Welcome to THG's first American Idol live blog of season 10. With the top dozen men taking to the stage tonight and singing for your vote, we're here to offer commentary and insight along the way.
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8:07 Contestants can choose any song they wish, Ryan tells us. Kicking the show off? Clint Jun Gamboa, karaoke host extraordinaire. He chooses "Superstition" and concludes with a scream that would make Steven Tyler proud. He gets two "brilliants," one from Tyler, one from Randy.
Not exactly constructive words from the judges. They're off to a rough start.
8:14 Jovany Barreto abs alert! Over-played song choice alert! Jovany goes with Edward McCain's "I'll Be." I found it bland. Tyler found it... "Holy shipyards!" J. Lo is "happy" because Barreto "did it." Randy actually says something worthwhile for once, telling Jovany he brought nothing original to the performance. True dat, dawg.8:18 Jordan Dorsey breaks out some Usher and, OMG, it sounds like... someone trying to sound like Usher. Minus the body and minus the dance moves, that is. Heck, I can shake my shoulders.
The judges are actually critical, although J. Lo compares him to Nat King Cole for some reason. All three disliked it. And Lopez won't stop interrupting Randy.
8:27 You won't believe this, but Tim Halperin says everyone gets along well. The guys over there? They are like his brothers! We aren't buying that for a second, but we might be purchasing stock in Halperin. The singer puts his own touch on a Rob Thomas classic (yes, those exist), and then faces criticism from the judges.
Tyler and J. Lo thinks he's "special," but the latter at least says he has one of the best voices she's ever heard. Yes, ever. Yes, she said that.
8:31 Brett Loewenstern is embracing who he is. That means an attempt at classic rock, apparently, and a version of "Light My Fire." It sounds like a teenager trying to sound hardcore in my view, but the judges can't get enough of the hair flipping, and the personality, and J. Lo tries to make a joke about Beyonce and Loewenstern leaves the stage too early, only to return and tell Ryan "I love you" and I'm already irritated by this guy. He comes across as fake cute, not natural, David Archuleta cute.
8:40 It's time James Durbin to makes like Adam Lambert. He keeps telling us we've got "another thing coming," which leads to the first Steven Tyler curse words of the evening. Was that really the first Judas Priest song in Idol history? Can someone look that up for us?
Certainly a bold statement from Durbin, who raises his fist and eggs on the crowd. This is not someone who fears the spotlight.
8:49 Ryan introduces Robbie Rosen as the "pride of Long Island." Isn't JWOWW from there? She must have been a close second. We're in the arms of an angel for this minute-plus, which just causes me to picture Sarah McLachlan telling us to save the animals.
Tyler and J. Lo love the ballad and it definitely helps Rosen stand out. His heart was very much into the performance. Randy, though, continuing in his attempt to be contrarian, says the notes didn't all connect.
8:57 Man, Scotty McCreery's voice is deeper than a Maya Angelou poem (no? How about the Phillies starting rotation?). For non-country lovers, this is "Letters From Home" by John Michael Montgomery. Tyler is right that it's the perfect song choice, while J. Lo gushes over the rendition. That's been a rarity tonight, I know. Scotty doesn't even know what to say when Ryan asks for his reaction.
9:01 Stefano Langone makes the mistake of choosing one of the most played songs on the radio, "Just the Way You are." He mixes it up a bit, holding on to a few notes and showcasing his range, but I never think a contestant should choose a song everyone can instantly compare to the original. Or hear the next morning on their drive to work. Hard to stand out that way.
Still, a solid performance of the Bruno Mars single. Ryan proceeds to put Stefano on the spot, who dedicates it to "all the ladies out there." Smooth.
9:10 Paul McDonald challenges Durbin for most confident audition. He goes with a Rod Stewart classic and sounds very much like the music icon, encouraging the crowd to clap along. Doesn't much different than the original, but McDonald clearly has talent. I like how he wandered around the stage, in his own universe.
9:14 Ryan refers to Jacob Lusk as "understated." Oh, Ryan. Another soulful performance, great runs, but, excuse me, Steven? Did you just say "divine intervention" brought Lusk here? And did J. Lo really follow that up by saying "Luther Vandross is gone... but now we have you."
Sorry, Charlie Sheen, but the judges have clearly decided you won't be the WINNER on American Idol. I like Lusk a lot, but this is an awful lot of praise to heap on someone so early in the competition.
9:23 Casey Abrams is putting a spell on us. A really intense spell. The guy is certainly putting it all out there, growling into the mic until ending on a literal high note, really getting into the spirit. I love it. Standing ovation. Tyler says it was as "good as it gets." J. Lo says he's "sexy" and will "redefine" the whole thing. Wait... will it no longer be a singing competition?!? How will Randy refer to it then?!?
My top 5 from the evening:
- James Durbin
- Jacob Lusk
- Casey Abrams
- Scotty McCreery
- Paul McDonald