American Idol, Week 3: The Top 8 Guys

This week’s gimmick: the contestants are asked to tell viewers something revealing about themselves. (I already can’t help wondering if Antonella’s planning on bringing visuals with her for tomorrow’s show. Set those DVRs now!)

Blake Lewis: His big revelation? He loves improv, and introduced one of his comedic characters, a painfully unfunny country hick with buckteeth named “Jimmy Walker Blue”. Way to alienate every state in the South, Blake. The song started out weak and off-key. At least he took a risk, choosing a reggae song that nobody recognized, but I would have re-thought those hideous plaid pants (more suited to a octogenarian golfer than an American Idol). The judges went easy on him, though, with Simon proclaiming that Blake should “sail through to the next round.” I’m not sure if that’s because Blake is just that good, or if the contestants who are slated to come after him are just that BAD.

Sanjaya Malakar: “People might actually be surprised to find out I can hula.” Oh yeah, dude, that’s a shocking secret for sure. Almost as shocking as the fact that O.J. has never remarried, Howard K. Stern hasn’t agreed to a paternity test yet, and the sun rises in the East. The most entertaining part of Sanjaya’s appearance was Simon’s riff on his “Paula hairstyle” and the subsequent hilarity that ensued. Ryan gallantly swept in to defend Paula Abdul’s honor by pointing out that the mop of hair on Sanjaya’s noggin looks nothing like her own glorious extensions. Chivalry is not dead, ladies and gentlemen.

Sundance Head: His “secret” (that he’s really got a smokin’ hot body, and only wears a fat suit to fake out America) was as lame as his screaming performance. Randy and Paula need to have their ears cleaned out (“you lost the melody a little bit a few times, but that was pretty hot, dawg” WTF?), and even Simon let him off relatively easy. The only reason I can think of for not totally slamming him is to avoid any possibility of a sympathy vote. Seriously, why is this guy still here?

Chris Richardson: His confession that he used to be “chunky” and play football was only mildly interesting, and had about the same impact as his safe-and-boring performance. It was pleasant, but as Simon said, it didn’t have me “jumping out of my chair.” He still sounds like he’s trying to imitate Justin Timberlake, which will only get him so far, especially once he’s up against the girls in the Top 12.

Jared Cotter: The revelation that he used to play college basketball was far less shocking than the fact that he gave one heck of a performance this week. Stevie Wonder’s “If You Really Love Me” was upbeat, on-key, and a great fit for Jared. Even more shocking: Paula Abdul seemed to suddenly wake from her six-season-long foggy stupor to give a critique that came eerily close to being coherent and constructive! Wow!!

Brandon Rogers: For a guy who plays classical piano, he can certainly funk things up when he wants to. I liked his performance, but once again, it didn’t have the “wow” factor one would expect from this stage in the competition. Simon did his best to buy Brandon some votes by saying he was a bit “worried” for him this week.

Phil Stacey: Oh dear. Poor Phil unveiled so many poor choices this week. He revealed that his baldness is an intentional choice (he shaves his head because…he doesn’t like short hair. Hmm’kay), he wore a goofy bucket hat (actually, I think it was a fedora with the brim crushed down) that made his ears look huge, and then he chose a sappy LeeAnn Rimes song that had dogs everywhere howling in protest. Sanjaya might want to send Phil a nice gift basket after Wednesday’s results show.

Chris Sligh: He revealed that his“luscious curls” are all natural, and he’ll never get a perm. I love this guy….he can sing anything, and proved once again that he’s in a totally different league than any of the other guys in this competition. Paula inexplicably called it, “middle of the road”, and Simon accused him of shouting the song. Chris seemed genuinely surprised by their tepid comments, which in my opinion, were overly harsh and undeserved.

Overall, an underwhelming night for the guys. No one was a standout, and I think we’ll see at least one shocking departure on Thursday.

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