Now that was a little bit painful.
OK, the highlights: Curtis Finch and Devin Velez turned in solid vocals. Charlie Askew turned in a heartfelt, sorta quirky performance that worked.
I have to say that was the worst night of singing I’ve seen on American Idol in a long, long time.
I recall the guys’ semifinals from Season 9 as being pretty wretched. But I think Chris Watson, J’DA, Elijah, etc., topped even that in terms of Idol performances I never want to see again.
But rules are rules, so five guys must advance. Meaning Paul Jolley and Elijah will join Charlie, Curtis and Devin in the semifinals two weeks from now. Thursday turned out to be the Idol swan song for Johnny Keyser, Kevin Harris, Jimmy Smtih, J’DA and Chris.
The judges: I’m shocked to be typing this, but thank God for Randy Jackson. On a night when Nicki lost her hearing — or else was judging with her eyes and her libido rather than her ears — Randy became the speaker of truth, reminding us that Idol is still a singing competition, scolding those who focused on performance over vocals (J’DA, Chris), calling out those who were flat-out boring (Kevin Harris, Jimmy Smith) and acting more like the leader of the panel he should be after 11 seasons. Keith had another solid night. Mariah continued her tendency to blather rather aimlessly. Grade for the male judges: A. Grade for Mariah: C-. Grade for Nicki: D.
But, hey, there’s good news, Nicki. If you need dancers for your next tour, Chris, J’DA and Johnny Keyser are all available. And I have a feeling Elijah will soon join them. Notice I said dancers, not singers.
Best of the night: Idol has a tendency to save the best for last, and Curtis Finch delivered. Oh, he took some liberties singing Luther Vandross’ “Don’t You Remember.” He went over the top on a couple of occasions. But he also showed a vocal range far superior to anything else we heard Thursday night.
Glad they kept him: Charlie Askew goes here. Idol certainly didn’t shy away from quirky characters in Season 12. Charlie is one of the most endearing. If his vocal wasn’t spot-on Thursday, he certainly delivered Elton John’s “Rocket Man” with a sense of passion. And he saved most of the theatrics until after the song was finished. Only problem: He lost his fashion consultant with J’DA’s departure.
Worst of the night: He showed up on stage looking like he’d stepped out of the disco age. He sang “Sitting on the Dock by the Bay.” He seemed more interested in preening for the camera than singing. Before he sang, waiter Chris Watson said he’d someday like to be the person handing out big tips than the person receiving them. Folks, Chris is going to need your tips. Because he delivered a big fat F of a mess on American Idol.
Most surprising save: Elijah Liu might look like a pop star, but the vocal he delivered Thursday was not good enough to earn a golden ticket, or survive the first, second or third round of Hollywood, let alone advance to the semifinals. We haven’t heard much from him, so maybe he wasn’t at his best Thursday. Hopefully, he’s capable of better.
Most disappointing cut: From this group? No one. The biggest disappointment is that Idol couldn’t give the semifinal spots Paul Jolley and Elijah Liu got on Thursday to Isabelle and Shubha Vedula, who were cut after better performances on Wednesday.