American Idol Episodes

2002, TV Show

American Idol Episode: "Top 12 Boys Compete"

Season 9, Episode 14
Episode Synopsis: The semifinal round advances with the Top 12 male singers taking to the stage.
Original Air Date: Feb 24, 2010

American Idol Episode Recap: The Top 12 Guys Perform Season 9, Episode 14

After the women of American Idol's top 24 kicked off the semifinals with a lackluster round of performances, it's up to the men to redeem the show? Which singers were up to the challenge, and which were just as awkward and pitchy as the ladies? Let's find out.

Ryan Seacrest opened the show promising another night of incredible performances. Incredible? What show did you see Tuesday, Ryan? Even worse for Seacrest: Wednesday's performances are only the slightest bit better than Tuesday's. The theme of the night is really awkward arrangements. Serves the judges right for insisting so much that everyone needed to do something original. Of course, the panel's hypocrisy was on full display when the guys took the advice a bit too far.

So far, this is one of the most unappealing groups of semifinalists I've seen in a long time. Among the guys, however, there are some bright spots. Let's get to it.

Todrick Hall, "Since U Been Gone"
I completely forgot Todrick was the guy who sang an original Idol-themed ditty during his audition. His spin on Kelly Clarkson's hit started off intriguingly, but quickly fell to mush. The song was virtually unrecognizable, especially since he didn't even approach any of the big notes that the chorus of the original song offers. I liked his creativity, but the execution was a big miss and kept me from really even remembering his vocals.
Judging the Judges: B They all said rearranging a song can only go so far. And Ellen trotted out her favorite faux compliment about stage presence.

Aaron Kelly, "Here Comes Goodbye"
I always roll my eyes when Simon talks about a performance being forgettable, but when Aaron's clip was shown at the end of the show, I was shocked by it. (Maybe it was some of the brutal performances that followed his that made me feel it had been hours since seeing Aaron sing). His take on the song is pleasant to listen to and he definitely belongs in this style of music. I forget he's 16 when I close my eyes, but he's also way too serious and intense when performing. Still, he was fine this week.
Judging the Judges: B+ Mostly, the panel did a lot of rambling about Aaron needing some confidence, which is good advice.

Jermaine Sellers, "Get Here"
The judges put the wrong Jermaine in the top 24. (What's up, Purrifory?) He has a smooth voice, but his upper register is painful to listen to. He also oozes an arrogance that rubs me the wrong way. He thinks he's so much better than he is, and if his vocals aren't bad enough to send him home (America must be deaf if that's true), his personality should.
Judging the Judges: B Ellen and Simon both hit on his terribly over-the-top oversinging.

Tim Urban, "Apologize"
Jermaine would be safe if only one guy were going home, because Tim was embarrassingly bad.  (Alas, I think they're both doomed.) Tim is only here because Chris Golightly was cut from the top 24 between Hollywood Week and now, and his painful version of One Republic's smash hit proves why he was cut. I do think he was better with his guitar in Hollywood, but remembering that only makes his song choice even more boneheaded. If you can't sing falsetto, you should probably stay away from songs that require falsetto for 80 percent of the chorus.
Judging the Judges: C Simon was brutally honest and Kara rightly said he was swallowed up by the stage and the music. The low grade comes from Ellen saying adorable about 37 times in 25 seconds.

Joe Munoz, "You and I Both"
His vocals were fine, but his lounge-singer version of Jason Mraz's poppy hit was boring. True, the original version doesn't fit Joe's strengths, but by bringing it to his level, he made the performance uncaptivating. Still, he seems comfortable on stage, and he could rebound if given another shot.
Judging the Judges: B Simon advised Joe and all the contestants to get outside the bubble of the show and focus on making people consider them as artists, not players in a karaoke contest.

Tyler Grady, "American Woman"
So, the guy looks like Jim Morrison, and his plan of attack is to make us suffer through bad versions of '70s rock songs each week? The high notes are a huge stretch for him, and even his struts and poses don't feel natural. I don't buy the act at all, and he certainly doesn't have the voice of that era. It's one big pile of warmed-over shtick.
Judging the Judges: A Ellen finally said something interesting about stage presence: He's doing the right moves with none of the right charisma.

Lee Dewyze, "Chasing Cars"
I like Lee, but I saw about 75 versions of him in college. He has a nice tone to his voice, but he again took a song that was inescapable for almost an entire year and turned it into something I don't recognize. Maybe Kara was right that he was trying to make it fit his voice, but I just don't get this one.
Judging the Judges: C Simon loves it. Really? Oh, it's because he fought to get him to the top 24, so he's just backing his horse.

John Park, "God Bless the Child"
It took 30 seconds for me to understand a word John sang. He's got a good voice, but his performance put me to sleep. Seriously, kids, don't sing standards until the producers force them on you during theme weeks.
Judging the Judges: B They love the voice, hate the song choice.

Michael Lynche, "This Love"
This performance added a little jolt of energy to a slow show, but I want to see the Michael from back in Orlando. He auditioned as a smooth, soulful guy but has since performed as a singer-songwriter party-band guy. And it just doesn't look or sound right for me. He also seems a bit entitled, probably because he's had so much screen time. He needs to watch his 'tude.
Judging the Judges: B+ Love that Kara noted the performance was only OK and that Ellen called him on his cockiness.

Alex Lambert, "Wonderful World"
Alex is a singer best enjoyed by the ears only. The combo of his extreme stiffness and the weird emo mullet totally distracts from what Kara called his "thick, rich" tone. He picked the perfect song for his voice, but he's so nervous it's hard to think about anything else. Even when the singing ends, he can hardly contain his twitchiness.
Judging the Judges: B Ellen said he's like a banana: He just needs to ripen.

Casey James, "Heaven"
I'm as surprised as anyone that I like this guy, but if every performance turns into this awkward, jokey lovefest with Kara, I say cut him now. His vocals stood out in a night of subpar performances, but I am not sure he's a superstar. The song choice was right on, though, and I look forward to seeing more of him — so long as he keeps his shirt on.
Judging the Judges: F Simply because they laughed through the performance and the critique. Grow up, kids.

Andrew Garcia, "Sugar We're Going Down"
Andrew proves two things: Not every song will be amazing just by stripping it down, and Fall Out Boy's lyrics make no sense. Like Simon, I was disappointed, but I think all the judges referring to his "Straight Up" performance in Hollywood was silly. This guy is still one of the best singers in the pitiful group, and we don't need reminders of his former greatness. I do need Andrew to return to that greatness next week, though.
Judging the Judges: C Again, don't preach the make-songs-your-own sermon and then condemn a guy for taking the risk, even if it didn't work perfectly.

Who do you like? Who do you think is going home? Do the guys have the edge? Share your thoughts below!


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After the women of American Idol's top 24 kicked off the semifinals with a lackluster round of performances, it's up to the men to redeem the show? Which singers were up to the challenge, and which were just as awkward and pitchy as the ladies? Let's find out. read more

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Premiered: June 11, 2002, on FOX
Rating: TV-PG
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Premise: The smash reality series showcases wannabe pop stars competing for a record deal by crooning for a panel of judges, including, most entertainingly, the acid-tongued Simon Cowell, who departed the show in 2010 after serving for nine seasons. The judges review a performer's talent (or lack thereof), and at-home viewers then vote for their favorite potential star. The show helped launch the careers of such artists as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert.



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