‘American Idol': The Male Contestants Vie for Five of Final 10 Slots [Videos]
On tonight's (March 6) episode of 'American Idol,' the 10 remaining male contestants who survived two weeks of sudden death competition were vying for five of the Final 10 slots. (The girls did so last night.) The judges were looking for "moments," so find out who had 'em and who overshot and stepped out of their comfort zone and stumbled. There were a few of both.
Keith Urban was insightful. Nicki Minaj was whiny, quippy and cute. Randy Jackson also offered useful commentary and criticism for the singers. Mariah Carey didn't provide much digestible info other than to say what she liked and to be generally supportive.
Elijah Liu: The Asian singer, who shocked us by advancing in the sudden death rounds, tackled Rihanna's melancholic 'Stay,' which featured marching banddrums that drowned out his voice. It was a marked improvement from his last perf. He stayed -- natch -- in control of his vocal range, which Urbs liked, while R. Jacks felt it was stuck in first gear and didn't have the "moment." The judges worship this kid because he looks marketable, and they can see his face on sheets, notebooks, pillow cases and notebooks. They see $$$.
Cortez Shaw: After his gutsy balladization of David Guetta's 'Titanium' -- yes, he turned an EDM jam into a love song -- last time out, he went the more conventional route with Bruno Mars' smash 'Locked Out of Heaven,' complete with some fancy footwork. The judges felt that he strained a bit to hit the notes, but liked that he went uptempo. Minaj didn't like his styling -- long johns and a denim vest were fashion faux pas for her -- and said he should take tips from Liu. Okay, so is this 'American Idol' or 'American Image?' Isn't it the point of the show to win meritoriously and the image and style will come later? The 'Crest -- you know, Ryan Seacrest -- actually said only the Top 10 is afforded a stylist, but not before it's the final 10. What, are budgets tight?
Charlie Askew: Chuck is the "quirky" guy this season. The strange singer performed Genesis' 'Mama,' hitting some high notes, reminding us of James Durbin from Season 11. Chaz wore his hair in a ponytail (questionable), a tie-dyed tank top (WTF?) and a long, feathered earring (equally as eyebrow raising), making him memorable. But he sang an unfamiliar song and it was a bit too weird. Urbs called it disingenuous and disconnected, suggesting he is better suited fronting a rock band. Minaj wanted her cute, cuddly Chuck back. He colored outside the Chaz lines too much.
Nick Boddington: He performed Goo Goo Dolls' famed ballad 'Iris' while seated and playing the piano. He was in his comfort zone while tickling the ivories, but his nerves were certainly on full display. The judges did not love but they didn't dislike it, either. They were vanilla in their response to his performance overall. He might stick around, though.
Burnell Taylor: The Hurricane Katrina survivor revisited his initial audition song, which was 'I'm Here' from 'The Color Purple.' He was super animated, moving his arms as he performed in an acid-washed jacket, backwards cap and nerdy specs. He also sang with an urgency, as though those words had to tumble from his mouth at that very moment. Yeah, B. Taylor is here. Here to stay, that is. It was solid. It was moving. It was a "wow" performance. But we always get that from him.
Paul Jolley: The singer with the happy last name performed the Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton duet 'Just a Fool' on his own. He has been accused of overdoing it with the histrionics and theatricality. He also said that he sees himself as male pop-country, "the guy version of Taylor Swift." It was a smart song to showcase that style with. But it wasn't a standout. Urban said he likes Paul, but wouldn't say that he liked this perf.
Lazaro Arbos: Our boy Lazaro has a stutter, but when he sings, it just melts away. He looked very Miami and quite Marc Anthony in his white blazer and watermelon pink shirt as he sang 'Feeling Good.' The Urbs said that he forges a connection with every person who listens to him. The crowd went nuts over his strong vocal. He's in it to win it. Randy said it, so it has to be true. [Watch Here]
Curtis Finch, Jr: The man with the big -- sorry, make that huge -- voice chose R. Kelly's 'I Believe I Can Fly,' always a wise choice for a show like 'Idol,' since it's inspirational and full of moments. And we all know how the judge's feel about moments. It was definitely showy. He doesn't do R&B. He does the spiritual thing and in this day and age, people need a big voice like his to lift them to the heavens. He got a judge's table standing O, deservedly so.
Devin Velez: Wearing a cherry red sweater and a charming black bow tie, the teen sang the classic 'It's Impossible.' That's not a song that the younger viewing audience would know, but he handled it well and offered a gorg intro to it. He also switched to Spanish mid-song, as he did during previous perfs. It was important for him to showcase his bilingualism and he sounded just beautiful.
Vincent Powell: He sang Boyz II Men's 'End of the Road,' but his nerves overpowered his performance. It was good, but he overshot a bit. It was epic enough that it should keep him entrenched in the thick of the vocal battles.
Who will be Season 12's Top 10? Tune in tomorrow (March 7) to find out.
Watch Elijah Liu Perform 'Stay' on 'American Idol'
Watch Cortez Shaw Perform 'Locked Out of Heaven' on 'American Idol'
Watch Charlie Askew Perform 'Mama' on 'American Idol'
Watch Nick Boddington Perform 'Iris' on 'American Idol'
Watch Burnell Taylor Perform 'I'm Here' on 'American Idol'
Watch Paul Jolley Perform 'Just a Fool' on 'American Idol'
Watch Curtis Finch, Jr. Perform 'I Believe I Can Fly' on 'American Idol'
Watch Devin Velez Perform 'It's Impossible (Somos Novios)' on 'American Idol'
Watch Vincent Powell Perform 'End of the Road' on 'American Idol'