'American Idol's Top 8 male semifinalists take to the stage, perform
By Reality TV World staff, 03/11/2010
American Idol's ninth-season Top 8 male semifinalists made their final push for the season's finals during last night's Fox broadcast.
While most of the semifinalists seemed to improve from their previous performances, Michael Lynche managed to bring judge Kara DioGuardi to tears with what Simon Cowell dubbed "the best performance" of the entire three-week semifinals.
The following is Reality TV World's recap of the performance broadcast in the order which the eight male semifinalists sang. Also included are comments from each of the four judges -- Kara, Simon, Randy Jackson, and Ellen DeGeneres -- as well as additional information about each performance.
Tonight beginning at 8PM ET/PT, two female semifinalists who performed on Tuesday night and two male semifinalists who performed on Wednesday night will be eliminated based on home viewer votes and the season's Top 12 finalists will be revealed.
Randy said: "Listen, for me it was a strange song choice. But here's what I love about what you did: There were a couple of pitch problems here and there but you really kind of made it your own. To me, that guy Adam Young with the song Fireflies, it's a cool song but it's such a softer thing for a big voice like yours. But you made it work, I think it worked out. You worked it out."
Ellen said: "Yeah, I liked that you made it a little rock. I think it was great. I think there were a couple of pitch problems but I don't think that matters right now, I think that a lot of people like you. I know a lot of people are talking to me about [how] they have crushes on you. You're adorable and I thought it was great."
Kara said: "You look confident tonight. That's what I'm seeing from you. And that's what we've been waiting for, is for you to step up. There's a star bubbling there and I think you actually made the song a better song with your interpretation. Because... the production value is what really made that song really big and it strip it away and just do it with guitar... anyway, I thought it was a solid job. Not your best moment but very solid."
Simon said: "You know, there's nothing to rave about after that. I don't think you had a moment with that song. Having said that, I've seen the progress with you over three weeks [and] I'm really glad that you're here. I think you got a great chance of making the Top 12. But I actually think that you are better than the version if the song you just did, I genuinely do."
Alex Lambert, a 19-year-old from Fort Worth, TX who currently resides in North Richland Hills, TX
Song: "Trouble" by Ray LaMontagne
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Randy said: "I think it was a good song choice for you. The whole Ray LaMontagne thing, he's dope, he's got that little Otis Redding vibe jumping off. I'm not sure you wowed me with it, but I liked it. I just wasn't jumping up and down. I felt like you could have done a little bit more with it. Maybe even made it slower. It felt like it was a little too fast for me."
Ellen said: "Boo! You're becoming a mushy banana, [that is] what's happening to you. You are ripening so fast. Some people are good and then one week they're kind of not so good and then they're good again. [But] you're consistently -- every single week you get better and better and better. I love your innocence, you can see how sweet and vulnerable and real and honest you are. And don't ever lose that. You need more confidence but don't get cocky. Don't become a cocky banana, no one liked that. I just really, really liked it."
Kara said: "The only thing standing in the way of you winning is you right now. Because you have so much, and when I close my eyes I know exactly who is singing when I hear you. But you are still stiff and you're not in it and you're not letting go up there. I wanted an acoustic guitar and you just singing and in the moment. That's what we need from you, vulnerability. be you, let go."
Simon said: "Yeah, I agree. I think that you kind of got to get yourself mentally somewhere else, because you are so still concentrating on trying to deliver the performance. We've never, ever seen you relax or having a good time. You kind of got to imagine Randy in a bikini or something. In other words, you're got to stop staring down that lens and concentrating on the cameras, let yourself go. Because as the guys said, you're got a really good distinct voice and people like you as a person. But you've got to get that out of your head. I will get Randy in a bikini next week if you're here."
Additional Notes: Randy agreed that Kara's acoustic guitar suggestion would have been better. Everyone got a good laugh out of Simon's bikini joke, including Randy.
Randy said: "One of the greatest songs ever. I love that song, Leonard Cohen. Love it. Loved the whole Jeff Buckley version. I mean we've had some good times on this show with that song and I've got to tell you something, you walked in some pretty big shoes and I think you did a pretty good job."
