- David Hernandez - "Latin America meets Motown" - Well, okay he's from Missouri, but come on! He's a Hernandez! This isn't he best we've seen of David, but far from the worst of the night. While his rendition of "In the Midnight Hour" got a little full of cheese in the middle, perhaps his unique slow opening of the tune will be what the voters will remember. It's always tough to go first, and fortunately for him, he was not the worst!
- Chickezie - "Forrest Whitaker meets Gary Coleman" - Come on, you know you see it! Anyway, it's hard not to like ol' Chickezie, even if he has shortened his name for the Semi-Finals. That crazy brown/orange suit though...woa! I'm with Simon...that was kinda hideous. I forget the song he sang...but I wrote down in my notes that he was a bit BLAND with his performance. The judges commented on his old fashioned style....and while Simon can argue till he's blue in the face that the contestants need to be able to modernize 60's songs...I can agree with Chickezie to an extent too for defending his stance. I'm still confused why we had a THEME NIGHT for the Semi-Finals....last season they were able to pick whatever they wanted to sing. At least that's what I thought. Maybe it just seemed that way based on whatever the theme was. I just thought we had to give these kids a chance to sing the songs they're comfortable with before they have to branch out into themes. Anyway...all of this being said...Chickezie should be safe on Thursday.
- David Cook - "Goo Goo Dolls meets Fall Out Boy" - Well, while he may not be the favorite after tonight and the Hollywood rounds, I still like this guy. He took The Turtles almight mega cheese hit "Happy Together" and kinda rocked it. Like Randy said, if he could make that song resemble ANYTHING of a potential modern song...he might have a few surprises coming our way. I wouldn't count this guy out as a favorite just yet. Give him a chance or 2 more! I still say he's a definite top 12'er.
- Jason Yeager - "Black hair meets 2 Blond Hairs" - Seriously? just pick one hair color and stick with it. This guy's hair was the least of his problems though. His crooning performance of "Moon River" was sleep inducing. He was the first of 3 contestants who didn't get much prior airtime and underwhelmed the audience and the viewing masses. I would say Jason is in deep trouble on Thursday. I really didn't think he had many likeable qualities either in the personality department. Even though they sure tried with traipising his little boy in front of the cameras. That might be his only saving grace. Because making fun of the Girls dancing (Ramiele specifically) at the end of the broadcast is probably not going to get him many votes! (That's right Yeagermeister! We saw it!)
- Robbie Carrico - "Rocker Outfit meets Pop Singer" - Okay, so maybe 5 years ago it would've been okay to bring up that you were the opening act for Britney Spears. In today's environment? Not a PLUS for Robbie in my book! Add on top of that that not only was he a former BOY bander, but that it was a BOY/GIRL Band, ouch...this just isn't all helping. I really just don't see the appeal of this guy. He seems like one giant poser. You know who he reminds me of? Steve the Pirate from Dodgeball. The guy just thought he was a pirate but he really wasn't! Well, this guy is a Pop Singer dressed up for halloween in Rock Star clothes. I couldn't have agreed with Simon more that Robbie's version of "ONE" while technically in tune and good...just wasn't convincing as a ROCKER'S performance. But in any case, Steve the Pirate will most likely move on to see another day due to his otherwise decent performance.
- David Archuletta - "Star Search meets Mickey Mouse Club!" - I received an anonymous tip that we need to fit David for his mouse ears as soon as possible! This guy is 17 going on 14 and everyone is still eating it up. The judges included. And I'm not going to argue that the kid doesn't have talent. He totally does. I mean just look at his "undiscovered talent" resume. He has previously been a winner of Star Search! Well there you go! Why not audition for Idol after a lackluster season and have the producers "be flexible" on the eligibility rules!? Throw in some crazy story of a paralyized vocal chord so that people don't question the Star Search victory, have him sing John Mayer's positive political song a couple times, have the judges throw endless compliments your way so that you can see a genuinely nice kid just smile and take it all in.....and yep...you got yourselves a feel good story that will last us through much of the top 12! But I still gotta say, this kid, as "WHEN YOU'VE GOT IT, YOU'VE GOT IT and YOU HAVE GOT IT" as he is....he will not GET IT (The American Idol Crown). And if he does get it? I'll happily stop blogging after this season!
