American Idol 7: Ranking the Top 12 Male Performances
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
With the first performance episode of American Idol done, we now have a much better idea of who the best and worst are among the Top 12 men.  Some vocals were good, some performances were good, but overall, there was a lot of mediocrity ad boring people.  Some formerly anonymous faces showed up ready to go, and some early favorites continued their trek to the finals.

After watching the first performance episode of American Idol, I certainly have my favorites.  As such, I put together a list of the 12 men, ranked from best to worst.  This isn't based on who has the best chance of winning the whole thing, or even who the best singers are.  This is my ranked list of the best performances from tonight's episode.  And I have no shame in admitting that I actually rather enjoyed both Elvis songs.

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1. Jason Castro – “Daydream” by Lovin' Spoonful

Much as I love the dreads, that is not the reason he earns my top spot. The fact is that Jason Castro wasn't even a blip on anyone's radar before tonight. He got virtually no screentime at all throughout the entire audition process. But tonight he came out and delivered a performance that let's you know exactly who he is. No other male singer made such a powerful statement about what kind of a singer they are, they mostly just sang songs at varying skill levels. Jason Castro was a breath of fresh air, a nobody who turned into a star.

2. Michael Johns – “Light My Fire” by The Doors

Michael Johns will probably win this competition. We have to see the women, but right now, even though I don't think it was the night's best performance, this guy has everything it takes to be a star. Yes, he can sing and entertain, but he has the magic word that Simon Cowell mentioned: charisma. Tonight he gave a great performance, and this is coming from a guy who hates him for no discernible reason.

3. Colton Berry – “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley

I'm surely gonna get some slack for this, but I absolutely loved Colton's performance. Based solely on vocals, it was, to my layman ears, the best of the night. He also had energy and enthusiasm, he came out swinging, wanting to make his presence known. And he did.

4. Danny Noriega – “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis Presley

If my pick for number three didn't make you hate me, this will. Hell, I hate myself a little for ranking Danny Noriega this high. I've compared him to Sanjaya, and while that's still accurate, I forgot how entertaining Sanjaya was before he got all full of himself. Danny Noriega came out and had fun. It was a safe song, vocally, but it was a spirited performance, and even though this is supposed to be a singing competition, it's actually an entertaining competition. Whose overall performance was the best? Danny Noriega entertained me, from the performance, to the fierce head bob he gave Simon at the end.

5. Robbie Carrico “One” by Three Dog Night (originally by Harry Nilsson)

Perhaps it's the fact that my favorite movie of all-time, Magnolia, opens with this song, but it was a pretty good rocking version. He's going to rock out, and while he can't out-rock Michael Johns, he might come close. Good vocal, good energy.

6. David Archuleta – “Shop Around” by The Miracles

I'm not about to let the judges and the show tell me that David Archuleta is the greatest singer ever. His first performance was stilted, with some obvious vocal problems. To be fair to him, the song just wasn't in his comfort zone, and it showed. Still, it's a clear sign that, no matter what, the judges are going to overlook any problems with Archuleta and try to mass hypnotize America into thinking he's perfect.

7. David Cook – “Happy Together” by The Turtles

It was really weird, and almost good, trying to rock an un-rockable song. He took a chance and it didn't quite pay off, but it was a chance that makes him somewhat memorable.

8. David Hernandez – “In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett

He's a good singer. Technically, it's a very strong vocal performance. But he's stiff, robotic, and dull. Hopefully the fact that there are quite a few performers who are much worse will give him a chance to loosen up and inject some enthusiasm into his performances.

9. Garrett Haley – “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” by Neil Sedaka

Ugh, like the next guy on this list, Garrett was totally forgettable, a fine performance that did absolutely nothing to get me excited.

10. Luke Menard – “Everybody's Talkin'” by Harry Nilsson

Nobody's talking about this, because nobody can remember it. Simon called it forgettable, and he's right.

11. Jason Yeager – “Moon River” originally from Breakfast at Tiffany's

Bad song choice. Bad, bad, bad song choice. And on top of that, he did nothing to it but sing it poorly. If he's not voted off, it's because people like his adorable little kid.

12. Chikezie Eze – “I Love You More Today Than Yesterday” by Stevie Wonder

This was a total mess. His outfit was hideous (as Simon pointed out) and his vocals were all over the place. It was a complete trainwreck, and I can't imagine how he could possibly stick around.

So who's going home? I have no idea, but I'm fairly confident both of the losers will come from my bottom 5. I honestly won't care if any of them is eliminated.  Agree or disagree?  Did you hate the Elvis songs?  Do you still think David Archuleta is flawless?  Does anyone dare deny the awesome magnetism of Jason Castro?  Leave your comments below and we'll see who's right on Thursday for the year's first American Idol elimination when two of these guys are going home.

-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of FOX)