Ellen said: "Every week I feel like I've been so hard on you, I feel like I've been criticizing. And I saw you were singing this song and I was like 'Argh, what's he doing?' I have to [come give you a hug] right now."
Kara said: "I thought you were going to be going home a few weeks ago and now I actually think you're kind of in it and you may just about be in the top of the boys right now. That was an honest interpretation. You were feeling it, and I could feel that from you. And that's all anyone can ask when they sing that song, because it's all about the emotion -- the beauty, the sorrow -- and you showed it."
Simon said: "I kind of feel responsible for you doing well tonight after what I said [before]. I do, I genuinely do, because I gave you a confidence boost and you needed it. Because you know, you're in the tricky position because you didn't think you should have been here, you're first week was horrendous, last week I thought was good. And this week [you were] very, very smart with that song, because it's a song that reacts. You know I've had a big, big hit with a version of the song... it's not the best version I've ever hear, but for you it was terrific. By far the strongest performance you've given in the competition so far, so well done."
Additional Notes: Ellen did actually end her comments by coming up on stage and giving Tim a hug. "That was fantastic, you sounded so good!" she said. After Simon's comments, all the judges jokingly argued over which one of them was actually responsible for Tim's growth. Tim gave them all credit. "I think it was judging panel as a whole, all of the constructive criticism," he said. "Thank you all so much."
Randy said: "Let me start off by saying I like the cardigan sweater though, it's the Dog's look, I like that. Very interesting song choice, when I heard you were doing this I was like 'I wonder if that's going to work or not or what's going to happen with that?' It was a good idea but it didn't quite work for me dude. It was a little pitchy all over the place and like here's the real problem with it -- you made it feel like the whole song was three notes. It had no range to it, it didn't quite go anywhere. I don't know, I didn't quite get it. I like [the sweater] though, you look like a model like me!"
Ellen said: "I thought it was a great song choice and I thought that's what you need to do because what you did with Paula's song was so great. At the end is when you really surprised us and I think the genie came out of the bottle too late. Like it was at the end when I was like, 'Oh, that's great.' And I wish you would have done a little bit something different but I still think that people will love that, I do."
Kara said: "You know you're in a hard position because you peaked so early. You have that moment that just blew us away and you've been chasing it ever since. I can appreciate what you did tonight, but you were fighting with the rhythm of the guitar, you know I couldn't hear the melody, I couldn't hear you until the very end. And that -- I'm disappointed because I like you and I saw a lot there. But it just wasn't great, and I wanted it to be."
Simon said: "Yeah, I have to say I'm kind of with Kara here a little bit. Because for me it really came over that you've been trying to work out what you should be doing and came up with the idea of the Christina song, which is okay. It was a little bit desperate, I thought Andrew. It didn't feel like you were comfortable, that like I said, you'd over thought it. and this is a tricky one for you because you've got a good voice and you're a cool guy but you're kind of still going backwards at the moment, I'm afraid Andrew. Sorry."
Randy said: "I'm a fan of that song, a fan of Keith Urban. I think it was a little bit of a safe choice for me, you picking that song. Look, don't pull away from the vocals or anything t hat you do. I mean I feel like you've got more of an edgy kind of a Stevie Ray kind of thing. Just go for more of that, I see you more that way... it was a very safe choice. I don't know if it was amazing, it was just so safe and... it was just alright. I don't know."
Ellen said: "I thought it was great, I thought you're so much more comfortable sitting down. You're more comfortable sitting on a stool and playing guitar and that feels like your vibe. To me, I don't know if it is to you. I thought you sounded great, I really like it."
Kara said: "I'm kind of back on the Casey train. Kind of, I'm getting there. This was better than last week. I mean you're not trying to be a rock star, it was honest. You're sitting down, you're doing what you do best -- playing guitar and singing from your heart. But I'm missing that spark, I want to see a little bit more from you. But it's definitely a move in the right direction. Definitely."
Simon said: "Yeah, I would say it was your second best. It wasn't as good as Week 1 and it was definitely better than last week. I think it made you sincere.. Again, I've said this before, I don't think this is going to be something we're going to be remembering or raving about in 24 hours time as a performance and I think there are so many songs you could choose from. But you sounded great, I have to say."
