After last week's snoozefest, the top 10 "American Idol" guys really needed to step things up on Tuesday. And they mostly did, though I still didn't see any showstopping performances like we saw from the girls.
I was expecting a lot of cheesy ballads once I found out the contestants had been asked to dedicate their songs to someone important in their lives. Luckily, most of them didn't take the dedications too seriously, but there were a few baffling choices. You can fill out a ballot to predict which two guys are heading home on Thursday, and to see what I thought of the guys, read more
Phil Stacey (at right): I spent a surprising amount of time staring at the lace-up detail on his shirt while he sang "I Ain't Missing You." He can really belt a chorus, but he didn't sound great on the verses. Randy and Paula thought it was great, while Simon said his voice is good — for karaoke.
Jared Cotter: Remember what I said last week about wanting to hear him do a song that's not about getting a woman into bed? Yeah, not going to happen. I'm choosing not to think too much about his choice to dedicate "Let's Get It On" to his parents. He was a little off, but it doesn't matter, because he's mostly going to be remembered for this sexy hand-over-face move that Randy tried (poorly) to imitate.
A.J. Tabaldo: Oh my goodness, he was a million times better than last week. On Nina Simone's "Feeling Good," he got this smooth, slinky groove going in the second half that was actually kind of awesome. The judges liked it, maybe because they (like me) couldn't believe this was the guy with the popped collar and cheesy dancing from last week.
Sanjaya Malakar (at left): As soon as I saw his hat, I figured I was in for Michael Jackson, so "Steppin' Out With My Baby" was actually something of a relief. Unfortunately, he was striving for a Sinatra thing and ended up looking and sounding, as Randy called it, like a talent show performance.
Chris Sligh: His voice sounded good tonight, and I can understand now why so many people like him. Performance-wise, he looked a little uncomfortable, but still: good singer.
Nick Pedro: What was with the cutaway shots of the drummer during his song? Can I vote to put the drummer through instead? His voice sounded a billion times better than last week, but Simon told him he needs more charisma, and I can't disagree.
Blake Lewis: He has a style and a confidence and a stage presence that I'm not sure anyone else in the competition this year can equal. And he broke out the beatboxing for a second! Oh man, I love this guy. Simon tried to say he didn't like it, which prompted an outcry from everyone else in the room. Party pooper!
Brandon Rogers (at right): Yeesh. He seemed really off this week — behind his music, missing his notes, and pretty boring overall. And dedicating the song to his grandma plus wishing happy birthday to his dad seemed a bit much. Wow, I'm jaded.
Chris Richardson: Oh, Timberfake. I always get the feeling that he's spent hours in front of the mirror perfecting his robotic dance moves. He did Jason Mraz's "Geek in the Pink," and it played to all of his strengths — though frankly, I think Blake would have done a better job with the song. Randy, Paula and Simon were rhapsodic.
Sundance Head: Aw, he got choked up talking about his baby son. He was a lot looser than last week, though that's not saying much. I still don't see the fuss over him; he seems like a pale imitation of Taylor Hicks, to me.
Who should go: Sanjaya and Brandon
Who will go: I'm worried Sanjaya's fans will keep him in for another week. I'd bet Brandon and Jared go, but Nick will really need his fans to call if he wants another chance.
OK, your turn! Who do you think is gone? Vote here for which two guys are heading home on Thursday.
Photos courtesy of Fox