American Idol Episodes

2002, TV Show

American Idol Episode: "Top 8 Boys Compete"

Season 9, Episode 20
Episode Synopsis: Eight male semifinalists perform.
Original Air Date: Mar 10, 2010

American Idol Episode Recap: The Top 8 Guys Perform Season 9, Episode 20

On their final night to impress the judges and voters before the finals, American Idol's top eight guys mostly played it safe. Boring! The first five performances were accompanied by acoustic guitars, and sounded more like a campfire sing-along than a big TV production. Luckily, the show ended with quite a bang, but not before a few singers made some crucial errors. So who deserves to move on to the top 12? And who is better suited for singing on a cruise ship? Let's find out!

Lee Dewyze, "Fireflies"
I caught some heat over my criticism of Lee last week. Let me just say: Lee is more my kind of artist than anyone else in the game, but the dude has had pitch problems every week. That said, I thought his latest performance was technically his best, even if his rocker voice didn't quite work as well on a song that is so fluffy. The arrangement just wasn't there, but I think it had more to do with the volume of the backing band. All in all, another solid outing for Lee.
Judging the Judges: C- I agreed with Kara and Simon, but I docked major points because Ellen said pitch problems don't matter because girls have crushes on Lee. She's right about how America votes sometimes, but pitch problems should matter to the judges.

Alex Lambert, "Trouble"
Alex chose the perfect song, and aside from his still-awkward phrasing (he doesn't finish words well at all) he sounded just like Ray Lamontagne. That also is a downfall, because he didn't really mix up the song in any exciting way. He's also still noticeably nervous, and until he loosens up, I don't see him having a real shot at going that deep into the competition.
Judging the Judges: B- Kara says he could win the whole thing if he wasn't so stiff. (Not sure about that.) Ellen insists on comparing this guy to a banana — this week he was mushy because he ripened too fast. Ugh.

Tim Urban, "Hallelujah"
Do you realize what you've done America? By giving Tim a pass after his agonizingly painful "Apologize," you allowed him to hang around long enough to sing a song that might put him in the top 12. He's certainly not Jeff Buckley, but Tim's quiet, honest performance did connect. And he sang it better than I ever expected.
Judging the Judges: B Tim earned universal praise for his improvement, and Kara even said he was now among the top tier of the guys. Ellen hugged him. Is she really getting paid for this?

Andrew Garcia, "Genie in a Bottle"
This just didn't work. Andrew delivered a performance akin to his others, which is to say it was decently sung and reflective of his style. But the song is so corny that it was hard not to laugh at it. And Randy was right: the acoustic version of the song totally stripped any melodic range out of the song. I like Andrew, and want him to hang around, but I think he needs to choose a new angle.
Judging the Judges: F That rating is not based on their comments tonight, but for their insistent callbacks to his performance of "Straight Up." Because of that, Andrew tried to recreate that moment with a different song, and it flopped. And Kara had the nerve to say he is only chasing after that moment. Of course he is, because that's all he's heard. Grrr.

Casey James, "You'll Think of Me"
Zzzzzz. I really have enjoyed Casey in past weeks, but there was nothing interesting about this song at all. His vocals were fine, but he didn't really test himself or provide anything that is going to stick with me. He should still be fine, though.
Judging the Judges: A Randy said he played it safe, and Kara said that while she likes this side of Casey, she is missing his spark. (And thanks to the previous Casey-Kara shenanigans this season, that made me feel dirty).

Aaron Kelly, "I'm Already There"
Hoo, boy. Aaron knows his strength lies in country music, but this song started off at a Haeley Vaughn level of roughness. He settled into his comfort zone when he got to the big notes, but I found it harder than ever to get past his frowny face when he sings. He's too young to have that much of a furrowed brow. I'd say he might need to be worried about tomorrow's elimination.
Judging the Judges: A+ Ellen said the song was too much for Aaron. (Whoa! A useful comment). I would dock points for Kara rambling on about the song not suiting 16-year-old Aaron because it's about a father calling his kids, but thankfully Simon called Kara's overly literal critique rubbish. Simon noted that it wasn't a great vocal performance, but he told Kara to realize that for a country artist, it's a beautiful song to try.

Todrick Hall, "Somebody to Love"
I love Queen, but there aren't many artists who can reproduce their music without being cheesy. Cue Todrick Hall and his 50-gallon drum of cheese. It was without a doubt Todrick's best vocal performance (I don't think he missed a note), but the whole thing was amateur feeling. I dug the gospel feel, but I also think it gave the background singers too much spotlight. You are supposed to be wowing us, Todrick.
Judging the Judges: B Kara said it was well sung, but she didn't know whether she should love the performance or laugh at it. Simon called it American Idol: The Musical, and suggested a career on Broadway. I recommend a cruise ship, personally.

Michael Lynche, "This Woman's Work"
The only thing distracting me from this powerhouse closing number was Big Mike's outfit. (I know, how Paula of me, but up top he was getting married, and down low he was ready to party.) Anyway, Michael put every other guy who preceded him to shame, and I am glad to see him staying in this genre. He clearly excels there, and I fully suspect to see him keep growing. I agree with Simon: This was the best performance of all the live shows thus far.
Judging the Judges: A- Randy adored it. Ellen called Mike the one to beat. Simon thanked him for waking everyone up. Kara cried — a lot.

Who did you like? Who do you think should go home? Share your thoughts below!

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On their final night to impress the judges and voters before the finals, American Idol's top eight guys mostly played it safe. Boring! The first five performances were accompanied by acoustic guitars, and sounded more like a campfire sing-along than a big TV production. Luckily, the show ended with quite a bang, but not before a few singers made some crucial errors. So who deserves to move on to the top 12? And who is better suited for singing on a cruise ship? 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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