What the heck happened in the beginning there with Seacrest telling Simon to stop talking when he was doing the show intro? I think they thought it was funny, but it was just weird.
Kara is wearing something Billy Idol may have worn in the 80's, and Randy is wearing his favorite Cosby sweater. Simon is in a low cut white shirt, and Ellen is wearing a Simon-esque black sweater. Something about Laura Ingalls was brought up, and that's weird. Ellen thought, watching the show back, that the flaws are magnified by the recording, so if the judges say they are bad, they are really really bad. Simon told them not to flub their songs, or their career is over. Nice.
01) Todrick Hall (Since U Been Gone, by Kelly Clarkson) Ok, he's rapping Kelly, and I don't dig that. So he took a risk and re-did the song, but I hated it. I'm sure other people will love him. It didn't involve a whole lot of singing, and that's what the thing is all about, and so... no thank you, Todrick. He did a lot of warbling and singing superfluous runs. It was ballsy, I'll give him that. Ellen thought he was a really great performer, and loved that he did something different, but thought the singing of the chorus was rough. Randy thought he completely obliterated the song and didn't sing enough, and changed the song too much. Kara agreed with Randy. Simon thought it was crazy, and obviously a dancer trying to sing. He said he murdered the song, and the arrangement was verging on stupid. Wow. I'm glad that the judges agreed with me.
02) Aaron Kelly (Here Comes Goodbye, by Rascall Flats) Oh, he's the one who f'd up his lyrics in Hollywood and managed to find them again. Hmmm. I get that he's pretty good for 16, but I don't like his tone and he is pitchy all over the place and very nasal. He did ok on the the big long note, but that was pretty rough in my book. Simon thought it was quite a good performance for a live show, but thinks that Aaron doesn't look confident and almost looks embarrassed to be there. He didn't think it was as good as his final Hollywood song choice. Kara thinks that Aaron has no idea how great his raw talent is, and thinks he's her favorite kind of contestant. She predicts incredible things from him. Randy thinks Aaron has a huge voice, and admits there were some pitchy bits, but was wow'ed. Ellen thinks Aaron will be sticking around, and loves how humble he is.
03) Jermaine Sellers (Get Here, by Oleta Adams) Even though he wanted us to not just dream it, but be it in his clip package, he is not breaking out the Rocky Horror. Instead, he did a very decent version of Get Here, though I started to hate it when he got out of the restrained beginning bits. He got really sharp and shrieky when he tried to open it up. Not ok. Oh, that was disappointing. Ellen is a huge fan and loves his look. She felt he was singing it as a performance instead of feeling it, and thought he pushed too much and ended up going off. Yes. Randy thought it was a weird choice for a song, and thought he was doing too much with the song and ended up messing it up. Kara thought he wanted to show all his vocal chops in one song, but she wanted to make sure that his runs were meaningful and special. She thought it sounded old. Simon thought it was something a 50 year old person would request in a cocktail bar, and thinks that Jermaine has totally blown his opportunity.
04) Tim Urban (Apologize, by One Republic) Man, that kid needs to cut off about half of his hair, and I really am not a fan of his previous stuff. We got to see his last minute addition to the Top 24. His voice has no subtlety to it, and it's not pleasant. His falsetto is super weak and he looks pained. I really don't like him. At all. Simon congratulated him on coming back, but thinks that they absolutely made the right decision to cut him previously. He said the vocals were weak, the version was weak, the performance was not natural, and it just wasn't good enough. Kara thought the music overpowered him and wished he'd gone with his guitar and something acoustic. Kara thinks he's likeable, current, and cute. I think his hair is straight out of 1980. Randy said it was just straight up the wrong song. Ellen thought that he chose the song because it's popular, but he didn't hit the high notes, though he's adorable.
05) Joe Munoz (You and I Both, by Jason Mraz) I wish he had been playing the guitar himself in this (if he could play better than he did in Hollywood). I have to say, his vocals were refreshingly good. His gaze at the camera was a little intense and scary, and I wished for better enunciation, but after some of the trainwrecks tonight, this was very good. Ellen thought he looked really comfortable on stage and really liked it. Randy didn't think it was the perfect song choice, but thinks he did a good job with it. Kara liked that he picked a song that she didn't expect, and thinks that he has been the best of the evening so far. Simon kind of agrees, but doesn't see him as a star, but called it limp and forgettable, and got a dig in at Ryan. Joe did some shout outs in Spanish, to try to mobilize that vote.
06) Tyler Grady (American Woman) He could so be Kenickie. Could be a good song choice. He sang it well and kept his 70's swagger. I liked it kind of. Simon thought it was memorable, but thinks that Tyler has gone to "Pretend to be a Rockstar" school. He wants better vocals from Tyler. Kara thinks his obsession with the 70's is a little too predictable and wants something newer and more current. Randy agreed. Ellen thought he was going through the motions to look like Jim Morisson but wasn't personifying it.
