American Idol Season 9: Top 24, Boys Night

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

We're still on Billboard Hits for the week. You got yer introductions of the contestants, you got yer introductions of the judges, you got yer singing. Let's go!

Oh, but wait, I feel I should address something at the outset. Last night, I loved Lacey's performance, perhaps best of all. Everybody else in the world (at least on the internet) HATED it. Claims of offkey! Flat! Sharp! Confused! What have you! You know what? I watched it back tonight, trying so hard to hear what everyone else heard, and I STAND BY MY WORD. She was GOOD. She was in key the whole time, and I simply LOVE her voice. I don't know if part of my love of it is that my favourite version of "Landslide"(other than the original, of course) is a live cover by Tori Amos, and that's almost the vibe Lacey sits in. Maybe. I will be so sad if she goes home. Although then I wouldn't have to worry each week about the judges hating on the person I dig the most.

Buuuuut anyway, this is about these boys, so let's do this.

Todrick Hall's up first, with an INSANE rendition of Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone." Right away, the boys are winning at the game of being interesting. The one thing it might be lacking is the recognizable melody, but every other awesome thing about it makes up for that.

  • Ellen liked that he took a chance, but remarks that the chorus wasn't great.
  • Randy agrees that he's a great performer, but thinks he made the song unrecognizable.
  • Kara thought he took changing the arrangement too far and he didn't need to. But she appreciates the risk and his performance ability.
  • Simon thinks he came across as a dancer trying to sing, instead of a singer who can also dance. He thinks he murdered the song (and not in the good way), but the audience clearly does not agree.

Little Aaron Kelly, with predictable Rascal Flatts and "Here Comes Goodbye." It is, to put it politely, not my thing, but I think his song choice is wise as it plays right into the hands of people who are likely to be his fans. His vocal is reasonable to good, and at least you can say his notes are accurate.

  • Simon says it was quite good. BIG PRAISE! He wants Aaron to be more confident. He calls him cute. I think he looks like a 30-year-old Chandler Bing in a 16-year-old's body, but to each his own, I suppose.
  • Kara praises him some more in an attempt to build his confidence. She likes the pop-country angle for him. Duh.
  • Randy says the same thing, some more.
  • Ellen, ditto.

WHAT are the judges doing with their speaking order tonight? Stop messing with me!

Jermaine Sellers next, doing "Get Here" by Oleta Adams BECAUSE WHY GOD WHY???? Justin Guarini flashbacks! AAAAGGGGHHHHH. He sings it pretty enough and I really want to like him, but SERIOUSLY. Epic fail on song choice. P.S. Adding "shawty" to a song does not modernize it.

  • Ellen is first again, and she likes him and his look and the song, but she felt like he over-performed it instead of feeling it internally.
  • Randy likes the look too, but says Jermaine did too much to the song.
  • Kara got that Jermaine wanted to show what he can do, but wisely tells him that runs are only special when they're once in awhile. (The more you know, kids.)
  • Simon knows that the song was too old for him and agrees with the "over the top" assessment. He thinks Jermaine is big time in trouble. (Ellen disagrees with this last part.)

Tim Urban, whose own family didn't know he was going to be in the Top 12 until they saw it on TV at the end of the Top 24 announcement episode. We do get to see the whole thing with him initially getting cut from the Top 24 and then later getting the call from the show, which I appreciate. Also, since I have not yet had a chance to comment on his physical appearance, I'd like you to know that he is a cutie patootie but he needs a haircut.

So Tim is singing "Apologize" by none other than Idol favourites OneRepublic. He sings not so awesome, it's not interesting, and I fear he might be toast.

  • Simon hardheartedly says they made the right decision the first time not putting him through. It's true; Tim's voice and performance ability aren't good enough. Still, ouch.
  • Kara says the music and stage overwhelmed him. She wants him to get through and take notes and do better next week.
  • Randy dawgs that it was the wrong song and none of it worked.
  • Even Ellen knows that he couldn't hit the falsetto. The judges all know he's adorable so he might get votes.

