'American Idol' Recap: Top 12 Boys Perform, Some Turn Into Men
'American Idol' Recap: Top 12 Boys Perform, Some Turn Into Men
Watching American Idol is so much more fun with friends, and if you don't have anyone to watch it with, I don't either so let's watch it together! I'm so excited that we finally get to see some unedited performances. The stage, the Coca-Cola Red Room, the dramatic sing-pointing, it's all really happening. Will Steven Tyler be able to keep himself from singing along with the contestants? What will J. Lo wear? Will James Durbin scream? Will anyone dance? Will the audience try to clap along but screw up that one simple task? All these questions and more will be answered.

It's been so long since we've seen all the drama of Ryan Seacrest introducing the contestants that I've almost missed it. This time the guys were awkwardly standing on either side of Ryan and he made a big deal about the judges. Not that I mind, because I am all about Randy Jackson! Did you see that person with the "Tourette's Rocks" sign? Good work, America.

tourettesrocks.jpgRandy, how does it feel to be in Simon's chair the anchor? I'm not sure he even answered the question, but J. Lo is wearing a nude illusion top with a leather collar. That's all that matters. The fans love the new judges, and I'm glad that the Top 24 gets more fans for the semi-finals. Ryan gave Steven Tyler a little censor stick, and I think those would make great gifts.

Casey Abrams made it! In case you didn't hear, he was hospitalized, and they weren't sure he'd make it. But more on him later.

First up is Clint Jun Gamboa singing "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder. It started a little suddenly, but I might be the only person who wasn't ready for it. The band seems too loud for Clint, who is used to a karaoke track. Clint's vocals are clean as usual, but he almost seemed like he was phoning it in if you were watching him. Anyone else think he looked tired? Maybe just a little disconnected. Steven said he started strong and ended strong, Jennifer said he seemed nervous but it didn't affect his performance, and Randy loved it too, saying there is no karaoke singer in the world with that kind of vocal talent.

Drinking Game option! Take a drink every time someone points during their performance, and drink every time someone says, "This is a singing competition."

Jovany Barreto sings next. I wonder if the lighting crew got all of their kicks with Clint's performance and the stage will look less psychadelic from here on out. He's singing "I'll Be" and I can't help but wonder why. Everyone grab your eighth-grade crush because your moms are coming to pick you up RIGHT at 4:30pm and this is your last chance! No, just me? He sang well, but it was five shades of boring. Steven said Jovany brought it again, Jennifer was happy, and Randy "didn't really get it." Yay, Randy! He's keeping it REAL! He said it was a little karaoke. Jennifer disagreed so that the audience would like her.

Up next, it's Jordan Dorsey! The music teacher is singing "OMG" by Usher, which is an interesting choice for a singing competition (drink, I guess!). He took his jacket off to make it sexy-like, then took the verse up an octave and danced around.

Jordanjacketremoval.jpgIt was all over the place. It reminded me of when you're singing in the car and you realize you can't stay in the same octave for the whole song. Steven didn't like it, Jennifer didn't think it was well suited for Jordan (and he agreed!), and Randy didn't think Jordan brought anything to it. It didn't work. "It's not me! It's not me," Jordan said hastily. So ... you picked this song why? This song won't save him from our impression of him in the group round either.

Tim Halperin is the first to get some sit-down time with Ryan. What's the dynamic like, Tim? Everyone is friends! They are like brothers. It would make my day if he opened up his song by playing that whistle around his neck. I don't recognize this song he's singing, but I know from a set list spoiler that it's "Street Corner Symphony/Come On Over." Tim is definitely one of the most attractive guys in the Top 12 and the song was upbeat, but I wish we'd seen him with his piano. He has a different style than the other guys left and ended with a big point to the camera. Steven didn't think the song did him justice, Jennifer agreed that it didn't show America who he is as an artist (she is cougin' on him!), and Randy just wasn't too impressed. And yes, cougin' is a verb now. To coug! Tim ended by doing that thing I hate, saying, "We'll see if America agrees with the judges!"

Brett Loewenstern! I adore him and his androgyny.

Brettlightmyfire.jpgHe's singing "Light My Fire" by The Doors and I'm not convinced this will be the song that "does it" for Randy, either. He's whipping his hair all over the place and I'm not mad at it. Shake that mane, lion! Steven told Brett he was on fire, Jennifer said it was more hair tossing than her and Beyonce put together in the past 20 years and that he needs a fan (agree!), and Randy said there were 14 hair shakes. But there were some pitch problems (drink!). Brett ran away from Ryan Seacrest before he was done, and I loved when he came back to hug Ryan and say, "I love you!"