07) Lee Dewyze (Chasing Cars, by Snow Patrol) He's got his guitar out, and I dig it. He changed the song up a little to make it his own, but he pushed a little too hard and went off key in bits. The quieter parts were better, and the beginning was better than the end. It ended up almost painful. What is it with the uneven performances? Ellen thought it was a good song choice, but didn't like when he started screaming. She does think he has a great sound when he's not screaming. Randy didn't like the song on him. He wanted something he could sink his teeth into. Kara said that the song has a small range, and he tried to change it up to give it some of his range, but he ended up messing it up. Simon ... Simon thought it was the best performance of the night, and thinks that Lee has an authentically good voice. Hmmm. I get it, but I think that he messed it up at the end. Everyone wants him to be this year's David Cook.
08) John Park (God Bless the Child) Oh! He's the one Shania said had a good bottom end. I'd forgotten him. He's got a really really great voice, but I really wish he'd chosen some other song. Any other song. It was boring. He's got wonderful control in his voice, though. I can't fault him vocally, except for some highly superfluous runs (which were exquisitely controlled), but I was bored. Bad song choice. Simon said that you have to have an incredible voice to take on that song, and he doesn't think John does. He thought it was flat and emotionless, and thought it was a pointless performance. Kara agreed, calling it loungy, sleepy, and indulgent. Randy thought that his runs were great, but thought the song made him feel old. Ellen also questioned song choice. She thought it sounded great, but wished it had been a different song. Me too. John tried to say that the song meant a lot to him, but... no. I didn't feel it. Good voice, though.
09) Michael Lynche (This Love, by Maroon 5) You know what I like? I like that Michael is as big as he is, but isn't in stupid Ruben Studdard t-shirts. He's got a guitar out, and he changed the song up some, but not badly. He's doing a really good job, I think, and I enjoyed him. I don't like some of his endings, but I like him. I'm glad he didn't end up getting kicked off. Ellen loves his personality and thinks he is infectious. Randy likes Michael and likes his persona. He did bring up that when Michael picked them up when he got into the top 24, it hurt. Kara said that he eased the depressed mood on the stage. She loves how comfortable she is with him. Simon said it was like he's the support act before the main act, and called it a very vague, jazzy version. He needs to nail it and make people listen to him, and doesn't think that he hit it.
10) Alex Lambert (Wonderful World, by James Morrison) I think he has a mullet, and it bugs me. He seems about half a step too low and tends towards being nasal. I've never heard this song before, and he did a good job with it. He's got a good voice and is comfortable in it. Too nasal for me to really like, though. He also just stood in the middle of the stage for a long time gripping the microphone like his life depended on it. I also have a hard time with his hair. Simon hated it and called it the most uncomfortable performance of the night. He admitted that Alex's voice was great, but his nerves were awful. Kara wanted to give him a hug, and thinks he has a great voice, but he has to believe in himself. Randy loves his tone. Ellen also likes him, and she likes his mullet. Noooooo!!! She thinks he's like a banana that isn't quite ripe enough to eat. Ha. I can see that analogy.
11) Casey James (Heaven, by Bryan Adams) He's playing up Kara's crush on him, and I really really really love his voice and he's great on the guitar. I like his hair better in a ponytail, but he pulls off the long hair without looking douchey, which I think is hard for a lot of men. He sounded a little nervous, but I still really like him. He's my favorite guy by far. I wish he'd button his shirt, but I'm probably in the minority. Kara was blushing like crazy and said she didn't recognize him with his shirt on. (She also brought up the fact that she's married). Ellen said that she could feel Kara undressing him with her eyes. She apologized for the hijinx at the judge's table. Randy loves him. Kara said he is eye candy, but he's also ear candy. Agreed. Simon said that he knows from experience to be cursed with good looks. He thinks that Casey chose the right song, and thinks he came across as authentic. Seacrest said that tomorrow is the Results show, and then Friday will be Kara's HR meeting. bwah ha ha.
12) Andrew Garcia (Sugar We're Going Down, by Fallout Boy) I really hope he doesn't disappoint me. He's pretty good, though some of the lower notes went out of key. It's an interesting song to go all acoustic on, and I think I liked it. I know some of the lyrics to that song that I didn't previously know. That's something. Simon was looking forward to him more than anyone else, but thought it was too serious, too indulgent, and not unique enough. Kara thinks he took a risk, but it was a strange rendition of the song. They all brought up Straight Up again, because it was genius. Randy thought the song's arrangement was off, but is a fan. Ellen thinks that Straight Up is going to carry him for a while, and thinks he needs to connect more and open up.
My faves of the night? Casey wins, hands down, followed by Michael, Joe and Andrew.
Todrick was a mess, and I really didn't like Aaron, or Tim. Oh, God, Tim. It is too late to apologize for that. Gahhhhh.
Jermaine needs to do some serious improving if he's going to stick around. John needs to pick better songs. Tyler was ok, but could have been so much better. Lee needs to work on consistency. Alex needs to find himself a neti pot and a pair of hair cutting scissors.
These kids had better pick it up and show their stuff! This was a kind of disappointing first week overall...
What do you think?