'American Idol' Top 20 men continue to underwhelm - is 'Idol' trying to ensure a girl wins?
The judges are introduced and once again, Mariah Carey has on a very low-cut top. You'd think after her nip slip, she'd rein those puppies in a little better.
1. Mathenee Treco, "A Little Less Conversation," Elvis
This is a really fun song, but it's not a song for a vocalist. The melody has about four notes and the lyrics are too fast, plus he has slowed it down, which does make the lyrics a little easier to understand, but it makes the song lose a lot of its fun swagger. This is very karaoke and his falsetto stuff is all over the place. This should (hopefully) not be one of the best five performances, but we shall see.
Keith points out that his voice is a little lost in the "entertainment" of it all. For sure. Minaj calls it cheesy and karaoke, which it was, but she also says he shouldn't be trying so hard to please the judges. Well, he kind of has to, at this point. But we agree with most of what she said. Randy says it was a terrible song choice, which it was.
2. Gurpreet Singh Sarin, "Nothing Ever Hurt Like You," James Morrison
We like Gurpreet's voice a lot, but this song is very boring. It doesn't go anywhere. He sounds great, especially the few brief moments where he really lets loose, but the performance just isn't wowing us. He's solid and it'd be nice to see him advance, but that was a very safe, boring choice.
Keith urges him to use the acoustic guitar and says it wasn't a great song choice, but he loves his voice. Totally agree. Nicki sasses some stuff, then Randy says it was terrible. It wasn't terrible -- Charlie Askew was terrible. Zoanette was terrible. This was just boring and that is a different thing.
3. Vincent Powell, "Cause I Love You," Lenny Williams
So, this guy is obviously going for the sexy Marvin Gaye/Al Green vibe, but he's not quite getting there. The falsetto is weak in spots and then he just starts screaming a little. Is he trying to pass a stone? Vocally, this isn't bad, but the stage presence and grunting is ridiculous, and he is very overwrought. The long note is completely unnecessary. Not our cup of tea. Also, stop cutting over to Zoanette, people. Nobody cares about her.
The judges act like it's the best thing they've ever seen, but he didn't "just sing," like Keith Urban says. And Nicki says it was a good old-fashioned, but we disagree. That was terrible old-fashioned. Randy says the show started with this performance, but we do not agree.
4. Nick Boddington, "Say Something Now," James Morrison
Nick has a nice tone to his voice, but this is another song that is just putting us straight to sleep. The falsetto parts are hit and miss and he feels completely disconnected. What is with tonight? It's not like anybody has completely crapped the bed or something, but it's all just a total snoozefest. All these guys are completely unremarkable so far.
Keith wanted to see more connection, while Nicki likes his voice, but says it could've jumped out a little more. Randy and his weird velour monogrammed jacket says that there was no "moment." For sure.
5. Josh Holiday, "I'm Better With You," original song
This is awful. This guy has no breath control, his enunciation is terrible and the falsetto stuff is weak and thin. The final note is awful and then he gives a total serial killer stare to the camera. What is happening tonight? Also, this is totally milquetoast. It's like he has no personality.
This guy's a vocal coach?! Are you kidding me? He was taking a breath every three words. Blech. Keith wanted more passion (read: personality), while Nicki wanted him to stay at the piano. We don't think that would've helped. Randy says he wasn't wowed. None of us were, Randy.
So far, we have five duds, y'all. Vocally, Gurpreet the best, even if his song choice was totally blah. Vincent Powell could be good if he'd rein in the antics and grunting a little. But still, nobody has wowed. Not a one.
6. David Willis, "Fever," various artists
So, this we actually dig. This is a cool arrangement and while it isn't exactly contemporary, it has a nice spark to it. He's very engaging and has a nice tone to his voice, especially on the low stuff. Don't get us wrong -- this isn't make us jump up and down, but it's better than everything else so far. Loved the ending. It's not the best choice for him, but we liked it. We would love to hear this guy's voice on "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay."
Keith says there was a nice moment at the end, which there definitely was. But he didn't love the song choice. That's fair. Nicki ... babbles some stuff about Christmas and then does the robot. Whatever, she's on crack sometimes. Randy liked it, though he agrees not the right song. Mariah cites his Motown moment from the group round and we can see that -- he's very Motown.
7. Bryant Tadeo, "New York State of Mind," Billy Joel
He can stop waving his hands around, like he's acting out the words, but other than that, this is really nice. We guess if you want uber-contemporary, this isn't it, but vocally, it's really nice. But seriously, somebody needs to tie his hands down when he sings.
Keith liked the connection, while Nicki only liked the last riff. Randy liked the beginning, but was looking for it to go somewhere, which is a fair critique. Mariah loves his tone and says he was very professional.
8. Burnell Taylor, "This Time," John Legend
This starts a little slow, but definitely gets better into the chorus and the ending. The only problems we have are his weird affectations when he sings -- some weird pronunciation, chewing of the words -- and his spasm-y arm movements. Work on the stage presence a bit, but overall, very solid.
The judges are very complimentary. Nicki calls him the best by far this evening, which is pretty much true. Mariah calls it fantastic.
9. Lazaro Arbos, "Tonight I Wanna Cry," Keith Urban
This starts out way too low for his voice, you can barely hear him, it's very muddy. Once he gets to the chorus, it's better. But this definitely isn't the best we've heard from Lazaro -- in fact, this is one of the worst tonight. And again, it's kind of putting us to sleep. The last note wasn't nearly strong enough. Hmm. We really wanted him to do well. He's really skating by on his sob story. That wasn't good.
The crowd loves him, though. Keith Urban says it wasn't a great song choice for him, which is true. It wasn't a great choice. Nicki says he's always himself and she loves that, while Randy agrees with us that the chorus was a lot stronger than the verses.
10. Cortez Shaw, "Titanium," David Guetta
Ouch. This is ... very pitchy. Way off pitch on some of the big notes. Yikes. We really wanted Cortez to do well, we love the tone of his voice. Hmm.
The judges go nutty over him, even after pointing out his pitch problems. That's so maddening.
At this point in the night, we would advance Burnell Taylor, Gurpreet Singh Sarin, Bryant Tadeo, David Willis and ... hmmm. Cortez Shaw, we suppose. We'd like to give him another chance. Based on the judges comments, Vincent Powell will probably sneak in there in place of Gurpreet, though.
Judging time. David Willis and Bryant Tadeo are sent home, which is a huge bummer. We liked both of their voices a lot, what a shame. Then they keep the overwrought Vincent Powell, because of course they do. Mathenee Treco is then cut, while Lazaro Arbos and Cortez Shaw are advanced.
Josh Holiday is cut, then Burnell Taylor is advanced, which leaves Gurpreet vs. Nick for the last spot. We would keep Gurpreet, but the judges go another way.
Overall, we are just really underwhelmed with the guys this year. We have to hope this is by design -- "Idol" is making darn sure a girl wins by keeping some fairly mediocre men, but then again, they did keep Zoanette, so who the heck knows?
What say you, "Idol" fans?