AMERICAN IDOL S11 Semifinalist Boys Perform | © 2012 Fox

AMERICAN IDOL S11 Semifinalist Boys Perform | © 2012 Fox

Cast: Ryan Seacrest, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson
Network: Fox, airs Wednesdays and Thursdays @ 8 p.m.
Original Telecast: Feb. 28, 2012 

So it begins …

Seacrest said it best at the start of the show, after weeks of enduring wave after wave of auditions and narrowing the contestants to just 24, the world’s greatest karaoke competition, AMERICAN IDOL, has finally reached the point where the voting starts.

Let me just get this out of the way first … no nip slip J.Lo? Really? I guess this show isn’t good enough for you, eh? And by good enough I mean it is a reality show and not a swanky award show.

Now, they are doing it a bit differently this year. Last year, the judges decided who entered the Top-24 eliminating this entire process that we are seeing this week. Luckily, they brought it back so the people have a vote on who goes on. Well, with one exception. The judges each get a pick from the Top-24 to bring into the finals as the “wild card.”

Because they gotta squeeze in 12 dudes singing they went right to it and that’s what I’ll do now. My prediction for tonight? Pain (copyright Clubber Lang in ROCKY III).

Reed Grimm
Song: “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5
What I Think: Wait a sec … no he isn’t. He can’t be. Oh crap he really is taking a modern tune and making it a Las Vegas style jazz number complete with him playing the trademark drums. Now, while I think it is certainly taking a song and making it his own. Not sure if it is the thing that you want to do to get you into the finals. I mean the kids will be like … “Uh I know this song but I kinda hate it this way, yeah no vote for you.”
What the Judges Thought: Randy thought it was bold and a great choice. Jennifer thought the opposite of I did which was because everyone knows the song it will resonate with fans as a different switch. Steven loved it and his shuffle.
Grade: B

Adam Brock
Song: “Think” by Aretha Franklin
What I thought: This might be the first time I’ve heard a dude sing this song. And Adam did say he had a black woman trapped inside so I guess it fits. It wasn’t bad but it certainly didn’t blow the lid off the place as much as the judges thought (at least from what we can tell on TV). He definitely can sing but I wonder if this was the right choice to make the people want to vote for him.
What the Judges Thought: Steven thought it was beautiful. Jennifer loved the finish and thought he needed to stand out and he delivered. Randy loved the throw back thing he has going on and called him white chocolate.
Grade: C+

Deandre Brackensick
Song: “Reasons” by Earth, Wind and Fire
What I thought: Did I miss the memo about taking classic songs and making them jazz? I guess I did because that seems to be the theme running through the first few contestants. This was just all bad. There wasn’t a thing that I liked about Deandre’s performance. It just stunk up the place especially after we had two strong singers start out the show. I can’t imagine this performance taking him to the next level. He looked like he wanted to be anywhere but on that stage.
What the Judges Thought: But what do I know. The judges loved it. Jennifer thought his voice was perfect. Randy thought he was one of the most commercial guys going right now. Steven also loved it. And from Seacrest bringing the tweens on the stage … I am probably dead wrong about his chances. Because in case you haven’t been paying attention for 10 years, tweens dominate the early voting.
Grade: D+

Colton Dixon
Song: “Decode” by Paramore
What I thought: Well, Colton just took a big dump over all the jazz we have seen so far. He rocked it out and was bouncing all over the stage. He may have lost a bit of the song during all that moving, which may have been the wrong choice but for those not wanting to see the same performers and more Adam Lambert style flair, he’s the best choice so far.
What the Judges Thought: Randy liked his indie rock star and the variety he brings to the competition. Jennifer thought he sang from the heart and wants to see more of it and called him a relevant artist. Steven thought we saw his true talent and what he can bring to the competition.
Grade: B

Jeremy Rosado
Song: “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles
What I thought: Our first ballad of the night comes from an unlikely source. I figured he’d go big or go home but instead went with Sara Bareilles? Really man, come on hitting the adult contemporary angle isn’t the best thing to win votes. Maybe he’ll get a judges’ pick because I can’t see that winning people over. Nothing wrong with the singing but just not the right song in my opinion.
What the Judges Thought: Steven thought it was great and he couldn’t pick a better song. Jennifer said he has a voice from God and loved it. Randy was impressed with the tender moments and the big booming vocals.
Grade: B-

Aaron Marcellis
Song: “Never Can Say Goodbye” by Jackson 5
What I thought: After a lame Oscar reenactment, where J.Lo said there was no nipple (there is no spoon!), Aaron channeled his inner Motown and showed what he is all about and there is no doubt this is the type of songs we’ll be getting from him if he moves on. Now, the question is will it resonate with fans or will they want more of the indie and chance taking singers we have already seen. My guess is the latter. Who do you remember the Asian kid that’s funny or this guy who sings great but really doesn’t have a statement look or personality? Exactly.
What the Judges Thought: Randy thought the run at the end was craaaazy. Jennifer said the boy can sing and his voice takes her there. Steven says he was the total package tonight. Will anyone screw up tonight in the judges’ minds?
Grade: B