BretthugsSeacrest.jpgWill you vote for the ending of Jennifer Lopez's music video? I don't think I care enough.

James Durbin is up next, singing some Judas Priest accompanied by an awful Windows Media Player background.

Jameswindowsmedia.jpgJames is rocking his trademark scarf tail, and I haven't liked him up to this point, but this was actually pretty good. I think this is his sweet spot, musically. I would totally have him on vocals when we played Rock Band (unless he's one of those people who insists on playing the drums ALL THE TIME, ugh). Steven said it was crazy good, Jennifer was feeling it as much as James was, and Randy said, "THAT'S HOW YOU DO IT!" Take note, everyone who went before James. I actually really liked it, and he didn't scream too much. Also, I appreciate that his mohawk didn't look so obnoxious this time; he gave it some width. Just don't start trashing hotel rooms too soon, James! Does anyone else get the feeling that he'll be one of those contestants who gets REALLY upset if he's in the bottom?

Hey America, how about some Robbie Rosen? I was lukewarm on Robbie until we saw him with his piano (but I also love that song "Gravity," so many forces were at work). What's up with these 15-second clip packages? It feels manic. Robbie is singing Sarah McLachlan's "Angel," and I'm a sucker for a good glide into the upper register, which Robbie does quite well. Robbie looks like he's about to transform into Teen Wolf with his pushed-up-sleeves jacket in front of that moon. I think it was good enough to put him into the Top 5 guys. Steven called it a "beautiful thing," Jennifer said he told a story and made it sound special, and Randy said, "yo, I differ with my coharts." Coharts! I love what Randy is serving up tonight.

Baby-faced Baritone, Scotty McCreery is up next serving up some country, of course. He's sitting on a stool all casual because he knows he can nail this song ("Letters from Home"). Is this the most confident we've ever seen Scotty? I don't want to say anything gross about how his low voice is really sexy because he's 17 but ... good job, Scotty! The ladies love him. Should he just trademark L.L. Scotty M (Ladies Love Scotty McCreery) now? The judges loved it, too. Jennifer said he's born to sing country music and he was "in his lane." I'm just glad he didn't sing that song about locking them doors and turning the lights down low, it's been stuck in my head for about a month now. Also, I love that leather jacket he's wearing!

Scottypullingfaces.jpgStefano Langone is up next, and he's been growing on me throughout the competition thus far. Uh oh, he's singing "Just the Way You Are" kind of weirdly. It wasn't the strongest start. Is everyone wearing leather tonight? I'm not sure that high register was always working for him, and some of the high notes hit better than others; but I'm still a Stefano fan after that performance nonetheless.

Stefanoinleather.jpgSteven and Jennifer loved it, with Jennifer telling him there's nothing awkward about him. And Randy actually agreed, calling him a "real star." Stefano told "all the ladies out there" that he loves them just the way they are. Seacrest said he's going to get into "some trouble," but the only thing Stefano is getting into is some PANTS after that comment. You know?

Drinking game update: Drink every time Randy comments on pitch (of course), and two drinks for every leather jacket!

Quirky and cool Paul McDonald is comin' at ya, singing "Maggie Mae." I dislike him immediately for saying, "What's up TV land!" at the top of his performance. His voice is unique, either you like it or you don't and I'm not sure I'm in the "like it" boat at this point. But I know lots of you love him and his bright, white teeth. Is it that he looks drunk when he's singing or smug? I can't decide.

Paulmaybedrunk.jpgNot a fan of his little simpering bows at the end, either, but this is a SINGING competition, and he sang it well in his style. The judges love him and loved his performance. Randy likes that he's different from anything else they've ever had on Idol.

Jacob Lusk is ready to bring it HARD with "A House is Not a Home." From the first note, I am practically in tears. He is SO good. I like that we can just watch him and enjoy the performance. Good song choice, Jacob. I still want him to play Effie in the drag version of Dreamgirls. Yeah, he killed it. Like, it was exciting to watch. Steven said he's honored to be in Jacob's presence, Jennifer was teary-eyed, and Randy was like, "Luther Vandeross in the house!"

JacobVandeross.jpgCan Casey Abrams top that? I am already a big Casey Abrams fan so I'm glad that he's able to compete after having debilitating stomach pains (apparently). He's singing "I Put a Spell on You," and it's pretty great. He's incredibly charming and manages to put on a great show and still endear the audience to him. It was fun but also clean and nuanced. I love how he took it down at the very end. It was badass. I wish I was friends with him, but now it's too late because he's going to be famous.

This is officially a competition! I think the show was, overall, a little back-loaded, but there is some major talent this season. Who was your favorite? Who are you most embarrassed for? Will you use all 50 of your online votes?

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(images courtesy of FOX)