Joe Muñoz (who? Exactly. But from his Hollyweed clips, he seems to be a better-than-average singer) is singing Jason Mraz's "You and I Both," which song I happen to like. Joe does sing very well, but he won't stop ogling me through the camera and I feel kind of creepy-crawly. He sort of misses the point of the la-la-la's, and in this song that is basically unforgivable.

  • Ellen comments on how comfortable he is on stage.
  • Randy "for me, for you"s about how it wasn't the best song choice (it NEVER IS for you, Randy), but he though Joe "worked it out."
  • Kara liked the unpredictability of his song choice and agrees that he has great stage presence. She says he's been the best singer so far. The bar, she is low.
  • Simon thought it was ok, if safe and forgettable, which means he doesn't think Joe can win.
  • Ellen talks again about how she really likes his comfort with the stage. YOU HAD YOUR TURN, LADY.


Here's Tyler Grady, about to lay down some "American Woman" for us. (I am shocked. SHOCKED.) I presume he will be doing The Guess Who's version, which... I just find The Guess Who so tiresome. He starts with a bluesy intro before heading into the hideous chorus of this hideous song, but he does his Tyler Grady thing. My biggest complaint with it is that it feels lazy.

  • Simon finds him clichéd. Mmm, me too. He also says Tyler's vocals need work.
  • Kara agrees that it's getting predictable with Tyler. She wants him to sing Phoenix, which I yell a big fat NO to. Let Phoenix do Phoenix.
  • Randy restates what Simon and Kara already said.
  • Ellen says he's lacking the charisma of the guys he so admires, which is actually quite harsh for an Ellen comment. Good on you, Ellen.

Lee Dewyze, honorary Canadian, is singing "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol. YES. SMART. And he gets me from note one. It is safe to say that I adore Lee. He changes up the melody in the chorus to good effect, but does have one super noticeable bum note (and a few other questionable ones that don't kill it but don't really, y'know, do anything to enhance it either). He'll be fine for next week. The girls, we love him.

  • Ellen comments on the off notes but she loves his distinctive voice and the song choice. (That rhymes.)
  • Randy dawgs that he didn't like the song choice (AS USUAL). Guess why? Because it doesn't fit in Lee's ROCK BAND niche. Shut up, Randy.
  • Kara felt that Lee made the song almost unrecognizable and wants to see him try something bluesier.
  • Simon disagrees, THANK YOU SIMON, because it was the best performance of the night. He might be Lee's biggest fan. He doesn't say it, but you and I both know that he knows Lee could win because he's right in the David Cook/Kris Allen pocket.

Oh, P.S. Randy suggested Kings of Leon ad nauseam for Lee. Randy name drops these bands so we'll think he's cool (just like Kara with Phoenix; hey Kara, you listen to the radio! We get it!), but I'm afraid that they might be too cool to license their songs for use on this show. Although they did finally get Coldplay, so. Who knows.

Charming, adorbs John Park is singing "God Bless the Child" by Billie Holiday. Jazz standard on the first night? Ballsy. Hmm, sounds like he graduated from the same music program I did. Which is to say that it's pretty, and technical, and therefore a little lounge-y.

  • Simon doesn't think John's voice is incredible enough to take on that song. He calls it "copycat Michael Bublé" because he doesn't know anyone else who sings jazz standards and thus has nowhere to file John.
  • Kara agrees with Simon and despite his big voice, she finds John "lounge-y." You're welcome, Kara!
  • Randy thinks his voice doesn't suit this kind of thing, which is like, beyond stupid.
  • Ellen, however, points out that the song choice was whack because it isn't going to make little girls vote, which is both valid and accurate.

But John wins us all over by telling us that this song means a lot to his parents.

Michael Lynche and his Idol-baby and his mini-guitar are here to perform "This Love" by Maroon 5. I do not think this will go well. And, I mean, most of his notes are good, but frankly he is a boring performer. This doesn't come as much of a surprise to me. Also he bounces a lot.

  • Ellen loves how Big Mike's personality is pretty much bursting out of him. She comments on pitch problems, but I really don't think pitch is even on the list of concerns for Mike.
  • Randy dittos the big personality thing.
  • Kara felt it was depressing in the studio until Big Mike showed up. She liked it ok, but thinks the reason it seemed good is because everything else leading up to it was so un-amazing.
  • Simon thinks he's more of a supporting act than a main act. He very accurately points out that Mike's personality is what gets us interested in him, but he has to back that up with interesting performances.
  • Ellen talks again. No! You already went!

