Finally, the live shows! Tonight, the Top 12+1 guys will perform, and then tomorrow night, it’s the ladies. On Thursday, the top five guys and top five girls will go through to the finals, along with one wild card pick from each judge. Speaking of the judges, fashion check! Steven Tyler’s in a sparkly zebra print robe, Jennifer Lopez’s in a cream-colored sheath, and Randy Jackson’s got polka dots on his collar and cuff. And with that, let’s get on to the music!
Reed Grimm, “Moves Like Jagger”: Reed’s from Wisconsin, so we get to hear him talk about cheese (of course) and to see his cute little nieces back home. Reed’s “Moves Like Jagger” cover is presumably supposed to be sexy, but. Um. Not exactly. It’s sort of a smooth jazz version, which means it’s automatically a little Velveeta-esque. “Great choice... you’re definitely a very personable guy,” Randy says, comparing Reed to last season’s Casey Abrams. “This was a great way to show America who they were dealing with,” Jen says.
Adam Brock, “Think”: Adam is a “jack of all trades, master of none,” and has been told “there’s a large black woman trapped inside [his] body.” And here she is! Adam sounds very good, but there’s nothing really new here, you know? It’s competent, but not terribly exciting. “That was brilliant,” Steven says. “You definitely delivered right there at the end for me,” Jen says.
Deandre Brackensick, “Reasons”: Deandre wants to let his personality shine through tonight. Wow, his pants are really tight. Maybe it’s not just his personality he wants shining through, hee! There’s a lot of falsetto and a lot of tossing his mane of curls around. It’s okay, if you’re into that sort of thing. “Your voice is so perfect to me... it’s gonna be such an amazing year for you,” Jen says. “You’re one of the most commercial guys that I’ve seen,” Randy says. Really? Okay.
Colton Dixon, “Decode”: Colton thinks he’s going to shock people tonight with his performance. He starts the song on piano, then gets up so he can work the crowd. With his spiky, asymmetrical hair, he kind of looks like a character from a Final Fantasy game; it’s cute. Towards the end of the song he gets up on top of the piano so he can rock out more fully. “It’s about time that we on Idol had our indie alt-rocker singing Paramore, dude... I didn’t know you could perform like that,” Randy says. “You’re a relevant artist, I can hear you on the radio right now,” Jen says.
Jeremy Rosado, “Gravity”: Remember the super gorgeous routine to this song on So You Think You Can Dance a few years ago? So good. Sigh. Jeremy sounds... okayish. He seems really connected to the song, but vocally it’s a little rocky. He goes a little sharp on his big note on the bridge, but he manages to get it together by the end of the song. “America, you guys need to know about Jeremy... I was so impressed with the tender moments and the big booming vocals,” Randy says.
Aaron Marcellus, “Never Can Say Goodbye”: Doesn’t Aaron seem older than 27? He’s like a reverse of The X Factor’s LeRoy Bell. He looks good in his fedora and black hipster glasses. He sounds nice, too, but between Glee and The X Factor, we’re kind of all Jacksons’d out at this point. “That run you did near the end was crazy... beautiful vocals,” Randy says. “You raised the bar for yourself — you’ve gotta beat this next time,” Steven says.
Chase Likens, “Storm Warning”: Country boy Chase is kind of cute, right? He works the stage and the crowd really well; he seems super comfortable on stage. Vocally he’s nothing incredible, but overall it’s a pretty good performance. “You’re gonna set America’s hearts on fire,” Steven says. “You’re a good-looking dude, like me and Steven,” Randy says. (They also compliment his singing, but it’s more fun to quote them all talking about how cute he is.)
Creighton Fraker, “True Colors”: In case you were worried, Creighton didn’t suddenly get un-weird between the audition stages and now. He’s still the oddest of oddballs. His voice is weird, too. Like... it’s kind of good, and kind of annoying. Which is probably a good description for Creighton himself, now that we think about it! He gets a point for singing Cyndi Lauper though. “That was so beautiful,” Jen says. “That was stupendous... you did real good today, man,” Steven says.
Phillip Phillips, “In The Air Tonight”: Before we go any further, we need to all acknowledge that his song is awesome and that we’ll never be able to hear it without thinking of The Hangover. Okay, moving on to Phillip. He’s got a nice singer-songwriter vibe going, and it’s kind of smoking hot. Actually, forget the kind of. It’s smoking hot! A little growly, a little tender. Our favorite of the night so far, definitely. “There’s no doubt you’re one of the most special talents we found this year on the road, and you just proved why right there,” Jen says. “You remind me so much of Dave Matthews,” Randy says, but adds he didn’t like “the re-harm of the melody,” whatever that means.
Eben Franckewitz, “Set Fire to the Rain”: Okay, look, we’re not going to say that Her Royal Majesty Queen Adele is untouchable (even though she kind of is), but Eben, you are a 15-year-old boy! You are just not prepared to sing a song like this! He’s adorable, but the notes are kind of hit-or-miss, and he just doesn’t have the intensity for this song. “You are so mad young and so mad cool and calm and collected,” Randy says. “You really really held on,” Jen says.
Heejun Han, “Angels”: Heejun has so much dry wit, and apparently he likes Robbie Williams! If he doesn’t win Idol, can he at least be best friends with us? Honestly, David Archuleta did this song better back in Season 7, but Heejun’s voice is awfully pretty. “For me, you have a voice that’s smooth as silk,” Jen says, but she worries that the song didn’t show him off as well as it should’ve. Steven and Randy both agree. “You’re a mad talented guy, and I’m so glad that we found Heejun,” Randy says.
Joshua Ledet, “You Pulled Me Through”: Ryan informs us that some people are calling Joshua “Mantasia” (referring to Season 3 winner Fantasia), and we can see why. Joshua takes us to church, and then out for lunch after, and then back to church some more, and it’s outstanding. “The doors to the church are wide open... I love this guy,” Randy says. Jen’s so excited she says she wants to punch him, ha! “Your voice is from another world,” she says.
Jermaine Jones, “Dance With My Father”: So, the surprise 13th guy is Jermaine! We were kind of hoping for cutie-pie Johnny Keyser, but Jermaine’s joy at being back is extremely charming. Is his bowtie specially designed for gigantic dudes? It looks huge! Musically, the performance is actually pretty wonderful. Jermaine’s voice is so low and rich — there’s no one else in the competition like him. “You have such a special voice, and such a special spirit, and I’m glad America got to see you tonight,” Jen says. “Thank you for proving to us why we asked you to come back,” Steven says. Jermaine’s mom runs out to hug him.
So, that’s the show. Who were your favorites? Who do you think will be the Top 5 guys? Our guess: Colton, Phillip, Jermaine, Heejun, and... Eben, maybe, if he gets the Bieber fans. If not, Joshua.