The top 8 guys left on American Idol season 9 brought everything they had last night in hopes of earning one of the coveted spots in the top 12.
Guys’ night didn’t see any real crash and burn moments ala Paige Miles on girls’ night, but it wasn’t free from major disappointment. Early standout Andrew Garcia tried his best to regain the magic he created in Hollywood week, but was desperate at best.
With Andrew on the fast and steady decline, Michael Lynche, aka Big Mike, continued to soar. His showstopping performance wowed the crowd — and brought a judge to tears!
Here’s a rundown of how the top 8 guys did:
Lee Dewyze – Fireflies: Well, there’s no way Lee could be accused of not being current this week. The downside is he’s yet to show he is comfortable on the stage (he stiffly hid behind his guitar) or that he can deliver an error-free vocal. Worst, he hasn’t shown us that he knows who he is as an artist. At most, he’s an over-hyped, watered-down version of David Cook, but David Cook he will never be as good as. The panel was split. Randy thought Lee “worked it out,” while Simon said he was “better than the version of the song you just did.”
Alex Lambert – Trouble: Looking more comfortable than ever, Alex, with guitar in hand, slayed with a healthy serving of soul on Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble.” It’s hard to forget Taylor Hicks’ version in season 5, but Alex didn’t disappoint. Well, not true. Randy wasn’t all that moved. “You could have done a little bit more with it,” he told Alex. Pah! It was simple, yet did all it needed to to show off that gorg voice. Kara and Simon are still hoping for the day Alex lets go more, but Ellen believes he “gets better and better and better.” She also loves the way he isn’t a “cocky banana,” and Simon thinks he needs to picture Randy in a bikini to loosen up. OK…
Tim Urban – Hallelujah: When contestants need to try their hand at creating an honest moment, this is the song they all run to. Tim needed that moment and tried to deliver it, but he just doesn’t have the vocal chops to told this kind of song up. It was so boring I was hoping the judges would end it all and go back to bantering about cocky bananas. Clearly, I am alone. Ellen loved it so much she actually got out of her seat to hug him and tell him it was “fantastic.” Simon dubbed it “the strongest performance” Tim’s ever given. That praise couldn’t come at a better time. Maybe he’s top 12 bound.
Andrew Garcia – Genie In A Bottle: The curse of “Straight Up” lives on. Andrew thought he’d go for the WOW by rearranging another female pop tune, and it worked a bit. Before anyone heard him sing, we were all a twitter on Twitter wondering how it would turn out. Sadly, the product didn’t live up to the manufacturer’s hype. It was such an obvious attempt at reclaiming his “Straight Up” glory that it came off desperate and a little sad. He just didn’t do enough to make it as special. None of the judges dug it. Andrew could really be in trouble.
Casey James – You’ll Think Of Me: Casey’s attempt at being a rocker dude was chopped up last week, so he’s back to being that dreamy boring dude who sits on a stool and offers nothing else really in terms of stage presence. But did I mention he’s dreamy? Yeah… that was pretty much the best thing about his sleepy performance. We’ll be thinking of his cute mug, but we’ll forget that snoozer of a performance. It didn’t really work for the judges, either. Casey’s biggest and most inappropriate fan, Kara, told him she was “almost back on the Casey train,” while Simon thought he needed to do more but “sounded great.”
Aaron Kelly – I’m Already There: Aaron is finding his groove in the country/pop lane, but he needs to find a better groove on stage. Following Casey’s slumber party performance, Aaron offered another stool-bound yawner. It was also very shaky vocally and took too long to rev up. Randy thought it was “a job well done.” Ellen put on her mean hat to say she “didn’t think it was terrific.” Kara tried breaking down the meaning of the song and telling young Aaron he didn’t have the life experience to connect with the song, but Simon jumped in to tell her that critique was “rubbish.”
Todrick Hall – Somebody To Love: Kudos to Todrick for his most memorable performance of the semi-finals, but that doesn’t mean it was all that great. The very last note was flawless, but the rest? A unsteady near-mess. Randy thought differently, saying it was “one of the best vocals I’ve heard all night.” Ellen and Kara didn’t know exactly what to make of the performance, though Kara thought “the singing was good.” Simon agrees, chiming in with “I think that may have saved you.”
Michael Lynche – This Woman’s Work: Big Mike took on a big Maxwell song in his bid for the top 12, and he pulled it off. The beauty in Mike’s performance came from him not trying too hard to copy Maxwell’s version note for note. He did his own thing with it. It was sensitive and honest, yet he worked the stage and had a real performance — a showstopping performance. Randy and Ellen loved it, but no one loved it quite like Kara, who was brought to tears. Simon completed the well-deserved praise fest by adding that it was “the best performance we had of all these live shows so far.” I’m officially a fan.
Predictions: It would have been so easy to say Tim Urban in the past, but Andrew Garcia could really suffer. Having the misfortune of going right before Mike, Todrick might go forgotten.
The top 12 will be announced tonight!