'American Idol' Recap: The Top 10 Guys Perform, 5 Get Eliminated
'American Idol' Recap: The Top 10 Guys Perform, 5 Get Eliminated
John Kubicek
John Kubicek
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
American Idol's Rush Week is aptly named, because we're rushing through the Top 30 for three straight nights. On Tuesday 10 girls performed, five were eliminated and we learned that Ben Briley beat out Neco Starr as the 15th guy.

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Tonight it's time for the men to perform. Like Tuesday, only 10 will get to sing and the other five will be cruelly eliminated with no real explanation. Hopefully there will be fewer nerves for the guys as the new format seemed to impact the girls' performances, resulting in some less-than-stellar vocals.

My colleague, Jeff Dodge, made predictions last week about who wouldn't get to sing. He got three out of the five girls correct, so let's see how he does with the guys. I basically agree with him that Jordan Brisbane, Briston Maroney, Emmanuel Zidor and Ethan Harris should and probably will be eliminated, though his fifth choice (Spencer Lloyd) seems doubtful to me. I have to assume one of the four country boys (Ben, C.J. Harris., Casey Thrasher and Dexter Roberts) will be eliminated instead. So let's get ready for another two hours of singing.

THIS...is American Idol!


Caleb Johnson

The crazy Jack Black-esque rocker opens the show and is in need of help keeping his eyes open during his performances. He's going for a "subtle over-the-top-ness." It's definitely over-the-top, but not subtle. He rocks and has terrific stage presence. He definitely stands out and adds some showmanship to this season.

C.J. Harris

The soulful Alabaman isn't much of a surprise. He's country/soul, a perfect mix of two things that do well on this show. Adam Lambert gets him to ditch the baseball cap. He's singing "Shelter" by Ray LaMontagne, which Randy Jackson calls one of the better song choices he's heard. So clearly Randy isn't doing much to help correct bad song choices. Damn, his voice is just so full of gritty and beautiful soul, and he's still very expressive. I see him going far. He makes Jennifer Lopez smile and more. Harry Connick, Jr. thinks he sings a little sharp, but he overcomes it with his performing. The most impressive part is that, yesterday he had a root canal.

Emmanuel Zidor

Harry introduces him as a "real entertainer." He almost seems to be preemptively apologizing for the pick, knowing that it won't be popular among viewers. Sorry, Harry, but there's no way to polish up this turd of a choice. This isn't singing, it's performance art. He has plenty of sass, but vocally, it's just terrible. I still have no clue how he made it to Hollywood, let alone made it to the live performances. Whatever five guys don't make it tonight should file a class-action lawsuit against the show. Harry tries to claim that Emmanuel is "a good singer," but this performance got a little out of control. He's half right. Then J. Lo asks him to sing a few bars of another song to prove he can actually sing. This is some B.S. and the judges need to stop pretending that he belongs in this competition. Maybe his schtick would work on America's Got Talent, but I hold American Idol to a higher standard.

Sam Woolf

Huzzah, it's the 17-year-old kid who reminds me of the serial killing twins from The Following (at least he's more Mark than Luke). Keith's intro makes it clear that the judges know he's a serious potential winner. Yeah, he's not some huge singer, but he's good enough and has the boyish, cute looks that will drive tween girls crazy. This is a solid start for him, because he probably knows that he doesn't want to peak too soon. Harry's right that there are definitely areas for him to improve, but the same could be said of Kris Allen when he started and seemed like a middle-of-the-road contestant before hitting his stride.

George Lovett

J. Lo says that he flew under the radar during the auditions, maybe because he's the only Top 30 finalists whose original audition wasn't shown. His favorite contestant is Joshua Ledet, which is exactly his lane. The mentors have a hard task ahead of them: making him a star. The general consensus is that he has an amazing voice, but very little personality. He does Bruno Mars' "Grenade," an overdone song and one that I don't think suits him. His voice breaks at one point and it all sounds a little too low for me. He also throws in a ton of runs, which I don't like. There are so many runs that even J. Lo calls him out for it. That's like being called short by Ryan Seacrest. The judges are harsh on him, and combined with his lack of personality, he's a goner.

Dexter Roberts

Harry calls him "consistent" while trying to make a terrible joke about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance New Kids on the Block. He's 110 percent country and probably has grits and Jack Daniels running through his veins. I'm very biased because I recapped the season of The Voice when Blake Shelton won by filling his entire team with country singers, so this genre of music isn't for me. If you're into this kind of pure country sound, then Dexter is a great representation of it, exuding a casual believability. Harry isn't sure if anything differentiates Dexter from other country singers and Keith thinks there are thousands of guys just like him, but luckily for Dexter, none of those thousands are on this season.

Alex Preston

The judges love his guitar-playing and quirky coolness. He plays 11 or 12 instruments and is doing "Volcano" by Damien Rice. He hates eye contact and is very shy, but is trying to overcome it. He's really good at what he does, but I find him to be more cerebral than emotional. It's interesting to me on an intellectual level, but I don't really feel anything when I watch him perform. Harry liked that Alex "ended on a nine," which is some specific guitar lingo. That's what I mean about him being too cerebral, because Harry's favorite part was about music theory, not the actual performance.

Malcolm Allen

He's a church singer. Basically, he's a slightly better George Lovett. But the performance isn't quite there and J. Lo is upset he didn't give her goosies. It could've been a lot better if he made better vocal choices. Harry didn't like that he did the same run over and over again. It's weird to me that the judges raved about Emmanuel but gave some majorly harsh criticism to George and Malcolm.

Ben Briley

After the show had America vote him into the Top 30, there was really no chance of him not performing. Like Dexter, he's pure country. Meh, it's kind of hard for me not to compare him to Dexter, and I just prefer Dexter's style of country, if I had to pick. It's fine and good for what it is, but I'm not sure I want two hardcore country dudes in the Top 13.

Which Guys Don't Perform?

Before getting to the last performance, let's look at the five guys who got cut without explanation. Ethan Harris, Briston Maroney, Jordan Brisbane, Maurice Townsend and Casey Thrasher are all going home. I'm not as upset with these picks as I was last night about Kenz Hall. Ethan, Briston and Jordan weren't ready at all, we already have more than enough country 'Bama boys and I was never that into Maurice. In fact, I thought the most interesting part of Casey and Maurice's original auditions were their adorable kids. Sure, every single one of them deserved a chance to perform over Emmanuel, but none of these guys were going to win anyway (well, maybe Casey, who I think has a broader country appeal than Dexter or Ben).

J. Lo encourages them to come back next year, so I suspect this new format was also designed to allow them to come back. If they actually sang and America voted, they wouldn't be eligible to audition again.

Spencer Lloyd

This means the last man to perform is Super Hottie Spencer Lloyd. That's hot a shock given my nickname for him. He's doing "Love Don't Die" by The Fray and is questioning whether to keep playing the guitar. It's a fun enough performance and he's great at playing the sexy rock star, but it's not that good, vocally. I prefer his more sensitive side (his "Say Something" from Hollywood Week, for instance) and so does Harry. But this should be more than enough to keep him in the competition. Hopefully he'll go back to sweet, sensitive Spencer next week.


That does it for tonight. Tomorrow on American Idol, the top five vote-getters from the girls and guys will all be revealed, and the judges will pick three Wild Cards to make up the Top 13. I'll be curious to see if both country dudes move on. I feel confident saying that Spencer and Sam will definitely be safe.


(Image courtesy of FOX)

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