It's the second Sudden Death Round in Vegas and we are back at the Love Theater. After the ladies wowed the judges with their raw performances, it's time for the guys to take their lead with their one shot. Five will say goodnight and good-luck while five will be welcomed to the Top 20. This is AMERICAN IDOL.
First up was Tennessee's tenacious Paul Jolley who sang "Tonight I Want To Cry." First and foremost Keith thanked Paul for singing one of his songs, but felt he underestimated the power of his voice. Randy felt it was a "risky proposition" for singing one of Keith's songs right in front of him, but applauded the possibility of Paul going places.
Who doesn't believe in second chances? Here's Johnny Keyser with "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz. This sexy single from Ft. Lauderdale is at it again, but will his commitment land him a spot on AMERICAN IDOL'S Top 20? He may be good looking and Nicki got the girls in the crowd to go wild, but his singing was karaoke talent caliber at best.
Next up, is 27 year-old JDA, who sang "Rumor Has It" by Adele. Mr. Stripper Glitter sang half the song on the floor, but perhaps those high heals were hurting. All that can be said is "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." Keith commended JDA for "putting on a show," but the judges agreed that JDA focused more on the steps of his performance rather than singing. Judge Nicki felt JDA was "organic" but his vocal was whiny. Did we miss something? Randy had to remind us "this is a singing competition." Hmmm? Who knew?!
28 year-old Kevin Harris came up and sang "Everything I Do" by Bryan Adams. Who doesn't love that song? And who better to sing it than a voice that sounds like "butter!" Both Keith and Nicki were pleased with Kevin's performance. Nicki told Kevin, "Every single solitary music choice you made tonight was perfection." Randy disagreed and felt bored.
Then the Jimi Hendrix wannabe, Chris Watson approached the stage with "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay" by Otis Redding. His headband may have been on a little too tight, but Nicki was completely head over heels. Although Keith felt there was no connection between Chris and his song choice, Nicki wanted to "marry his vibrato." Mariah's rolling her eyes on the sideline singing "Why's She So Obsessed With Me." Randy agrees that Chris has a good look, but he didn't carry the same muster Otis Redding did and was once again, completely bored.
High-school student, Devin Velez then gave us "Listen" by Beyonce. Devin wowed the judges across the board. Not only did he sing well, but also Nicki said he "made a smart choice as an artist to sing in Spanish." He got big props from the big Dawg, and Mariah closed it out with some diva advice: don't critique yourself!
Next up, Elijah Llu who sang "Talking To The Moon" by Bruno Mars. He may be the runt of the litter, but boy does he have style! Didn't Randy say recently that this is a singing competition? It seems all the judges want to comment on is Elijah's pop-star look and marketability. Nicki even said it herself, "I don't care about that song." And all of a sudden she wants to have his babies?! Wow! She couldn't stop screaming that he is ready "NOW!"
Charlie Askew opened up talking about his vintage outfit consisting of a ruffled pirate shirt and velour pants, and tipped off JDA as his fashion adviser who picked out his faux diamond studded belt. Cool, dude! Charlie took it to the stage with "Rocket Man" by Elton John. Nicki gave him a standing ovation as the crowd went wild. Keith said, "It's like Freddy Mercury had a love child out of Woodstock." Enough said Keith. Nicki looked like she was having an aneurysm She commented that his weirdness and awkwardness excites her. "It's rock-star. It's fresh. It's crazy," Nicki continued. Randy reiterated that AMERICAN IDOL is a singing competition and was clearly upset that tonight's been one big stage school performance.
Next up, another Tennessee native and another Keith Urban original, Jimmy Smith with "Rain on Sunday." Keith couldn't even critique Jimmy because how do you critique someone who butchers your song? Nicki didn't hesitate to express how bored she was and said she was still thinking about Charlie. Mariah tried to sugarcoat the judge's reaction and left Jimmy with hope that America may see something in him.
Last but not least, Curtis Finch, Jr. took the stage with "Superstar" by Luther Vandross. And superstar he was! Keith felt "thoroughly cleansed of his sins." Wow, what a compliment! The rest of the judges were thrilled with his performance. Mariah was moved to tears and said his "voice and his musicality is who he is." Up next, it's decision time!
The guys gave it their all, but five had to go home. There were some tough decisions tonight, very emotional and difficult. The voting was not unanimous and Jimmy had to step in and grace us with his tie-breaking vote. The talent was not as high as the ladies, but the tension was just as thick. Nicki put up a fight for the contestants that she fell in love with, and in the end, Charlie, Curtis, Devin, Elijah and Paul, made it through.
With the first ten of our top twenty in hand, next week it's time for the next twenty to take the stage. Brace yourself America.