What to say about “American Idol” boys’ night? Another “meh” set of performances.

Let’s categorize them as we did with the girls: The Good, The Bad, and the Okay.


My favorites: Lee DeWyze, 23, of Chicago sang Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars’ and he has a unique quality in his voice. He accompanied himself on guitar and has a raspy edge that is very unique. Comments were made by the judges that were “so-so” but Simon seemed to get it: “I thought this was the best performance you’ve given so far. This guy is a naturally good singer.” I think Lee did well.

Casey James: The blonde 24-year-old sang “Here’s Heaven” and, despite all the goofing-around, which included Randy grabbing Kara’s arms and having her wave them to and fro and Kara’s comment, “I don’t recognize you with your shirt on,” (he removed it at her suggestion during auditions) I thought he gave a good performance. Ellen said, “I could feel Kara undressing you with her eyes. You were great.” Even Simon got into the act, commenting that they were both “cursed with good looks.” Simon called Casey’s performance “Honest. Sincere. Likeable,” and added, “This was the best performance I’ve heard from you, so you did great.” I agree.

Joe Munoz, 20, of Huntington Park, California:  He sang the Jason Mraz song “You and I Both Hear It.” Ellen said, “You’re so comfortable. Great stage presence. “ Randy commented, “You’ve got a great voice. I think you did a great job with it, Dawg. You worked it out.” Kara called him “up front and center. The best so far in terms of the singing.” Simon was the only dissenter calling him “okay, safe, a bit forgettable, a bit limp.” I think the 3 to 1 who thought he did a good job were right.

Michael Lynche, 26 sang “This Love” by “Maroon 5” accompanying himself on guitar. He did not get much support from Simon, who said, “You’re sort of like the support act before the main act, kind of like a vague, jazzy performance.” Ellen disagreed, saying, “I think people are gonna’ love him.” Michael has been given so much extra airtime because of the birth of his daughter while he was auditioning that people feel like they know him. Big Daddy will still be here for a while.

Todrick Hall did appear to be what Simon accused him of: “I think you came over as a dancer trying to sing.” Yes, he did. The next part of Simon’s critique I disagree with, “What you did was completely verging on stupid.” What he did was dance around a lot, since he has danced and sung on Broadway with Fantasia in “The Color Purple.” He moved around a lot and, as Ellen said, “The chorus was a little rough,” I had no idea what he was singing, to begin with. Randy said, “I didn’t know what song it was. I still want to see you sing.  You’ve got mad chops vocally.” I think that Todrick needs to NOT change the song as much as he did (he said he heard it this way in his head) but I liked his acrobatic touches. Not everyone can both sing and dance well. Needs to sing something we all know and love.

Jermaine Sellers, 27, from Joliet, Illinois, sang “Get Here” while wearing his trademark hat. I actually liked his light voice, with the lilting quality, although it took him a long time to slide up to the right pitch on the last note. Ellen declared herself “A huge fan” and said, “I love your look. More a performance than feeling it, though. A couple of times you went off or out as though you were trying too hard.” Randy wants him to sing something more contemporary like Neo or Maxwell and added, “You’re trying to do too much vocally, Dawg,” referencing some of Jermaine’s runs. He wanted them to be meaningful runs. Simon was brutal: “It’s the kind of song that, if you were playing piano in a piano bar, people in their 50s would request it. I think you’ve totally blown your opportunity with that (song choice).”  {*Note: he is not in the “BAD” category, for me, but it was just okay.)

Aaron Kelly, 16, from Sonestown, Pennsylvania, a high school student: Simon was kind to Aaron, saying, “Bearing in mind that that was your first live appearance, that was very good.” All of the rest told him, “Dude, believe in yourself.” Randy added, “16. What a voice! Wow!” Ellen said, “I think you’re gonna be here a long time. You’re just gonna’ get better and better.”

John Park, 21, of Northbrook, Illinois sang “God Bless The Child” and that was universally panned as a song choice. Simon immediately kicked his chair back and began to look bored, before John had even sung 3 notes. After the performance, he said, “You have got to have an incredible voice to take that one on and you don’t. It was flat, zero emotion. A pointless performance,” which he compared to a copycat knock-off of Michael Buble. I didn’t like the choice of songs, either, but I’ll share my theory about that at the end of this list. Randy said, “It made you feel old,” and Ellen agreed that “A different song would show us who you are. I like you a lot.” John has real talent and can come back.

Andrew Garcia, 24, of Moreno Valley, California sang “Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down.” Simon said he was disappointed…that the song was “too serious, too indulgent.” Kara thought it was “a really strange rendition, but a risk, and added, “You’re great.” Everyone kept referencing his earlier rendition of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up.” Ellen said, “I’m one of the fans, but this was too closed, too indulgent. I think you’re gonna’ stick around. We like you.” Agreed.

Alex Lambert, of North Richland Hills, Texas, was the 19-year-old who sang “It’s A Wonderful World” by James Morrison. Simon was so mean to him that I think he will get sympathy votes. Simon said, “I don’t know who was the happiest for that performance to end, you or us. It was the most uncomfortable performance of the night.” Ellen hit the nail on the head when she talked about a banana and how Alex “just needs to ripen” (like a banana). He had only sung publicly 3 times, previously, in coffee shops. He’s a very cute young man. I think he will make it through and people will forgive him his first-night jitters and his relative inexperience, when compared to a performer from Broadway like Todrick Hall.


Tyler Grady, for me, was by far the worst. He sang “American Woman,” but he is a poseur, a Jim Morrison wannabee. It’s getting old. That pretty much sums up the judges comments, as they said he needed to find some new schtick, rather than continuing to mimic rock singers from the past that he has admired.  Simon put it this way, “You come over as someone who has gone to ‘Pretend to be a rock star school.” Agreed. Kara referenced his obsession with the seventies (although Jim Morrison was the sixties,) and randy criticized his “style over substance.” Ellen said, ‘You’re copying. Work on the singing. Be an original.” Good advice.

Tim Urban, 20, of Duncanville, Texas, DID get cut previously. I knew I remembered he had been cut after group week, but then he was back. (Reason was said to be that Chris Golightly did not reveal a previous record contract and got cut, so there was an opening.) Tim sang “Apologize” by One Republic, and he is very cute. He looks like the Lost Jonas Brother, but his voice was weak. Simon said, “There was nothing to take from that. I just don’t think your voice is good enough.” Kara said, “The music overpowered you and swallowed it up. Here you were just buried under the arrangement.” Randy told Tim it was “just the wrong song. Honestly, I personally think you are better than this.” (So do I).  Ellen said, “If the sound was down, just looking at you, because you’re adorable.” Ellen has hit on what may keep Tim Urban around: he IS adorable. (Remember Sanjaya?) Nevertheless, Simon said that he felt the judges had made the right choice when they cut him the first time, and I can’t argue with that after hearing him tonight. Now, if he only sang as good as he looks…..

On the previous night, when the girls sang, all the songs were dreary. There were no “up-tempo” performances, really. The only one this night was the “American Woman” attempt, but we’re getting tired of seeing Tyler Morrison…err Grady. Honestly, he’s NOT that adorable or sexy, despite the long mane of hair and the possible pleather pants. Why don’t the producers insist that so many songs be “up tempo” and so many be slower? I’m sure this could be arranged. It is just common sense. All bands, when putting together their play lists, make room for a slow song every once in a while, but if the entire concert is slow, dirgy music, it gets pretty boring. I think what is bringing this year’s performances down are the song choices, which, so far, have been less-than-stimulating. Makes you long for Adam Lambert and company of last year. I want some fast and some slow, but no more Jim Morrison wanna-bees need apply.