The Top 12 Guys live show began as Ryan said, "Simon, stop talking." Remember when the days when "THIS...is American Idol!" was used to kick off a show? Randy, in his argyle sweater and bright blue watch, said "the girls blew it out last night." I think that's a compliment, but I must consult my Dictionary of the Dawg. Kara is going for a sassy S&M look with her leather and chain vest. Ellen was wearing Simon's uniform of a simple black sweater, and in the twist of the evening, Simon was wearing a white COLLARED button down shirt, which was hardly buttoned. He loves a plunging v-neck. Simon said, "If you lose it tonight or you forget your words, your career is over." No pressure...on with the show!
Todrick Hall was the first guy of the season to perform live. He's a writer/actor/dancer from Texas. He took the stage looking like he just hopped off a Harley. The American Idol fan-turned-contestant chose to sing Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone," which was an intriguing choice, but he completely transformed the popular single. The judges agreed that Todrick is a good performer, but his vocals are good enough that he doesn't have to "completely obliterate" a song. Todrick told Ryan that he heard this version of the song in his head. The wheels in his head turn in quite an interesting direction.
High school student Aaron Kelly said his defining moment was when he struggled with lyrics in Hollywood. After Simon's warning this evening, Aaron may not have wanted to remind Simon, or America, of that Hollywood moment. Aaron took the stage to sing "Here Comes Goodbye" by the Rascal Flatts. Although Aaron had some pitchy moments, the judges felt that this was a good first live performance for the young guy. They like that he's humble, but they hope he gets more confidence. I like that he does the same dance move over and over where he raises his left arm at a 90 degree angle.
Jermaine Sellers explained in his pre-performance interview that when he threw the band under the bus in Hollywood, "I looked like boo boo the fool." Haha, that line is awesome. He then got serious and said, "You don't have to dream it; you can be it." Jermaine took the stage to sing "Get Here," by Oleta Adams. That song still makes me think of when Justin Guarini sang it during American Idol's first season. The judges thought that some of Jermaine's runs were messy, but that Jermaine looked sharp...as sharp as the notes he sang.
Tim didn't let his family know that he made it on Idol. He has NINE siblings, so that must've been a tough secret to keep. I wonder if they all sing? Tim gives off a David Cassidy/Partridge Family appeal, so maybe the Urban Family can form a band. Tim sang OneRepublic's "Apologize," which seems a little risky since two Idol favorites--Kris Allen and David Archuleta--sang that song during the past two seasons. Tim struggled with some of the high notes, and the judges thought the music overpowered him. They prefer the organic, acoustic Tim from Hollywood. My adorable meter clocked in at 5, which is the number of times Ellen called Tim "adorable."
Joe Munoz struggled with playing the guitar during his Hollywood audition, so he wisely left it behind for his first live performance. He sang Jason Mraz's "You And I Both," a good song, and I'm just glad it's not the season's most over done song "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz. The judges felt that Joe had a solid but safe showing with good vocals and a surprising song choice. He gave a shout out to his family that's watching him from Mexico who, sadly, are ineligible to vote for Joe since they're not calling from the U.S.
Tyler Grady was born in 1989, but his spirit and style were born almost two decades earlier. So guess which decade the college student picked his Top 10 Hot 100 hit from? You guessed it--Tyler sang "American Woman" from 1970. Tyler knows who he is, but the judges suggested that he change up his style and work on something a little more modern. Tyler said, "I need the criticism to grow." And with that, Tyler was off to the mall.
Lee Dewyze was a paint sales clerk who feels like he's in his element when he has his guitar. He performed Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars," which sounded very different from the original; it started off low and mellow and then elevated. The judges were torn on his performance. Kara and Randy weren't in love with the song choice and the way Lee changed it up, but Simon thought "it was the best performance by a mile." Lee said he is "having the most fun in my entire life...I don't ever want to lose this feeling ever again." The women in the audience collectively let out an "Awwww."
John Park's most defining moment was watching Shania Twain swoon over him at his Chicago audition. He is equally a fan of Shania and said that he'd honestly marry her. Fun! An Idol wedding! I call dibs on being the flower girl. Jazzy John chose to sing Billie Holiday's "God Bless The Child." Although the judges weren't in love with his song choice, John said the song is important to him because of his parents. I wonder how his parents feel about his impending marriage to Shania?
Big Michael Lynche talks about having two life changing events--a baby and becoming an Idol semifinalist--in one week. The new dad grabbed his guitar and played "This Love" by Maroon 5. The song choice was a bit unexpected, but Mike raised the energy level in the room and I danced along in my swivel chair. The judges like Mike's personality and energetic performance, but they'd like to hear him deliver more. He practically delivered an 8 pound baby on TV, what more do you want?! Ryan mentioned that Mike's guitar looks more like a ukulele in proportion to his big frame.
Alex Lambert is a 19 year old high school student. His defining moment was the conflict he faced with Mary Powers on group night. Alex ended up prevailing as he stands here today singing "Wonderful World" by James Morrison. The judges like the tone of his voice but noticed that he looked uncomfortable on stage, which makes it uncomfortable to watch him. Ellen likes that he's holding on to his mullet and compared him to an unripe banana. Alex said he'll get ripe for Ellen, but hopefully not one of those overly ripe smooshy types of bananas that I find on top of my fridge after I forget I put them there.
Casey James interviewed that Kara's "crush" on him is both embarrassing and flattering. He sat on a stool with his guitar and sang Bryan Adams' "Heaven." Kara swayed her arms and if we were on the set used for the Top 12, the section of girls on the ground would be swaying their arms too. Randy and Simon joked that they know what a curse it is to be blessed with modelish good looks. Kara said that he's not only eye candy, but Casey's ear candy too.
Andrew Garcia closed the night with a Fall Out Boy song, "Sugar, We're Going Down." This seemed like an unexpected choice from the guitar player, but in typical Andrew form he changed it up and made it his own. Simon thought the performance was too serious, but with lyrics such as "bullet" and "going down swinging," what do you expect?! All in all, the judges like that Andrew takes risks, but they prefer his previous risks ("Straight Up") to tonight's risk.
The four people with lowest votes will be sent packing and Season 8's top girl and guy will be performing on the next show. Who will be out of the running?