Randy said: "You've got the makings of a great, man. I'm telling you, you're really young and it's coming on. I thought this was really good. The thing you should work on, when you first started I was like, 'Oh, where are we going with this?' But when you hit your power zone in the middle I was like, 'Yo man, this dude can sing! What?' So listen, job well done. Still some work to do but job well done."
Ellen said: "I love you and what's weird is like you're 16, right? And you stand up and the way that you carry yourself, I don't feel like it's posing, I feel like it's real, the way you stand. You stand like you're 30-years-old, you have the confidence of someone so much older. I think you've sounded better. I really thought that was a tough song for you. I love that song and I thought it was a little too much song for you. Because I know you have a great voice, I've heard it before, but I just didn't think that was terrific. Sorry."
Kara said: "I love you, you come out on the stage every week and you give it your all. You really do, you're in it and I can feel that. [But] honey that song, the first of all it's in the third person and it's about a man calling home to talk to his kids on the phone. And you're 16-years-old, it's not relevant to your life and that was my problem with it, is that how can you feel a connection to it?"
Simon said: "Well look, if it's any help, Kara, I think what you just said is complete and utter rubbish. You can't keep getting all literal because he's 16 and he should be doing this. It's a beautiful song. It was the right type of song for you to do compared to last week. It wasn't a great vocal but what it did have was it had emotion and I could tell you were trying hard. But if we keep going down this road [that] 'You can't do this, you can't do that' we're going to confuse these people so much. It's just a nice song, get over it."
Additional Notes: Aaron began to tell Kara that he "was telling the story" before Simon jumped in and began speaking.
Randy said: "Let me just say just this: Todrick is back! What you did just there is you proved you could really sing, that's why you're here. all this stuff about you being a dancer and all this kind of stuff, that was one of the best vocals I've heard all night, all the last couple of weeks by a man! So I loved it, I loved it."
Ellen said: "You are a brave, brave young man. I could not believe I saw you were singing that song, but you made it. It was almost like it sounded like a gospel song, I thought it actually worked like that. It kind of went in and out, I wish it had been a little more committed to that, because it felt like that in some parts. But man you're brave and I commend you for singing that song and you did a good job. You did a good job."
Kara said: "You can't listen to that and say that wasn't good singing. It was really good singing. There were moments though where I didn't know whether to laugh at it or love it, because it was so dramatic, it was almost like Godspell [the musical] a little bit. I don't know that that's bad or good, I'm just a little bit like, 'Where are we with Todrick?' But the singing was good, I got to say."
Simon said: "I would say it was good in parts, not the whole the way through. Look, I think what you've done tonight is tell us who you are, which is you're a Broadway singer. That is American Idol: The Musical, doing Queen. Silly gloves and the performing. And that's what you are, I see you more as that than a recording artist. Having said that -- because we've had so many boring performances where people are just sitting on a stool playing guitar -- at least you made an attempt to perform. It was a good song choice. And it may have saved you, that song."
Additional Notes: Randy argued that the performance was like Fox's Glee TV show, not Godspell.
Randy said: "Wait a minute, hang on. Really? Really, really? I've got to give it to you again, this is crazy! Listen... for everybody that doesn't know, it was dope, it was unbelievable, I want to call Maxwell and tell him, 'Yo, Big Mike is knocking on the door dog, get ready!' The last note, for you to hear that chord with it, oh man, I was like, 'What?!' Yo Mike, that was hot!"
Ellen said: "One of my favorite songs and oh my god, that was so beautiful and it feels like the show just began. You are the one to beat now, the show just began."
Kara said: "I've never cried [before] after hearing something like that. It's amazing, you were amazing. And it's so relevant for you, I can feel it. You know it's your life right now, it's your respect for your wife, what you're gone through. And as a woman who doesn't have a child I can relate to it so much and it brought me to tears. It was amazing."
Simon said: "I don't know what to say now. Look it was -- as Ellen said, this was so needed tonight. Because you know if think back to the beginning of the show it was all a little bit boring, it was a bit wordy. You come out with an incredibly difficult song to sing and you 100% nailed it. Not just the best performance of the night, it's the best performance we've had out of all these live shows so far."
Additional Notes: Kara was crying throughout her comments and received a hug from Simon.