Downhill event: Men's night on 'American Idol'
If you watched the Olympics on NBC Wednesday night instead of "American Idol," you made the right viewing choice. Even if they brought back ice dancers dressed as Aborigines for an encore. Compare any of these guys to any performance of Adam Lambert's last season -- it's like speed skating vs. curling.
Todrick Hall starts things off with Kelly Clarkson song "Since U Been Gone," which is to say he flicks his head and does some theatrical dance moves to the tune he rearranged in his head. He explains to the judges in response to their "What was that about?" questions afterward. Judge Simon Cowell accuses him of murdering the original song. Well, at least he wasn't accused of something really bad, like taking money from the parents of little little children in exchange for giving the tots roles in a traveling musical which shut down, leaving the tots in the lurch. Oh wait . . .
Aaron Kelly is a little boy and it would be mean to judge his performance of Rascal Flatts' "Here Comes Goodbye" harshly. So Simon, who has been forced to wear his Il Divo shirt because Ellen has borrowed his white T-shirt and black sweater, therefore calls it "quite a good performance."
Jermaine Sellers has found someone's cutaway morning coat in a consignment shop along with a sensible pair of galoshes and a grandmother's Sunday hat; he's wearing it all to celebrate his singing of "You Can Reach Me." Simon calls it "screaming."
Tim Urban is the guy who got through to the semi finals after another guy got the hook over a recording contract. He sings "Apologize" by OneRepublic which is so appropriate and Simon congratulates him for making it to the semi finals after all, then suggests he'll be the first to go.
Joe Munoz is better than anyone we've heard so far Wednesday night, but that's like saying C-plus is better than C. Simon calls his performance "limp" and "forgettable"and mumble-adds, "kind of like our host." Show host Ryan Seacrest appears not to hear that gag. Anyway, he ignores it.
Tyler Grady is still a Jim Morrison groupie and his "American Woman" performance is like a 70's re-enactment. He strikes a series of wall-poster poses that don't add up to one good flashback. Simon says he's from The Pretend to be a Rock Star School. We recommend he either get on acid or try a new shtick.
Lee Dewyze, who is going to win this competition because he most closely resembles previous winners David Cook and Kris Allen, sings "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol and is not bad in a local coffee shop open mic night kinda way. Simon raves that he's a "naturally good singer" and advises him to emulate David Cook. Oh, great.
John Park proposes to Shania Twain, who had swished her necklace madly and spoken of his nice lips and bottom when he auditioned for the show. That was cute. But then he pushes all the wrong buttons with the "Idol" judges, picking an "old" tune -- "God Bless the Child" -- and Twain isn't there to save him. Simon says it takes someone with an incredible voice to pull off that tune and he hasn't got that. The studio audience thinks he said "has" instead of "hasn't" and starts to cheer until Simon sets them straight.
Michael Lynche is a large likeable guy, bouncing in place and playing the ukelele - it's actually a guitar but he dwarfs it -- to Maroon 5's "This Love." Simon calls him "the support act before the main act," but without any real conviction because Michael is so likeable.
Alex Lambert suffers from being named Lambert, which especially invites comparison to Adam. Imagine a deer performing "Wonderful World" while caught in headlights. Simon tells him to get his nerves under control or it's all over for him.
The "Cougar Town" story arc of this "Idol" season opens a new episode as Casey James takes the stage. Casey sings "Heaven" and he's actually OK but for insurance he's also showing plenty of chest through an unbuttoned shirt. Much ho-ho-ho follows from the judges. Kara: "Casey, I don't recognize you with your shirt on." Ellen says it was hard for her to concentrate because "I could feel Kara undressing you with her eyes." Randy jokes that he and Casey are both models, and Simon jokes that they were both cursed with good looks, adding "Obviously the Cougar here likes you." Seabiscuit says Kara's HR meeting will be a special two-hour live event this week while the American Idol Decency Police pull their Paula Plasticuffs out of storage.
Andrew Garcia, this season's quirky guy, is up next with his guitar and an acoustic reinterpretation of the hard rocking "Sugar We're Going Down" but the judges pretty much tell him not to come around selling quirky because they're full up. Kara calls it "a strange rendition -- kind of isn't meant to be played acoustically." Even Ellen finds him "too serious and self-indulgent".
"American Idol" is back on Thursday night for a results show that will send four contestants home to forever contemplate their bad song choices/too much quirkiness/not enough quirkiness//lack of good backstories/failure to take their shirts off.
Lisa de Moraes
February 25, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: "American Idol"
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