Alex Lambert and his mullet are next, which means Casey and Andrew are getting the pimp spots, which is as it should be. Alex is singing "Wonderful World" by James Morrison, which is way more interesting than the "What a Wonderful World" I first thought he was singing. But don't let the Lambert name fool you: despite Alex's unique voice, he is boring.

  • Simon found it uncomfortable and couldn't wait for it to be over, though he does compliment Alex's voice and express his hope that Alex can find his confidence because he (Simon) really likes him (Alex).
  • Kara points out that he sounds just like James Morrison, which is quite true. She thinks he has all the elements but they're not quite coming together yet.
  • Randy... rambles. Same thing as the others, I think.
  • Ellen loves the mullet and talks about bananas and how sometimes you want to eat them but they're not quite ripe enough.

Beautiful Casey James (Kara and I simultaneously squeal) is doing "Heaven" by Bryan Adams, sitting on a stool with his guitar. Ok, he makes me blush just by existing. Just so you know where I'm coming from as I type this. Me and Kara, man. We get it.

But right. Song. Singing. Vocals. Music. It's good. Best of the night. Let's hear from the judges, shall we? They make Kara start.

  • She points out that she's married so she doesn't know how to talk to Casey. But he was pitchy at one point. She throws it to Ellen.
  • Ellen, however, couldn't focus because of Kara's mental undressing of Casey. She thinks he sounded great, but that it doesn't matter because he's getting tons of votes.
  • Randy, SHOCKINGLY, loved the song choice.
  • Kara tries again, for serious this time, to tell us that he is ear candy in addition to eye candy.
  • Simon identifies with Casey in that they were both cursed with good looks. He loved it; perfect song choice, it was likable, it was sincere. See? I am not completely deafened by hotness.

The thing about Casey is that I don't think he even thinks that he's good-looking.

Andrew Garcia, 'cause we be saving the best for last here. He's singing "Sugar, We're Goin' Down" by Fall Out Boy, which is adventurous of him. That is not a song with an easy melody. Here we go: we've got an acoustic guitar and a stripped-down version and hey! What's that?! The actual melody? One hundred points for Andrew. He does the chorus all ballad-y with "ahhhh"s from the backup singers. It's awesome. (And now I have to rewind and listen to it without my own voice added in, 'cause I sang along the whole way through.)

  • Simon says he was looking forward to Andrew the most tonight, but he was disappointed. He thought it was too serious, rather indulgent, and not risky enough.
  • Kara thought he took the risk but found it all very strange to hear Fall Out Boy acoustically. Sure, I agree; it was strange. But it was fun.
  • Randy agrees because he doesn't think for himself, but he's an Andrew fan. Everybody's an Andrew fan. He calls it "try hard," which... ok, maybe.
  • Ellen loves Andrew but thought he was inside of himself too much for most of the performance.

And so, we end on a couple of performance high notes, but I don't think there are even 12 of these 24 kids that I want to see continue on to the big stage. Of course, I haven't watched these rounds in many, many seasons; are they always this dull?

Tags: american idol, recap

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Original Comments Posted (2)

vievegen says...

I don't find Casey that good looking either (he needs a haircut, stat), but he's actually better than they're giving him credit for. While he's not blowing me away, he was one of the few decent performances this week, but I feel like this silly thing with Kara they're trying to play up is actually making him more gimmicky than serious, if that makes sense. Just let the boy sing!

Feb 25, 2010 5:41pm

ariana says...

You know, I agree with the gimmicky stuff. Although I do think he is insanely cute, hair and all.

And it is kind of sad that in a group of the 12 best guys they could find in America, he's the standard to beat. I mean, he's good, but he's not mind-bendingly good. Except in the context of how bad everyone else was.

Here's hoping next week improves significantly, or it's gonna be a llllloooooonnnnggggg season.

Feb 25, 2010 5:45pm

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