It's the final night of Sudden Death on American Idol. The guys in the competition so far haven't been spectacular. The remaining 10 will sing for the judges and then the judges, perhaps with the help of our pal Jimmy Iovine, will send half of them home.
Five will be left standing (because really, those stools are uncomfortable) and they'll join last week's winners in rounding out the top of this season's male contestants.
By the end of tonight, we'll have this season's Top 20 American Idol contestants and America will begin voting. Let's get to it...
Mathenee Treco, originally from Jamaica, is a choreographer. He knew he wanted to be a performer in middle school. Tonight he takes on The King singing Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation." He jerked around like he was rapping, but he was singing a crazy arrangement of the song and it was bizarre. Keith advised him not to get too caught up in the entertainment factor. Nicki called him out on trying to please the judges instead of being him and called his performance "cheese" and "karaoke." Randy said the song choice was wrong. Mariah said she didn't know the song (!!!!!) and felt disconnected from his performance because of that. My vote: Mathenee's hitting the cruise ship circuit. His time on Idol ends tonight.
The Turbanator, Gupreet Singh Sarin, credits his parents' influence for his love of music. He tackles James Morrison's "Nothing Ever Hurt Like You." It was sleepy. An okay performance, but kind of boring from someone who's so interesting. Keith didn't think it was a great song and really loves when Gupreet plays his guitar and sings. Nicki also thought he should've brought the guitar tonight. Randy said "honestly, that was terrible." Mariah was just slightly disappointed. My vote: Gupreet's on the bubble.
Vincent Powell has been a back-up singer for the likes of the late Whitney Houston and spent time living in his car while chasing his artist's dream. He sings Lenny Williams "Cause I Love You" and is easily the best performance so far. He's got range and depth and talent. I liked it. Keith loved it. Nicki said he usually comes off old-fashioned, but tonight it was a "good, sexy" old-fashioned. Randy said the show started with Vincent and called him the "whole, complete package." All Mariah could say was "finally." My vote: Vincent is an easy pick for the Top 10 guys. Easy.
Bartender Nick Boddington is from Memphis, Tennessee but currently lives in New York City. He also sings a James Morrison song, "Say Something Now." He has a really clear and pure falsetto that doesn't seem forced. The song, though, is kind of boring and old. Keith never felt a connection to Nick or to the song. Nicki loves the warmth and truth in Nick's voice but didn't love tonight's performance. Randy also felt like he chose the wrong song and said this wasn't his best. Mariah heard a moment and called him talented but disconnected from the song. My vote: Nick's in trouble. There are 6 guys left to sing and his performance was weak.
Josh Holiday moved to Nashville to chase his musical dreams. Tonight he's taking a page from Angela Miller's notebook and performing an original number. It's risky, and I liked it, but I didn't love it. Keith wanted to see him cut loose with his vocals. Nicki wanted him to stay behind the piano instead of trying to please the judges. Randy liked the song and the arrangement, but wasn't wow'ed by the original number. Mariah loves that he's a singer-songwriter and wanted to show that to the audience. My vote: I would keep Josh around for another week. I think the judges will send him home.
David Oliver Willis is a worship leader from Florida. His adoptive father was born in 1906! He hits the stage with an acoustic guitar and sings Ray Charles' "Fever." There's a hint of Santana and Rob Thomas's "Smooth" in the arrangement. He's got a great vibe and a great voice. Keith commends him for being original but didn't like the song choice. Nicki felt like he just got up on stage and had a good time in front of his family. Which is kind of what performers are supposed to do. Randy agreed with Keith that the song was wrong but the performance was interesting. Mariah loved his backstory and liked his previous performances. My vote: David will stick around because he intrigued the judges with his performance if not his song choice.
Hailing from Hawaii, Bryant Tadeo, is up next. He's in a New York state of mind despite being in Vegas and sings the Billy Joel number of the same name. Vocally, he's great. It's pretty beautiful. But it's also kind of boring and if we tied his hands behind his back he might not be able to sing. Keith said he has a beautiful voice and chose a great song. Nicki loved the last note at the end and only the last note at the end. Randy liked the beginning but not the middle or the end. Mariah said he sounded beautiful and professional. My vote: Bryant's going back to the department store on the Big Island.
New Orleans native Burnell Taylor says just being this far on Idol has already changed his life. He chooses John Legend's "This Time." It's really great, but his mannerisms are distracting. And he's so likeable. Keith liked the performance and called it "strikingly original." Nicki pays her greatest compliment thus far tonight and says that at this moment, she'd pay to see Burnell sing. Randy loved his story and wasn't sure that this performance was his strongest. He loves that Burnell put himself into the song. Mariah agrees with Randy and is rooting for Burnell. My vote: Burnell's safe. That's easy.
Lazaro Arbos has such an inspirational heart. He sings Keith Urban's "Tonight I Want To Cry." It's not spectacular. In fact, it's kind of painful. And no amount of liking Lazaro makes it less so. Keith, ever gracious, thanks Lazaro for singing a song of his, but didn't feel like the song was right for Lazaro. Nicki loves that Lazaro is himself every time he sings. Randy tells him to stop being so nervous and know that he's a great singer. Mariah felt the emotion in Lazaro's voice and commended him on his bravery. Only Keith and Randy really commented on the actual performance. My vote: They'll save Lazaro for another week.
Finally, Cortez Shaw from Dallas, Texas, closes the night. To bring things really current, he sings a really stripped down version of "Titanium" by David Guetta. Without the techno-beat, this is a completely different song, and I like Cortez' version way better than the original. Keith called his arrangement a really "bold and brave" move to turn the song into a ballad. Nicki liked it--and him--so much she could hardly say anything at all. Randy loved the big notes Cortez was able to hit with so little effort. Mariah loved everything about the performance and Cortez and thought he made good choices. My vote: He's so safe it's scary. Cortez might be the only guy in this competition capable of winning this thing.
The first to hear the news is David Oliver Willis. Mariah gets to give him the news that he's going home. Bryant Tadeo is also going home.
Vincent Powell, however, is the first to take a seat. He's sticking around. Mathenee Treco is headed back to the choreography studio.
The judges send Lazaro Arbos to sit with Vincent. He's safe. So is Cortez Shaw. Which was a no-brainer.
Josh Holiday sang an original number tonight. It didn't work out for him. Burnell Taylor, however, did things right tonight. He takes the 4th available stool.
Nick Boddington and Gupreet Singh Sarin, who both sang James Morrison songs tonight, are the last to go before the judges. They keep Nick for another round.
And with that we have the American Idol season 12 Top 20. The girls will sing on Tuesday. The guys will sing on Wednesday. And on Thursday, we'll send half of them home leaving behind the Top 10 contestants for this year.
What did you think about the guys tonight? Who would you have kept or sent home?