It’s the boys turn for sudden death. We are back in the Beatles’ Love theater in Las Vegas with a crowd of super fans ready to cheer for breakout performances and boo honest judging.
From how they introduce the guys, it looks like Curtis Finch, Jr. is going last in the “pimp spot.” He’s the one who showed us attitude and fake drama during Hollywood week. I’m not looking forward to the bottom of our two hours.
- Paul Jolley (“Tonight I Want to Cry”) – He has a comfortable, easy to listen to tone, but there is nothing special about him. He pushes some loud higher notes towards the end as if to wow us. This, like Jenny Beth on Wednesday, is forgettable falling in the lead-off spot.
- Johnny Keyser (“I Won’t Give Up”) – At this point, I don’t know who he wants to be as an artist with this country flare. What about the soul-vibed tunes he’s focused on before? The performance is okay. Boring, forgettable and phoned in. Keith says it is the best he’s sung for him, but Nicki and Randy shoot and say that he doesn’t have the greatest vocals in the competition. I agree with the later two. Mariah is digging his “masculine” vibe.
- My JDA is next (“Rumour Has It”) – I’m not going to lie and be all fan-girl and tell you his vocals are on point. This is a bit overdone, but hey it is JDA and he’s fierce to the point of being able to get away with that type of styling. The vocals suffer and take a second tier against the performance elements. Then he takes off his jacket and takes us home. Go, JDA! He is right at home on the Vegas stage, but not for Idol’s framework.
- Kevin Harris (“Everything I Do”) – Sadly, while this is our first time seeing Kevin, I feel it is also our last. I’m not wowed and have no urge to look up from my laptop screen. Ugh. Being pitchy in the bridge is not going to help him.
- Chris Watson (“Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”) – Chris (above), in one night, is trying to rebirth a touch of disco-rock swag. With a long head tie, sparkly studded pants and naked chest under a vest, he is sexy. He has that hot “It” factor in terms of stage presence and performance. His voice is more interesting than some of the others and I could hear it on a record after a swath of production wizardry.
- Devin Velez (“Listen”) – I admit I can’t stand this song, but boy can he sing–and he was holding back. I have a feeling if Devin unleashes what he can really do, he’ll be a threat to the drill for a girl to win. He even does a verse in Spanish for a twist. He is a definite fave.
- Elijah Liu (“Talking to the Moon”) – This kid sings whinny like Justin Bieber. It. Is. Awful. Nicki is a blast of madness saying he’s her new fave, that she’s obsessed with him (Randy and Keith then tell her she’s getting quite a stable) and that he’s ready now to make records. That he’s the one with the most marketable look and vocals. Yeah because he’s a teenager and whines like Bieber. Worst of the night.
- Charlie Askew (” Rocket Man”) – He starts off way shaky from the nerves. At one point, he closes his eyes to get his bearings, but later in the performance he looks around and there is an awkward flash of fear on his face. Like he’s about to stop and just stay kneeling on the stage. Charlie gets more into himself towards the end, but the vocal isn’t as good as what we’ve seen in earlier rounds. Nicki gives him a standing ovation. He’s weird and original, and I’m now not sure if that is fantastic or madness. I get that he sells himself as “socially awkward,” but there is also a vibe of cockiness rolling into the mix when he keeps responding back to the judges.
- Jimmy Smith (“Raining on Sunday”) – He’s a fave of mine, but I don’t like this song choice or the muteness of his voice tonight. I think he might be in trouble in the judges’ eyes because he is middle of the road with nothing standing out. Mariah says she sees something special in his voice. I agree. Convince the others, Mariah!
- Curtis Finch, Jr. (“Superstar”) – Oh how I don’t like him. The whole “I’m a church singer” image smacks against the selfish, mean-spirited candor he displayed in Hollywood. Curtis is all fake posturing, facial tics and overdone melodrama. I don’t believe a thing he’s singing. And the falsetto doesn’t do anything for me because it is without heart.
Wow. The guys are all over the place with less highlights than the girls. I’m grabbing some wild guesses, but would put through Devin, Paul, Jimmy, Chris and Charlie (for the quirk more than the voice). I think the judges will pick Curtis to go through over one of them (like Jimmy).
The judges pick: Curtis, Elijah, Paul (by Jimmy Iovine breaking a judges’ tie), Charlie and Devin.
Woot for Devin! I’m not understanding Elijah. He was the worst of the night for me and better vocalists Chris or Johnny could have filled that spot if they were looking for someone with performance quality. Jimmy has the better voice of all three, but lacks an “It” spark. Going along with the girl winner conspiracy theories, I wonder if Chris and Johnny were skipped because they are hot. It is known that there is a power bloc of young girls who will vote for the cute guy so why give them the option.
What’s your take on the first 10 guys’ performances versus the first 10 girls? Is the deck stacked for a female victory?