On American Idol tonight, the Top 10 guys perform, though the episode’s title says the Top 15 will perform. After tonight’s show, the voters of America — you — will have the difficult choice of selecting just five guys to move on, and join the five girls you chose last night, and your choices will be revealed on Thursday. Also, the judges will select three Wild Card choices to move on, for a total of 13.
Ryan Seacrest, the host of American Idol, began the episode by recapping last night’s episode and showing scenes from it, and the comments of the judges. There were some great performances then, and I’m looking forward to hearing more great ones tonight.
Ryan introduced the three judges. Then, he asked Keith how difficult it was to select the top ten girls to sign, and he answered “Extremely.”
Harry described how it was like to sing for the first time in front of so many people with so much pressure on them — he compared it to being strapped to the front of a Mack truck going at 80 mph down the highway, adding “That’s how I got here tonight.”
Then, on American Idol, Keith Urban announced the first guy to perform — Caleb Johnson. He has a powerful, rocking voice. We saw him talking with Randy, who told him “keep your eyes open and concentrate on the audience.”
Caleb will be singing “Stay With Me” by Rod Stewart and The Faces. Everyone clapped along right from the start of the song. He had the whole audience in the palm of his hand.He knocked it out of the park with his performance, and got a standing ovation.
Keith: “There’s certain things you can’t learn. You are a natural.”
J-Lo: “You are the real deal. You are so ready right now. This is your time.”
Harry: “It’s going to be tough for the guys following you. That was a really strong performance. Congratulations!”
J-Lo introduced the next person to perform on American Idol — C.J. Harris. He will be singing “Shelter” by Ray Lamontagne. J-Lo said he has a “soulful” voice, which is an apt description. He began the song sitting on a stool and playing his guitar. He sounded, in a word, AWESOME! The audience swayed their arms in the air, and listened to him spellbound. They erupted into applause when he finished, and gave him a standing ovation.
J-Lo: “C.J., you make me smile. You take me to the heart. It’s beautiful, it’s a beautiful thing.
Harry: “You’re terrific, but you have a tendency to sing consistently sharp.”
Keith: “You have this great mix of Dobie Gray and Johnny Lang. I love where you’re coming from.”
After that, Ryan said that C.J. just had a root canal done yesterday, then he gave the phone number if you’d like to vote for C.J. Harris. These first two guys have done an excellent job singing — if the others are nearly as good, it will be a very difficult decision for viewers at home to make when you phone in your votes after American Idol.
Harry announced who the third guy to perform would be — Emmanuel Zidor! Randy asked him if his family was supportive of him and he said “yes.” The song he is going to sing is “The Best of My Love” by The Emotions. During rehearsals, it sounded to me like he was letting his voice get away from him, and singing too high. But, his live performance was pretty AMAZING, IMHO. The judges even gave him a standing ovation!
Harry: “Emmanuel, you are so much fun! The performance is starting to get a little off-kilter, though, a little out of control.”
Keith: “I agree with you, Harry.”
J-Lo: “I don’t. Emmanuel I adore you, I just do. This man belongs on the stage. I don’t think that was the best song for you, but it’s undeniable — you belong on this stage.”
Randy: “The boys are really bringin’ it tonight! I’m proud!”
Keith introduced the fourth guy to make it through, Sam Woolf, 17. Keith said: “He’s going to be in this competition for some time.”
Then, we saw Sam chatting with Randy, and he said he chose the song “Babylon” by David Gray. Randy told him he does “a lot of looking down” as he sings, and he needs to sing with “more heart.”
Sam Woolf delivered the goods on American Idol, accompanying himself on the guitar as he sang. He has a great voice — the audience clapped along as he sang.
Keith: “The people like you, Sam. And with good reason — you’re money.”
J-Lo: “Sam, you have such a sweet quality about you. Your heart and soul come through. You have perfect pitch — I think it’s just crazy.”
Harry: “I think it was a great performance, Sam. There are several tiny tweaks, but you’re terrific, you’re really terrific.”
Jennifer Lopez said that the next guy “kind of flew in under the radar.” She said that that George Lovett would be the fifth singer of the night on American Idol. He told Randy that he worries about “staging” the most. He sang “Grenade” by Bruno Mars.
The audience waved their arms in the air, getting into the song and George’s remarkable voice. They seemed to really get into the song, though the judges didn’t like it as much as some of his other performances.
J-Lo: “Baby, that was really good. I’d like you to control all of the runs a little bit more. It’s hard to feel the emotions of the song, though. You’re one of the best signers here.”
Harry: “I thought that you were so passionate that your voice cracked I’ve heard you sing better.” The audience booed him.
Keith: “I think finding the right song will be really important. I don’t think that was the right song for you.”
Harry Connick Jr. then introduced contestant number six, Dexter Roberts. Randy asked him how he got into music, and he said he got his first guitar at age five. He’ll be singing “This Old Boy” by Craig Morgan. He sounded pretty good in rehearsals — I’m sure he will sound great live, too.
