followed by the man Randy has said has given the single best performance in Idol history, Jacob Lusk. He picks the legendary Burt Bacharach/Hal David song, House Is Not A Home, made popular first by Dione Warwick. His voice is strong, crisp and clear, although he is showing more restraint than he has previously. And also sounds a bit dated. But the voice is extraordinary. Steven calls it divine intervention, and J-Lo says he reminds her of the great Luther Vandross.
Casey Abrams gives us the Screamin' Jay Hawkins song, I Put A Spell On You. His performance is bold and dynamics, blending Jazz with Pop. It is amazing he was there at all, despite the fact that had a stay in the hospital before the taping. Tyler loved, it, J-Lo loved it, called him sexy, and Randy loves it, saying how unique he is. After all, he wants to redefine what Idol is all about...
If I am to understand what is going to happen, the Top 5 vote-getters of this twelve will be getting through to the finals, and likewise for the ladies tomorrow night. And then the judges will have either 2 or 3 wild card picks to fill out the card. Seems to me some talented men will be leaving on Thursday. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if all my early favorites are not part of the Top 12/13. I would guess Paul McDonald, Scotty McCreery, and Jacob Lusk are definitely going through. Casey Abrams, James Durbin and Stefano are on the cusp, competing for the remaining two slots. In about 48 hours, we will know for sure. And in 22 hours, we will see the ladies take to the stage.