- Danny Noriega - "Jessica Alba meets Flaming Elvis" - Everyone knows how I'm a big fan of Danny's Flamboyance. Throw in a little "Jailhouse Rock" to the mix and you have chaos on your hands. While I can't stand the kid, I know we're kinda stuck with him for now so I'm making my peace with it. He'll get what's coming to him eventually. And with that, I thought Simon's critique on him was quite harsh. And initially, it's just going to drive more votes his way. But will people tire of his "ACT" eventually? I urge you all to chime in with your thoughts. It tired on me 30 seconds before the first time I saw him on camera!
- Luke Menard - "Who cares?" - Really, his performance was that dreary. The only thing memorable about his screentime was that in his pre-performance clip he made a bold statement about his goal being to not only be a top 24'er but to WIN American Idol. THEN he sang a song that I couldn't even begin to tell you what it was. This is contestant #2 that bored us to tears with little air-time to justify it. Of the 3, I'd say Luke is definitely gone on Thursday.
- Colton Berry - "Ellen Degeneres meets Big Broadway Nerd!" - He'll always be known as the guy that got in over the other more appealing nerd, Kyle. While neither of them should be winning anything lately, at least Kyle would've been more entertaining. This guy actually WELCOMES the comparisons to Ellen from the left, right and center. Yikes. His take on "Suspicious Minds" was decent but very broadway'ish as he claimed himself to be very versed in. The smiling was a bit out of control too. I think he'll be safe this week. But you never know, people may forget about him too.
- Garrett Haley - "Leif Garrett meets a Teenage Bee Gee" - Contestant #3 with previously little air-time. He sang a dreadful rendition of "Breaking Up is Hard to Do." I thought the only thing that would save him is the fact that the tweener girls will just love him and might try to give him another chance. What's with all of these 17 year old kids in the top 24? This is all Jodin Sparks's fault for not being awful!
- Jason Castro - "Bob Marley's hair meets a Female" - The surprise performance of the night. I knew we could expect some decent things from DREADS! While he did have a bit of a feminine side to him, he was able to butch it up by being the only contestant brave enough to sport a guitar on stage with him. He sang a mostly acoustic and solo version of "What a Day for a Daydream" This kid knew he hadn't sunk into the collective American Idol viewer-base in previous weeks and found a way to stand out from the pack. I knew I put him in orange status last week for a reason! Looks like he may be able to sneak into the top 12 and that would be fine with me!
- Michael Johns - "Jim Morrison meets Michael Hutchence" - As much as I tried to fight it, Michael Johns is turning out to be the real deal. And yeah, a lot of it had to do with me thinking he was talking in a goofy voice...and now just realizing that he's Australian! Of course, the Idol producing team went out of their way to convince us that the Aussie should be allowed to compete because he's been living in America his entire adult life (10 years). They did NOT mention how the 29 year old ALSO had a former record contract. (See comments about American Idol needing a hit season in my David Archulleta section and in tomorrow's Carly Smithson section). Anyway, he hit The Doors' "Light My Fire" out of the park. It suited him very well. And pretty much any song he performs seems to suit him well. Can't argue with the judges. The guy seems like a natural. If this is how he gets his big break...so be it!
I know I didn't really get into the whole judges and Ryan bantering that occurred throughout the episode. But obviously, I was a big fan of Paula calling out Colors and Simon being utterly confused and Ryan trying to tie everything together and make sense out of it. Anyway, we have some work to do now. Let's do some math as we always like to do!
Best performances of the night and not in danger: Michael Johns, Dreads, David Cook
Many people will also put him in the "best performance" category: David Archulleta
Better than Average: David Hernandez, Robbie Carrico, Chickezie
Flamboyant and uncategoriziable: Danny Noriega
Average: Colton Berry
Awful: Luke Menard, Garrett Haley, Jason Yeager
I'm going to try and pretend that when I realized I only had 11 names up there, that David Cook was NOT the name I was forgetting! It's not a sign that America will forget about him too! I've usually gone pretty bold with some guesses in this 1st Semi-Final round...but I'm going to stay safe this week. This seems pretty straight-forward to me:
Elimination Picks: Luke Menard, Jason Yeager
Wildcard: Garrett Haley Bonus Wildcard: Colton Berry