American Idol: Episode 14 of Season Nine--The Men

2/25/2010 Posted by Admin

"American Idol": Episode 14 of Season Nine

The Top 12 Guys Got Off To A Sleepy Start

By our guest blogger, Catherine Fuentes

I was hoping for the guys to bring it in a way that the girls failed to do so last night. They raised the bar, but only by a little. Riddled by poor song choices and completely lackluster and mediocre performances, the guys, for the most part, were forgettable. Which isn’t so terrible since no one stood out as memorably atrocious, and I don’t have ill feelings toward any of the males in the competition. However, the best performance of the Top 24 was by a guy, proving that their great performances are truly memorable and phenomenal.

I have been giving Andrew Garcia ridiculous praise and hype since his very first audition, and feel that he may have one of the best shots to win the title out of this whole group. As to be expected, I thought he was great. But like Simon mentioned after telling him that he was most excited for his performance, I was sort of hoping for and expecting more. Maybe the judges and I have built him up to be the best contestant yet, because I’m thinking he’s getting more questioning than he ultimately deserves.

Because when it comes down to it, he gave a great rendition of a song I otherwise hate, he took risks with his arrangement, and, true to form, he sang it phenomenally well. But is he trying too hard? Or are the judges holding him to a higher standard than the others and maybe being a bit tougher on him accordingly? I do however totally agree with the judges that his rendition of “Straight Up” was his best yet, and in order to win the competition, he must return to that energy.

Even before Kara urged Casey James to unbutton his shirt in his first audition, I was a huge fan of him. I felt that I saw talent in him that other people were missing. From Day 1, Casey James has been one of my favorite contestants of this season regardless of gender. Last night, I felt he was hands down the best of the bunch, and better than any female the previous night. His rendition of “Heaven” was a perfect choice for him, allowing him to show his talent in singing and playing the guitar, while connecting ridiculously well with the judges and the audience.

Other guys I found myself liking--though ultimately not reaching the incredibly high bar set by Casey and Andrew--were Alex Lambert and Michael Lynche. Alex has a unique tone to his voice and I think when he conquers his nerves and awkward performance techniques, he can have a serious future in the competition. I’ve always found Michael Lynche to be one of the more likable contestants of the season, with the most publicized and sweet stories of the bunch. I feel he has an uncanny knack for excellent song choices, and tonight was no exception to that trend. While Alex comes across as young and a bit camera shy, Big Mike is easily one of the most likable contestants in "Idol" history.

Tyler Grady has been one of those contestants I’ve always liked and pulled for because of his 1970s vibe and personality, but again, he is not on par with Casey and Andrew. As to be expected, he chose a hit '70s song, which is both clich├ęd and expected. I didn’t think he sang exceptionally well, but he gave a fun performance. I think he’ll stick around because he is so likable, though I do want to see something surprising from him because he’s a great performer.

The only time I disagreed with Simon was in his assessment of Lee DeWyze’s performance. I didn’t think it was all that great. I didn’t recognize the song, and while I remember always liking his voice, I didn’t think he gave that memorable or spectacular a performance and was just completely bored.

Two of the youngest contestants of the night, Joe Munoz and Aaron Kelly, both gave good performances with very questionable song choices. As it was with the ladies last night, the guys were succumbing to poor song choices. Both of these guys came across as nervous, but I think the natural raw talent is there.

In this post, I wrote that I feel that everyone should be taking risks, and that it’s generally good (at least for the females) to sing a song performed by someone of the opposite gender. Todrick Hall did just that. He took Kelly Clarkson’s hit “Since U Been Gone” and gave it a really soulful and hip arrangement, stripping it of its rock-ish lean. And honestly, I really liked it. I don’t think he sang very well, but I loved the spin he took to a song I enjoy, and I felt he gave an all around great performance. The judges disagreed. They felt he took it too far, and sure, maybe that was okay, but it certainly beat some of the more boring performances of the night. But was it too risky a move?

In terms of the boring performances, I felt that two totally charismatic contestants gave completely forgettable performances. In choosing to embrace their serious and soulful sides, both Jermaine Sellers and John Park chose powerful, emotional songs--and they failed. I felt this was too bad, because I enjoyed both of their personalities through their packages. After last night's performances, I feel that both of these guys could be on the chopping block tonight.

Tim Urban received a lot of press over the past week because he initially didn’t make it to the Top 24. Because of some issues with Chris Golightly allegedly having a recording contract, thus rendering him ineligble for "American Idol," Tim Urban replaced him. I always found myself rooting for Tim Urban, but tonight I felt his emotions got the best of him and he gave a weak performance.

I can’t really put my finger on who I think should go home or who I think will go home. To me, no performance stood out as exceptionally bad, so really, anyone is fair game to go home aside from Casey James and Andrew Garcia, who are safe for weeks to come. I think Tim Urban will likely be on the chopping block, but all the press surrounding him might actually save him. Consequently, because of so little press around them, John Park and Joe Munoz might be on shakier ground. Expect to be surprised in tonight’s results show.

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