American Idol Review: Top 12 (Rather 13) Guys Perform

Last night on American Idol, the Top 12 Men finally had the opportunity to perform for America’s vote. For two hours after last night’s show, America went hog wild voting for their favorites. The top 5 will move on, and it will be the end of the line (that’s Randy-speak if you didn’t know) for the bottom 8.

Wait, you’re thinking. 8 and 5 aren’t 12. That’s because at the last moment, we got a surprise 13th contestant last night in the way of Gentle Giant Jermaine Jones, who the judges couldn’t bear to let go without giving another chance to. Jermaine, with his deep bass, did not disappoint, but more on him later.

Tonight is the Top 12 Girls, and we don’t expect there to be a 13th. Tomorrow night will be the results show. We will find out who America selected for their Top 5 in each category. We will also see who the judges selected as their Male and Female Wildcards.

All in all, I was very disappointed in the whole show. After the audition rounds, I expected more from all of these contestants.

Reed Grimm: Reed gave us a very jerky, jazzy version of Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger that was erratic at best. He has a good voice, and there was some nice scat thrown in there, but the novelty of his quick move to the drums while he sings is wearing thin, quickly. He’s no Casey Abrams, no matter how hard they keep trying to push Jazz on us.

Adam Brock: Adam told us in his pre-song package that there was a large, black woman inside of him, and then tried to prove it by singing Aretha Franklin’s Think. That was a nice trick by the producers. It wouldn’t have worked nearly as well if he sang a Pat Benetar song. And without question, the boy has some soul. That being said, it was a tremendous step down from his auditions, which I thought were all very, very good. If he is lucky enough to be voted to the Top 12, he better pick up his game.

Deandre Brackensick: Deandre smoked it during final group auditions in Vegas and was good in his first live show last night too singing Earth Wind and Fire’s Reasons. My biggest problem with the young 17 year old last night was he relied way too much on his falsetto and stayed out of his natural range. It didn’t suck, but you can’t help but think that if he stayed in his natural register it might have been stronger.

Colton Dixon: I have never really been a fan of Colton. I was almost surprised every time he made it through each round. But I have to admit, he was really one of the better performers last night as he sang Decode by Paramore. He showed a little more of the rock side of him than we’ve seen over the past several weeks as we’ve mostly just heard him sing Coldplay and Snow Patrol type ballads. And the way he took command of the stage, Durbinesque style, was most impressive. He hasn’t won me over completely, but I like him now more than I did.

Jeremy Rosado: Jeremy sang the Sarah Bareilles hit, Gravity, and he wowed both the on hand audience and the judges. Jennifer Lopez told him that he was blessed with a voice from God. Where do you go from there? How does America NOT vote for him after that effusive praise?? Really though, it was a great song choice that fit his style perfectly. He is excellent singing ballads, (but his voice could use a little more power behind it), but I have to wonder how he’s going to do on Country Night, or Rock Night. That could be a downfall for him.

Aaron Marcellus: Like Jeremy did before him, Aaron enthralled the audience and judges with his version of the Jackson 5’s Never Can Say Goodbye. They especially loved the run he did at the end. His voice was clear and strong throughout. For some reason, this guy just didn’t do it for me. I just didn’t believe that he believed what he was selling in this song. Maybe if he sang something else, which I have no doubt he will have the opportunity to do next week. I just wasn’t drinking the Kool-Aid this week.

Chase Likens: You know Chase is getting through no matter what because he is our resident, bona fide country singer. And we’ve had one every year. I don’t even know if he’s any good. And I don’t even care. It just doesn’t matter, yet. But it will in a week or a few weeks. Oh, by the way, he crooned (cause that’s what bona fide country singers do) Storm Warning by Hunter Hayes. I guess it was good. A little too much countrified for my taste, but, I’m not voting for him. There, I said it. So what.

Creighton Fraker: I have yet to see what the big deal is about this guy. OK, so his biological father is the lead singer of Flotsam and Jetsam. I guess that’s pretty cool. But does that make him good? I don’t think so. He’s OK, at best. And he continued to be just OK last night performing Cyndi Lauper’s great (yeah, I said great) ballad, True Colors. In my opinion, while he was in tune and hit all the right notes, I’m really not sure he brought anything special to the song.

Phillip Phillips: Phil-Phil has one of most unique voices in this competition. And with that, you either love him or hate him. I am of the former camp. I think he’s going to go far in this competition with the John Mayer fans. Last night he sang Phil Collins smash, In the Air, Tonight and brought his own totally unique sound to it. Jennifer paid him the highest compliment when she told him that last season they came back from auditions talking to each other about Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery. This season they returned talking about him.

Eben Frankenwitz: During the audition rounds, young Eben was energetic and exuberant. His voice was clear, strong and powerful. He showed amazing ability and control for his 15 years. Where did that guy go last night? There was a different Eben Frankenwitz singing Adelle’s Set Fire to the Rain last night. This Eben was off-key and flat from the beginning and never gained traction. He never seemed to be very sure of himself. The judges pointed out that it sounded like he couldn’t hear himself, and that might be true. Or, he just may not have been ready for such a big stage yet.

HeeJun Han: HeeJun’s goal is to show the world that Asians can do more than do well on their SATs. He wants to show that they can sing and melt hearts. Um, ok. Maybe he should have picked a better song that Robbie Williams’ Angels. It was OK. It didn’t blow me away. It was just too slow. He has a really good voice, which is somehow made better by the fact that he looks like such a dork, but he needs better song choices going forward.

Joshua Ledet: Joshua gave what might have been the best performance of the night in his rendition of Jennifer Hudson’s Pull Me Through. He showed tremendous range and vocal ability, hitting both upper and lower registers with ease. Jennifer Lopez was absolutely right when she said that he could be an R&B star or a Gospel star, and Steven Tyler agreed, saying that he took the audience to church. Amen.

And now, for our surprise 13th contestant that host Ryan Seacrest had been promising all night, out came Jermaine Jones and his Booming Bass. In retrospect, it was really no surprise at all that he would be the one to get the honor of another chance. The judges were practically crying all over themselves last week, having to give him the news that he wasn’t selected to move forward to the Men’s Top 12.

Jermaine sang the beautiful, heartfelt ballad, Dancing with my Father, by the late, great Luther Vandross. And the rich timber in his voice gave it the clarity that it so deserves. He was pitchy in some areas, but it was a great song choice for him.

I think that Reed, Deandre, Creighton, Eben, Aaron, and HeeJun are going home.

And I think that Deandre will be saved by the Judges Choice.

We’ll see the Top 12 Girls tonight at 8 PM ET on Fox, followed by the 2 Hour Results show Thursday Night at 8 PM ET on Fox.