And, he DOES — country is not my favorite musical genre, but Dexter did a terrific job sing this song. The audience was clapping right from the start as he sang — he could go far in this competition.
Harry: “I think you did a lot of good things tonight, you have all that it takes; I just wonder what might differentiate you from other country music singers.”
Keith: “You’ve got a good voice, you’re the real deal, but there’s a thousand guys just like you. you have to find out what makes you different from everyone else.”
J-Lo: “You did your thing, you did your thing. That was real.”
On American Idol, Ryan said “Who’s next, Keith?”
Keith said that “This guy can really play the guitar. Let’s hear it for Alex Preston.”
Alex: “I was a total band geek. I started with the violin.”
Randy: “How many instruments do you play?”
Alex: “Eleven or twelve.” He tells Randy that he will be singing “Volcano” by Damien Rice. He says he feel really intimidated singing in front of a lot of people.
However, if he was intimidated, it was hard to tell, as Alex KICKED ROYAL BUTT with this song. I really liked how he sang it — the audience clapped along and cheered at various points, and gave him a standing ovation when he finished.
Keith: “That was probably the best song choice of the night. That was a song that you could have written.”
J-Lo: “I agree. You are really in your own lane. You are your own artist. I think if you stay there, you could really go far.”
Harry: My favorite part was that you end on a ‘9’ and you know exactly what I’m talking about.” Harry was referring to the musical was the scale — he said it’s not a very common choice of a note to end a song on.
J-Lo introduced the eighth guy of the night on American Idol, Malcolm Allen from Wrightsville, Arkansas. He said he started singing in the church, and then sang in nightclubs since he was 17.
He chose to sing Anthony Hamilton’s “Comin’ From Where I’m From.” The crowd clapped along as he sang — Malcolm has a really soulful, emotion-filled voice. He NAILED this song — the guys are really bringin’ it tonight on American Idol.
J-Lo: Those words really hit me — I just wish that your performance had really hit me, too. I should have got gooosies on that one. I need you to bring your heart and soul into it.”
Harry: “You sing so sharp, and that was not in purpose. You need to really concentrate on singing in tune.” Again, the audience booed Harry, obviously disagreeing with him.
Keith said he would have felt it a lot more if the song had been stripped down, without the band.
Ryan announced that there were now only two more spots left, and that we’ll learn who will be filling those spots right after the next break on American Idol.
Harry introduced the ninth guy to sing, Ben Briley. Randy asked him how he got started in music, and Ben says that his grandmother sang at the Grand Old Oprey, and his mother was “the Taylor Swift of the 1970s.”
The song that Ben chose to sing was “Soul Shine” by the Alman Brothers (Warren Hayes). His nickname is “Gumbo.” He had a very soulful voice, and the audience LOVED it, cheering loudly for him.
Harry really loved how Ben sang, but made fun of his huge Windsor knot on his tie, saying that the whole royal family could live inside of it.
J-Lo: “You came alive on the stage, you really did, and I think that’s the sign of a true performer.” Ben needs to move on — he’s a great singer, IMHO.
After yet another commercial break, Ryan said that “it is now the moment of truth.” He asked Keith for the final name. Keith said again what a difficult job it was for them to chose the final ten. He said, “Please welcome Spencer Lloyd,” another Arkansas native.
Randy and Spencer talked about the song choice, and whether or not he should play the guitar. Randy suggested that he goes with it, because the judges really liked him with it — but, two other people adviced him to go on stage without it — which he did.
Spencer sang “Love Don’t Die” by The Fray. He ROCKED the song out, and the audience cheered and clapped right from the start. Spencer had great stage presence, too, saying at one point: “C’mon people!” He looked like he OWNED the stage, to me, and the audience screamed and clapped as he finished singing.
Keith: “Your song choice is going to be really, really important — I don’t think that was your best vocal performance, though.’
J-Lo: When you’re up there, you’re a star.”
Harry: “This was not your strong suit, this was not good. When you stick with the piano –” Harry was roundly booed yet again. Spencer might be better playing the piano or guitar as he sings; but, I thought he kicked some butt, really, despite what the judges said.
J-Lo told the guys not chosen to sing not to give up, and to come back next year. Keith agreed, and Harry said that all of you will have your moment, it just will come later.
Ryan said that tomorrow night, all will be revealed, and we will see an incredible thirteen performers left. I have no doubt they will be incredible, but all of the performers left are pretty darn good — it’s up to you, America!
Who will you vote for to make it into tomorrow’s Top Ten? Then, who do you think will the judges select for their three Wild Card choices? I will go out on a limb and say I think the five guys will be Spencer Lloyd, Ben Briley, Caleb Johnson, C.J. Harris, and Sam Woolf. Please tell me who your picks are, leave your comments below, and join with me tomorrow night to watch American Idol Rush Week Results Show, and come back here to read my recap/review of it!
Written by: Douglas Cobb