Oh, Season 12 is definitely a year for the girls. After the Wednesday night (March 6) guy half of the "American Idol" Top 20 finished taking up time on the stage -- because that's all it really amounted to -- there was no residual feeling of awe or being so impressed that one would care to remember any of the performances the following day. It was almost as if they were all just going through the motions, on stage as just a formality for making it into the season's Top 10. In fact, the entire show was so lackluster when compared with the Top 10 girls on Tuesday evening that it made you almost wish that the entire Season 12 Top 10 could be comprised of females.
But five of them will make it through...
Viewers also learned that there would be no showdown, unless via some vote-bestowing miracle, between the eccentrics -- Zoanette Johnson and Charlie Askew, no matter how many "Vote For The Worst" followers get behind them. To tell the truth, young Charlie embraced his weirdness a bit too much, his performance of Genesis' "Mama" uncontrolled and more primal scream therapy than actual singing. And when the judges came down hard on him -- Judge Nicki Minaj wondered who had stolen her son -- he very nearly had an emotional breakdown on stage. Enter unlikely psychotherapist and "Idol" host Ryan Seacrest, who talked Charlie down from his emotional ledge. But if anyone's looking for the answer to what happened to Charlie, just take a look back at all the positive and over-indulgent reinforcement the guy's been getting all season for manic and entertaining -- but hardly great -- performances. It was like handing giving the finest cuisine to a starving child. Maybe Nicki should ask Roman where Charlie went and simply stop loading...
As Charlie was the unfortunate down-point of the night, it is equally unfortunate that chipmunk-squinchy-face-Carlton-Banks-lookalike Curtis Finch Jr. was possibly the best. He delivered R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" nearly flawlessly. And yet... Curtis is so non-genuine that it hurts. His arrogance shines through his false humility. He's been talked to in superlatives so much through his life (some of it well-deserved, no doubt) that he believes his own legend. And all the pulpit-pounding praise the judges hit him with after his choice of the most over-performed song in competition history (because of the millions of songs out there, a song by a man known for urinating on a teen girl showcases his voice best for God and "Idol") was just a bit too much. Just as fake as Curtis' humility seemed, so, too, was the overabundance of religion-laced references to his vocal greatness. And, despite all that, Curtis Finch Jr. may have been best.
Burnell Taylor also put in a good performance. He chose to do "I'm Here" from "The Color Purple," his audition song. He justified singing the song twice because he felt that editors had chopped up his audition performance. He did well but seems overly mechanical, as if he's more into technique than passion. But somewhere along the way in the competition Burnell will have to lose the Steve Urkel look to be taken seriously, not to mention his maestro hand movements. They're as distractingly annoying as Curtis Finch's facial antics. The movements also appear to be overly pretentious (look at my vocal scale modulating hand!).
Nick Boddington has a great voice and did the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris," perhaps one of the better soundtrack rock songs in the past two decades. But Nicki, who said that it was one of her favorite songs, didn't like it. But given Nicki's penchant for praising the outlandish, the eccentric, and the over-the-top, Nick gets a pass on this one.
Lazaro Arbos also did relatively well. He performed Nina Simone's (Michael Buble's) "Feeling Good." His performance was far clearer than last week's Top 40 offering.
Deven Velez, like Nick Boddington, has a great higher range voice. But song choice might be a problem. He sang Perry Como's (yes, that Perry Como) "It's Impossible." He also did it in Spanish, a brave move. But he's got the chops and just might get into the overall Season 12 Top 10 because of it.
Two guys tried way too hard to get through and probably won't because of it: Paul Jolley, who performed "Just A Fool" by Christina Aguilera (ft. Blake Shelton), and Cortez Shaw, who did Bruno Mars' "Locked Out Of Heaven." And if Jolley's singing didn't seem forced enough, afterward he told Judge Keith Urban he wanted to be the male Taylor Swift (could you hear America collectively dry-heaving?), then desperately imploring the audience for support: "... if everyone else wants me to be." What are the judges always saying about these guys knowing who they are as artists?
But Cortez Shaw seems to think that his good looks will keep winning the day (well, night). But what he apparently thought as sexy (pelvic thrusts?) and smooth dance moves only came off as ridiculous karaoke farce. Performances like that get you locked out, alright...
Elijah Liu was put in the death spot (first performer of the night). He sang Rihanna's "Stay" and although he did passably well, half the time you couldn't hear him.
Wednesday evening's last singer, Vincent Powell, also tried a little too hard but his overreach seemed to be in elongated runs, attempting to display his vocal ability in unnecessary calisthenics. Not a great way to end the show, but probably not bad enough to see him dismissed, either.
Still, all in all, the guys were just boring. From song choices to execution. And even the few that weren't boring, such as the offerings of Charlie Askew and Curtis Finch and Cortez Shaw, the overall performances were lacking in both obvious and subtle ways.
Before the Semi-Finals began, professional oddsmakers placed five girls in the Top 5 of those most likely to win. After watching the Top 10 guys, it looks as if they could very well be right.
But who knows how America will vote? It isn't like there haven't been a myriad surprise results over the years.
Viewers will see if there are any surprises on Thursday evening beginning at 8 p.m. (EST) on Fox Television. Host Ryan Seacrest will then reveal the Season 12 Top 10 "American Idol" finalists.