American Idol: Sudden Death, Top 20 Guys, Week 1

Last night, we pushed five hater bitches to the left. Today, the guys man up for one of Idol’s roughest, toughest, and most brutal rounds ever! It was a night fueled by testosterone and Red Bull! It was a no mercy, all out, knock out! Blood was shed! Bones were broken! Dreams were crushed! It was glorious!

Oh…who am I kidding? This might as well been a continuation of Ladies night. Seriously, you could have found a more rugged group of guys at your mall’s local Express. And I’m not just saying that because Idol had its first drag act on the show.

Overall, tonight was fair to average. There were some solid performances, but for the most part…meh. On to the recap, shall we?

Paul Jolley – Tonight I Want to Cry

Paul took a serious risk by singing a Kieth Urban song. It can’t be easy to do that when he’s sitting four feet away, wishing he had a beer in his hands. However, for the most part, Paul did a competent job. When he pushed for the glory notes, he had a tendency to go a little shrill, but it was a decent showing. He did have a few things working against him, namely that he went first with a downtempo song. Unfortunately, that played against him, which is a shame because he has some real potential.


Jonny Keyser – I Won’t Give Up

Blonde hair, blue eyes, and totally singing Jason Mraz. Yep…all this guy has to do is strap on a guitar to win this thing, right? Well…at least that would have been the case is he hadn’t completely choked on his song choice. This is a weak song to begin with. It doesn’t really give Johnny the opportunity to show off his vocal power, soul, or personality. This came off as very Karaoke, and probably blew his chances, which is a shame because he had potential to go far in this competition.


JDA – Rumor Has It

Dafuq was that!? Okay, look…I get it. JDA is her own person, she’s just being herself, Born This Way, I Am Every Woman, yaddah yaddah. That doesn’t excuse the over the top theatrics, the lame choreogrophy, the jarring tone, or the terrible outfit. Look, if you’re going to be Idol’s first drag act, at least make an effort to look like a decent drag queen! He looked more like a pedophile Pirate that got lost in Ke$ha’s wardrobe. There may have actually been some decent vocals, but it doesn’t do you any good if you can’t be taken seriously.


Kevin Harris – Everything I Do (I Do it For You)

And we go from one extreme to the next. This was your typical American Idol semi-final performance. A safe song, with a safe arrangement, performed by an all around safe performer. There was just nothing at all memorable or special about this performance. I can’t even think of anything snarky or witty to say about it. It wasn’t a train wreck. It wasn’t good. It was just…there. Unfortunately, on this show, being forgettable is a sin worse than being bad.


Chris Watson – Dock of the Bay

Since when did Season 12 become the year of the glitter pirates? Is Jack Sparrow now in charge of the men’s wardrobe? Seriously Idol…what is the meaning of this? Chris chose one of the most boring songs ever written. Seriously, the song is about boredom. At least he added some funky guitars to make it a little more lively. However, there’s just something about watching a man prance around the stage in a bedazzled jump suit and head scarf that just feels…off. It didn’t help that the vocals were sub par. Personally, I’d put this one in the train’s wreckage pile.


Devin Velez – Listen

Let me just say that I am pulling for this guy. Its about time we’ve had a guy named “Devin” on this show. I’m not just saying that because my name is Devin as well (I really am.) When I realized what he was singing, I initially cringed. Listen is a tall order for any woman, and Devin is…well, a guy. It started off a little bland, but then something clicked into place. He really hit his stride when he added the Spanish verse. At first, I didn’t know how he would market himself as an artist, but I would totally buy him a Latin singer. It was a smart choice that paid off. Also, his vocals really shined in the second half. He’s one to watch.


Elijah Liu – Talking to the Moon

Elijah is half Chinese and half Mexican, meaning that he has the support of over half the world’s population. Luckily, only America can vote! Elijah presented himself as a very current and marketable artist. His vibe is very Bruno Mars, Chris Wallace, or Jay Sean. He has a decent voice, relevant style, and good looks. Add a dance pop beat, and you will sell records. That said, his performance was totally bland. The song went nowhere. It didn’t show off any of his vocal capabilities. Like at all. He can thank the tween girls for giving him a legitimate shot.


Charlie Askew – Rocket Man

This was a blond song choice from a quirky little dude. Charlie has tons of charisma and personality, and it really showed in his overly rehearsed, robotic performance. The judges clamored over him. I was less than impressed. The vocals were good, but not fantastic. However, I’ve got to say…something about this kid sure is endearing. You can tell that he’s nervous, but has a heart, and is just doing what he loves. He’s an underdog, and America loves an underdog. I just hope that he doesn’t become a second Sanjaya and overstay his welcome.


Jimmy Smith – Raining on Sunday

With a name like “Jimmy Smith,” how could you not be the single most boring person on the planet? When the song began with a subdued beat, I thought that we might have been in for something original. However, the song soon became a karaoke country song with bland vocals, no passion, and no charisma. In the end, the only memorable thing about this song was the fact that while he was going for the “Good looking southern boy” thing, he wound up looking a little too much like a Ken doll gone awry.


Curtis Finch – Superstar

The overly affected gospel singer is now officially a staple of the show. Jacob Lusk, Joshua Ledet, and now Curtis Finch. At least this guy has a shot at making an actual album that people will buy. His performance of Superstar demonstrated some great control of his voice. Each run was placed in the song tactfully, and lasted only as long as it needed to be. Plus, the arrangement was actually very smooth! It was without a doubt the best performance of the night…which is actually kind of sad because this was only slightly above “good.”


So there you have it. Overall…pretty disappointing. The rankings?
10. Kevin Harris
9. Jimmy Smith
8. Chris Watson
7. JDA
6. Elijah Liu
5. Johnny Keyser
4. Charlie Askew
3. Paul Jolley
2. Devin Valez
1. Curtis Finch

For the most part, the judges agree. Even though Elijah’s performance was sub-par, I can’t deny that sending him through over Johnny Keyser was the right decision.

So, we now have one half of out semi-finalists. As of now, none of the guys are impressing me, though I am interested to see what Devin and Elijah can do as they move forward in the competition.

Till next week!


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