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American Idol misses Simon

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American Idol was apparently going for the peculiar when the judges decided on the top 12 guys, who debuted their collective talents on Tuesday.

While there wasn’t a Charlie Sheen-esque train wreck in the bunch, there were some low moments that started not only with the first contestant but with the judges’ comments. C’mon J-Lo, give the singers something constructive to work on – please don’t tell me we have a Paula sound-alike up there, even if she is sober. Steven Tyler was almost as luke warm, which is not something ever said before about the Aerosmith lead singer. It’s bad when Randy Jackson is the voice of reason amongst the judges.

I knew we would be missing Simon’s biting but true evaluations, and that was apparent from the first bad note.

Here are my votes:

Best: James Durbin

Worst: Brett Loewenstern

Picks to be Voted Off: Clint Jun Gamboa, Robbie Rosen

Clint Jun Gamboa, “Superstition” (Stevie Wonder). This is one creepy dude, from the glasses that make him look like a long-distance peeping Tom, to the fact that he likes to be called June Bug. A professional karaoke DJ, Gamboa showed his true colors. I think June Bug gets stomped the first round.

Jovany Barreto, “I’ll Be” (Edward McCann). Barreto is a short-timer. He likely will make it through a few weeks because his voice is really pretty good, but other than his six-pack, he brings no pizzazz to the stage. If he goes shirtless, though, watch out.

Jordan Dorsey, “OMG” (Usher). Dorsey came out on stage thinking that he would outdo Usher. Instead, he sounded more like he was an usher rather than a performer. He tried to get jiggy with a few semi-obscene gestures and such, but it was all too hoaky. Steven thinks Jordan had some nice moves, Jennifer said this is not the type of artist Jordan is (ugh, that’s a tired Paula comment, J-Lo), and Randy said he needed to do something different and not be so pitchy.

Tim Halperin, “Streetcorner Symphony” (Rob Thomas). The whole time he’s singing, I can’t help but wonder if he gets laughed at for having almost the exact same name as The Office’s Jim Halperin. Then, I realize he will be getting laughed at after he gets voted off AI very soon. Steven says the song didn’t do him justice, Jennifer says the song didn’t do him justice, and Randy says he didn’t bring anything new and exciting to it. I think he didn’t do justice to the song, not the other way around.

Brett Loewenstern, “Light My Fire” (The Doors). Brett seems like a nice dude, but wow his voice is anything but melodic. His hair-flopping twists of his head became super annoying—which is kind of good because it took attention away from his very weak, very nasally voice. He is the “Vote For the Worst” choice, so he’ll be around for a few weeks. And that’s not a good thing.

James Durbin, “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” (Judas Priest). James is the key competitor this year for AI. A true rocker with a heart-tugging story of Turret’s Syndrome, Durbin can wail and has the energy to match his voice. He reminds us of more masculine Adam Lambert, but the two have enough differences that Durbin can make a name for himself while being original.

Robbie Rosen, “In the Arms of an Angel” (Sarah MacLachlan). How pitchy and offkey was Robbie’s performance? He pulled out the “I had fun with it,” excuse. That’s bad. Real bad. Again, the judges didn’t do Robbie any favors when Steven said Robbie can sing a ballad like nobody’s business (a business like Enron perhaps). Jennifer says that Robbie’s choices on the song were better than the original singer’s – I think the dogs and cats that Sarah MacLachlan champions would disagree. Thankfully, Randy said the performance was pitchy, which is a disservice to pitchers.

Scotty McCreery, “Letters from Home” (John Michael Montgomery). My 18-year-old daughter loves Scotty, and votes from girls like her will keep him in the competition. But, his weird eyebrow movements – which were the only thing other than his lips moving while he sat stonelike on the stool – were disconcerting.

Stefano Langone, “Just the Way You Are” (Bruno Mars). If June Bug and Robbie don’t get voted off, third in line is Stefano. Not a bad singer, but not great either, and there’s not a lot separating him from Tim, Jovany and Robbie.

Paul McDonald, “Maggie Mae” (Rod Stewart). Where to start with this guy? He looks a lot like Kenny Loggins, but his way-too-white teeth are an unwelcome tribute to the Friends episode where Ross overdoes his whitening and his choppers glow in the dark. Mix that with McDonald’s tiny T-Rex arm movements and his high voice, and you have a combination that just doesn’t work.

Jacob Lusk, “A House is Not a Home” (Dionne Warwick). You knew one of the guys had to do a chick song, and you should have known it would be Jacob. He didn’t go over-the-top until the very end, which was a shame because otherwise his song choice was a bit of a snoozer. The dude has a powerful voice, which we found out in Hollywood, and I was a little disappointed he didn’t unleash it more.

Casey Abrams, “I Put a Spell on You.” Another Taylor Hicks? Probably, with just as much commercial success – zero. Abrams growled and prowled around the stage, and already I can tell he is trying too hard to be different and quirky. An overly-bearded 19-year-old who looks 37, he probably has a niche out there, but it’s not a niche I’m buying into.


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