Tuesday was Ladies' Night on American Idol, but on Wednesday the judges turned their attention to the guys. "We just have a new breed of musician and singer coming up," judge Jennifer Lopez told Ryan Seacrest before the performances began.
The show repeated its head-scratching formula from Tuesday, only allowing 10 of the Top 15 guys to perform on stage, with virtually no explanation for viewers as to why the remaining five got cut. Former judge Randy Jackson, as well as alums Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry, also all returned as mentors.
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Here's a breakdown of the Top 10's performances:
Song: "Stay With Me" by The Faces
The performance: Randy and Chris tell Caleb to work more on his stage presence and remember to keep his eyes open while singing — advice he takes to heart while belting out The Faces' classic. He's definitely found his niche and even looks fairly comfortable working the stage as he sets the bar pretty high for the rest of the guys.
The judges say: Keith Urban praises Caleb for his "perfect" song choice, while Jennifer praises his "real rock star ish." Even Harry Connick, Jr. notes that Caleb is going to be a tough act to follow.
Song: "Shelter" by Ray Lamontagne
The performance: We love C.J.'s signature raspy tone, and the fact that he had a root canal just 24 hours earlier makes this outing all the more impressive. His guitar playing is also a nice complement to the song as opposed to being a distraction.
The judges say: Harry tells C.J. to watch his sharp intonations, but Jennifer and Keith agree that the emotion C.J. puts into his performances overrides any technical shortcomings.
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Song: "Best of My Love" by The Emotions
The performance: Emmanuel's clearly a natural performer and has no problem working the crowd and showing off some simple dance moves, but his inclusion in the Top 10 is a little puzzling. Dare we say we wish Randy was back on the panel to tell him he's a little pitchy?
The judges say: Harry calls the performance "fun" and "infectious," while cautioning Emmanuel to "stay in your lane." Keith agrees with Harry (and gets a hug as a result), telling Emmanuel to keep his adrenaline in check.
Song: "Babylon" by David Gray
The performance: Sam has a unique, mature sound that goes beyond his 17 years, and he heeds the mentors' advice to loosen up onstage. Even though the song choice is a little snoozy, Sam totally owns it. He's a natural!
The judges say: According to Keith, Sam's voice is "just money" and J.Lo praises his "perfect pitch." Harry nitpicks a bit and says he hopes Sam can gain "small degrees of confidence" if he moves forward in the competition.
Song: "Grenade" by Bruno Mars
The performance: Oy. George has a bit of trouble staying in time with the band at the beginning, which detracts from his buttery smooth vocals and considerable range. Luckily he gets back on track by the end of the song.
The judges say: After couching her criticism with the observation that viewers have a tough choice ahead of them, Jennifer tells George to control his runs more. Harry's less diplomatic, and says that the performance "spun out of control." (Cue boos.)
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Song: "This Ole Boy" by Craig Morgan
The performance: Dexter's Southern charm makes him one of the most likeable contestants in the competition, but his song tonight doesn't sound like that much more than a good karaoke performance, and he's much too mumbly at times. If he advances he definitely needs to show off his range more.
The judges say: Harry says Dexter needs to do something to differentiate himself from all the other country artists out there, and resident country artist Keith agrees.
Song: "Volcano" by Damien Rice
The performance: His head movements are a little distracting at times, but Alex has a lovely, ethereal tone that leaves the listener wanting more. His performance raises the question though: how many singer-songwriter types are there room for in the Top 13?
The judges say: Keith calls this "the best song choice of the night," and Jennifer says Alex is "in your own lane." Will he, Sam and the other singer/songwriters split the viewer vote though?
Song: "Comin' From Where I'm From" by Anthony Hamilton
The performance: Poor Malcolm not only looks uncomfortable up on stage, but also has some enunciation problems early on in the song. Obviously everyone deserves a little slack for nerves in this round, but his performance places him near the bottom of the pack.
The judges say: Harry criticizes Malcolm's repetitive runs and atonality, and even too-nice Jennifer says she wanted more from the performance. Keith (after getting played off initially) encourages him to make more artistic choices. Malcolm does, however, get bonus points for defending Harry against a chorus of boos and telling the audience to respect the freshman judge's opinion.
Song: "Soulshine" by The Allman Brothers
The performance: Ben took a risk by playing electric guitar, and it might not have been the wisest choice. The performance was passable, but it's clear that he doesn't have ownership over the instrumentation and his solo in particular only served to distract from his vocals.
The judges say: Keith loves what he calls the "first shredded guitar solo" in Idol history, and Jennifer tells Ben he "came alive" on stage.
Song: "Love Don't Die" by The Fray
The performance: Idol's Season 13 heartthrob is in the house. Spencer's been one of the frontrunners ever since he sat behind the piano in Hollywood Week, and he continues on that trajectory tonight. But he's not just a pretty face — and his choice of an upbeat rock song is a smart one, since we already know he can handle ballads.
The judges say: All the judges say it wasn't Spencer's best vocal performance, and Harry goes as far as to say, "This was not good." All three members, however, note how excited the audience was to see Spencer — and a chorus of high-pitched shrieks prove them right. But will Spencer's looks be a benefit or a detriment going forward.
So there you have it, the Top 10 guys. Not making the cut are Briston Maroney, Casey Thrasher, Ethan Harris, Jordan Brisbane and Maurice Townsend.
On Thursday's episode, the Top 20 will be cut in half, with viewer votes determining the Top 5 guys and girls, and each judge handing out a wild card to cement the final Top 13.
What do you think about the Top 10 guys? And who are your favorites so far this season? Weigh in below!
American Idol airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c on Fox.