Tonight the Top 12 guys performed on Idol. To say it was rough would be a massive understatement. At this point I can safely plug Casey James and Andrew Garcia into the next round. Otherwise almost every other performer tonight could take a hike and I wouldn’t bat an eye (believe me, it’s no secret these two went last tonight).

Just to recap some formatting notes from last night: I am going to just score each of the performances (10-phenomenol, 5 -generally forgettable, 1-nails on chalkboard) and add some quick comments. The comments after each performer’s name are basically what I am writing as they are singing. I rarely write any more opinions after they are done unless it is to talk about what the judges say. The scores are almost solely based on my own individual preferences. Feel free to comment and agree or disagree. With that, away we go:

9- Casey James (Heaven) – Thank you Casey James. Thank you. By far the best performance of the night. Polished, confident, and just original enough. In a night of less than mediocre performances his stood out to an unbelievable degree. His score is a low 9 but he was so much better than everyone else that I had to do it. Could do without the Kara lovefest BS because it took away from an otherwise great performance.

7- Andrew Garcia(Sugar We’re Going Down Swinging) - He is one of my favorites. My own personal jury is out on this cover. I kept waiting for it to go somewhere and it just slowed down at all the wrong times. That song has tons of energy and he never got it there. I still think he is one of the male front-runners and he stood out on an otherwise forgettable night.

6-Tyler Grady (American Woman ) – I don’t totally mind the Mick Jagger-throwback look. It’s a little odd, but I’m no fashion maven so maybe it works. His performance was decent until he tried to do the 70’s rocker screech that Adam Lambert perfected last year. Comparatively, he is light years away from that standard. Simon’s analysis that he “went to rockstar school for his look” is spot on.

5 -Big Mike Lynch (This Love) Big Mike is a personal trainer?!?! That’s it folks. You can officially do anything if you just try hard enough. That might be a bigger accomplishment than if he even won American Idol. Which based on his performance tonight, he won’t. Sounded like someone doing a slightly above Maroon 5 at a karaoke bar. Kara made a good point (gasp) when she said that if the other singers had been anything of note, no one would have noticed Big Mike’s performance.

5- Aaron Kelly (Here Comes Goodbye) – Rascal Flatts is a tough cover because the lead singer’s voice is one of the better male voices I’ve heard. Aaron didn’t have quite the same range. I was never that excited about this kid and looked twice when he made it into the Top 12. I tend to think the judges wanted to get a younger male into the next round and he was the best fit. The judges were generally pretty easy on him because I think they want him to move forward. Is there any way in the world you can imagine this kid as the next American Idol? No chance.

5 - Lee Dewyze (Chasing Cars) – What is a paint sales clerk? Is that a fancy way of saying you stand behind the counter at Home Depot? This was another guy I couldn’t believe got through to the Top 12. That being said, his beginning had me encouraged. When the song picked up, his voice went a little flat and strained. I think this guy actually has the right idea of what he should sing but his voice has definite limitations. I usually don’t totally disagree with Simon but his assessment that Lee’s performance was fantastic was waaaaaay off base.

4 - Alex Lambert (Wonderful World) - Nice job throwing that train wreck Mary Powers under the bus in his interview. I couldn’t stop focusing on his quasi-mullet. At times, this song worked. At other times it failed. Scratch that, mostly it failed. He seemed so stiff and awkward. If he gets over that nervousness I can see him sticking around. When is the first time someone calls him Adam Lambert?

4 - Toderick Hall (Since You’ve Been Gone) – Tried to do his own version of Kelly Clarkson’s hit. What a mistake. It’s obvious he has a good voice but this song just sounded so odd and weirdly put together. I didn’t get it. Kudos for the effort, but going first means you need to kill it; he didn’t. I loved that he originally heard that version of the song in his head.

3- Joe Munoz (You and I Both) – First of all, this is one of my favorite songs so my man Joe had to kill it in order to color me impressed. He started off okay, but it downward spiraled from there. He just sounded incredibly nervous, and then as he kept going probably just got more and more shaky. Ellen said that he had great stage presence and he sounded good?!?! I totally disagree with the judges on their evaluations. It doesn’t say much about the rest of the night that Kara thought he was the best of the night so far.

3 - Tim Urban (Apologize) – Was originally cut from the show, but came back. I’d like to say he made the most of his new found opportunity. He didn’t. His performance had the unfortunate distinction of being both poor and forgettable. Nice job by Simon saying they made the right choice the first time. Should have stayed home Timmy boy. I agree with Simon that his voice simply isn’t good enough (at least not for the song he sang).

2-John Park(God Bless the Child ) – I really liked this guy before he started singing. Sounded like he missed the key to start off and while he sort of recovered, it was a tough listen. I actually started feeling bad for him as it kept going.

2- Jermaine Sellers (Get Here) – It sounded like he was singing a baby to sleep at start. Then it got worse. Just sounded terrible, out of key, and I almost dipped it down to “nails on a chalkboard” status. It would be tough to sound any worse than he did tonight. I cringed the whole time. When the judges start off by talking about how you look, then you are in big trouble.

Other thoughts:

- The judges have done a better job, so far, of not rambling or wasting time with needless banter. I appreciate that. Last year was chock full of sniping, and to quote Simon “self-indulgent,” bickering between the judges. And honestly, as if on cue, as I’m typing that last sentence Ryan and Simon start poking fun at each other. Sigh.

- Did Kara have to reference Phoenix tonight? I love that band, but if I know she is listening to them I might need to really self-reflect for awhile. Thanks a lot Cruella Diguardi.

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