Chase Likens
Song: “Storm Warning” by Hunter Hays
What I thought: Chase has a big problem in that we didn’t see a lot of him during Hollywood Week or the following narrowing of contestants. In fact, when they showed him getting judged I was trying to remember who he was. That’s a problem considering all the other contestants we have seen struggle or profiled through the show so far. The one thing he has going for him is that he’s a country singer and as this show has proved, there are a lot of country fans that watch. However, this wasn’t the best singing performance of the night and that might eliminate some of his chances. He was much like his time on IDOL, forgettable.
What the Judges Thought: Steven welcomed him to the show and said he would set the moms’ hearts at home on fire. Jennifer said it showed who he is on the show. Randy said he has some range and skills.
Grade: C+

Creighton Fraker
Song: “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper
What I thought: Well, that was something. First, I doubt anyone watching this song that might be a hardcore voter will know it. Second, Cyndi Lauper, really? Of all the songs you could choose you pick this one? Anyway, also what was with all those weird faces he made during the performance and referring to himself in the third person is never a good sign. I don’t have much faith in him moving forward.
What the Judges Thought: Jennifer thought it was beautiful and said America has a hard choice coming (not really, J.Lo). Steven said Cyndi was home crying … yeah because he just butchered her biggest hit. Randy was disappointed that they have to lose six people … which basically is a nice way of saying … dude, hit the bricks. These judges need someone that will be honest, cause they were all thinking it, they just need to say it.
Grade: D-

Phil Philips
Song: “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins
What I thought: Again, picking a song that no one watching that will probably be voting more than once is a risky move when you don’t have to (obviously others choose modern hits). And this was a definite different version from the original, which is always what the judges want, but it might have been a bit too sleepy. Plus, no drums at the end? You gotta have drums at the end of “In the Air Tonight.”
What the Judges Thought: Jennifer thinks he is one of the special talents they found. Steven said he hit his stride tonight. Randy wasn’t thrilled with some of the song but he still loves the guy and reminds him of Dave Matthews.
Grade: B-

Eben Franckewitz
Song: “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele
What I thought: What’s with all the dudes singing songs by chicks? I mean it isn’t against the rules obviously but just a little weird there are so many tonight. However, it fits for Eben since he may or may not have reached puberty. This was terrible. Sorry, I know the kid is just 15 but good luck getting votes from anyone that isn’t 11 or 12, it just was lacking in just about every category especially compared to the strong singers that have performed before him.
What the Judges Thought: Again, maybe I’m just totally off on my opinions tonight because once again the judges loved it. Randy thought it wasn’t all perfect but he brought it home at the end. Jennifer thought it got unsure in the middle but she loved the end. Steven thought he was pitchy and should listen to some blues records.
Grade: F

Heejun Han
Song: “Angels” by Sarah McLachlan
What I thought: You gotta hand it to Heejun. The guy is straight up hilarious. I really hope he continues on … not because of his singing but because at least he gives the show some much-needed levity. Oh yeah he can sing, don’t get me wrong but I don’t know if he is the strongest singer in the bunch. Also, I hate ballads and was disappointed he went this route. Hopefully he’ll do some more interesting numbers if he moves on. Just a side note, do they pick all the contestants that work with kids or have a charity or did something for someone special. Just once I’d love to see some dude say “Yeah, I drink beer all day and lounge around thinking about how great I am and could care less about others.” At least then I’d feel attached. I would really like it if he sang “Hey Jude” since that’s what I always think when they say his name.
What the Judges Thought: Jennifer loved his singing and said he can “blow”. Steven sang “Hey Jude” with his name and didn’t like the song but it was good. Randy thought it was a decent song and thinks he is made talented.
Grade: B-

Joshua Ledet
Song: “You Pulled Me Through” by Jennifer Hudson
What I thought: We went from jazz-izing everything to singing all ballads. I just said it but I hate ballads. They seem like a cop out. That said, he blew the lid off the joint and the judges and the crowd ate it up so he has a good chance of making it on if this is truly a talent show.
What the Judges Thought: Randy thought he was great. Jennifer said his voice is from another world. Steven loved his voice and what this show is all about.
Grade: B+

Jermaine Jones
Song: “Dance With My Father” by Luther Vandross
What I thought: Jermaine got a second shot because I guess they had some time to kill or they wanted more drama. My first thought: Jesus, this dude is huge.   My second thought: Jesus, another ballad. What have we learned from the first live performance on IDOL? Loads of ballads, loads of jazz-izing popular tunes, the judges need a backbone, no nipple slips. As far as Jermaine goes. Not a chance in hell. America doesn’t like losers and he was already kicked off the show once, why vote for him now?
What the Judges Thought: Randy thought it was nice and loves his different voice. Jennifer said he has a special voice. Steven thought it was a beautiful thing.
Grade: B-

So who do I think America will choose to be in the finals from the guys? Joshua Ledet, Phil Phillips, Heejun Han, Jeremy Rosado and Colton Dixon. I think that Adam Brock or Reed Grimm will be the wild card.

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