American Idol, Week 2: The Top 10 Guys

10 guys left, and this week, the contestants were asked to dedicate their performances to someone that inspires them. This opened the door for a series of sappy video clips from our contestants. So, how’d they do?

Phil Stacey: Sang a serviceable version of “Missing You” I have to agree with Simon, it was just a “good karaoke version” of the song. Nothing unique about it, but it wasn’t bad. He’s a likeable guy, a Navy vet…if only his hairdo didn’t remind me so much of Britney Spears.

Jared Cotter: Started out by promising his performance would be akin to “channeling Marvin Gaye.” In his video clip, he thanked his parents for inspiring him and encouraging him to pursue music. Aww, such a sweet boy…which made it all the more disconcerting when he proceeded to launch into “Let’s Get it On.” As for the judges’ feedback: oooh baby, drunk Paula is definitely back. Hooyah!

A.J. Tabaldo: Another one who dedicated his performance to his parents. Started out boring, but kicked it up a few notches at the end. Tepid praise from the judges might hurt him, though. (Randy: That was nice dude. Paula: Nice. You have a real real real real real good voice. Nice. Simon: You looked strangely comfortable.)

Sanjaya Malakar: Ugh, that ugly fedora makes him look like he’s channeling Mario Vazquez from last season. He looks like he’s having fun singing “Steppin’ Out,” but he’s singing it so softly I can barely hear him. Dude, you make Perry Como seem hyper. Not good. The judges agreed, using words like “weird” and “ghastly.” The eerie resemblance to Michael Jackson (messy pony tail, slight frame, unbuttoned shirt revealing ZERO chest hair) is SO not helping.

Chris Sligh: Wow, Chris is married to a hot blonde! Woulda guessed? Odd song choice. What possessed him to sing Trouble? It’s like you’re asking for it, dawg. He’s got a fine voice, and the song was definitely heartfelt, but I just don’t enjoy hearing romantic ballads from Jack Osborne 2.0.

Nick Pedro: Sang a version of Fever that was so mellow and middle-of-the-road, even his girlfriend in the audience looked unimpressed. Is it my imagination, or is the drummer getting more closeups than Nick? Ugh, and he just fizzled out on the ending instead of trying to save himself with a big finish.

Blake Lewis: Hate the hat sitting askew on his head. How adorable is his dad, though? Great song choice: Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity.” Hit some good notes, and added just a touch of the beat box, and ended by showcasing his great falsetto. Awesome! I totally disagree with Simon and (horrors!) find myself agreeing with tipsy Ms. Paula…he proved himself unique and original, and stood out from the crowd.

Brandon Rogers: Dedicated Cindy Lauper’s classic hit, “Time After Time”, to his dead grandmother. It’s a great song, but not the way he sang it. His voice was too insubstantial to pull it off. It had none of the grittiness and heart that made Lauper’s original so moving. I think he’s in serious danger of going home.

Chris Richardson: Oy, another one dedicating their performance to sweet old Gramma. Interesting how the entire audience (including Paula) knew to stand up from the very first strains of “Geek in the Pink”…there’s gotta be some serious audience coaching going on. I found his performance strained and sharp throughout, which made the high praise from Randy (“I’m loving you tonight…it was better than the original”) totally inexplicable, and the raves from Simon (“Best tonight by a mile”) unexplainable. I watched it again just to be sure, and while it was an energetic performance, I still wasn’t blown away.

Sundance Head: I love babies as much as the next person, but it was totally transparent the way he sought the sympathy vote by choking up with tears while talking about his 2 ½ month old son’s first smiles. His version of “Mustang Sally” was certainly fun and entertaining, but didn’t knock my socks off. Again, Randy and Paula gushed, but at least Simon offered him a bit of a reality check by saying, “You can do better.” I’m not so sure about that, but I suspect he’ll survive to see another week.

Hmm…well the guys did better than last week, but I still don’t see nearly the same talent pool that we have in the Top 10 Girls. Be back tomorrow with a review of their performances, and again on Thursday with the results!

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